Walmart Seeks Blockchain-Based Patent To Help Customers Resell Products

Blockchain technology just got a major boost to becoming commonplace in the U.S. One of world’s largest retail chains, Walmart

Blockchain technology just got a major boost to becoming commonplace in the U.S.

One of world’s largest retail chains, Walmart has filed a patent for a blockchain-based marketplace for reselling purchased products. The patent was filed May 17 with the  US Patent and Trademark Office.

“The application describes a service that would record a customer’s purchases in a blockchain ledger, thus allowing the customer to resell the items on a sales platform using the record of purchase,” Coin Telegraph reported.

According to the patent notes, when customers look to get rid of unused or unneeded items, they are often “left to their own devices to arrange for a subsequent resale.”

What Walmart proposes is a system that will offer “additional support to greatly ease and facilitate their later reselling of items.” The interface for this proposed system could be point-of-sale, browser-based, or a mobile device among other options. In short, the blockchain marketplace will help customers resell Walmart products they no longer want.

With this, Walmart will keep track of customer purchases.

“According to CoinDesk, the patent details a blockchain ledger that can track items that stores sell to particular customers. The system would allow a customer to register an item after it’s been purchased and then choose a price for resale, with the system acting like a digital marketplace,” PYMTS.com reported.

“By one approach, the transfer from the seller to the courier may require signatures from both the sender and the courier using their respective private keys,” the company wrote. “The new transaction may be broadcasted and verified by the sender, the courier, the buyer and/or other nodes on the system before being added to the distributed delivery record blockchain. When the package is transferred from the courier to the buyer, the courier may use the courier’s private key to authorize the transfer of the digital asset representing the physical asset from the courier to the buyer and update the delivery record with the new transaction.”

This isn’t the first blockchain patent the company has filed for. “In the beginning of March, a Walmart filed a different patent for a ‘Smart Package’ delivery system that uses a blockchain-based tool for tracking package contents, environmental conditions, and locations,” Coin Telegraph reported.  Also, at the end of April, the vice president of Walmart’s Food Safety and Health announced Walmart would be using blockchain tech in its live food business. This he said would improve contamination management and overall transparency.

Walmart is using IBM’s blockchain technology to ensure food safety. Walmart tracks its produce from the farm to the store shelf to confirm items have not been contaminated or are within their sell-by date. Transport company Maersk has established a joint venture with IBM to develop a global trade platform for the blockchain system to help companies reduce costs and eliminate inefficiencies with how items are being shipped, IEEE reported.

As of 2017, Walmart operated about 6,363 international stores.

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Ethereum: Here are some things to know about the 2nd most popular cryptocurrency

At the moment, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies being traded among people, businesses, crypto investing enthusiasts and many more. Bitcoin

At the moment, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies being traded among people, businesses, crypto investing enthusiasts and many more. Bitcoin is the most popular and arguably the most traded out of them all, but just like a kingdom has a King and a Queen, the crypto world has a queen — Ethereum.

You most likely have heard or stumbled upon the word Ethereum…or not. That’s because it is the 2nd most valuable cryptocurrency in the world right after Bitcoin. In this article, we would be breaking down Ethereum into bits for the sake of beginners and the curious cats that get intrigued at the call of the name Ethereum.

If you wish to know what Ethereum is, how it works, how to trade it, and where to get it without getting entangled in the obscure technical aspect, then you should read on.

History of Ethereum

Ethereum was founded not too long after Bitcoin began to pique the interest of so many people across the globe. But unlike Bitcoin whose founder and history have no face and the story behind it seem sort of a mystery, Ethereum has a founder whose “true name” and history is known.

Ethereum was invented by a Vitalik Buterin, a Russian programmer in 2013 but was formally announced and launched in 2014. Vitalik was believed to have dropped out of college to invent Ethereum to fill in some Blockchain void and purposes left out by Bitcoin.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum logo

Ethereum is a distributed public network that runs on Blockchain network technology similar to that of Bitcoin. However, unlike Bitcoin which is the currency itself, Ethereum isn’t a currency. It is only a network on which the original currency called “Ether” runs on. ETH is shortened form of “Ether” used on many trading platforms.

Unlike Bitcoin which is solely a tradeable cryptocurrency, Ethereum has its own purposes. Aside trading Ether[eum], it is used majorly by application developers to pay for transaction fees and services on the Ethereum network. In fact, the use of Ethereum is, at the moment, limited to paying for stuff on the Ethereum network.

Ethereum blockchain has its focus on running the programming code of any decentralized application. And for any developer to use this platform, he/she has to pay using the only currency recognized in the Ethereum network — Ether.

So it is safe to say that if you aren’t a developer on the Ethereum network, you are only interested in the business and trade aspect of the cryptocurrency. Which leads us to listing ways through which Ethereum can be gotten, stored, and traded.

How do I get Ethereum?

Like most cryptocurrencies, you can own Ethereum either by creating it (mining) or buying it. The former is a far more complex, time and energy consuming process than the former. Also, you’ve got to have some technical know-how of the process before you can deliver into mining. Cryptocompare has a detailed and comprehensive guide on how to mine Ethereum the DIY style on your Windows PC.

If you do not have the time, energy and technical knowledge of the mining process, but you have the cash, you can resort to buying it from platforms that sell. As at the time of writing this article, the value of Ethereum is pegged at 1 Ethereum to USD 688.17.

If you chose to go down the mining road, you get a reward of 5 Ether every 12 – 15 seconds; the time it takes to mine an Ethereum block.

