Cryptocurrency: How We Hook the Masses

Cryptocurrency: How We Hook the Masses

Cryptocurrency: How We Hook the Masses

In this opinion piece, Svinkin argues that using cryptocurrencies for rewards schemes can demonstrate the value of the technology and ultimately help bring mass adoption.

Before the hype and before the price explosions of the past year, I sat down and looked at cryptocurrencies from a UX perspective.

That post, published on CoinDesk, offered a simple central premise: the entire bitcoin project was envisioned, designed, built and released as a peer-to-peer value exchange system. It wasn't supposed to be a standalone asset class or a messaging system for banks.

A year later, we're in the midst of a hype-ridden initial coin offering (ICO) explosion. ICOs are another use case in the UX quiver, one we can add to the progress of the last few years. The ICOs (I prefer to call them token sales) are a great engine of growth but they do not achieve our ultimate goal: adoption of cryptocurrency by the masses.

 

Looking back

Prior to Jobs and Wozniak, computers were the domain of engineers, hobbyists, large corporations and government agencies. The dominant framework for users to interact with these machines, the command line, ensured low user adoption.

As Neal Stephenson noted, however, the wizards who held sway over the simple cursor and text interfaces later built the tools to drive mass adoption. From the command line, we moved into something relatable and simple, and, in the process, we hid all of the piping behind wall after wall of abstraction.

I don't want to understate how big of a leap this was for my generation. You mean we can make the screen do what we want like an arcade game? We can "save" what we're doing and come back to it later? We can put stuff on a disk and put it on another computer? Wow!

After we were hooked, we started learning heuristics for the things we'd need to master to get more out of the experience. We started implicitly understanding what a KB meant. We grew to "kinda know" how much would fit on a floppy disk.

Some of us started learning how to make simple animations and games. The computer was at first a toy then a tool.

I argue that, in the crypto space, we're at the point in our evolution where the command-line is giving way to new and more generalized heuristics – with similarly explosive opportunities. Right now, the equivalent of the command line are things like wallet addresses, private keys, cold storage, and other obfuscating elements.

I wrote a year ago that I think we need a Steve Jobs in this space. No one has yet stepped up to the plate.

Crypto is no MacOS, yet


 

Even if regular people were to learn all the terms of art, master using the exchanges, grow comfortable with identity verification and currency exchange rates, and accept the long wait times in transferring fiat in/out, we'd still have a problem that would keep the bulk of the planet off the chain in a meaningful way: risk.

Modern operating systems mitigate risk immensely. Every program we use has some sort of backup system and now you rarely lose work. With cryptocurrencies, the existential threat of losing everything is still there.

The best way to deal with risk, at least at the start, is to try to eliminate it. We must not treat crypto like a competitive currency at least not now. Instead we must treat it like a reward, something new.

We must allow people to buy it, but also allow folks to earn it, with their time, effort, attention, with non-monetary capital. Don't force people to have to buy it with fiat.

Instead, let them earn it.
 

A user-first model

There are folks that are on a rewards-oriented path: Steemit, Brave, Bitwalking, Metal and others.

This is going to be a growing trend in the months and years to come. All of them want to reward you for something – Steemit for creating and engaging with digital content, Bitwalking just for walking. Brave is taking things to the next level: you get rewards just for using a secure browser and for engagement and attention.

Metal will reward you for converting, sending and spending.

All are trying to get to the same goal: they want the cryptocurrency they've issued to become valuable in the real world, to become the lifeblood of a new economy centered around a particular set of use cases.

The success of these products is dependent on ultimately hooking the masses via a rewards-based introduction – points, miles, cash back – these are notions we all get, just like I did 30 years ago with writing, drawing and reading on the Mac.

But the final step requires users to make that leap from rewards to currency for this revolution to get to the next level. And for that goal, I – a true believer – am very hopeful with this recent wave.
 

The big fear

That said, I still have one hesitation. All of these solutions make progress on the various complexities and issues surrounding adoption.

But, the one thing they all do not do, is obfuscate the currency exchange problem inherent in forging ahead with something new right away. It can show the value of the new currency in terms of fiat, but even currency earned through effort will be at risk of losing credibility and lasting power.

There will always be fear that the $398 I have in crypto will one day be $0, or in an hour will be worth $118.

Sure, we could be at the start of a fiat currency collapse and not even know it, as the market cap of crypto currency rockets up. This may even be good for the whole system. But, even if the crypto world supersedes the money we know, it will be the option with the most perceived stability that ends up winning. Not the ones with the most speculative upside or interesting "applications."

We’ll know we've "won" when a cryptocurrency becomes woven into the daily lives of the majority of people on earth. That people recognize finally that the fiat they know is also volatile and purchasing power is dynamic and ever changing, and cryptocurrency has many other benefits the analog doesn’t have. Or simply that a cryptocurrency finally becomes more stable so people run to it to escape losing all their value in government-backed money as a crisis looms or is underway.

