Thursday, September 15, 2016

Circle Payments through iMessage

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Blockchain company Circle revealed its new project that allows users to send payments through Apple’s iMessage.

These available Circle Payments are in dollars, euros, pound and bitcoins

The project began in June when Apple announced that it would open to third-party developers for iMessage.

"We decided to jump on it. We had been planning to build out a model for app-less payments using Circle that would work in all the places people communicate and interact,” explained Circle co-founder Jeremy Allaire. 

Allowing payments available on the most used app worldwide could help it have the largest transaction volume and become a payment platform that not only leverages the bitcoin blockchain.

"This is going to be a big part of the future, it’s all tied into the how do we make money work, the way the Internet works. We talk about photos and content and the way we do that is through social messaging, that is the core medium of the Internet for a lot of people".

Thanks to this integration, people who download the app can open iMessage and enter into Circle by clicking on a new icon built into the chat app.

"One of the things that’s really cool about using iMessage as the container is it's an SMS app, so it allows you to send the messages to any contact that uses any SMS compatible device," explained Allaire.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blockchain Europe: Europol studies the ledger

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Europol, or the European Union major law enforcement agency, has started a new working lab to study the blockchain and digital currencies. 

This program sees also the participation of Interpol, one the most important organizations focused on law enforcement problems, and the Basel Institute on Governance, a non-profit organization focused on financial issues.

According to a press release published a few days ago, this lab will organize workshops with a global network of experts.

"Internet technologies become continuously more advanced, and so do the ways in which criminals utilize them for their illicit and illegal activities. Among these technologies, digital currencies are already transforming the criminal underworld."

Europol and Interpol collaborate on digital currency issues since the beginning of 2016, and these two groups already organized a few conferences and training sessions for the global law enforcement representatives in the past.

Also, earlier this year, Europol started a partnership with Chainalysis with the aim of expanding its power of tracking cryptocurrency transactions.

Blockchain Europe


Europe has always been interested in blockchain and cryptocurrencies since the beginning.

Recently a European Parliament representative suggested to start studying the blockchain and investing €1m in a task force focused on the distributed ledger.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bank of England Blockchain: how to explore fintech


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A few days ago it was revealed that Bank of England Blockchain project is looking for more ways to study the distributed ledger.

During a speech in London, Victoria Cleland of Bank of England explained that the central bank is exploring the financial technology, creating a startup accelerator to help financial projects. 

Cleland commented:

"Blockchain is still in its infancy, and there are numerous questions that need exploring. The Bank has already undertaken a proof-of-concept using this technology and we are looking for new opportunities through our FinTech accelerator."

Earlier this year, Bank of England revelaed its project to create a new digital currency, to be called RScoin, projected by the University College of London. 

A similar idea was developed by the Bank of Canada, who aims at creating a new cryptocurrency called CadCoin, as well as the Dutch Central Bank that planned to develop a new blockchain called “DNBCoin”.

Blockchain use explained with Google Docs

blockchain_use

To explain how the blockchain use to the newbies it is easier to compare its functionality to Google Docs, the popular document tools I’m using to write this article.

“The Business of Blockchain” author, William Mougayar, in fact, said that the two tools have something in common and this comparison is very useful to explain the blockchain use.

Everyday you can find new use cases of the distributed ledger and the more people understand how it works, the more we will see an improvement in this revolutionary technology.

Who invented the blockchain didn’t probably imagine all of its possible applications, which is the reason why nowadays there are more and more experts with a deep knowledge in a particular side of the technology.

But, the first step is having a good expertise in the blockchain use. 

Blockchain Use is similar to Google Docs


The blockchain is similar to a database, but the ledger doesn’t revolution databases themselves, but how they get synchronized, explained Mougayar in his article appeared on Coindesk.

If two banks need to update their own account balances, they need to spend a lot of time and energy to coordinate, synchronize and ensure that each transaction works correctly.

In this case, money is held by the sender until it is received by the beneficiary. 

But with the blockchain, this process changes a lot because there is only a single ledger and not two separate databases.