Exchanging Ethereum: Buying / Selling

Ethereum can be purchased and sold on exchange platforms that deal with cryptocurrencies…and there are many of them. The processes are quite similar and easy and can be carried out on the same exchange platform. So..did you just mine Ethereum and you want to sell them? Or just recently bought some and wish to sell them? Or you need to buy some Ethereum? The platforms below are trusted crypto-exchange site to get that done.

All that is mostly required is to register, during which some information like country, date of birth, email address, and bank information are requested.

Coinbase, Gemini, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Changelly, Binance and Kraken are some renowned echanges to trade Ethereum. Majority of exchange platform also offer wallet services (keeping your Ethereum with them) but this is advised against as the probability of losing your Ethereum in the case of a hack is almost 100%.

Securely keeping your Ethereum

As listed here, there are different type of wallets that you can securely keep your Ethereum with minimal fear of losing them. Here are some of the most popular wallets to keep your Ethereum you mined or bought:

Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet, one of the most secured wallet to store your Ethereum. It keeps your cryptocurrency offline and only you know your private key. Ledger Nano S is relatively affordable (cost about $60 to $80) and there are useful tutorials on how to use it — there’s one embedded below

Trezor

Trezor is another hardware wallet you can trust with your Ethereum. Formerly used to store only Bitcoin, it now supports the Ethereum.

Mist

Mist is an online and official wallet for Ethereum. Setting up and accessing Mist is quite easy and straightforward as you only require to set up a password to access your Ethereum. But be careful though, you do not want to forget this password as there is no “guaranteed” way to recover your password when you lose it. There are a couple of (Python) programming tricks and code that could help but may not work.

Other renowned wallets you can keep your wallet are MyEtherWallet, MetaMask, Exodus, Jaxx etc.

Hopefully, we have been able to summarize some a couple of things you should know about Ethereum: its history, uses, buying and selling it, storing it etc. in the simplest way possible. Should you have a question, please drop it in the comments box and it will be answered.

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What Are The Best Upcoming Cryptocurrency ICOs?

What are the best upcoming cryptocurrency ICOs? This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are

What are the best upcoming cryptocurrency ICOs?

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answers by Liz Shell, Jonny Dee, Joel McLeod, Hamerton Bruce and Dror Kris.

Liz Shell, Founder at Just Juniper Media (2016-present)

Answered Wednesday

My team is currently working with two ICOs that I believe are quite promising.

VOLT Technology’s final ICO sale kicks off May 18 and comes with 20% in bonus tokens. This ICO is being led by Philip Lee, who lead the QuickQuick team – ‘The Uber of Korea’ – and is looking to now decrease emissions, improve air quality, lower prices and improve wages for messengers by revolutionizing our delivery systems using blockchain and AI.

Be aware, though! Their first two ICO sales both sold out in less than 5 minutes.

You can check out the project and prepare for the next sale at VOLT.

The second ICO my team is working with are ready to improve the property-sharing industry using blockchain to schedule stays and eliminate the possibility of double bookings. On top of this, OkeyDokey plans to eliminate the need for hosts to physically meet their guests through the use of smart locks. This will make property sharing increasingly simple for hosts, allowing property-owners to manage their bookings while they’re away on their own holidays.

Jonny Dee, Social Media Manager/Freelancer

Answered April 2

Be very wary about taking advice solely from Quora in regards to which ICO to invest in.

I suggest to everyone the best way (is) to get hold of some small amount of crypto through free ways while working out how the ecosystem works. I don’t think it is a smart move to invest any capital into an area that you do not understand or understand the value in. Cryptocurrencies do have value, but you need to understand it.

One of the great things of the crypto scene is that you can earn some cryptocurrencies through numerous ways that are free and less risky. I would always advise this to anyone who wants to get involved in cryptocurrency before they put ANY cash into cryptocurrency.

One great platform that I recommend is Crowdholding. There you can log onto their platform, give feedback to businesses and you receive crypto for your responses. The better the response, the more of the share you get. It is completely free and allows you to explore the crypto world without investing into it. I have also attached an article from them which has numerous ways on how to get into cryptocurrency without investing or buying hardware/learning how to mine.

How to earn Cryptocurrency without Investing or Mining

Once you have more knowledge in the crypto sphere, then maybe consider investing. People are too quick to just invest into an ICO and expect 100% ROI without even researching. You wouldn’t invest into any other ecosystem without the knowledge so why is cryptocurrencies different?

One great forum that is very active in all things crypto is Bitcoin Forum Index. It is a great forum where people are asking questions. You can ask on ICO threads and learn so much in a small time.

Good luck, know the facts before making the move

Joel McLeod, Founder (2017-present)

Answered March 11

2018 is an exciting time for cryptocurrency as there many quality ICO projects with innovational concepts utilizing blockchain technology. Many of these will change the way in which we interact, how we pay with and use our money as well as increasing opportunities for profit and reward via cryptocurrency. At icoSource we see hundreds of ICOs who wish to present their project to our users and their potential investors via our platform. While we only list quality projects, these are some of the standouts we have listed right now:

Sharpay is the share and multi-share button for sites with blockchain-based rewards for content promotion for users.
https://sharpay.io/
Belmopan, Belise

Faceter is a video surveillance and security platform based on artificial vision technology and an approach that involves analyzing the chain of events happening in the frame and responding to them.
https://faceter.io/
Cape Town, South Africa

BitRewards is one of the first blockchain movers in a +$100 billion industry of loyalty software, points, miles, stamps, bonuses and gift cards.
https://bitrewards.network/
New York, USA

AirPod Sleeping Pod is a private “capsule style” unit designed to be installed in public spaces such are: airports, hotels, railway & bus stations, shopping centres and offices. It is an ideal solution for people who are seeking an area to relax, sleep, work, or have fun in privacy, while still in a public place.

