How Bitcoin’s Technology Could Make Supply Chains More Transparent

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Reid Williams is a senior designer and engineer at IDEO Futures, where he works at the intersection of technology, design, and new venture creation. Alongside Joe Gerber, he is kicking off the Bits + Blocks Lab, a pop-up blockchain startup creation lab hosted at the Harvard Innovation Lab. This post, which examines how the technology behind bitcoin could make supply chains much more transparent, is part of the Humans + Bits + Blocks series. Where does stuff come from? Whether we buy a taco or an iPhone, we’re at the receiving end of a supply chain that often stretches around the globe. Usually we don’t think much about it, and this is a good thing. But sometimes it’s important to know more. Taking a bite out of a taco involves a certain amount of trust: trust that the kitchen that made the taco is sanitary, that the ingredients that went into it are fresh, and that the taco tastes good. This trust is critical, but there’s so much more we could know. We could create entirely new relationships with the stuff we buy, namely where it came from and how it arrived in our hands. Blockchains offer a way to introduce transparency …

Factom Raises $140k in First Day of ‘Software Sale’

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Factom has raised 579 BTC, or roughly $140,000, through the first day of its crowdsale. The blockchain-based record-keeping network launched its crowdsale yesterday at 17:00 UTC on decentralized application platform Koinify, offering 2,000 Factoid tokens (FACTs) for every 1 BTC pledged by prospective users. The pricing values Factoids at the same initial asking price as Ethers, the token sold during decentralized publishing platform Ethereum’s 2014 crowdsale that eventually garnered upwards of $12.7m. Factom Foundation board chairman David Johnston pointed to the fact that the project had sold more than 1m facts in the first day as another indicator of its success. Johnston told CoinDesk: “I believe this first day of software sales for Factom shows there is strong interest in technology that is focused on scaling the blockchain and providing its features of transparency and honesty to whole new categories of businesses.” The $140,000 in first-day sales surpasses the $111,000 decentralised messaging service GetGems raised during the first two weeks of its invite-only sale, the first to be held on Koinify’s platform last December. Upon launch, Factoids will serve as the payment method users will need to communicate with Factom’s servers. Factoids will run on their own blockchain within Factom. The “early bird” …

Why a New SEC Ruling Could Be ‘Revolutionary’ for Bitcoin Crowdfunding

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Jared Marx is an attorney at Washington, DC law firm Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis. He advises companies about bitcoin-related regulatory law and represents companies and individuals in civil and criminal proceedings. Here, he discusses why a new securities ruling is a potential boon for ‘crypto 2.0‘ and ‘bitcoin 2.0’ companies operating in the US. On Wednesday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted regulations permitting crowdfunding for business startups. The new rules give businesses in the blockchain ecosystem an avenue to get financial backing from the best-educated investors out there: their users. I wrote last week about the challenges that ‘bitcoin 2.0’ companies face from the squishy definition of a “security” under US law. These new rules don’t resolve that ambiguity, but they do create a low-cost safe harbor for businesses that want to avoid uncertainty (and possible criminal exposure) by simply treating their token sales as sales of securities. Here’s how it works: prior to these rules, a company could generally sell securities only to wealthy individuals or after going through expensive registration with the SEC. Now, companies can file a mini-registration statement with the SEC and then sell securities to ordinary people, including over the Internet. As …