Until then, it's hard to say what we’ve accomplished truly, but the goal is ultimately that we move belief in fiat money to belief in cryptocurrency.

To me, the best way to start that transition is to get people used to and interested in this new phenomenon by utilizing familiar bridges like air miles and minimizing fear and risk to allow for everyday use to come to bear – and even bring some fun to the strange world of cryptocurrencies.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author:Richard Svinkin

David

Why connecting all the Blockchains is the final step for mass adoption of Cryptocurrencies

Why connecting all the Blockchains is the final step for mass adoption of Cryptocurrencies

Dr. Julian Hosp, 16 Jun 2017 – Development, Opinion, Protocol

Dr. Julian Hosp is the co-founder and CVO of TenX, a Singapore based FintechCompany that makes any Blockchain asset spendable instantly by offering a debit card payment system to its users on the frontend and by connecting any Blockchain at the backend.

Since the start of Bitcoin in January 2009, we have seen the introduction of a multitude of blockchains across all kinds of areas and financial markets. Today we can count hundreds of public blockchains that amount to a total market cap of almost 100 Billion dollars, excluding many more private blockchain installations.

Last year we saw the emergence of precious metal backed tokens, derivatives, entirely new asset classes representing entire ecosystems, and even ETF tokens to invest into other blockchain assets. One such example is Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) or token sales that are gaining in popularity. The World Economic Forum is even going as far as predicting that 10% of the global GDP will be stored on the blockchain in less than 10 years. In terms of today’s global GDP that would be $7.8 trillion.

Here a challenge arises: If we as a community do not find a way to connect blockchains, these 7.8 trillion dollars will be dispersed in such a way, that its true value is a lot lower. So what is the solution? The solution is one that we have seen in a similar way being executed around 30 years ago already:

Before the invention of the TCP/IP protocol the Internet was also dispersed in many local networks, so-called Intranets. These provided local efficiency over the more traditional point-to-point communication (such as letter, fax, telephone calls). The real breakthrough only came in 1973, when different Intranet networks realized that they could use a unifying Internetwork protocol to communicate among each other, thereby extending reach by compatibility even more.

With the requirements for an Intranet to join the so called Internet dropping to the bare minimum, it became possible to add almost any Intranet, no matter how basic or sophisticated their characteristics were.

The initial adoption by users was relatively slow, as the services offered at the beginning were limited. There was one major factor however, that eventually sped it up significantly. The same providers that were already offering mail, FAX and phone services, could now add Internet services to their portfolio giving them extra revenue streams. User adoption came easily, as a trust basis between the customers and these services providers was already established for years or even decades. Early adopters started, the late adopters followed.

Today the Internet spans across the entire world and information that used to be accessible only locally is now accessible from anywhere, even from the moon. Information is stored by servers all over the world while routers create the backbone. Internet service providers (ISP) give the average end-user easy and quick access to this vast database of information by opening a communication channel to their customers and to other ISPs, servers and routers.

Once the average user accesses the Internet through his or her communication channel with the ISP in order to gain information from the Internet, the user does not have to worry about how the information is retrieved exactly. All she has to do, is to type in the destination from where she wants to retrieve the information (URL). The ISP, to which she has the communication channel to, does not know the exact path to the destination either. However, through the TCP/IP protocol, the request is routed through from one communication channel to another using routers, servers or ISPs, who then either know the location or continue the process.

The important point is, neither one of them has to know the entire way. All they have to do, is to trust the TCP/IP protocol, which has the task of delivering packets from the source host to the destination host, solely based on the IP addresses in the packet headers. Its routing function enables internetworking, and essentially establishes the Internet.

How does this translate into connecting blockchains? What if there was a way to connect literally any blockchain, without creating a new larger blockchain, like some companies have suggested. Creating a new blockchain would be like a large intranet, that all the other intranet would have to trust. It would be way more difficult to convince everyone. It is easier to leave everyone on their blockchain/intranet and just connect them.

With that in mind, I therefore suggested a Cryptographically-secure Off-chain Multi-asset Instant Transaction network (COMIT) at the end of 2016 and wrote a white paper on that: www.comit.network.

What does such a network look like? Just like in the Internet, we need a stable and trustworthy backbone. In our opinion any large blockchain provides exactly that. It can be any blockchain, because just like on the Internet, different modalities will be interconnected (For example: the initial Internet never foresaw mobile app messaging services, but these have been implemented without any problems). The same will be true for COMIT, where any new blockchain can be connected to an existing one through the use of the COMIT Routing Protocol (CRP).

