CEO NZIA Limited: Local startups must be at forefront of utilizing central bank’s digital currency 4195

digital currency

NZIA Limited’s Chief Executive Officer Jay Joe was adamant yesterday about the need for Bahamian entrepreneurs and tech startups to be at the forefront of Project Sand Dollar, the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ (CBOB) digital fiat currency project.

NZIA has already started to scope the work required to implement the infrastructure for the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which is expected to be fully rolled out in Exuma before the end of the year.

Joe said through Project Sand Dollar, NZIA will demonstrate to the world how CBDC can be used to empower true financial inclusion, moving past the conceptual ideology of financial inclusion to practical, on-the-ground implementation.

He said the key to making this sort of financial inclusion a reality for Bahamian communities is through providing and encouraging opportunities for local banks, Bahamian small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs to create new products and solutions around CBDC, that would ultimately help foster widespread adoption and economic growth.

“When we look at typical CBDC projects out there, a lot of companies are trying to position themselves to kind of build the whole kit and caboodle, we’re not about that. Our vision from day one coming into this project was a people-first attitude. What we mean by helping to foster local economic development and growth is, we are about building that infrastructure,” he said during an official signing ceremony at CBOB in which the company was formally engaged.

“We are going to build the back end and we will open up the front end to allow local entrepreneurs, tech startups, whomever to be able to build new products and create new services around CBDC. We feel that this is going to be a key aspect of really making this thing become a real, living, breathing thing that people engage in.”

“If we try to be too greedy in terms of wanting to build everything, we know that it’s not going to succeed and that’s not what we want. We want to open up that front end to allow people to build new services and solutions and we know there is a lot of creativity out there, so we want to foster that.”

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How Crypto is Beating Charity Fraud and Binance is Bringing Uganda’s Children to School 2932

The topic of charity often brings disparity of opinion. On the one hand, most of us recognize the injustices of the world and want to help those in need. But, given the reports of fraud and misconduct, as well as the sheer scale of problems, it’s understandable why many become numb to the issue. However, crypto and blockchain technology is working to change that.

Charity Fraud

Figures show that more than a third of charity fraud was perpetrated by staff, trustees or volunteers. These findings came about during a study by The Charity Commission. They noted that weak governance, poor financial controls, and excessive trust in key individuals were common factors to the problem. Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, said:

How Blockchain and Crypto Can Help

A decade on since Bitcoin first paved the way, many institutions are beginning to realize how blockchain is more than financial speculation. With blockchain technology, there exists a significant opportunity for charities to benefit the world.

Blockchains are inherently designed to eliminate corruption and non-transparency in situations involved multiple participants. As well as that, the technology facilitates an audit trail, where benefactors can track donations across its complete cycle.

The implications of this are massive. Blockchain technology has the potential to completely change the way the sector operates, allowing organizations to run more efficiently by eliminating waste, and therefore providing real help to those in need. Also, from a credibility standpoint, use of blockchain would undoubtedly instill greater trust, which is something often lacking in people’s reasoning for not giving.

The Plight of Ugandan School Children

When it comes to important cases, few are more deserving than feeding children. In Uganda, the problems of war, famine, and AIDS make for dangerous living conditions. Here, more than a third of people live below the poverty line, and children are the primary victims of this desperate economic situation.

Binance recently launched their blockchain solution to tackle hunger and access to primary education. The Lunch for Children campaign is asking for 1 BNB to provide a lunch program for children who need your help. Contributing will provide a month’s worth of food for a child in remote African areas. Without which some will be forced to abandon their education.

The Solution

The collaboration between Binance Charity and Dream Building Service Association will select schools that serve poor children, and choose reliable food suppliers. Donations made will go to the crypto wallets of children’s parents or legal guardians, who will then use the funds to pay food suppliers.

This system is a real life example of how blockchain is revolutionizing the charity sector. The verified audit trail of transactions deals with issues related to lack of transparency and accountability. The foundation will collect monthly reports from the school, and provide updates on how the project is progressing. All of which ensures your donations are making a real difference.