Home Page

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Sapien – Web 3.0 Social News Platform that rewards millions of content creators, fights fake news & shares ad revenue with users.
https://www.sapien.network/
Fremont, California

Concierge is a travel booking marketplace with 0% commission fees using the NEO Blockchain.
https://token.concierge.io/
London, UK

Shping is a shopper-marketing platform that enables brands and retailers to reward shoppers with crypto for their actions and choices in store
https://tokensale.shping.com/
Melbourne, Australia

MeetnGreetMe is a global platform for delivering personalized travel services from locals to travelers.
https://ico.meetngreetme.com/
Minsk, Belarus

Signals: Data science marketplace to help you discover, create and monetize cryptocurrency trading strategies driven by machine learning, crowd wisdom and decentralized supercomputing power.
https://signals.network/
Prague, Czech Republic

KickCity is a Y Combinator startup school alumnus and one of the companies leading innovation in the $40B event marketing industry using blockchain technology.
https://tokensale.kickcity.io/#/
Houston, USA

To see more ICO projects you can go to icoSource | ICO List, Upcoming ICOs and Cryptocurrency Token Sales for an extensive global list.

Hamerton Bruce

In the current market, I would suggest investing in Litecoin.

Let us first understand the Litecoin, what is Litecoin?

Litecoin (abbreviation: LTC), it is a peer-to-peer technology network currency, It is also an open resource software project under the MIT/X11 license. It can help users pay in time to anyone in the world instantly. Litecoin has been inspired by bitcoin and has the same technical realization.

What are the characteristics of Litecoin?

1. Litecoin can provide faster confirmation transactions

The Litecoin network can process a block every 2.5 minutes, so it can provide faster transactions. Litecoin is similar to status coin, they are all issued in large numbers.

2. Liccoin produces a lot of money

The Litecoin network is expected to produce 84 million Litecoins, which is more than four times that of the bitcoin network.

3. Litecoin mining easier

Each Litecoin is divided into 100,000,000 smaller units.

Buying Litecoin in 2018 is really a very good investment. Just like Bitcoin, Litecoin is also a digital cryptocurrency platform that is used to make online transactions between two individuals without any third party involvement. Litecoin is a decentralized digital cryptocurrency, or its also called peer-to-peer network.

Dror Kris, Content Marketer at MaxData (2017-present)

Answered Feb. 5

There are 3 main questions you should be asking when trying to assess which ICO will succeed:

1) Does their product/service offer concrete, real-world benefits?

2) What is the size of the market they wish to reach?

2) Do they have a team with the know-how and connections to make their vision a reality?

Check out the ICO I work for:

Our company (MaxData.io) is developing a platform that facilitates direct connections between businesses and consumers. What is great about this structure is that it can drastically transform business as we know it, as companies can perfect their targeting (essentially, identifying the specific customers themselves) while not having to spend exorbitant expenses on cluttered, bulky marketing processes. This provides a cheaper solution for consumers and businesses worldwide.

Additionally, our team is quite well experienced in the financial and marketing worlds, with our CEO a regular participant in government regulatory committee meetings.

Read more at Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Illustration: Stock Catalog /
www.quotecatalog.com

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South Africa’s First Cryptocurrency ATM Improves Access To Bitcoin In Johannesburg

The first cryptocurrency ATM has launched in South Africa. Photo – CoinWire South Africa’s first cryptocurrency ATM has officially launched

The first cryptocurrency ATM has launched in South Africa. Photo - CoinWire

cryptocurrency ATM
The first cryptocurrency ATM has launched in South Africa. Photo – CoinWire

South Africa’s first cryptocurrency ATM has officially launched in Johannesburg, making it possible for South Africans to purchase various cryptocurrencies via the machine.

A South African blockchain firm called Vendibit established its first commercial cryptocurrency ATM in the country’s financial hub, placing it in the Spar-Northwold supermarket, according to IOL.

The ATM, which is known as a VTM machine, allows users to buy a variety of cryptocurrency options including Dash, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum using South African Rands, linked to their smartphone cryptocurrency e-wallets.

Before they are able to use the cryptocurrency machines, users will need to open an e-wallet through established companies such as Luno and Wirex.

Daniel Cappiello, Vendibit senior blockchain consultant, explained the demand and functionality of the new cryptocurrency ATM.

“The rapid spread of blockchain technology and Vendibit VTM machines are proof that the public is demanding access to the future, today. Most people are becoming familiar of blockchain and cryptocurrencies thanks to names like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum,” Cappiello said, according to Techfinancials.

“The VTM machines allows customers to buy cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum with cash, with their smartphone-cryptocurrency e-wallets. They will also be able to send and receive peer-to-peer, without a bank. Worldwide, in the U.S., Europe and Asian countries, businesses are rapidly expanding their acceptance of cryptocurrencies in day-to-day peer to peer and business transactions,” he said.

“Vendibit believes the customer should always come first. Cryptocurrencies are still new in South Africa, so making information easily available and understandable to a broad public is vital. It is key that people understand that the price of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is volatile,” he added.

While adoption is growing, there has not been a great deal of clarity regarding regulation of cryptocurrencies in South Africa. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) recently revealed, however, that cryptocurrencies will be subject to normal income tax rules, iAfrikan reports.

Another cryptocurrency ATM for Africa

In April South Africa’s neighbor Zimbabwe saw their first cryptocurrency ATM launched in Harare, with users able to choose between purchasing either Bitcoin and Litecoin, according to Ventureburn.