A user today, who is using crypto-currencies, currently has to wait minutes if not hours before a transaction is accepted by the counterparty. With the adoption of payment channels, such as the Lightning Network, Raiden or many others, such users can transfer assets instantly from person A to person B. If person B then opens another payment channel to person C, person A can also transfer assets to person C via B instantaneously, as long as person B provides enough liquidity. In theory there can be an infinite chain of participants in between person A and C, as long as they all provide enough liquidity. Again, such transactions are immediate without person A needing to know which route the assets took to end up at person C. She can trust this system as the routing protocol ensures its correctness, plus the cryptographically secured payment channels, which will be described in the next chapter, ensures flawless functionality.

What we end up with, are cryptographically-secured instant payments off-blockchain that can even be transferred from one asset to another via hashed time-lock contracts (those will also be described in the next chapter). In order for this network to have enough liquidity (in the example above person B needs to provide enough liquidity to enable a transaction between person A and person C), we introduce the concept of Liquidity Providers (LP). LPs can be seen or understood as hubs or nodes in the COMIT network, that create payment channels to users, other LPs and businesses. They are a core part in COMIT. Just like servers, routers and ISPs are to the internet.

Adoption of this system will be seamless, fast and will bring great benefits to all of its participants, just like the Internet did. Some of the benefits of COMIT include:, but are not limited to:

  • Open source infrastructure
  • True instant, frictionless and cheap payments for users all over the world
  • True global access without limitations to any asset or business process connected to a blockchain
  • Cryptographically secure trustless global transactions network
  • Amazing new business opportunities for companies
  • New recurring revenue streams for banks and other liquidity providers
  • Rapid adoption based on existing networks build with new cheap and secure infrastructure

We have already checked and over 95% of all the blockchains (especially the large important ones can) can be connected. In the next article I will discuss in great detail what the 3 requirements are for such a system to work and how it looks from a technical perspective. With COMIT our vision for the world seems to become reality: Sending money as cheap and seamless as sending a WhatsApp message.

Source: Why connecting all the Blockchains is the final step for mass adoption of Cryptocurrencies » Brave New Coin

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David

Bitcoin Will Make Lots of Millionaires Before “Returning Down to Earth”: Economics Professor

http://seriouswealth.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Bitcoin-Will-Make-Lots-of-Millionaires-Before-Returning-Down-to-Earth-Economics-Professor.

Bitcoin Will Make Lots of Millionaires Before “Returning Down to Earth”: Economics Professor
 

Despite its price volatility, Bitcoin is likely to make more millionaires.

Panos Mourdoukoutas, chair of the department of economics at LIU Post in New York City, whose works are published by Forbes and The New York Times, thinks Bitcoin is likely to turn more individuals into millionaires before its price dives again.

Bitcoin recently reached an all-time high of $3,000 this June after a huge correction to $2,682 from $2,957 in the period of two days. This is after tech billionaire Mark Cuban reportedly called Bitcoin's recent price surge a bubble.

However, this is not the case since the cryptocurrency is showing an uptrend, based on its recent price of $2,831 and its continuing upward trend.

Mourdoukoutas shared a partially similar viewpoint to Cuban's. Both had similar claims that Bitcoin's price would drop after a substantial surge, however, he stopped short of calling Bitcoin a bubble.

 

Making more millionaires before it crashes again

Mourdoukoutas mentioned that the digital currency made many "overnight millionaires" – individuals who invested into BTC when it was worth just a portion of its current rate.

He also mentioned that Bitcoin will reach new highs, making more millionaires in the course of the action, before "returning down to earth."

Mourdoukoutas added that one of the reasons for the increased investment in the cryptocurrency is the "ultra-low” rate of interest environment, makings the trade of Bitcoin an enticing proposition.

In addition, there is a growing mistrust in the currencies of several nations, following government policies that have pushed more investors into the cryptocurrency.

 

Price restricted by policies and supply

Mourdoukoutas said that one of these policies is the act by federal governments to provide new treasury bonds at record low rates to cover the old financial obligations with brand-new ones.

For instance, Japan sells treasuries that yield nearly absolutely nothing for the state, however, the nation's debts amount to approximately 250 percent of the country’s GDP. The teacher mentioned that China's treasury yields "something," however, no one knows the specific quantity of the "informal financial obligation".

The fact that there is a substantial quantity of financial obligations linked to the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese Yen diminishes the confidence of investors. Given that there is Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that has increased its worth by 125 percent in 2016, investors in Asia have taken advantage of the possibility to invest more into the digital currency.

 

The economics professor also highlighted another government policy which might decrease trust in a country's nationwide currency. This relocation is when governments wish to eliminate the old currency notes, as held true in India and Venezuela. Such incidents, according to Mourdoukoutas, is one of the reasons why Bitcoin price has risen.

 

Still better hedge fund than traditional ones

Mourdoukoutas further commented that there are particular advantages which make Bitcoin a much better hedge than traditional ones, such as gold. He added that the millennial generation is one of the greatest supporters of the cryptocurrency as they understand BTC much better than the "baby-boomer generation.”