SEC to Host Forum on Crypto and Blockchain, Is Bitcoin Clampdown Looming? 2590

The United States’s Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that it will hold a public forum on blockchain and crypto assets. The event is the second of its kind and will take place at the SEC Headquarters in Washington DC on May 31.

The forum is being held in conjunction with the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub). It was first announced in October, when FinHub was initially launched.

Will the SEC Continue its Cautious Approach Towards Bitcoin and Crypto?

Thus far in terms of digital currency regulation, the planet’s largest and most influential financial regulator, the US SEC, has been reserved in its approach towards the crypto space. With its cautious stance, the agency appears to be allowing the industry to evolve, rather than making any drastic regulatory moves that could hinder clear potential for innovation.

According to a press release from the financial regulatory body, the event being held at the end of May will feature a panel of digital currency experts and academics. The goal will be to promote greater communication and understanding between the industry’s various participants.

Amongst other areas covered by the forum, the following topics will be debated: ICOs, crypto asset platforms, and blockchain technology generally. The focus will be on how these various technologies will impact both investors and the market generally going forward.

As mentioned, the SEC forum is open to the public to attend. The agency will also broadcast the forum live online via its official website. More information about this and the panellists selected to represent the crypto and blockchain space will apparently become available in the coming weeks.

The announcement of the date of the second SEC forum on the cryptocurrency space comes just after after the agency announced that it would be going on a “crypto tour” to help influence the direction of whatever regulations are forthcoming. The goal of the tour is to meet investors, influencers, and other crypto market participants. This should provide the SEC with a much clearer picture of how to proceed with policing the ever-growing industry.

Although the SEC is yet to truly reveal its hand with regards impending regulation of the digital asset space (aside from policing some of the more blatant scams associated with crypto), the fact that it is going to such great lengths to understand the industry is certainly encouraging. Regulators clearly see potential within these disruptive technologies and are keen to avoid coming down hard on the ever-expanding space for fear that it may drive many of the startups based in the US overseas to more welcoming regulatory climates.

Former HSBC & Barclays Hacker to Demo Crypto Security Flaws at SXSW ‘19 3536

A former “ethical hacker” with a number of high-profile institutions plans to host a blockchain security demonstration live at South By South West (SXSW) 2019. According to a press release, Rob Pope, currently of Dogtown Media and formerly a security specialist with HSBC and Barclays, will present on the weaknesses of various encrypted systems associated with crypto.

Along with a live hacking demonstration, the presentation will aim to give the average crypto user tips on how to adequately secure their own digital asset holdings.

Crypto is Secure but Can’t Account for Human Error

The presentation will be titled, “Crypto Crime: How to Steal Cryptocurrency.” It will take place at South By South West (SXSW) 2019, one of the planet’s largest conferences and festivals of film, music, and tech. The event is being held in Austin, Texas between March 8 and 17.

Presenting the demonstration will be Rob Pope, the co-founder of Dogtown Media, a mobile technology company based in Venice Beach, California and boasting an impressive roster of clients – Google, YouTube, Lexus, RedBull, and Citi Bank, to name but a few. Previously, Pope has worked as an “ethical hacker” for Barclays, HSBC, and the London Metropolitan Police Department.

According to the press release, Pope will demonstrate:

“… why cryptocurrency is not as secure as the general public believes.”

Much of the rest of the release details various high-profile exchange hacks. It also highlights the total cost of such cyber criminal acts in recent years.

Although the precise content of the presentation remains to be seen, the wording of the press release implies that the $1.7 billion in stolen cryptocurrency reported last year was down to flaws in the blockchains and encryption methods used when building the cryptocurrencies themselves. Whilst it is true that certain cryptocurrencies have indeed been maliciously comprised previously, there has never been a reported incident of a private key being “hacked” in the purest sense.

Hackers reportedly stole $1.7 billion in crypto during 2018.