Cryptocurrency exchange platform Golix is responsible for the ATM in their offices in the Zimbabwean capital, with people in the country embracing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

In the confusion and concern surrounding the potential for hyperinflation to affect Zimbabwe, bitcoin has become a viable and popular means of transacting in the country with regards to big ticket items, driving adoption and the price of the cryptocurrency on the local exchange.

Before the launch of the South African cryptocurrency ATM, only Zimbabwe and Djibouti had crypto machines in Africa from which the public could purchase Bitcoin.

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US Bitcoin Digital Wallet Plans To Launch Blockchain Incubation Hub In Nigeria

Paxful is launching a blockchain incubation hub in Lagos. Photo – TechCity U.S. Bitcoin marketplace and digital wallet, Paxful is

Paxful is launching a blockchain incubation hub in Lagos. Photo - TechCity

blockchain incubation hub
Paxful is launching a blockchain incubation hub in Lagos. Photo – TechCity

U.S. Bitcoin marketplace and digital wallet, Paxful is planning to establish a blockchain incubation hub in Lagos, Nigeria.

Paxful intends to show its commitment to the African market by investing in the blockchain incubation hub, which will launch in the next few months, according to Techcity.

The peer-to-peer marketplace will set the incubator up as a co-working space which will offer networking and advice for initial coin offerings, corporate blockchain training and mentorship for Nigerian developers working with blockchain.

The company has over 1.7 active million monthly users on its platform, with these users able to purchase, sell or accept bitcoin, while its global wallet enables funds to be exchanged, with over 300 different payment methods available, including Amazon Pay and PayPal.

Blockchain technology is showing signs of steady growth across the continent, with Africans embracing the technology and the solutions that it promises to modern-day challenges.

As blockchain technology enables a continuously growing list of records to be linked and secured using cryptography, the applications for this tech may solve a number of economic and political issues that are currently experienced in Africa.

A blockchain incubation hub in Lagos

Paxful CEO Ray Youssef explained the company’s focus on Africa and their efforts to support blockchain entrepreneurs across the continent.

“Paxful is committed to fostering economic growth in Africa and helping the unbanked and underbanked gain access to the opportunities they have been denied for so long,” Youssef said, according to BitcoinMagazine.

“The incubator is simply a starting point to help driven entrepreneurs in an industry that has shattered boundaries all over the world,” he added.

Nigeria has been selected as the base for its African blockchain incubation hub due to the popularity of Paxful in the country, but also because of Nigeria’s successful startup culture.

Ahead of the incubator launching in Lagos, the company has hired its first African executive to oversee the hub’s day-to-day operations and recruit the necessary staff, according to ITWebAfrica.

Chuta Chimezie has been appointed as Paxful’s Regional Director of Africa, and in addition to his work in running the incubation hub, he will work to improve brand awareness and create educational content.

Prior to joining Paxful, Chimezie founded the Blockchain Nigeria User Group, a selection of advocates and entrepreneurs working to increase the adoption of these emerging technologies in Nigeria.

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10 Things You Need To Know About Dapps

Experts predicted that 2018 would be the year for Dapps — decentralized applications — in the crypto and blockchain tech space.

Experts predicted that 2018 would be the year for Dapps — decentralized applications — in the crypto and blockchain tech space.

The term is so new that no one seems sure exactly how to spell or pronounce it. Is it Dapp? dapp? DApp? D-App?

“Dapps are all about the new internet, where apps are decentralized and users own their data,” tweeted Ryan Shea, who this week announced the launch of app.co, marketed as the first universal app store for DApps.

Since the Dapp concept of decentralized applications is still in its infancy, so are efforts to define it — or at least to come up with a single universally accepted definition. However, there are noticeable common features of DApps, according to Blockgeeks.

1. To be a Dapp, an app must be all these

  1. Open Source – Source code of app is available to all.
  2. Decentralized – Uses a blockchain-like cryptographic technology.
  3. Incentive – App has crypto-tokens/digital assets for fueling itself.
  4. Algorithm/Protocol – Generates tokens and has an inbuilt consensus mechanism.

2. Dapps are often defined by what they’re not

Here’s a definition from Coinsutra: Dapps (decentralized applications) are a new breed of applications that are not owned by anyone, can’t be shut down, and can’t have downtime. The blockchain is the technology underlying Dapps. Bitcoin, which has decentralized all aspects of money, is an example of a Dapp.

3. What a world running on Dapps could look like

To imagine a world running on decentralized applications — Dapps — it helps to imagine a world where …

… your car is transporting passengers and making money for you while you’re at work, according to Blockgeeks. “Imagine having your computer utilizing its spare capacity to serve businesses and people across the globe. Imagine being paid for browsing the web and taking ownership of your, arguably invaluable, attention. Imagine the world like that — a world running on decentralized applications (Dapps). These distributed, resilient, transparent and incentivized applications will prove themselves to the world by remapping the technological landscape.”

4. Growth prospect for Dapps

Ryan Shea is the co-founder of Blockstack. He says he’s helping to build the new internet where apps are decentralized and users own their data. Shea announced this week the launch of app.co, which he describes as the first universal app store for Dapps. Users can find apps on Ethereum, Blockstack, IPFS, Steem, EOS and more. Responses by twitter followers have been mostly positive — “Great news” and “wonderful” to “very necessary part of the ecosystem” and “Can help w/ that :).” There were also suggestions on how to improve the product, along with some skepticism, and questions:

5. The right way to spell and pronounce Dapp is not settled yet

Is it dApp? DApp? D-App? Dapp? dapp? Who gets to decide? Wikipedia lists them all, but not much else. I’ve seen them spelled several different ways in Medium articles. StateOfTheApp turned the D in Dapp into a kind of dappy dollar sign, like this: ÐApp

“Dapps is pronounced in the same way that Email is, where the “D” in Dapps means ‘decentralized’ (i.e. D-Apps),” according to Coinsutra. Um. Wait, what?