 

Mourdoukoutas shared:

"Unlike gold, for instance, Bitcoin is a hassle-free medium of payment around the globe.”

 

The economics professor expounded that Bitcoin's supply is anticipated to be restricted to 21 mln. Compared to gold, there is no deficiency of the mineral considering that when the rate of gold rises, it supplies more incentive for gold miners to mine for gold.

Finally, Mourdoukoutas specified that the financier buzz around Bitcoin continuously helps the cryptocurrency to go upwards, as a growing number of financiers are becoming familiar with the digital currency, and can utilize ETFs (exchange-traded funds) to "conveniently participate in the market."

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Charles Dearing

David

Teenage bitcoin millionaire can see the cryptocurrency’s value shooting as high as $1 million

Teenage bitcoin millionaire can see the cryptocurrency's value shooting as high as $1 million

Teenage bitcoin millionaire can see the cryptocurrency’s value shooting as high as $1 million

If this teen entrepreneur, high-school dropout and bitcoin millionaire has any predictive powers at all, then we’ve hardly seen the top of the market for the hot cybercurrency.

Meet Erik Finman, who started picking up bitcoin at $12 apiece back in May 2011, when he was just 12, riding a hot tip from hits brother Scott and a $1,000 gift from his grandmother, he told CNBC. He’s now the owner of a reported 403 bitcoins, and while the cybercurrency has been on a bit of a bumpy ride lately, at a Wednesday morning price BTCUSD, -0.48% of $2,773.54 each, the now 18-year-old Idahoan’s stash is worth $1.1 million and change.

“Personally I think bitcoin is going to be worth a couple hundred thousand to a million dollars a coin.”

Erik Finman

 

Finman cashed out his first bitcoin investment back in 2013 and started Botangle, an online education company that provides tools for locating instructors in subjects they need or wish to learn about.

He wasn’t a fan of high school and convinced his parents, both Ph.D.’s, to let him drop out at 15.

His teachers clearly weren’t seeing his potential. “One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald’s because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life. I guess I did the dropout part,” the young bitcoin millionaire said. He didn’t really want to go to college, either, and won a bet with his parents that if he was worth a million dollars by 18, he could skip it. He was, and so he did.

Finman encountered discouragement from an Uber executive, who, instead of listening to his Botangle pitch, told him he should count on college rather than racking up millions. But the teen did end up successfully selling his company’s technology, for a cool price of 300 bitcoin, reportedly. He has said he turned down a $100,000 offer.

Bitcoin prices have soared more than 300% in the span of a year, with the bulk of the gain coming during May and June. Ethereum, one of its chief rivals, has also seen big gains. Bitcoin tapped $3,000 last week, before a pullback last week that saw it shed billions in market cap.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Barbara Kollmeyer
Markets Reporter

David

3 Struggles that Only People who are Truly Awake Will Understand

3 Struggles that Only People who are Truly Awake Will Understand

MARCH 28, 2016 BY 

3 Struggles that Only People who are Truly Awake Will Understand

One Topic I Read About In My Personal Life A Lot Is The Concept Of Being “Awake”. I’m Not Talking About Literally Not Being Asleep, I’m Talking About Being Awake To The World Around You.

Wakefulness is a combination of mindfulness, consciousness, and awareness on a very deep and often spiritual level. Imagine walking around with your eyes open in a world full of people with their eyes clenched shut. That’s honestly what it feels like. The more I study, meditate, and really search my soul – the more I realize that this mentality isn’t the norm. No matter how much I wish it was. If you’re like me and consider yourself to be awake in a world full of people with their blinders secured tightly to their heads, then you’ll understand the following struggles just as much as I do.

Seeing The Forest For The Trees

Of all of the aspects of wakefulness that I struggle with, this notion is #1 on my list, and the entire reason for me writing this post. You’ve heard the cliché of people “missing the forest for the trees”, meaning that when you look so intently at that one tree – you don’t notice that you’re surrounded by them. If you’re truly awake, or at least well on your way to being awake, you see the forest from an aerial view. You see the connections between people and actions in ways that other people don’t understand. A big part of wakefulness to me is understanding people and human nature in general. Intuition has a lot to do with it, but studying psychology, spirituality, and the human mind

Intuition has a lot to do with it, but studying psychology, spirituality, and the human mind has given me a different perspective. I have always wanted to know what makes people tick outside of the actual physiological components. That’s why I write a lot about emotional intelligence; because I think it is the first step in being awake. If you consider yourself to be emotionally intelligent, then you understand how many people are emotionally ignorant. This is where the forest and trees come in…

