Lumiere: A transparency project to promote equality

Lumiere: A transparency project to promote equality, fight corruption

Lumiere has the platform to push for the right things, but its creator acknowledges that there will be a lot of resistance to the revolution.

Sifting through raging ICO projects at the TOKEN2049 Conference in Hong Kong last month wasn’t easy. Luckily, there were still a few worth taking a second long look at.

Patrice Poujol spent eight years in film finance and capital markets, another eight years in film production, and three years working on his postgraduate research—a peer-reviewed study which will be published as a book with Springer International Publishing this year. The culmination of his PhD project to integrate blockchain into film production has now taken a distinct form: Lumiere.

Referring to ICO’s and exchanges—which are the quickest way for getting rich quick in the space—Poujol asserts a big distinction: Lumiere was the result of years of research and was made specifically for a real problem, one that he himself has firsthand knowledge of.

“We’re not trying to speculate, we’re not trying say to people, ‘we’ll give you the Moon.’ But we’ll give you this—but this is a few billion (in savings),” Poujol laughed. “It’s three years’ PhD period of research. It’s not just me waking up one morning, having a shower and saying, ‘hey, [I’ll build a project].’”

Currently, Poujol says that there is a big disconnect between blockchain technology and film, and they’re trying to spearhead that merger. “We’re trying to bridge these two,” he says.

“We’re trying to bridge blockchain and the crypto world, the tech world, and the film world. I would say they’re not in the dialogue yet. They don’t understand each other, maybe because they haven’t formally met yet.”

Poujol adds that film is a “very human” field, and in that aspect makes it imperfect, whereas “tech and blockchain is something that makes a process, a protocol systematic,” which he says could solve the “trust issues” in film production processes.

Solving the multi-billion dollar fallout

According to Poujol, Lumiere will break down inefficiencies in film production—which actually costs investors a serious amount of money.

“What we’re doing essentially and what we’re planning for the software to do is to bring transparency to the film production process,” he said. “Investor money is going up in smoke—part of it, maybe 15—sometimes up to 25%.”

Considering the overall amount spent by the film industry, this figure is huge.

“Right now, it’s a multi-billion US dollar issue. There are films that basically use a few hundred millions essentially for every shoot. There’s about thousands of films being made that way. Now an average budget for a film is around—in Europe would be around five million (USD), in the US it’s way bigger. Now, we’re talking 50-80 million (USD),” Poujol said. “What we’re trying to do is bring transparency to an industry that needs it.”

To address the issue, Poujol is harnessing the capabilities of blockchain technology and smart contracts for an automated full audit of expenses, as well as streamlining payments for professionals involved.

“What we want to do is change it even more to the point where investors can actually track the flow of money within the productions and they can see the money—how it’s being used, where it’s going. Also where staff—whether they’re cast or crew—can be paid on time and in full through smart contracts. So it’s an entire system essentially to reshape the way films are being made.”

Equality and meritocracy: alleviating the gender pay gap

I asked Poujol what the implications were in terms of meritocracy. In the US, several have spoken up particularly about the gender pay gap. This issue has ignited a thousand online debates about whether women are being paid unjustly less than their male counterparts. Will transparency be extended to include everybody’s salary? And will this help the fight for equality and meritocracy in terms of wages?

“We’ve seen over the past few months that the industry is changing. People start speaking out about certain things and I think it’s good.”

In some areas, he says, problems don’t usually arise from people knowing upfront what everybody else is getting paid. Compared to the US, transparency in salaries may not be a problem for some. But the platform may help alleviate such gender-related salary injustices for those countries where equality is still an issue.

“We want to push it in the last phase where everybody on the set knows how much everybody else is getting. Now, there are people who are against it and I don’t care. I don’t mind being a producer and putting my salary upfront because I can completely justify how much I get.”

Poujol adds that it actually takes more energy to try to keep salaries a secret than it is to be upfront about it and then proceed to focusing on work.

“I don’t think it’s actually counter-productive—I think it’s the opposite. It’s just the mindset [that says transparency in salaries is a bad thing].”

How about corruption?

The biggest implication—and the biggest question of all, is Lumiere’s potential impact against corruption in governments. Corruption is one of the biggest issues that can be affected by the transparency blockchain technology offers. All we need is a platform that would enable this use case, and here it is.

Obviously, if this could be applied to privately funded projects, it can be applied to a government-run agency. In theory, that is. Of course, things are not as simple as that. Corruption persists precisely because the corrupt are persistent.

“Oh, there’s gonna be a huge resistance. We will encounter a lot of resistance,” Poujol affirms. In fact, some have even hinted that his project could literally put him in the crosshairs of that resistance.

“As a joke, someone said to me, ‘You realize that the app that you’re running now can be dangerous for certain people…you better buy a bullet-proof jacket,’” Poujol laughingly said. “I said, ‘well, you know, if I don’t do it, someone else will. It’s not just me—it’s a movement that’s happening.”

Not the cure, but the right step forward

Speaking about those who use such advances purely for their own benefit, and at the expense of others, he knows it’s impossible to eradicate such practices.