Many of the more popular Dapps were built on the Ethereum blockchain

Part of the reason why it’s hard to define DApps is explained in this Medium post:

“It is correct to say Bitcoin is a Dapp, albeit not a sophisticated one as it requires a lot of protocol layering in order to offer robust Dapp functionalities. Also, Ethereum can also be classified as a Dapp, although this would be a gross oversimplification of what it truly is. Ethereum is more of a platform that allows developers to build their own Dapps. As a result, many of the more popular Dapps like Augur, Golem, and Aragon were built on the Ethereum network.”

6. How Dapps could impact the world

Dapps in 2018 could begin offering the world improved data ownership rights, IoT integration and enhanced digital security, according to FundYourselfNow, a platform that lets project creators/promoters raise funds using crypto without needing technical knowledge:

“Improved data ownership rights: Dapps will create an environment where ownership of data will be transferred back from internet corporations to the hands of those who actually create and post them. Instead of data monetization being the exclusive preserve of the big internet companies, the average user of the internet will be able to make money from his/her internet usage.

IoT integration: Blockchains have no central servers and data transfer requires connection to the nearest peer node. With such a fast and efficient protocol, DApps will play a leading role in the actualisation of the IoT.

Enhanced digital security: The blockchain is theoretically immutable and as it grows in size, this immutability becomes even (more) secured. DApps will provide the building blocks for a safer, more secure internet where user data is protected from hackers and digital spies.” (Medium)

7. Top Ethereum Dapps and tokens by market capitalization

From NewGenApps:

1. EOS

By market capitalization, EOS is the most powerful Ethereum-based token – roughly $6 billion. EOS is a platform that can be used by developers to create scalable Dapps. It is similar to the Ethereum blockchain, only a lot better. Like Ethereum it also uses smart contracts for running and hosting decentralized apps and is based on the Ethereum token.

2. VeChain Thor (VET and THOR)

VeChain aims to create a trustless and transparent supply chain management solution for industries. Vechain manufactures smart chips that can be used to track the item and automatically maintain its record in the blockchain. Using this, consumers can ensure the authenticity of the item while manufacturers can manage transit and distribution. VeChain was rebranded as VeChain Thor on Feb. 26, 2018. With this change, the company aims to shift from a logistics solution to a dapp platform.

3. Tron (TRX)
Tron is a decentralized content platform that aims to remove intermediaries in the consumption and distribution of content. Currently, the distribution of content is largely dependent on centralized platforms like Apple, Google, Facebook, Alibaba etc. Using TRX (Tron’s currency) users can directly connect to content creators and consume content.

4. OmiseGo (OMG)
OmiseGo is a white-label payment and banking platform that uses smart contracts and ERC-20 token (Ethereum code standard). The vision of OmiseGo is “Unbank the Banked”. With this platform, they’ll offer decentralized banking services across the globe without the need for a bank account. The pre-sale of OmiseGo’s token held in July 2017 was successful enough – raising $60 million – that the company didn’t actually go for an ICO.

5. ICON (ICX)
The ICON project aims to connect distinct blockchains without them having to go through a centralized system. The Korean blockchain startup uses a unique “loopchain” concept that allows the connected blockchain to maintain their individual affairs to themselves and vote on matters affecting the entire ICON community of blockchains.

8. Ethereum is the leading Dapp platform

There are 1,485 Dapps, according to StateOfTheDapps, a registry of Dapp projects.

9. Main difference between traditional app and Dapp development

The biggest difference between Dapp development and traditional app development is the level of rigor by which code must be scrutinized before it’s pushed to production, writes Richard Chen, a blockchain analyst at 1confirmation:

“dApp development is actually more like hardware development than software development in that respect,” Chen writes:

In hardware development, rigorous testing and prototyping needs to be done before the product is offered to the public. A hardware recall costs lots of money, takes a long time to fix, and tarnishes the reputation of the manufacturer. Likewise, in dApp development, a smart contract can’t be changed once it’s launched on the mainnet. A bug in the smart contract loses users’ funds and tarnishes the reputation of the dApp developers.

Traditional app development, in contrast, tends to emphasize fast iteration cycles as best practice. As a developer, you want to build a minimum viable product, get people testing the product, and release updated versions as quickly as possible. Traditional apps like Facebook have the motto of “move fast and break things,” which isn’t exactly the best motto for dApp development.”

10. The Dapp development process

This is the Dapp development process, according to BlockChainHub:

  • Whitepaper & Prototype
    A whitepaper is published describing the dApp and its features. This whitepaper can outline the idea for Dapp development but also entail a working prototype.
  • Token Sale
    Initial tokens sale is set up
  • ICO – Initial Coin Offering
    The ownership stake of the dApp is spread
  • Implementation & Launch
    Funds are invested into building the dApp and deploying it.

 

Dapps
Dapp illustration: Maria Kuznetsov

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Here’s How Crypto Will Empower A Massive Demographic

Many members of the technorati dealing with crytocurrency and blockchain are focused on the controversy over price that’s shutting people out

Many members of the technorati dealing with crytocurrency and blockchain are focused on the controversy over price that’s shutting people out of the influential Consensus 2018 conference taking place this week in New York City.

Other visionaries are working to make crypto open, using digital currency to help balance the wealth gap and empower regular consumers.

Frank E. Banks is the founder and CEO of ZEN, a new startup based in California. The former lead systems engineer at Zynga, Banks has created an unprecedented offering in the crypto space.