As someone who is awake, you see the actions of people and understand why they do them. For me, it is seeing the underlying reasons for people’s actions. Perfect example: I have a friend who is passive aggressive to a fault. But when he gets behind the wheel of a car, he turns into a road rage machine. Not because the people around him are really driving badly – but because there is a wall of metal and glass around him that prevents others from hearing him express himself. All of those frustrations that get bottled up throughout the day, get unleashed as a torrent of ranting and cursing that would make a sailor blush. And for what? Nothing really. It doesn’t solve any of the issues that have been bottled up. Hell, it doesn’t even address them. Now, I know that there has got to be a pressure valve somewhere, in all of us. Seeing this behavior, I know exactly what is going on but never bring it up, which brings me to my next point:

People Don’t Want To Hear The Truth

Most people are completely comfortable with their blinders. Thos blinders provide a sense of safety and security. One of the hardest things people can do is focus their gaze inward. The general consensus seems to be that if you’re looking for answers to the way that you are, that something must be wrong with you. Nothing could be farther from the truth. That’s like saying that you are exploring a coral reef because there is something wrong with it. The human psyche is fascinating, and there is nothing more fulfilling than exploring your own. Again, there is a very strong parallel here to emotional intelligence. There is a difference in knowing what you feel and knowing why you feel it.

When you have this understanding of the human psyche, even on a basic level, you see those “forest and trees” connections. For people who choose not to see those connections, the last thing in the world that they want to do is hear about them, let alone understand them. People take evaluations of their actions and emotions as criticism. If you say, “you do (this) because you do/feel (this),” people get the notion that you are psychoanalyzing them. They don’t want to focus that microscope on themselves because they are afraid of what they might find. Tearing apart your own psyche and peeling back the layers of how your mind works and why isn’t a comfortable process. No matter how fulfilling it is in the end. So, then you find yourself understanding the thoughts and actions of the people around you better than they understand them themselves. That’s when the hard part comes in:

No matter how fulfilling it is in the end. So, then you find yourself understanding the thoughts and actions of the people around you better than they understand them themselves. That’s when the hard part comes in:

The Fear Of Expression, And The Consequence Of That Fear

Knowing that people don’t seek the same enlightenment for themselves that you seek in yourself leads to a condition where you want to express yourself about someone’s actions, but you fear the defensive nature that comes with it. Have you ever tried to tell someone that their behavior is a result of an emotional condition that they don’t care to understand? It’s like telling an alcoholic that they drink too much. SO in an effort to avoid those defensive repercussions, you end up biting your tongue, which only leaves your blood in your mouth.

There are so many situations in my everyday life where I see the underlying emotional connections to people’s actions and choose not to say anything about them, that the end result is nothing but stress. Stress, for me, often manifests itself physically, so the more stressed out I am – the worse I feel. I just want to snap, and yell at people to stop projecting their emotional ignorance in the form of finger-pointing and deflection, and address their own issues. But…I simply don’t. I reflect on how their actions make me feel, and I ruminate on the things I wish I could say, and I’m the one that ends up absorbing it. For instance, have you’ve ever been around a coworker that treats you like crap because of some other aspect of their lives outside of work?

You worry that if you point out that you aren’t the problem – they are, there could be repercussions from you expressing yourself. So you end up in a terrible work environment, fully aware of why this person treats you the way they do, knowing it’s not your fault, and afraid to do anything about it. That’s a very general example of wakefulness, but the reality of it is universal. The struggle is all too real.

BY 

David

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

 

One one level, Ripple is another cryptocurrency in an ever-growing list of fledgling products, hoping to earn a place in the wider world of business and finance. While the value of Ripple's currency, XRP, is well below $1 per unit, making it a mere fraction of the value of Ethereum or Bitcoin, Ripple nonetheless sports the third-largest portion of market capitalization as compared with the rest of the cryptocurrency industry. But aside from its growing position as a currency, Ripple is drawing more and more attention from banks and financial institutions around the world for another crucial reason, too: the blockchain technology behind the currency itself.

Ripple Aims to Build an "Internet of Value"

A recent profile on Ripple by American Banker reveals that the San Francisco-based startup has its sights set on creating an "internet of value," a worldwide network system for financial transactions. Ripple's goal is nothing less than the ultimate freeing of monetary value, allowing assets to flow instantly and seamlessly between mobile systems, public blockchains, and bank ledgers. The goal is a massive one, and yet Stefan Thomas, Ripple's chief technology officer, stands behind his company's ability to enhance banking around the world. "We're not the disruptors, we're not the guys who come in and tear everything down," he stresses.

But in the Meantime…

For the time being, though, Ripple seems to occupy at least two different spaces. First comes the chryptocurrency side, and success in that area has not come as quickly as some would have liked. John Light, a consultant working with multiple startups that have integrated Ripple's technology into their systems, indicated that Ripple has "had something of an identity crisis about who their customer is, and what problem they are trying to solve."