“Blockchain is supposed to be here to make things more just and fair,” Poujol said. “I’m in this actually for the features that can bring more equality. We will never get perfect equality but I’m in here because I believe that this can solve a lot of problems that are here at the moment.

And when I see people using and milking the system—there will always be people who do that—but I kinda cringe a little bit.”

Poujol acknowledges that what he and a few others are trying to achieve requires far more than what technology can offer. He is positive, however, that the tech can help propel society towards the right direction, particularly in terms of mindset.

“It’s trying to revolutionize the way films are being produced financially. And then I think the technology and the financials can accompany the change of mindset as well. I don’t think it’s just the tech, I think it’s the tech and it’s also the attitudes, the behaviours, and the mindsets that people have about how they do business—how they consider one another, whether it could be gender issues, whether it could be racial issues.

I’m not saying the tech will address these issues but it can help. It can bring a certain change. In the words of Laozi’s Daodejing: ‘a journey of a thousand miles starts with one footstep.””

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Jonald Fyookball: Electron Cash users 'go online with a watching-only wallet'

Jonald Fyookball: Electron Cash users ‘go online with a watching-only wallet’

Electron Cash lets users keep private keys—no need to download entire blockchain.

There are several wallet options out there for cryptocurrency holdings. The choice depends on what your funds are for: long-term holders prefer offline or “cold” wallets; active traders keep them in live wallets, usually exchanges—they can easily trade between cryptocurrencies but are more vulnerable to attack.

Electron Cash—a light wallet specifically for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), however, employs a different game plan: a hybrid between hot and cold, restricting online access so the signature part of the process is done offline.  “Your private keys are encrypted and never leave your computer,” their website reads. “Keep your private keys offline, and go online with a watching-only wallet.”

Its creator, Jonald Fyookball, who has been actively reviewing and assessing protocol proposals and developments in Bitcoin—including issues surrounding the scaling debate, has become a prolific member of the community and a household name for those immersed in the space.

In an email interview with CoinGeek, Jonald Fyookball expounds more on how this works.

“Most casual users think of “spending a transaction” as a single maneuver, but you can break it down into 3 distinct steps.  First the transaction is created by specifying the inputs and outputs.  Second, it is signed using the private key(s).  And third, it is broadcast to the network,” he wrote.

“You can think of offline signing as a process where the user does steps 1 and 3 on their online computer and does step #2 (the actual signing with a private key) using an offline computer.  So you create the transaction, save it (either as a file or a QR code), transfer it to an offline machine where you sign it, then copy the signed transaction back to an Internet-connected computer for broadcasting.  This way, the machine with the private keys never has to touch the Internet.”

He adds that Electron Cash gives users the full security benefits of keeping their own private keys—unlike cryptocurrency exchanges, without requiring them to download the entire blockchain history—something common to several Bitcoin clients that ultimately discourages other users and pushes them back to lighter wallet options. If you’ve ever tried a wallet that requires downloading all the nodes, it’s a gruelling and frustrating task that heats up your computer and eats up quite a bit of your bandwidth.

“Electron Cash gives you the best of both worlds because you control your own private keys but you also don’t have to download blockchain.  You can restore your wallet from a secret seed so that you don’t need to back up your wallet file as long as you have the seed.  There’s also other cool features like coin control.

We’re working right now on new versions for devices we haven’t covered in the past such as the iPhone.”

Coin Control, mentioned above, is a feature that enables users to pick and mix coins from your balance will be used for your next transaction, and which addresses they will be coming from. Consolidating small amounts you received, say as change for previous transactions, helps reduce fees and adds a layer of privacy/anonymity to your transactions. When asked what inspired him to create the wallet—which is free for all to use, Fyookball says it was a decision made around the time of the fork, and that the wallet is in fact, a “fork” itself.

“As many people know, Electron Cash is a fork of the popular Electrum wallet.  This was my favorite wallet as a BTC user, and I wanted to recreate the same wallet experience and make that available on Bitcoin Cash.  

I was in close communication with those in the community that decided to initiate the BCH fork from BTC, and decided having this wallet available was important for the launch, so I got involved.  I’m glad we were able to make that happen.”

Electron Cash has also opened up a bug bounty program for devs who want to help the community by putting the wallet’s code to the test. Interested white hat hackers can take their chance at the bug bounty, currently worth $2,000. The communication platform of choice for this is still Github.

“We usually use Github as a handy interface between the Electron Cash developers and the wider community,” Fyookball wrote.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
CoinRecoil director hopeful for 'positive outcome' in India's reassessment of cryptocurrencies

CoinRecoil director hopeful for ‘positive outcome’ in India’s reassessment of cryptocurrencies

CoinRecoil explains their stance in the fight for cryptocurrencies in India.

The recent circular handed down by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banning local banks from engaging in any cryptocurrency-related activities obviously hit some businesses hard. CoinRecoil, an emerging cryptocurrency exchange platform run by parent company Kali Digital Eco-System in Ahmedabad, isn’t taking this lying down. They took the case to the Delhi High Court, arguing that the ban is in violation of Articles 14 and 19 in the Constitution.