On its website, ZEN describes itself as the only blockchain-powered social video platform for fandom communities everywhere.

Frank E. Banks, founder of ZEN. Photo provided

Specifically targeting teen users, ZEN is a decentralized network designed to support the emerging generation of pop culture video editors. The ZEN app lets creators build an audience and share their work with fans in any region around the globe.

Eighty-five million U.S. teenagers are spending more than eight hours a day consuming media — that’s nearly 250 billion hours annually, according to Nielsen research.

How Crypto Will Empower

Banks decided to create a platform to meet the needs of a key segment of this population who creates short-form video for fans of the latest video games, movies, and anime.

Such impetus came directly from his experience being one of few people of color in his particular area of expertise in tech. He wanted to create a space so those who are interested in participating in a much-hyped arena like crypto can finally have access.

However, this is not just another social media offering. ZEN is building a decentralized marketplace and new ZENCoin cryptocurrency that enables peer-to-peer transactions and advertising revenue to flow through, giving every creator the opportunity to generate income.

The app operates on top of the ZEN Foundational eXchange (ZENFX). Built on the blockchain and using the company’s new ZENCoin cryptocurrency, ZENFX enables creators to make money through peer-to-peer transactions as well as audience- and advertiser-driven programs.

In offering such a business model, the company is one of the first to transform creators into stakeholders in this manner. ZEN is replacing informal shadow markets with a platform that will empower teens to connect to a community who values their work.

ZEN already has a core group of users who are providing insight into this community and validation of the product roadmap.

“With ZEN we’re building an automated marketplace to match these creators with ad buyers, whether it be their peers or third-party brands, and make them stakeholders in the whole thing by using ZENCoins as the only way to make payments in the marketplace,” Banks said.

The company is also unique in that it is one of the first to create a pre-ICO crowd sale licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Banks said.

“We chose this path to provide the broadest access and build the strongest investor community possible,” Banks explained. “Our ethos of empowerment extends to every facet of this business including how we choose to raise money.”

The emerging crypto space is anything but established. Crypto as it currently exists is only for the elite, those in-the-know, or for pure B2B applications. By ZEN offering something to the public at large, they can get up over the noise to be heard. The crypto space is very, very crowded and overlapping. Something is needed to stand out and help to create long-term value prop.

As cryptocurrency becomes an even more dominant part of our world narrative, startups that take the initiative to provide unique offerings to the public at large just may differentiate themselves for competitive advantage in the long haul.

The post Here’s How Crypto Will Empower A Massive Demographic appeared first on Moguldom.

How Will Blockchain Change The Economy?

How will blockchain change the economy? This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered

How will blockchain change the economy?

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answers by Revett Eldred, Morton Gelt, Walter Bril, Carl Leitz, Paul Sutton and Sam Radocchia.

Revett Eldred, blockhead.

Answered March 3

I think blockchain is a little like the laser. When the laser was invented it was a physical breakthrough, an amazing invention that was touted as having the potential to transform the world in many ways.

But it quickly became the technology for which nobody could think of a use. It disappeared from public interest for some years.

But now the laser is ubiquitous. Police use it to measure speed, DVD readers use it to count the little ‘on’ pits etched into the surface of the disc, the rain sensor for your car’s windshield wipers uses it, and the list goes on.

Blockchain will be the same. While its fans tout its ability to enable smart contracts, the poor shmucks who have to implement those contracts beg to differ. When some bright young programmer decides to get rich with an instant ICO on Ethereum, he joins the 1,500 other wannabe coins out there vying for attention and investment dollars. And so it goes on.

Meanwhile other people and companies are quietly testing real-world applications and variations on the current blockchain architectures. In time, new applications will appear, one by one, with 99 percent of people not even knowing they have anything to do with blockchains.

Will they “transform the global economy”? Perhaps, but it will be subtle and it will occur over a 20 year period.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, could have a significant impact if it doesn’t just fizzle and go away. Every modern national government relies on its ability to control currency. If Bitcoin starts to seriously threaten that, you can bank on anti-Bitcoin legislation and you can bank on the backlash that will follow and you will probably see some kind of economic transformation. But that will be because of Bitcoin, not because of its underlying technology except insofar as it is the technology that enables the app.

Chicken. Egg.

Morton Gelt, Founder of Decentralized AI Startup (2017-present)

Answered Dec. 10

It enables tokenization of the world economy, where any asset (real estate, commodities) could be tokenized and sold as an investment to anybody in the world. Removes intermediates from the majority of trades and asset transfers. Provides a platform for anybody anywhere in the world to invest, trade, purchase, borrow, pool money in, etc…

Most important smart contracts provide the way to automate many functions on modern intermediaries (banks, insurances). As for niches:

Blockchain enables:

  • Anonymous instant money transfers, thus competes with banks and such bus as western union
  • Optimize and capitalize real estate transactions
  • Investments
  • A new way of raising money via ICOs or private placements.
  • Businesses to better incentivize its customers.
  • To reduce fraud in advertising.
  • Adds better ways to provide loans and deal with debt.

Walter Bril, studied Introduction to Digital Currencies & Blockchain Technology at University of Nicosia (2016)

Answered March 10

As technology merely amplifies current (thought) models, I believe that our neoclassic-influenced economy will be no exception.

I therefore expect that blockchain will not change immediately the way we currently look at economy; it will actually enforce existing and old models.

Specifically, regarding blockchain, a business should therefore not ask: How can blockchain help me to make better profit? But instead: Why do I exist and do I add sustainable value to our world?

Neoclassic economists hate this last question as it is influenced by moral philosophy.

On the other hand, when more and more people start to grasp this, blockchain might become the single biggest change driver in the economy ever.