First, the company aimed to build a new currency that would improve upon Bitcoin. This was a key component of the instantaneous transactions goal, as Bitcoin has been racked with problems relating to the system's processing capacity which has left some users waiting for days for their transactions to clear. Beyond that, though, Ripple differed from Bitcoin and other digital currencies further, even at its earliest stages. Ripple's leaders disagreed with other chryptocurrency enthusiasts who suggested that the new currencies could replace banks or even government currencies. Rather, Ripple aimed from the beginning to work with banks to make global assets even more liquid.

With roughly 60 financial institutions around the world sporting Ripple technology, the company is seeing its vision begin to take shape. However, the fact that the currency itself has not gone away makes the list of offerings that Ripple presents somewhat confusing. If banks and investors around the world are to continue to gain interest in Ripple, it seems that the company will be best served by streamlining its offerings further into the future.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Nathan Reiff

 

David

More than 5 billion people – or two-thirds of the world’s population – now have a mobile phone connection

More than 5 billion people – or two-thirds of the world's population – now have a mobile phone connection

You can watch the number increase in real time

By  on Jun 19, 2017, 10:00 AM

gsma

How many people do you know that don't own a cell phone? For the majority of us, that number will be very small, if not zero. Not too surprising considering that 5 billion people around the world – or two-thirds of the earth’s population – now have a mobile phone connection.

The data comes from GSMA Intelligence, the research unit of the GSMA trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Its real-time tracker shows that the number of unique mobile subscribers has now passed the 5-million-person milestone, representing year-on-year growth of almost 5 percent.

The site also shows the number of mobile connections around the world. This figure is considerably higher as many people use more than one SIM card, and it includes machine-to-machine connections, of which there are around 400 million.

It’s taken four years for another billion people to acquire a mobile phone connection. Back in 2003, there were just one billion unique mobile subscribers across the globe. GSMA director Mats Granryd called reaching the milestone a “tremendous achievement for an industry that is only a few decades old.”

“Today, mobile is a truly global platform, delivering connectivity and, perhaps more importantly, social and economic opportunities to citizens in all corners of the world,” said Granryd.

Over half of all mobile subscribers, 2.7 billion, are located in the Asia-Pacific Region. When it comes to individual countries’ mobile markets, China sits at the top with 1 billion subscribers, while India is second with 730 million. It is in Europe, however, where phone penetration is at its highest, with 86 percent of citizens subscribed to a mobile service. The US has the second-highest subscriber penetration at 80 percent.

By the end of this decade, GSMA predicts that the number of unique phone subscribers will reach 5.7 billion – around three-quarters of the earth’s population – with India responsible for the largest share of this growth.

David

How To Grow Bitcoin

Grow Your Bitcoin

How to grow Bitcoin

 

Bitcoin is the leading chryptocurrency and is starting to change the way people use money and invest in the future. The coin is a limited resource which some compare to Gold and certainly at the moment it is holding its own value wise.

Unlike traditional coins chryptocurrencies have many more decimal places which mean you can purchase sell or earn a bit of a coin, just like in ancient times where physical coins were cut into pieces.

Bitcoins have become popular in developing countries, where they are perceived to be better value and safer to use than traditional currencies which are controlled by Governments

I started earning bitcoin a few month ago, completing online survey and earning 74to 359+ bits for 5-30 minutes work. It may not be much, but I puts you on the road to prosperity. Currently I have some 100 ukpd worth of coins in my wallet.

Rather than leaving you Bitcoin in a wallet, You can invest and trade them online, which can be risky if you do not know what to do, the basic aim is to buy on the lows and sell on the highs.

You will see many companies which offer to multiply you coins by hype methods offering high returns which are not sustainable and often lose down without notice.

I have found two companies who actually trade chryptocurrencies using specialized trading algorithms, which greatly reduce the risk of loss. One company has a excellent track record, however you need to keep you coins invested for a year, compounding your gains.

The second company based in the Far East has only been trading for a short while but is very reactive to changing conditions, which have forced its competitors to shut down, it also transfers the interest you earn into your personal wallet, which is then under your own control.

There will be many people who claim that both of these companies are a scam, but frankly most do not know what they are talking about. I used to be a currency trader many years ago and know for a fact that automated trading programs do work. Chryptocurrencies are more volatile so one can see that doubling your money in 60 days is not an unreasonable target.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David

Forfeit Your Bitcoin? Congressional Bill Draws Fire Over Border Check Rules

A group of US lawmakers wants to see cryptocurrency holdings declared at the nation's border – and advocates of the tech are pushing back.

Bitcoin value continues to fluctuate, price fails to go beyond year's ...

Introduced last month, the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017 – which is actually the third iteration of a bill that debuted in 2011 – would bring a range of digital currency services under federal scrutiny, including those that provide transaction mixing services.