This is similar to Google Docs: what happens when you share a document and users need to edit it?

With traditional text editors users need to transfer the documents back and forth, losing time, energy and likely losing track of the versions. 

With Google Docs, instead, all the users involved have access to the same document at the same time, and that document together with the updates are always visible real-time to each of them.

The same thing happens with the Blockchain compared to traditional ledgers.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hong Kong Central Bank will test Blockchain

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Yesterday it was revealed that Hong Kong Central bank will test Blockchain and distributed ledger applications. 

The HK bank, in fact, wants to open a new innovative lab to study it, thanks to the funds received from the government to improve its technology standards. 

To do so, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is working on this program with the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI).

"Neutral ground" Hong Kong central bank will test blockchain


In a statement, the HKMA defined their hub is a neutral ground for testing this financial technology.

HKMA chief executive Norman Chan - during a speech he gave at the Treasury Market Summit 2016 - commented that Hong Kong was not moving enough to exploit the FinTech revolution.

"There is also a quite commonly-held perception that the development of Fintech in the financial services sector in Hong Kong has been slow. I do not subscribe to this view, at least insofar as the banking sector is concerned."

In the next weeks HKMA will reveal more details and additional projects that will involve the hub: testing solutions that require substantial computing resources; discussions between regulators, incumbents and startups and more.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bitcoin as Money recognized in Florida

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Florida Senator wants to regulate bitcoin as money in the U.S.A. state.

Senator Dorothy Hukill, in fact, explained that the draft legislation aims at protecting users and startups. 

Earlier this year bitcoin was defined as a property during a criminal case judged in Florida itself. 

Now Hukill, Republican senator of Florida and member of the Finance & Tax Committee, commented that legislation details still have to be discussed. 

These were her words:

"I think you have to recognize it at some level, so you can legislate and protect your constituents. Then you have to figure out what you recognize it as and how you regulate it."

While Hukill cannot define an exact date, her office suggested the bill will be submitted to the Florida Senate by the end of 2016.

As the legislative session doesn’t begin until March and with the upcoming elections, bills have to wait until November.

Hukill also explained that she will look for industry stakeholders’ feedback, but that process cannot start if the bill is not well defined.

Bitcoin as Money around the world


California, North Carolina and New Jersey and several other states tried to regulate bitcoin

"If we can fit it under our current law, where it's actually money and can be used legitimately so we’re not chasing people away, that’s what we’re looking to do," explained the senator. 

Hukill explained that the bill she proposed is well needed also due to the growing interest in bitcoin, as a few shops in Florida started to accept the digital currency as a method of payment.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Why governments should embrace the Blockchain

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William Mougayar, author of "The Business Blockchain" and member of the Ethereum Foundation, explains why governments should embrace the blockchain. 

A few days ago we published an article where ICAP suggested on why banks must adopt digital currencies; today we want to talk about this new important opinion by Mougayar, who is convinced that the distributed ledger could improve government services.

Government services, in fact, are one of the most important and revolutionary use cases for this technology , so it is not a surprise that governments are working to develop their own blockchain-based applications. 

During this year several cities and governmental institutions made their own plans for the ledger.

Singapore, Delaware, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Sweden, Switzerland, UK are just a few of many countries that developed a project related to the blockchain. 

So, if your government is not working on the blockchain, they should, explained Mougayar. 

As the blockchain is an early stage technology, it is easier to implement solutions at smaller scales.

How governments should embrace the Blockchain


What can your government do with the blockchain? There are four main areas:

  1. Verification: licenses, proofs of records, transactions, processes or events. 
  2. Movement of assets. E.g. Transferring money from one person/entity to another.
  3. Ownerships: the blockchain is a perfect ledger to custody any asset.
  4. Blockchain can be used to give e-identities to its citizens, enabling a safer kind of voting. 

So, government leaders should:
  1. Study the blockchain and explore its potential.
  2. Let people develop a blockchain strategy. 
  3. Start experimenting with blockchain technology
  4. Develop new ideas to improve the quality of life of the citizens