Carl Leitz

Answered March 8

Blockchain has many uses and utility to do many things.

Financially it can facilitate the creation of fake value. Digital currency is using blockchain as a virtual printer to create fake value or money in digital form.

Blockchain can enhance the persistence and redundancy of stored data. Fake Value is useless without real value.

VALUE equals NATURE which sustains all LIFE.

The utility of blockchain lies in the storing and retrieving of data securely.

Data as in the case of digital records is fake value as opposed to life enabling real value.

Data has utility but doesn’t sustain life as does real value.

Paul Sutton, Stock Trader, electrical engineer

Answered Dec. 10

Not in the ways you probably imagine, that is, in endeavors such as Bitcoin. Rather, it will find its way into areas that we can’t even imagine.

Sam Radocchia, Co-Founder at Chronicled (2015-present)

Answered Feb. 8

Think of how the sharing economy has exploded in the past decade. If you’ve taken an Uber to the airport or rented an Airbnb, you’ve been a part of it.

We’re even at a point where renting out personal items is a viable business model. For example, Omni Storage stores items you’re not using—just like a normal storage company—but they also rent your items out to people. Skis, guitar, winter jacket. It’s all available for rent (with the owner’s permission) via an app.

We all hold onto certain possessions, because we plan to use them eventually. Or so we tell ourselves. Why not make some money off of our stuff instead of letting it go unused?

That question is at the heart of the sharing economy, and we’re going to be hearing a lot more about businesses like Omni in the next few years.

This is what it can look like if blockchain is involved.

Changing Value

Futuristic sharing concepts will only work if many other considerations are taken care of. Each item has to be documented, proven authentic, assigned a current value, and even insured. And blockchain can be extremely useful here.

Say I register a guitar on blockchain. In theory, I would be able to access information about where it is, as well as its current worth and condition.

This isn’t as far-fetched as you may think. Seven years ago, a friend of mine sent me a business plan for a platform that allows people to rent out their art. It’s funny to look back on that now, because we’re actually at the point where a concept like that is possible. And renting or leasing is just a part of it.

Imagine the entire art economy on top of blockchain, where individuals could own fractions of a work.

We have the ability to attach microchips to items and register them on blockchain, making it feasible that someone could rent an expensive piece of art and keep it in their office for a few years. It just means assigning the rights values. Take it a step farther and once we have that link between the physical asset and the digital tokenized representation of that art, buyers and sellers can invest in a small percentage of the art. 100 owners. One Michaelangelo.

Shifting Responsibility

With this system of renting comes an inevitable question: What if something happens to your stuff?

Renting out a guitar you pluck on once a year sounds like a good deal, but what if it gets broken or lost? You’d need insurance on it first to have peace of mind.

We actually thought about this at Chronicled a couple years ago. We were talking to some people who had built a platform for filmmakers to lease out their film equipment. But film equipment is very expensive—a lens could cost $10,000. And getting insurance isn’t always a simple process.

So, we built a proof of concept that allowed people to authenticate high value assets, place a microchip on them, and register them on blockchain. That was the link between the record of its authenticity and the data about its condition. Through the mobile app, you could quickly purchase insurance on it.

To buy insurance on an item this fast, you need to have available data on what it is, what it costs, and what condition it’s in. But if that was all collected and stored on a blockchain network, you could build a platform to quickly grab this data and add insurance accordingly.

Letting Go Of Ownership

If this type of radical sharing economy were to emerge, it would constitute a major shift in the way we view ownership and material possessions. And the storage facility concept is a great model for easing people into that thought process. You’ve already taken the first step by saying, “This isn’t important enough for me to keep in my home.”

When something sits idle for a long period of time, it becomes an underutilized asset. It makes sense to rent out items you own that simply sit in storage, costing you money.

Will a future sharing economy like this start moving us away from a consumer-based, materialistic mindset? Is it possible for people to be so accustomed to sharing that they change their attitude about ownership? Is it possible for tokenization and fractional ownership of possessions, art, real estate enabled by said tokenization to lead to a new concept of consumerism?

Maybe. Western society isn’t really built that way, so it would be a monumental change in how we view possessions. But it’s not impossible to make that adjustment.

Adjusting Our Attitudes

It is possible to change your view on material ownership. I know firsthand. When I first moved to San Francisco, my apartment complex was robbed by a maintenance worker. He took jewelry I inherited from my grandmother. They ended up catching the guy, but I never got the jewelry back. And after that robbery, I no longer had any possessions I cared much about.

That event makes it easier for me to accept the notion of the sharing economy. I don’t mind putting items in storage and letting other people rent them out, because I don’t feel attached to objects.

I’m sure some people don’t see things that way, but there are plenty of people who feel the same as I do. That’s why I’m interested to see how far we can take the sharing economy in the coming years and how blockchain can help make it a secure, seamless system.

Read more at Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

blockchain
Illustration by Dan Page

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Why Africa’s Accelerator Programs Are Going Niche

Barclays Accelerator and Techstars have run a number of fintech-focused accelerator programs. Photo – Appsafrica Accelerator programs for African tech

Barclays Accelerator and Techstars have run a number of fintech-focused accelerator programs. Photo - Appsafrica

accelerator programs
Barclays Accelerator and Techstars have run a number of fintech-focused accelerator programs. Photo – Appsafrica

Accelerator programs for African tech startups are common these days, with companies benefiting from training and mentorship from Cairo to Cape Town.

These programs are run by a variety of organisations ranging from investment funds to incubators, and, increasingly, corporations looking to tap into the startup space.