To get their insights on the issue, we reached out to CoinRecoil co-founder and director Kunal Barchha. According to Barchha, while it is unlikely that cryptocurrencies will gain legal recognition in the country, previous statements made by the Prime Minister of India and the Reserve Bank of India themselves shed some hope for some kind of compromise.

In an email to CoinGeek, Barchha wrote:

No we don’t think that cryptocurrencies will get recognition as legal tender in India as finance ministry has clearly told that cryptocurrencies are ‘Not legal Tender In India’. We also respect the statement. It is similar to USD or any other foreign currencies, which are not legal tender in India.

“But at the same time, Blockchain is embraced by the government and its stand on this revolutionary technology is positive and encouraging.

From the official twitter handle, Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi also said that, ‘Disruptive technologies such as block-chain and internet of things, will have a profound impact in the way we live and work. They will required adoption in our workplaces: PM @narendramodi’.

The Reserve Bank of India also acknowledged the same in their Press Release dated 5th  April 2018,’Technological innovations, including those underlying virtual currencies, have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system.’

The only thing is that cryptocurrency and Blockchain are new technologies and governments across the World including India are vary on its acceptance and are evaluating its benefits and drawbacks before regulating the same. Looking at the far reaching impact, finance ministry of Govt. of India has formed a committee with representation RBI, SEBI, Income Tax for recommendation on cryptocurrency.” 

Despite their business being hit hard by the ban, Barchha acknowledges the need for regulation, and in fact, commends the RBI’s strong stance on hunting down illegal activities in the cryptocurrency sphere.

“We think that the motivation factor for RBI cracking down on exchanges might be the anonymous nature of crypto currencies. Another point we assume is that the RBI is extremely concerned about money laundering, which is a fair concern for any regulatory body. In the Budget speech, The Hon’ble Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitely also said that the Government will crack down on the illicit use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, which is again a positive statement as no technology should be allowed to use for illegal activities.”

While it is still unclear whether there is any chance that the RBI would overturn the ban—which is set to kick in on July 6th, Barchha is hopeful that the committees launched by the Finance Ministry will arrive at positive conclusions, adding that cryptocurrencies may be treated like other assets which, although not considered legal tender, are not illegal overall.

“In India only currency notes and coins issued by RBI and Government of India are considered as legal tender. These way even shares, gold, bond, crypto assets etc are also not considered as legal tender but that doesn’t make these assets illegal either. There is inclination on the Government’s side on regulating the industry. There have been two committees formed by the Finance Ministry to give their perspective on crypto-assets in India. The earlier committee report was submitted last year while the second committee report is yet to be submitted to the Government. We are hopeful for the positive outcome,” Barchha wrote.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Calvin Ayre: Bitcoin Cash is more than just a company

Calvin Ayre: Bitcoin Cash is a movement

To say that the global cryptocurrency community has been buzzing lately would be an understatement.

For the month of March alone, more than 60 Bitcoin and blockchain-related events have been held in virtually all parts of the globe, including TOKEN2049 Conference in Hong Kong and the highly acclaimed Satoshi’s Vision Conference in Tokyo, Japan.

Though they were held in the same week, the two events had very different focus. Antiguan entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, who attended both conferences, described ICO-focused Token2049 as “a multi-level marketing conference,” whereas Satoshi’s Vision “focused on making fundamental changes to the society.”

“[Satoshi’s Vision Conference] is very much about how Bitcoin specifically, but cryptocurrencies in general, could change the world… The people here are really focused on making fundamental changes to the society, whereas the conference that we just had [attended] in Hong Kong, it felt like a multi-level marketing conference. There’s a bunch of people that were there mainly… working on some get-rich-quick schemes or what not,” Ayre said. “This conference here [in Tokyo] is the real deal, and I think in the years ahead, we’ll see a lot more conferences like this one.”

Ayre is a huge supporter of Bitcoin Cash. As part of his deeper involvement in all things Bitcoin, Ayre has been putting his time, effort and financial resources into projects—including Lokad’s Terab Project, Electron Cash, Cash Shuffle Group’s BCH ‘Mixer’ tool, and a Bitcoin Cash tokenization contest—that expand Bitcoin’s reach and acceptance, which begs the question: why?

“Somebody’s got to do it,” Ayre said. “I think Roger Ver kind of summed it up. This project is more than just a company, it’s a movement. I’m a big believer in it myself, and I got the financial resources so I want to seed a few things that I think are good for the greater community.”

Conduit for merchant community

CoinGeek, a part of the Ayre Media Group, is organizing its very own conference in May—an event that will bring together the brightest and most dedicated minds behind cryptocurrency. Unlike the Satoshi’s Vision Conference, which focused on the evolution of the platform, Ayre said the upcoming CoinGeek.com Conference will center on merchant adoption.

