A distributed ledger startup spun out of Deloitte has announced its first partnership with an Internet of Things company.
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This September, blockchain hubs across North America will be giving out bitcoin to begin the next school year. Over a dozen regions including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston in the United States and Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa, in Canada, are preparing their events. The giveaway, known as a Bitcoin Airdrop, has become a yearly tradition on university campuses.
The bits are to be given to students who come out to their local blockchain club’s first meeting. Students will also be introduced to concepts about bitcoin and the blockchain through their peers and a demonstration of a wallet creation and transfer.
History of the Airdrop
The first airdrop was hosted in 2014 by the MIT Bitcoin Club, after the club raised $500,000 worth of bitcoin to give to each incoming freshman. The event was then replicated in 2015 in Montreal by the McGill Cryptocurrency Club during their school’s frosh week, with donations given to the club. The Blockchain Education Network is now expanding the initiative throughout their network of regional hubs.
Why an Airdrop?
An airdrop allows people who would otherwise never have heard about bitcoin to try out using their first bits with their friends in a setting where their questions can be answered. Even if a student downloads a wallet and sells the bitcoin, they discover how easily it can be exchanged for fiat currency and would be more open to receiving bitcoin as payment at a future time.
Focus on Education
The Blockchain Education Network (BEN) believes that the blockchain revolution must happen through education. Most people are still unfamiliar with what digital currencies and the blockchain are, though almost everyone is curious when they first hear about it and want to learn more.
Bitcoin and blockchains are technologies with broad socio-economic impacts, which means that different parts of the world will have a different perspectives on it. BEN organizes as a swarm, a decentralized organizational model, to ensure that the education presented at each meeting is relatable to the region.
A Crucial Grassroots Movement for Students
BEN is comprised primarily of students aged 18-25 and the group believes that it is especially important for this demographic to be able to experiment with these technologies. The world is quickly moving into a sharing economy where people can operate remotely and companies have access to a global talent pool. Students will all enter the workforce after graduating and must be familiar with new technology.
Each year, the leadership from a university club graduates and must be replaced by the incoming class of students. Doing an airdrop at the beginning of each school year ensures a strong interest in blockchain technology and many new students joining the blockchain community in every region that participates.
In addition to the airdrop, BEN has an entire Fall 2016 initiative to bring new students into the blockchain ecosystem including a Blockchain Olympics event in October and a Blockchain Startup Gauntlet in November. BEN also hosts and promotes hackathons for students with a variety of skill sets, and assists students who are interested in attending bitcoin and blockchain conferences.
This initiative has become a tradition that can scale as wide as its reach. 500 students receiving bitcoin this September may not change the world; however, each year showing a new group of motivated university students how this technology works may cause a ripple effect of education that reaches farther than our expectations.
In our view, the “blockchain revolution” isn’t so far fetched. This is a technology which better maps to our worldviews after having grown up with the internet. It has taken 25 years for the internet to move from creation to our pockets. Through this historical lens, we see any current shortcomings of blockchain as an opportunity for our generation to solve.
BEN is always looking for new industry partners and leaders of local bitcoin or blockchain hubs who would like to participate in their global network. If you would like to be involved, the best way is to join the conversation in their Slack channel. Sponsors or regions who want to participate in the airdrop should reach out to the BEN directors directly at email@example.com.
This guest post was co-written by Michael Gord, creative director, and Dean Masley, executive director of the Blockchain Education Network.
The post Back to School: Blockchain Education Network to Host Global Bitcoin Airdrop appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
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In 2015 Bitcoin Magazine covered the launch of the fintech company Symbiont, focused on fostering a symbiotic relationship between traditional financial markets and cryptographic blockchain technology. The company raised $1.25 million of seed funding from influential financial market leaders, then in January it closed a $7 million funding round. In May, Bitcoin Magazine reported that Symbiont is working with Delaware, the state that incorporates most companies, to explore the use of blockchain technology to make its paperwork cheaper and more efficient.
Now, Symbiont has announced that it has appointed Caitlin Long as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Long, a financial heavyweight with 22 years of corporate finance experience including stints at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, will be responsible for commercializing Symbiont’s blockchain technology, encompassing business strategy and client relationships.
“Caitlin brings a rare mix of deep Wall Street experience and recognized thought leadership about blockchain technology. She is the embodiment of our name and brand,” said Mark Smith, CEO and co-founder of Symbiont. “Caitlin has a strong philosophical and economic foundation that allowed her to build her career by always putting the needs of her clients first. She has repeatedly proven her ability to help clients see new ways to solve problems and clients rewarded her with top market positions in every one of her businesses. We are thrilled that she’s joining our team.”
Symbiont has developed a platform that allows financial market participants to create programmable “Smart Securities,” self-executing digital contracts stored in a distributed ledger. Symbiont’s platform allows users to issue, manage, locate and trade Smart Securities in a global peer-to-peer financial network.
“Blockchain technology will make capital markets safer, fairer and more efficient,” said Long. “I chose to join Symbiont because we have better technology and are ahead of our peers. Symbiont offers the only smart contracts platform purpose-built for financial services. Investors will actually own the assets issued on Symbiont’s blockchain, which is a huge improvement relative to how securities are owned today.”
“Our priority from here is to broaden the market reach of our tech. It works and is already going into production,” Long told Bitcoin Magazine. “We think the performance numbers we disclosed today will garner a lot of attention from potential consumers, many of whom are kicking the tires on this new technology.”