In theory, the value of accelerators is undeniable, offering startups access to vital infrastructure, training and connections with mentors and investors. Yet the number of tech startups that have graduated from these programs is still relatively small compared to the huge impact of global favourites such as 500 Startups and Y Combinator.

African accelerators are in a state of evolution. Initially programs, run by the likes of the now-defunct 88mph in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, had a general focus. Increasingly, accelerators launching these days focus on niche verticals.

One such program is Digital Health Cape Town (DHCT), which recently selected its first cohort of ed-tech startups. It is just one of a number of accelerators across the continent that has chosen to deep dive into one space to offer more focused assistance.

DHCT’s chief executive officer, Siraaj Adams, says the benefits to startups of a narrower focus include access to sector specific potential clients, and one-on-one mentoring by industry experts rather than generalists.

Such programs allow startups to gain better guidance and more knowledge of a rapidly evolving sector than if they were part of a general accelerator that also included companies in spaces like e-commerce and fintech.

“The e-health space is endless, based on the rate of technology and the day and age we live in. The pace of technology makes this area a constantly evolving sector to improve systems, data, medical procedures, devices and access to healthcare, to name a few,” Adams said.

“Healthcare is now getting the attention it needs to anchor itself in the base of patient-centric models. Entrepreneurs need the support, empowerment and funding from both government and private sector to make the difference and a reality in the healthcare arena.”

German pharmaceutical firm Merck also runs an e-health accelerator in Nairobi, but it is not just in healthcare that accelerators are focusing on a specific niche. John Karanja runs the Nairobi-based blockchain and digital currency accelerator BitHub Africa.

He says the focus on blockchain – as opposed to fintech in general – allows his community to specialise and gain expertise collectively in one key disruptive area that he feels will be critical for the growth of jobs and the economy in general.

Karanja says there is a clear trend across the continent in this regard.

“I think we are seeing more hubs focusing on sectors. This is great as it leads to specialisation and the addressing of key challenges facing different sectors and societal groups. However, there should be an exchange of Ideas through more collaboration to enhance cross-learning through shared experiences,” he said.

Back in Cape Town, Barclays (now Absa) has been running a host of programmes from its Rise incubator, all of which have specific focuses. Ecosystem manager Camilla Swart says the hub has found being niche in terms of fintech – Barclays has partnered with Techstars to run two fintech accelerators from the space – has reaped rewards.

“Networking and collaboration is far more seamless because of the common ground,” she said.

“Being niche means we can focus on the specific challenges facing the entrepreneurs in that niche. The peer interaction is a vital part of these accelerators – the support you get from each other helps drive success. Being able to spend time with peers who have had similar experiences and challenges means you support each other differently –  ‘you get it’, there is a different empathy and also a different lens on the strengths of the group.”

Rise has even gone niche in terms of gender, recently launching the second edition of its program for female founders.

“Last year we saw the benefits to the entrepreneurs and so we are repeating the program, but this year with a bit more of a framework or structure, and additional value-adds like the financial modelling and planning tools,” Swart said.

“The beauty of this year’s program is that one of the graduates of last year, Antoinette Prophy, is actually running the program for us – that’s a result! And we are thrilled to have her expertise and passion driving things.”

Tom Jackson is co-founder of Disrupt Africa, a news and research company focused on the African tech startup ecosystem.

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Goldman Sachs Heading Into Bitcoin Futures Trading Within Weeks

Bitcoin futures trading just got a big boost. Goldman Sachs will become the first Wall Street bank to start trading

bitcoin

Bitcoin futures trading just got a big boost. Goldman Sachs will become the first Wall Street bank to start trading in bitcoin futures. By having one of the most well-known investment banking and financial services providers in the world make this step is dispelling the belief some have that bitcoins are financially unstable and unsafe. This is bitcoin history making.

Goldman Sachs said this decision came after continuous inquiries from clients.  According to Bitcoin Magazine, Goldman executive Rana Yared said a growing number of requests from their clients that indicated rising interest in holding bitcoin as an alternative asset.

“It resonates with us when a client says, ‘I want to hold bitcoin or bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value,'” she told the New York Times.

The trading will actually start within the next few weeks. Goldman Sachs will use its own money to trade bitcoin futures. “Goldman is also set to ‘create its own, more flexible version of a future, known as a non-deliverable forward, which it will offer to clients,’” Coindesk reported.

Another reason the banking giant decided to go forward with trading bitcoin futures it that this will enable “Goldman to trade on the underlying bitcoin cryptocurrency, without being directly exposed to it. Goldman will not (yet) come directly into contact with the Bitcoin blockchain,” Bitcoin Magazine reported.

To handle the bitcoin trading, Goldman Sachs has hired its first “digital asset” trader, Justin Schmidt. Schmidt, who was a trader at hedge fund Seven Eight Capital before leaving that company in 2017 to trade cryptocurrencies, will  handle the daily operation. Schmidt. And, according to the New York Times, Schmidt is also weighing trading bitcoin itself that is if Goldman can secure regulatory approval.

There are still many risks associated with holding cryptocurrency. And many of Goldman’s competitors remain unconvinced about bitcoins, dismissing bitcoin a “bubble” and even “fraud.” JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, for one called bitcoin a “terrible store of value.”

Bitcoin was created in 2009 by an anonymous founder or group of people, known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. At the time bitcoin was proclaimed as  a replacement for Wall Street banks. In the past decade the demand for the cryptocurrency has only increased. In fact, over the last 12 months, bitcoin gained 515% and surpassed the $1,000 mark for the first time in 2013, breaking the $2,000 threshold in May 2017. “A bitcoin frenzy drove a spike in demand for the cryptocurrency in late 2017, when BTC neared $20,000—a new all-time high,” Investopedia reported.

 

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