“I’m also working on positioning [CoinGeek] conference because of the fact that we’re dovetailing it to come just a few days after the next fork in BCH, which is May 15… the next fork in BCH is going to be November 15, and so we’re hoping that we can have our next conference on the 29th of November,” Ayre said. “We hope by having our conferences around the same time as these forks, that we can become a conduit for the merchant community back into the platform developers, so that there can be better communication between the two.”

The inaugural CoinGeek.com Conference, which will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong on May 18, is shaping up to be a landmark event tackling merchant adoption and providing education on the benefits of Bitcoin Cash.

“I think Bitcoin Cash, which is the one true Bitcoin, is going to become the dominant global public blockchain, the one chain that can do it all and everything will be on it,” Ayre said.

Registration for the CoinGeek.com Conference is now open with a 50% discount for those paying in BCH, but credit card payments are also welcome.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Terab project takes on Bitcoin BCH toughest challenge—managing UTXO dataset

Terab project takes on Bitcoin BCH toughest challenge—managing UTXO dataset

To be competitive in the global payment space, cryptocurrencies need to scale to the level of transactions that traditional payment networks can provide. On-chain scaling is the only option that can make Bitcoin accessible to billions of people worldwide. Needless to say, scaling on-chain is one of the most important challenges for Bitcoin—and one that Lokad CEO Joannes Vermorel is meeting head-on with the Terab project.

In an interview with CoinGeek.com, Vermorel described the Terab project as “an ambitious project” that that targets to address the most difficult scaling problem of Bitcoin:  managing unspent transaction outputs (UTXO) dataset.

“You can think of the UTXO as all the ‘spendable’ Bitcoins,” Vermorel said. “As the number of users grow, this dataset grows as well, which is expected and fine. Nowadays, we have tremendously capable computing hardware; however, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only Bitcoin that is sticking to the original vision of harnessing this processing power to onboard all of humanity, instead of artificially restricting adoption to a few.”

In a blog post, titled “Terabyte blocks for Bitcoin Cash,” Vermorel explained how 1TB blocks are viable on the BCH chain. A single terabyte block, added every 10 minutes, can contain about 4 billion transactions, and provide capacity of 7 million transactions per second. However, with such a massively scaled BCH network, developers will need to figure out how to optimize the UTXO database maintained by nodes to prevent BCH double spending.

This paved the way for the Terab project, an open source initiative backed by blockchain technology research and development specialist nChain Group and CoinGeek.com owner and Antiguan-based entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, who has pledged up to €3.6 million in funding.

Talented software engineers needed

One of the Terab project’s goals is to deliver a standardized microservice API and high performance single node, multi-node and distributed software implementations that are progressively capable of supporting the throughput required for 1GB and then 10GB blocks, laying the groundwork for similar implementations that can support TB size blocks. To achieve this, Lokad is forming a team who will develop the Terab software, which will be made available for usage under an open source license, but only for usage on the BCH chain.

Vermorel admitted that it takes time to ramp up “a great team.” Currently, the Terab team has already hired five software engineers, four of whom are scheduled to start in June. The team is also looking for a technical writer, who will make the project accessible to the dev community.

“More than ever, we are looking for talented software engineers. We primarily seek people who passionate about their craft and who care about produce excellent software pieces. If you happen to be interested by Bitcoin, it’s nice but it’s not a requirement either. The project itself is tough big data challenge; and it’s the opportunity to learn how to design an open source system both tremendously scalable but also incredibly reliable,” Vermorel said.

Internally, the Terab team has already made a lot of progress on many internal pieces of the project, although it’s still too early to publish the code, according to Vermorel. The team had also gotten feedback from leader Bitcoin teams regarding the API of the Terab microservice, which he said is important to make sure that drop-in replacements for Terab will remain possible.

“We want to have a first version of Terab released before the end of the year,” Vermorel said. “Bitcoin is already getting an upgrade to 32MB block in May. There is no urgency, the existing Bitcoin implementations can scale smoothly to blocks that are significantly larger. Terab will only start to become relevant when blocks start to grow to hundreds of MBs. However, considering the tremendous adoption rate of Bitcoin, we should work swiftly in order to make sure that Bitcoin remains forever usable with very low fees. Failing to do that, Bitcoin would face gigantic fees just like what regularly happens now with Segwit-coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by most).”

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/terab-project-takes-bitcoin-bch-toughest-challenge-managing-utxo-dataset/

Shyft ‘crypto with a conscience’ builds universal identity system with social physics

Shyft ‘crypto with a conscience’ builds universal identity system with social physics, biometrics

You may not even need a passport someday.

As expected, last week’s TOKEN2049 Conference in Hong Kong was riddled with hopeful blockchain start-ups. But what I may have underestimated was how many ICO’s and new exchanges one would have to weed through to find something unique and significant for the long term. Even harder was to find organizations that are actually tackling real-world problems, social issues that go far beyond making a quick buck through a hyped up token sale.

Amid all the noise, I found Bruce Silcoff, or rather he found me. Silcoff wanted to talk about a project called Shyft, a start-up tackling digital identity particularly for the unbanked and vulnerable. Silcoff, CEO at Shyft, describes it as “the perfect fix for a broken KYC and AML world.”