Yet, the provision that has attracted the particular ire of cryptocurrency advocates – especially those who prefer a regulation-light environment – is one that would make such holdings subject to disclosure requirements at US customs checkpoints. This means if a person trying to enter the country has more than $10,000 worth of bitcoin in their possession, under the proposed legal change, they would need to inform the relevant authorities.

Such requirements are already in place for payment methods like cash. But given the rising public profile of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, coupled with the perception among policymakers that they could be used to fund terrorist activities, is driving legislative efforts like the bill currently under consideration.

One observer, Joe Ciccolo of Canada-based BitAML, remarked that cryptocurrency has become the "new face in an old debate", going on to say that policymakers and law enforcement officials have long sought to expand the definition of what constitutes a "monetary instrument".

Ciccolo told CoinDesk:

"Earlier this decade, we saw a push to include 'prepaid access' such as gift cards. Law enforcement went so far as to pursue card readers to scan prepaid access devices for their balance. Now that digital currencies have gained traction, they've been included in the same conversation. As in the past, I suspect there will be strong opposition from across the financial services community."

Perianne Boring, president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a blockchain trade advocacy organization, said the legislation is "not necessary" given the existence of regulations from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which require exchanges services to register as money transmission businesses and adhere to federal reporting requirements.

"While we encourage thoughtful and meaningful study of the prevention of cross-border financial crime, the storage of virtual currency carries different and complex considerations than those attributable to prepaid access," she told CoinDesk.

Asset grab

It's clear from the response that the frustration toward the measure isn't going anywhere. That anger surfaced in earnest over the past week or so in social media postings and fiery blog entries about the move.

One of the points of concern is a policy called 'civil asset forfeiture'. In the US, law enforcement officials have faced strong opposition to the rules, by which assets, particularly cash, can be seized if they are suspected of being connected to criminal activity. Proponents say it deters money laundering and – controversially – provides a funding means for police forces in the US.

Under the proposed bill, cryptocurrencies would be included in that definition, subject to confiscation by border agents.

The practice has drawn fire in recent years over instances in which innocent people have their funds taken from them, triggering legal processes that can play out for months or longer before any money is returned.

In one high-profile example in 2015, a US man had $16,000 in cash taken from him while he tried to relocate to Hollywood despite the fact that he wasn't suspected of a specific crime. And data published earlier this month by the Chicago Tribune illustrated how the policy tends to target lower-income residents who, if anything, are guilty of crimes of lower severity, if at all.

Investor and writer Simon Black, who pens the Sovereign Man blog, took aim at this aspect of the bill by declaring that, in the eyes of the US government, "bitcoin is evil" and should be up for grabs by border agents.

"So, theoretically if you leave the US with more than $10,000 in bitcoin or ether, you'd have to confess this fact to the authorities or otherwise face the aforementioned penalties, ie prison time, civil asset forfeiture, etc," Black wrote.

"HOORAY FREEDOM!" he added.

Fighting on

Thus far, the bill hasn’t advanced significantly since being introduced last month, public records show. On 25th May, the measure was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

At press time, representatives for Senators Chuck Grassley and Diane Feinstein hadn't responded to CoinDesk requests for comment. The bill is also being sponsored by Senators John Cornyn and Sheldon Whitehouse, constituting a group of two Republicans and two Democrats.

But at least one person is moving to wage a war against the bill’s provisions: Theo Chino, who as profiled by CoinDesk last November, has waged a persistent campaign against the New York State Department of Financial Services BitLicense regulatory framework.

He told CoinDesk in an email that he has set up a webpage with the relevant contact information for the senators who are sponsoring the bill. Chino himself has been reaching out to offices in an effort to educate lawmakers on what he described as "misunderstandings of the technology".

"This 'over-criminalization' of bitcoin, based on common misunderstandings of the technology and its economic nature should be worrisome to the bitcoin and technology communities," he told CoinDesk.

The two main advocacy groups in Washington, DC – the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Coin Center – are said to be in contact with the relevant Congressional offices. Though it declined to comment on this story, Coin Center indicated on Twitter that it's reaching out amid the furor.

"We are aware of S 1241, are in touch with the relevant folks in Congress, and will post an analysis soon," executive director Jerry Brito wrote on Twitter.

Chino – who in an email called the bill a "sham" – spoke to the grassroots effort taking place, and said that he’s still reaching out to people who have posted on Reddit as part of a broader bid to get constituents to contact the senators involved.

"One call from a constituent has so much impact," he said.

David

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum wants to create an ecosystem where everything works together seamlessly as part of its vision for a 'world computer' – and that includes the tokens required to power it.

Launched in 2014 by a band of coders and an upstart teenager, ethereum was designed to make it possible for anyone to code nearly any type of app and deploy that on a blockchain. Many of these decentralized apps (or 'dapps' for short) needed their own token that could, among other things, be sold and traded easily.