Cryptocurrencies are incredibly secure. Unfortunately, humans are often not. If the kind of security vulnerabilities hinted at in the SXSW press release were associated with any of the leading cryptos, there would be no conversation to be had about their security since the entire premise of crypto would have already failed. Hackers prey on human vulnerabilities much more successfully than they do on flaws in now-seriously-battled-tested code, as is the case with Bitcoin.

To illustrate this argue with an incredibly basic example: if you locked your car and left the keys on its roof overnight, can you really blame its security system when you wake up without a car?

Based on these facts, it seems more likely that Pope’s demonstration will be much more about how more traditional hacking tools like key loggers, as well as more modern attacks such as those used in the recent CookieMiner effort to compromise Mac users’ exchange accounts, are being used against crypto holders.

As mentioned, Pope’s presentation will also highlight ways in which users can improve their own security when using digital assets. Such education is crucial if the kind of universal monetary sovereignty promoted by Bitcoin is to one day be achieved.

Data Suggests That the US and China are Caught in a Blockchain Arms Race 3299

Much to the ire of cryptocurrency advocates, the general public tends to conflate blockchain – which is the tech underlying cryptocurrencies – and the digital assets themselves. Despite their strong connections, the two technologies are separate in many ways, and many analysts believe that as the general public becomes more interested in blockchain, they will eventually grow more comfortable with blockchain-powered digital currencies.

Now, data composed by The Next Web that was ascertained from Glassdoor signals that the United States currently has an edge over China with regards to blockchain-related job growth as the two countries engage in a quasi-blockchain employment arms race.

The Blockchain Job Market is Booming

In late-2017 and early-2018 blockchain became a piping hot hype word that was widely associated with cryptocurrencies – which at the time were experiencing massive, albeit unsustainable, growth.

Although the hype surrounding crypto has faltered as the ongoing bear market persists, job growth relating to the blockchain industry is on the up-and-up, and recent data signals that some major US-based companies are leading the hiring charge.

According to the data set, out of the 5,711 blockchain jobs being advertised on Glassdoor globally, employers in the United States account for half of all those jobs, followed by the UK, and then India.

Of the employers that account for the majority of these job openings, IBM takes the cake, as the tech-giant currently has nearly 110 open job positions for people familiar with the relatively new technology.

Other notable companies with an abundance of blockchain-related job openings are Ernst & Young, Oracle, Deloit, and PWC.

Interestingly, of the top ten companies with an abundance of job openings, only three are directly related to cryptocurrencies, with Foris Limited coming in at number four, Crypto.com at number nine, and Wirex at number ten.

China Could be the United States’ Main Blockchain Competitor, Despite Data

Although the Glassdoor data places China quite far down on the list of countries with large blockchain-related job offerings, The Next Web importantly notes that because Glassdoor is a US-based, English-centric, site, the results may be skewed.

A report from PWC UK in late-August of 2018 explained that China is only a hair behind the US when it comes to development of the nascent tech, and that the rapidly growing country is widely expected to overtake the US when it comes to development in the next three to five years.

As the digital ledger technology industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds every month, it is likely that the technology’s inexorable ties to cryptocurrency will ultimately lead some of this development to spill into the crypto industry.

Fidelity Bitcoin Custody Launched, Is This The End of Personal Integrity? 3050

There is much talk of 2019 being the year that institutional money comes. And with the recent update by Fidelity on its Bitcoin custodial service, there is renewed hope for an end to the bear market. However, by welcoming this news, does that mean we have collectively abandoned our principles?

While the goal of institutional investing is to make money on behalf of members, this cannot be at the expense of diligence. Concerns over excessive volatility, uncertain regulatory framework, and technical barriers present something of a problem. But despite this, further developments in this space suggest that institutions are coming.

Fidelity Acknowledges Blockchain’s Potential

Back in May 2017, Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson delivered a keynote speech discussing the problems of working with blockchain technology. She explained that challenges related to scalability, regulation, and governance needed to be addressed.

And while it lacked specifics, the acknowledge of blockchain’s potential to revolutionize investing was there.