“We believe identity is a right, not a privilege,” they wrote on their website.

Not another ICO

With a huge deluge of ICOs and start-ups that simply add the term “blockchain” to their business model in hopes of seeing their stocks spike, it has been quite the headache filtering for legitimate projects, and scams have become and continue to be rampant in the space. I asked him how serious he was about the project, to which he replied with a firm declaration: “I’m staking a 30-year reputation on this. We were in Davos—the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) took us in to over 50 meetings. That’s how serious this is.”

“A lot of people are in it for the wrong reason, but there are a bunch of us (that are serious about it),” he said. Silcoff believes that there are diamonds in the rough, and that they are one of them.

“Dot-com was the same, you know you had the scams, you had people worried about it. But out of dot-com came Google, Facebook, Amazon. You can have that here, too. I think we’re gonna be the Amazon of identity—I know we will be.”

Shyft’s universal ID system: exactly what governments need

Shyft is a decentralized network specializing in digital identity that aims to provide a universally accepted documentation system attesting to a person’s identity as well as reputation—one that would tick all the legal requirements for KYC and AML, as well as surpass the limits of geographic and institutional borders. The company hopes to solve a big problem that has been plaguing governments for a while, and even more so now as the blockchain industry is opening up opportunities as well as gaps in law enforcement.

The network enables identity sharing, creditability and reputation score sharing while keeping identities anonymous unless otherwise required. Using a trust anchor system, someone can attest to the identity and reputation of a person being verified in the network.

I asked him how likely governments are going to welcome this solution. Based on his conversations with several authorities, he says it’s more than highly likely.

“The governments are desperate for this. Over 10% of the world’s economy is criminal. They’re trying to stop this problem—we have the solution,” he said. “They needed this yesterday.”

“I’m sure you’re aware there is an identity epidemic right now—two-fold: from a business and regulatory perspective, it’s inefficient and it’s not secure. Case in point: Equifax, Uber, Target, Home Depot,” Silcoff explained.

“Fortunately, there is blockchain and we’ve come along and have the ability to now decentralize it and add more security and add more efficiency.”

To fulfill their mission of achieving universal validity, Shyft is coordinating intensively with legal authorities from different jurisdictions—something exceedingly rare in the crypto sphere.

“Right now, no one is doing it the way we’re doing it,” Silcoff said. Referring to existing projects that are shooting to solve the same issue they’re solving, Silcoff outlines a very promising value that others do not offer, one so crucial that it automatically sets them apart from the competition despite being the newer kid on the block. Shyft’s solution would supposedly keep identities private, but will enable access to information if needed.

It also resonates with Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra’s statement that regulation must be structured with an international approach for effective enforcement—something IMF Chief Christine Lagarde also echoed earlier this month. Shyft may just be what regulators need: a cross-border solution to a cross-border problem.

“A lot of them (other identity solutions) also are providing just domestic solutions, which is actually contradictory to what AML is. Money laundering is usually cross-border, so ours is a global solution.”

Social impact

Appealing to my interest in social impact projects as written in my bio here at CoinGeek, Silcoff outlines social problems that their system will solve.

“From your perspective, what we can do is we can fix a social problem. There are three and a half billion people in the world that are either underbanked or unbanked. That’s a huge problem—of which 1.1 billion don’t even have a legal ID.”

“That means a few things: one, it means they are subject to violence, rape, trafficking—that’s a human problem. They also don’t have access to a lot of the benefits that someone with legal ID can have, like birth registration, healthcare, banking, owning real estate, and so on.”

“It’s funny you hear a lot of governments talk about building walls, whether it be tariffs, whether it be actual physical walls—that’s exclusion. We’re talking about inclusion—including a huge population of this world that has been excluded from a lot of the social services that they should be entitled to.”

Social Physics for a social legacy

Impressively, the research behind Shyft’s system is worth staking his reputation on—according to Silcoff, their system is around 30-50% more accurate than established credit bureaus, utilizing social physics, a new method of analyzing big data crafted by Distilled Analytics, a group of researchers from MIT. By using this system, those without credit and banking records to base future credit applications on can begin to become part of the economy.

“We are working with a team out of MIT to use social physics and behavioural biometrics to track behaviors and to create identities for these unbanked or underbanked people so that they can get credit, so that they can have identities,” Silcoff said.

“We’re taking big data and we look at up to the fourteen hundredth behavioural identifiers and create patterns, and we predict from those patterns the credit-worthiness of them—we look at their reputational scores and creditability scores so that they can be banked, so they can be identified,” he said. “Think about the level of detail we’re now getting into to identify a person.”

For the system to work, individuals would need to register and access the system using a smart phone. I asked him about those who absolutely cannot afford a smart phone, such as the poorest people in the Philippines who could otherwise benefit the most from the project—how do they plan to bypass this hurdle and get to those who need their service the most?