To that end, nearly 18 months ago, the ERC-20 token standard was born.

It's hard to overstate how important that interface has been. By defining a common set of rules for ethereum-based tokens to adhere to, ERC-20 allows developers of wallets, exchanges and other smart contracts, to know in advance how any new token based on the standard will behave.

This way, they can design their apps to work with these tokens out of the box, without having to reinvent the wheel each time a new token system comes along.

As a result, almost all of the major tokens on the ethereum blockchain today, including those sold in the recent surge of ethereum-based initial coin offerings (ICOs), are ERC-20 compliant.

 

Tokens 101

Before delving deeper, it's important to spell out what a token actually is and how it differs from ether, the native currency driving the ethereum blockchain.

As they relate to the ethereum network, tokens are digital assets that can represent anything from loyalty points to vouchers and IOUs to actual objects in the physical world. Tokens can also be tools, such as in-game items, for interacting with other smart contracts.

But put simply, a token is nothing more than a smart contract running on top of the ethereum blockchain. As such, it is a set of code (functions) with an associated database. The code describes the behavior of the token, and the database is basically a table with rows and columns tracking who owns how many tokens.

If a user or another smart contract within ethereum sends a message to that token's contract in the form of a 'transaction,' the code updates its database.

So, for instance, when a wallet app sends a message to a token's contract to transfer funds from Alice to Bob, this happens:

First, the token's contract checks that the message was signed by Alice and that Alice has enough funds to cover the payment

Then, it moves funds from Alice's to Bob's account in the database

Finally, it sends a response, letting the wallet know the transaction was a success.

In contrast to tokens, ether is hard coded into the ethereum blockchain. It is sold and traded as a cryptocurrency, and it also powers the ethereum network by allowing users to pay for smart contract transaction fees. (All computations on the ethereum network have a 'gas' cost.)

When you send tokens to an exchange, for example, you pay for that transaction (in this case, a request to the token's contract to update its database) in ether. This payment is then collected by a miner who confirms the transaction in a block, which then gets added to the blockchain.

Early on in ethereum's history, standards were part of the overall plan to create a user friendly and broadly accessible system. But like all standards, ERC-20 took time to evolve over a series of long discussions and careful considerations.

So, sometime before DevCon1, the first big ethereum conference in 2015, Vitalik Buterin, the founder of ethereum, introduced the initial standards token.

Later that year, Fabian Vogelstellar, one of the developers working on ethereum's Mist wallet, took that standard, changed a few things, and proposed it to the community as ERC-20 to initiate a formal conversation around how the standard should be implemented.

Then in April, due to changes in how the Ethereum Foundation was organizing its GitHub, the ERC-20 standard was moved to a Github pull request.
 

What's inside?

ERC-20 defines a set of six functions that other smart contracts within the ethereum ecosystem will understand and recognize.

These include, for instance, how to transfer a token (by the owner or on behalf of the owner) and how to access data (name, symbol, supply, balance) about the token. The standard also describes two events – signals that a smart contract can fire – that other smart contracts 'listen' for.

Together, these functions and events make ethereum tokens work the same almost everywhere within the ethereum ecosystem. As a result, nearly all wallets that support ether, including Jaxx, MyEtherWallet.com and the official ethereum wallet, now also support ERC-20 compliant tokens.

According to Vogelstellar, who spoke to CoinDesk about the importance of ethereum's token standard, this interoperability lays the groundwork for big changes to come.
 

He said:

"I believe we are just at the beginning of tokenizing everything. Maybe in the future, you will be able to buy a share of the chair you are sitting on, the paint inside your house or a fraction of equity in a huge building complex."

 

Bumps in the road

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that ERC-20 is formally a draft, meaning it is not being enforced and still needs to be fully blessed by the ethereum community. Regardless, Vogelstellar said, every new token will likely conform to its set of rules.

He cautioned, however, that the standard is still young, so there will be bumps in the road. One of those bumps is that sending tokens directly to a token's smart contract will result in a loss of money. That is because a token's contract only tracks and allocates money. When you send tokens to another user from a wallet, for example, that wallet calls on the token's contract to update the database.

As a result, if you attempt to transfer tokens directly to a token's contract, the money is 'lost' since the token's contract cannot respond.

So far, $70,000 worth of tokens have been lost in this manner.

But solutions are in the works. As an extension to ERC-20, ERC-223 attempts to resolve the issue by suggesting a token's contract implement a tokenFallback function to prevent the contract from holding tokens sent directly to it accidentally.

Vogelstellar argued this is all just part of developing a solid system, though, saying:

"Driving with these prototypes can be rocky at times, but ultimately they provide the necessary learning that will bring us to the future of blockchain and smart contract interactions."

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Amy Castor

 

David