Blockstack to Provide Custom Blockchain Technology Solutions

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Blockstack, formerly known as CryptoCorp, is seeking to provide custom blockchain technology solutions to companies in Wall Street. The underlying technology behind bitcoin has been gaining more and more attention these days, particularly from financial firms seeking to explore its practical applications. Several banks are already tapping into the features of the distributed public ledger, as this could prove to reduce costs and enhance security of record-keeping and trade settlement operations. Online retail giant Overstock has even experimented with cryptosecurties and using blockchain technology to facilitate trading. Blockchain Technology in Finance “This is a software stack to enable financial services to have a private isolated blockchain that became exciting to financial institutions, because now they can start working on applications and back-office systems,” said Standard Chartered Bank veteran Peter Shiau, who serves as the Blockstack’s COO. He is joined by Phillip Harris, advisor and former head of FX at Nasdaq. Blockstack isn’t the first firm to offer blockchain technology solutions to larger institutions in Wall Street, as a growing number of companies such as Chain, Eris Ltd, Gem and Digital Asset Holdings are also focusing on the same initiatives. In particular, Blockstack aims to educate its clients to leverage the …

Is Silicon Valley Turning into a Bitcoin Hub?

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Silicon Valley has gained its popularity for being the home of several tech and online startups, which later on grew to become the fast-rising companies of today. According to Bitpay Chief Commercial Officer Sonny Singh, the trend among venture capitalist groups in the valley is to invest in bitcoin and related technologies like the blockchain. “You can see the rapid growth of the VC investments in the bitcoin space,” explained Singh. He mentioned that investments in bitcoin companies has grown thrice this year compared to last year. Growth in Bitcoin Companies “Two years ago, bitcoin wouldn’t have been on that,” said Singh. “It shows how much of a traction bitcoin has gotten in just over the last two years. It’s really come a long way and I imagine in the next two years, it will be much higher actually.” Singh also pointed out that around a year ago, they had been convincing large companies to accept bitcoin. This time around, these same companies such as Dell and Microsoft are explaining to their customers why bitcoin is important. “We’ve seen the ecosystem change quite dramatically,” concluded Singh. Data from industry analysts has also revealed that bitcoin is taking over financial services …

Bitcoin’s Dark Side Could Get Darker –

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Investors see riches in a cryptography-enabled technology called smart contracts–but it could also offer much to criminals.     Some of the earliest adopters of the digital currency Bitcoin were criminals, who have found it invaluable in online marketplaces for contraband and as payment extorted through lucrative “ransomware” that holds personal data hostage. A new Bitcoin-inspired technology that some investors believe will be much more useful and powerful may be set to unlock a new wave of criminal innovation. That technology is known as smart contracts—small computer programs that can do things like execute financial trades or notarize documents in a legal agreement. Intended to take the place of third-party human administrators such as lawyers, which are required in many deals and agreements, they can verify information and hold or use funds using similar cryptography to that which underpins Bitcoin. Some companies think smart contracts could make financial markets more efficient, or simplify complex transactions such as property deals (see “The Startup Meant to Reinvent What Bitcoin Can Do”). Ari Juels, a cryptographer and professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, believes they will also be useful for illegal activity–and, with two collaborators, he has demonstrated how. “In …

SABR.io Identifies Illegal Activity on Blockchains, Willing to Work With Law Enforcement

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Blockchain analytical tools and services are both a blessing and a curse, according to Bitcoin industry experts. The Bitcoin community is divided into two camps: those who embrace the transparent aspect of the blockchain and financial transactions, and those who want to use anonymizing services to cover their tracks. Unmasking Bitcoin transactions could throw a monkey wrench into the plans of that second category of users, and Sabr.io aims to do exactly that.   SABR.io – Identifying and Locating Criminal Activity The business model associated with the Sabr.io service is noble and honorable, as the company wants to eliminate any criminal activity associated with virtual currencies. Achieving that goal will not be easy, yet Sabr.io is confident in their ability to monitor multiple blockchains and detect any discrepancies or strange behavior. But that is not all, as SABR will also integrate data from public and proprietary sources. All of this is made possible thanks to the company’s unique and strategic partnerships in the digital currency world, which provide SABR with information that would otherwise be inaccessible. Collaboration with law enforcement to track down illicit Bitcoin users will be a major step forward towards legitimizing digital currency. Gathering all of this …

Why The Block-Chain Matters In So Many Ways!

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This article was taken from the June 2015 issue of WIRED magazine. Be the first to read WIRED’s articles in print before they’re posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional content by subscribing online. At least one global cryptocurrency will achieve mass-market adoption. That cryptocurrency will either be Bitcoin or a derivative inspired by it. The chance that it will be the former is so strong that in 2014 I invested in Bitcoin startups Xapo and Blockstream. And yet, perhaps surprisingly, when one of the very smart people I know in Silicon Valley recently told me he’s a major “Bitcoin sceptic” who has not yet seen “many real use cases” for the technology, I considered it a good sign. Why? Because in my experience, the most transformative ideas are not the ones that achieve broad consensus early on. Instead, they’re the ones that are so uniquely out there, so contrarian, that even informed observers have wildly differing opinions regarding their potential value. The internet itself was like this. It started as a strange new parallel universe called “cyberspace” and then became a part of everyday life. LinkedIn, eBay, Twitter and Airbnb were all bizarre concepts at first, …

Vitalik Buterin: On Public and Private Blockchains

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Over the last year, the concept of ‘private blockchains’ has become very popular in the broader blockchain technology discussion. Essentially, instead of having a fully public and uncontrolled network and state machine secured by cryptoeconomics (eg proof-of-work, proof-of-stake), it is also possible to create a system where access permissions are more tightly controlled, with rights to modify or even read the blockchain state restricted to a few users, while still maintaining many kinds of partial guarantees of authenticity and decentralization that blockchains provide. Such systems have been a primary focus of interest from financial institutions and have, in part, led to a backlash from those who see such developments as either compromising the whole point of decentralization or being a desperate act of dinosaurish middlemen trying to stay relevant (or simply committing the crime of using a blockchain other than bitcoin). However, for those who are in this fight simply because they want to figure out how to best serve humanity, or even pursue the more modest goal of serving their customers, what are the practical differences between the two styles? First, what exactly are the options at hand? To summarize, there are generally three categories of blockchain-like database applications: …