Silcoff admits that this may be a problem, but that the system can still help. “What we can do is we can use our analytics and big data to identify areas where there is high crime, identify areas where there are health issues, identify areas where there is poverty and deal with social issues that way. So we may not be able to track it to the individual in that case, but we can create segments and groups. The Israeli military uses that kind of information to track and identify terrorists.”

Shyft’s technology should be ready by next year. “Our MVP is already done, we’re testing our technology. The full social physics or behavioural technology will be complete within a year’s time—and I’m saying that conservatively, it’ll probably be less. So within a year’s time, we should have a full-scale working technology.”

Silcoff, having over 30 years of experience building up businesses, is not in it for the money. He’s at the point in his life where he is building something that can make lives better for the succeeding generations.

“It’s heart-warming. At the end of the day, it’s not about the money. It’s about the legacy,” Silcoff said. “I’ve owned and sold 23 different companies over my life—over 30 years. I’m doing this to make a difference.”

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/shyft-crypto-conscience-builds-universal-identity-system-social-physics-biometrics/

Shyft ‘crypto with a conscience’ builds universal identity system with social physics

Shyft ‘crypto with a conscience’ builds universal identity system with social physics, biometrics

You may not even need a passport someday.

As expected, last week’s TOKEN2049 Conference in Hong Kong was riddled with hopeful blockchain start-ups. But what I may have underestimated was how many ICO’s and new exchanges one would have to weed through to find something unique and significant for the long term. Even harder was to find organizations that are actually tackling real-world problems, social issues that go far beyond making a quick buck through a hyped up token sale.

Amid all the noise, I found Bruce Silcoff, or rather he found me. Silcoff wanted to talk about a project called Shyft, a start-up tackling digital identity particularly for the unbanked and vulnerable. Silcoff, CEO at Shyft, describes it as “the perfect fix for a broken KYC and AML world.”

“We believe identity is a right, not a privilege,” they wrote on their website.

Not another ICO

With a huge deluge of ICOs and start-ups that simply add the term “blockchain” to their business model in hopes of seeing their stocks spike, it has been quite the headache filtering for legitimate projects, and scams have become and continue to be rampant in the space. I asked him how serious he was about the project, to which he replied with a firm declaration: “I’m staking a 30-year reputation on this. We were in Davos—the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) took us in to over 50 meetings. That’s how serious this is.”

“A lot of people are in it for the wrong reason, but there are a bunch of us (that are serious about it),” he said. Silcoff believes that there are diamonds in the rough, and that they are one of them.

“Dot-com was the same, you know you had the scams, you had people worried about it. But out of dot-com came Google, Facebook, Amazon. You can have that here, too. I think we’re gonna be the Amazon of identity—I know we will be.”

Shyft’s universal ID system: exactly what governments need

Shyft is a decentralized network specializing in digital identity that aims to provide a universally accepted documentation system attesting to a person’s identity as well as reputation—one that would tick all the legal requirements for KYC and AML, as well as surpass the limits of geographic and institutional borders. The company hopes to solve a big problem that has been plaguing governments for a while, and even more so now as the blockchain industry is opening up opportunities as well as gaps in law enforcement.

The network enables identity sharing, creditability and reputation score sharing while keeping identities anonymous unless otherwise required. Using a trust anchor system, someone can attest to the identity and reputation of a person being verified in the network.

I asked him how likely governments are going to welcome this solution. Based on his conversations with several authorities, he says it’s more than highly likely.

“The governments are desperate for this. Over 10% of the world’s economy is criminal. They’re trying to stop this problem—we have the solution,” he said. “They needed this yesterday.”

“I’m sure you’re aware there is an identity epidemic right now—two-fold: from a business and regulatory perspective, it’s inefficient and it’s not secure. Case in point: Equifax, Uber, Target, Home Depot,” Silcoff explained.

“Fortunately, there is blockchain and we’ve come along and have the ability to now decentralize it and add more security and add more efficiency.”

To fulfill their mission of achieving universal validity, Shyft is coordinating intensively with legal authorities from different jurisdictions—something exceedingly rare in the crypto sphere.

“Right now, no one is doing it the way we’re doing it,” Silcoff said. Referring to existing projects that are shooting to solve the same issue they’re solving, Silcoff outlines a very promising value that others do not offer, one so crucial that it automatically sets them apart from the competition despite being the newer kid on the block. Shyft’s solution would supposedly keep identities private, but will enable access to information if needed.

It also resonates with Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra’s statement that regulation must be structured with an international approach for effective enforcement—something IMF Chief Christine Lagarde also echoed earlier this month. Shyft may just be what regulators need: a cross-border solution to a cross-border problem.

“A lot of them (other identity solutions) also are providing just domestic solutions, which is actually contradictory to what AML is. Money laundering is usually cross-border, so ours is a global solution.”

Social impact

Appealing to my interest in social impact projects as written in my bio here at CoinGeek, Silcoff outlines social problems that their system will solve.

“From your perspective, what we can do is we can fix a social problem. There are three and a half billion people in the world that are either underbanked or unbanked. That’s a huge problem—of which 1.1 billion don’t even have a legal ID.”