Since then, the past few weeks has seen news filtering out regarding developments at Fidelity. They had previously announced their intent to build institutional-grade infrastructure for securing, trading and supporting digital assets. And yesterday they confirmed initial testing of a final product.

In an update, they go on to say:

“Our initial clients are an important part of our final testing and process refinement periods, which will eventually enable us to provide these services to a broader set of eligible institutions.”

The Bitcoin Paradox

Most see this as a positive move, but the arrival of institutional money once again brings to light fractures within the community. While Fidelity’s clout is expected to help legitimize crypto and bring benefits to retail investors through increased volume and stability, one cannot ignore the fundamental philosophies that spawned blockchain in the first place.

This split in opinion is firmly down to individual expectations. On the one hand, those who expect to get wealthy from crypto investing would see this as a natural development of the space. But idealists would sooner build a more equitable economic system to which corporate interest has no part. On that note, the acceptance of institutional money flies in the face of Nakamoto’s vision of a decentralized and trustless mechanism.

Nik Bhatia agrees with this. He has openly criticized institutional interest by saying:

“Bitcoin does not need Fidelity to become legitimate; rather Fidelity launched bitcoin custodial services because bitcoin has already achieved legitimacy.”

And therein lies the paradox to Bitcoin. While blockchain enthusiasts, who believe in personal sovereignty, want mass adoption. This can never happen without the involvement of centralized authorities. With that in mind, you may ask yourself whether the acceptance of institutional money is, in fact, a selling out of one’s principles.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Arrives Sans Bitcoin, Only Ethereum is Supported 3173

The internet was set ablaze when rumors began circulating that Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10, may potentially support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum via a Blockchain Keystore application.

Samsung’s reveal event confirmed the existence of the Blockchain Keystore app that serves as a crypto wallet for top cryptocurrencies, however, the most important cryptocurrency of all won’t be supported at launch, according to initial reports from unboxing videos from around the web.

Samsung Blockchain Keystore Neglects Bitcoin, Ethereum Support Ready at Launch

The Samsung Galaxy S10 doesn’t officially drop for two more days on March 8, 2019, but some lucky smartphone enthusiasts have already gotten their hands on the final retail version of Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone. Those with early access to the Galaxy S10 have uploaded unboxing videos to demonstrate the phone’s key features – one of which is a new crypto wallet called Blockchain Keystore.

One particular video demonstration reveals that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will launch without supporting Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency by market cap and undoubtedly the most important asset in the crypto space. The app, however, does support Ethereum out of the box.

It’s not known at this time if ERC-20 tokens are further supported using the Ethereum wallet address. Many other crypto wallets prioritize Ethereum due to the same wallet address being used to receive Ether (ETH) in addition to a variety of ERC-20 tokens such as Basic Attention Token (BAT), 0x (ZRX), Maker (MKR), and hundreds more.

However, the absence of Bitcoin is a glaring omission, as Bitcoin has the highest market cap out of any cryptocurrencies, has the most regulatory support, and the highest transaction volume. It’s also the face of cryptocurrency in the public’s eye.

Bitcoin may eventually make its way onto the Samsung Galaxy S10’s Blockchain Keystore app via updates, and it may happen sooner than later. It’s not uncommon for smartphone manufacturers to debut their products on the same day a major software update is released. However, given the limited interest in cryptocurrencies by the general public, Samsung may not view further developing the app as a priority.

Are Blockchain And Crypto Wallets The Next Big Trend in Smartphones?

Blockchain-based smartphones that come equipped with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet is a growing trend in the space, as smartphone manufacturers seek to find a differentiating selling point amongst the sea of similarly functioning smartphones.

In addition to the Samsung flagship, the HTC Exodus has blockchain-based features that are separated from the Android operating system, while the newcomer Sirin Labs has recently released the blockchain-based FINNY smartphone, and Pundi X is preparing the XPhone for a Q2 2019 launch. It’s expected that as cryptocurrency adoption grows, other companies will follow suit, including Apple who has dominated the smartphone market since its inception.