The performance numbers to which Long is referring are detailed in a blog post, authored by Long, titled “Why I Chose to Join Symbiont.”
One of the two main reasons that motivated Long’s decision to join is that investors will actually own the assets issued on Symbiont’s blockchain which, according to Long, is a huge improvement relative to how securities are owned in today’s market structure. The second reason is that Symbiont’s platform can store all transaction data and documentation in a secure, anonymous manner without sacrificing speed.
“Symbiont’s ledger is currently processing 80,000 transactions per second in a single region and tens of thousands per second globally. Plus, transaction latency is on the order of milliseconds. So Symbiont’s software is not just outperforming all competitors whose comparable statistics we know — it’s outperforming them by multiple orders of magnitude.”
Symbiont was co-founded by members of the Counterparty project who had participated in the first development phase of Overstock’s “cryptostock” exchange, Medici, now known as t0. Overstock wants t0 to become an alternative to traditional stock exchanges like the NYSE or Nasdaq, said Judd Bagley, Overstock communications director and t0 Chief Evangelist in a Distributed interview.
The Hyperledger Project, an initiative of the Linux Foundation, is also developing an enterprise-grade, open-source distributed ledger framework and codebase. Hyperledger’s technology aims at clearing and settling transactions in real time, with a throughput of thousands of transactions per second. However, actual performances reported by developers on the Hyperledger mailing list are significantly lower, which seems to support Long’s claim.
Long notes that Symbiont, which has kept a low profile so far and prioritized building its technology to create a first-mover advantage, is already implementing its platform at a production level. “Our publicly disclosed customers include the State of Delaware (Delaware Public Archives project) and a top European insurance company (catastrophe swap pilot project),” says Long. “Other customers are not yet disclosed.”
The post Wall Street Veteran Caitlin Long Joins Symbiont; Touts “Better Technology” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
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Following two terrorist attacks in the country, Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that he wants to introduce facial recognition software at train stations and airports throughout the country.
Germany has been in a state of paranoia after two recent “acts of terror.” In one of the attacks, a teenage refugee from Pakistan attacked passengers on a train in Wurzburg with an axe. No less than a week later, a bomb was detonated at a music festival in Ansbach that resulted in 20 injuries.
Although it turned out to be nothing more than an error, a bomb threat at the Thier Galerie shopping mall in Dortmund was what initially sparked this heightened terrorism paranoia, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The police arrived at the scene and attempted to examine the camera recordings, only to find useless video footage. The mall’s operator had previously attempted to heighten video surveillance at the mall, but the request was vetoed by authorities who feared that it would be an invasion of patrons’ privacy.
“You can’t just say you want to have more cameras,” said Heike Marzen, the mall’s manager. “There are certain laws we have to follow.”
De Maiziere is aiming to change those laws. His proposal, introduced on August 11th, was part of an effort to boost security after said recent attacks. The proposal was introduced to make it easier to deport foreigners deemed dangerous, as well as, revoking German citizenship from people who fought for extremist groups. In addition, he announced that he would like Germany to start scanning social media and strengthen German authorities’ ability to probe the darknet.
In reference to the bomb hoax at the Thier Galerie, he told the newspaper that the issue “could have been cleared up with video recordings if they hadn’t been forbidden by privacy champions.”
More information became available after De Maiziere spoke with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper regarding the proposal.
“I would like to use this kind of facial recognition technology in video cameras at airports and train stations,” he told the paper. “Then, if a suspect appears and is recognized, it will show up in the system.”
A similar type of software is already being used in scanning unattended luggage that shows up on video surveillance after a predetermined amount of time.
At least 20 rail stations would be included in this increased “cutting-edge” video surveillance and facial scanning, the proposal states.
Opponents of the plan claim the proposed changes would be in violation of Germany’s constitution and years of legal rulings that have solidly established privacy among Germans’ most heavily guarded rights.
On a recent trip to America, Helga Block, the privacy commissioner for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, noted that the cameras positioned everywhere in the US made her feel as if she was being constantly watched. “In America the laws are much more generous than here in Germany. It just feels like you’re being watched. And you don’t know who is on the other side,” she added.
According to Reuters, Germany has been falling behind in the government surveillance department “due to abuses by the Stasi secret police in East Germany and the Gestapo under the Nazis.”
Not only do many citizens believe this increased surveillance would be an illegal invasion of privacy, but some government officials feel similarly. Christopher Lauer, a Berlin state lawmaker with the libertarian Pirate Party is fighting plans to add cameras to a major transport hub and crime hot spot in the center of the capital in Berlin.
“I don’t want a state that has a complete surveillance system,” he said. “If there are ever darker times in Germany, then the state could just use this against the people.”
Germany is not the only country ramping up security in ways that are causing controversy. For instance, France is currently in a state of emergency for similar reasons.
One of the most notable examples, is Australia’s significant advancement in terms of law enforcement’s ability to fight and investigate crime. The notorious take-down of the deepweb child pornography site by Australia’s Taskforce Argos is a prime demonstration of law enforcement adapting to the digital age. In addition, Australia’s Prime Minister is allowing police to start using FBI-like facial recognition software, and an entire cybercrime unit is being created to take advantage of such modernized technology.
While the push against De Maiziere’s proposal is strong, he believes it will be for the greater good: “We will have to get used to increased security measures, such as longer queues, stricter checks, or personal entry cards. This is tedious, uncomfortable, and costs time, but I don’t think it’s a limitation of personal freedom,” he added.
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