“That means a few things: one, it means they are subject to violence, rape, trafficking—that’s a human problem. They also don’t have access to a lot of the benefits that someone with legal ID can have, like birth registration, healthcare, banking, owning real estate, and so on.”

“It’s funny you hear a lot of governments talk about building walls, whether it be tariffs, whether it be actual physical walls—that’s exclusion. We’re talking about inclusion—including a huge population of this world that has been excluded from a lot of the social services that they should be entitled to.”

Social Physics for a social legacy

Impressively, the research behind Shyft’s system is worth staking his reputation on—according to Silcoff, their system is around 30-50% more accurate than established credit bureaus, utilizing social physics, a new method of analyzing big data crafted by Distilled Analytics, a group of researchers from MIT. By using this system, those without credit and banking records to base future credit applications on can begin to become part of the economy.

“We are working with a team out of MIT to use social physics and behavioural biometrics to track behaviors and to create identities for these unbanked or underbanked people so that they can get credit, so that they can have identities,” Silcoff said.

“We’re taking big data and we look at up to the fourteen hundredth behavioural identifiers and create patterns, and we predict from those patterns the credit-worthiness of them—we look at their reputational scores and creditability scores so that they can be banked, so they can be identified,” he said. “Think about the level of detail we’re now getting into to identify a person.”

For the system to work, individuals would need to register and access the system using a smart phone. I asked him about those who absolutely cannot afford a smart phone, such as the poorest people in the Philippines who could otherwise benefit the most from the project—how do they plan to bypass this hurdle and get to those who need their service the most?

Silcoff admits that this may be a problem, but that the system can still help. “What we can do is we can use our analytics and big data to identify areas where there is high crime, identify areas where there are health issues, identify areas where there is poverty and deal with social issues that way. So we may not be able to track it to the individual in that case, but we can create segments and groups. The Israeli military uses that kind of information to track and identify terrorists.”

Shyft’s technology should be ready by next year. “Our MVP is already done, we’re testing our technology. The full social physics or behavioural technology will be complete within a year’s time—and I’m saying that conservatively, it’ll probably be less. So within a year’s time, we should have a full-scale working technology.”

Silcoff, having over 30 years of experience building up businesses, is not in it for the money. He’s at the point in his life where he is building something that can make lives better for the succeeding generations.

“It’s heart-warming. At the end of the day, it’s not about the money. It’s about the legacy,” Silcoff said. “I’ve owned and sold 23 different companies over my life—over 30 years. I’m doing this to make a difference.”

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Jimmy Nguyen: The Bitcoin world needs more positivity

Jimmy Nguyen: The Bitcoin world needs more positivity

CoinGeek.com’s Becky Liggero sat down with Jimmy Nguyen, CEO of the nChain Group, for an interesting discussion about collaboration and positivity, and how these factors will ignite the growth of Bitcoin Cash.

Since it split from the legacy Bitcoin (BTC) chain more than half a year ago, things don’t appear to be slowing down for Bitcoin Cash. And the cryptocurrency, which is considered the true Bitcoin as intended by the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper, can thank various groups for its growth.

One of the organizations working tirelessly to spur and ignite the growth of Bitcoin Cash is blockchain technology research and development firm nChain Group. CEO Jimmy Nguyen tells us in an interview that nChain currently has four business units: the first is nChain Limited, which focuses on blockchain research and development; there’s also the IP, holding and commercialization company called nChain Holdings; followed by an investment vehicle, called the nChain Reaction; finally, there’s nCrypt, formerly known as nTrust, which is the consumer-facing business of the group operating a Bitcoin wallet and exchange.

“Our business is set up with a very simple mission, which is we are designed to use our resources and our technology and our research to help enable the growth of Bitcoin Cash in particular, because we believe that it is the true Bitcoin,” Nguyen said.

In his role as the chief executive, Nguyen has already mapped out what he needs to do for nChain’s next chapter, which boils down to three things—take concrete actions, forge stronger relationships, and more importantly, foster positivity.

“There’s been a bit of negativity, which is an understatement, in Bitcoin for a number of years. I’m a person who always thinks on the bright side. I carry with me every day a positive attitude and I want to help inspire the people around me,” Nguyen said. “I believe the Bitcoin world needs more positivity, and I hope that our business can help provide that.”

Nguyen, who joined nChain after a 21-year career as an intellectual property and digital technology lawyer, isn’t just talk. In the past few months, the group has been partnering with organizations, groups and companies in the Bitcoin BCH ecosystem. These include collaborations with Bitcoin Unlimited as well as supporting and funding the Gigablock Testnet Initiative, all in the name of big blocks.

“We like big blocks at nChain, and we cannot lie,” Nguyen said. “Those are the various steps we’re doing to support what’s needed first: building the infrastructure and the backbone of a larger scaled network. Getting it to the average person on the street on a broader basis will come after that.”

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Dr. Craig Wright: We're bringing Bitcoin BCH back to fungible cash

Dr. Craig Wright: We’re bringing Bitcoin BCH back to fungible cash

The next upgrades in the pipeline for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) will finally pave the way for people to start treating the cryptocurrency as what it is supposed to be—cash. And a fungible one at that.

That’s the declaration made by Dr. Craig Wright, chief scientist at blockchain research and development firm nChain Group, during a recent talk as part of the “We are Fascinating Project” series in London.

“We’re collaborating with a lot of groups at the moment. We’ve just announced the Electrum Cash project which is going to sort of increase private transactions fungibility and much more within Bitcoin (BCH), so what that will actually allow is people to start treating it as cash,” Wright said. “We’re going to make it back to fungible cash.”

Currently, Bitcoin Cash development groups like Bitcoin ABC are gearing up for a series of protocol upgrades happening every six months starting May 2018, which will see the developers re-enabling a whole host of opcodes in the scripting language, among other things. Restoring the opcodes is important for the network because they will enable Bitcoin Cash to become more than just a currency.

“We’re going to re-enable all those things people used to get excited about Bitcoin for: tokenization, the ability to make either divisible or non-divisible shares at your choice, bonds, futures, derivatives, things that actually make smart contracts that tied to [investment] vehicles, things that allow you to trade over time,” Wright said.

Essentially, the opcodes will allow Bitcoin Cash to have more complicated functionality so that it can also power smart contracts along with other functionalities that will drive up the cryptocurrency’s usage.

“We’re going to re-enable a whole lot of opcodes. We’ve got people in my team at the moment working on that. They’ve already started uploading on Github and other such things,” the nChain chief scientist said.

Not the be-all and end-all of Bitcoin Cash

nChain may be at the forefront of the push for a Bitcoin Cash world, but CEO Jimmy Nguyen is quick to point out that the group is all about collaborating with groups, people, and companies around the world to ensure that their goal of making a Bitcoin Cash-enabled global ecosystem will be a success.

In fact, nChain has already formed partnerships with several organizations and invested in ventures offering products and applications that made Bitcoin Cash more usable, easily as electronic cash on a global basis. The group’s first two investments, made via its investment arm nChain Reaction, were social network Yours.org and South African wallet provider Centbee.

“We at nChain group do not intend, have no desire to be the be all and end all of Bitcoin Cash,” Nguyen said.”We recognize that for it to be successful, we’ll take the collaboration and efforts of groups, companies, people all around the world. And what we’re doing is using our resources and innovation to try and spur and help other people to create and develop the things that’ll be necessary. We’ll be creating some of the things ourselves but our mission really is to enable a spark that goes on across the world so that there’s a thriving community of groups that are contributing to Bitcoin Cash’s success.”

Watch Dr. Craig Wright and Jimmy Nguyen talk about “A Bitcoin Cash World” here:

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Rick Levin on cryptocurrency crime: the days of crypto-anarchy are numbered

Rick Levin on cryptocurrency crime: the days of crypto-anarchy are numbered

We interviewed law veteran Rick Levin on some of the most pressing issues surrounding the cryptocurrency space.

As the blockchain industry moves forward, it is not unforeseen that there would be bumps along the way. But what we may have not foreseen was the gravity of these bumps—the damages caused by hacks have hit the 11-digit mark. As of December last year, Reuters estimated this figure to be around $15 billion for BTC alone, with recent hacks adding to the total sum for cryptocurrencies overall, and with probably more to come.

Apart from the obvious cryptocurrency hacks and cybercrime, there are other, far less conspicuous criminals on the loose—and their crimes far harder to prove. With token creation becoming easier even for those with no coding background, pump and dump ICO’s have become rampant—by anonymous or otherwise unverified entities no less.

We turned to law veteran Rick Levin, chair of the FinTech and Regulation Practice at the AmLaw 100 law firm Polsinelli whose more than 20 years of experience with large investment firms and encyclopedic knowledge of the FinTech industry and regulatory environment the world needs now more than ever. Below, he gives his insights to some of the most pressing issues surrounding the cryptocurrency industry.

 Exit scams

 Exit scams are now becoming a disturbing trend, with ICO founders bailing out shortly after an explosively lucrative token sale and using “hacks” as a scapegoat for their closure. Proving this would be difficult due to the anonymity (or pseudonymity) of wallet addresses—for all we know, the founders hacked their own platform. How are regulators equipping themselves to possibly eradicate such a practice given the technical gaps?

What you call exit scams and others refer to as pump and dump schemes are a serious issue.  While the pseudonymity afforded by blockchain technology is a cornerstone of its development, it offers unscrupulous users the ability to attempt to conceal their identity.  However, as was the case with Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road who used the pseudonym, Dread Pirate Roberts, the government was able to ascertain his identity, arrest and criminal prosecute him.  Mr. Ulbricht is now serving two life sentences in a federal correctional facility.

The SEC and CFTC will be unable to eradicate the use of blockchain technology for nefarious purposes.  However, the agencies will use their ability to ask for an emergency court order to freeze the assets and the accounts of parties the agencies believe have violated the law.  The agencies can also ask a court to enter an order permanently enjoining the alleged violations of law.  If the agencies believe the parties have committed a criminal violation of the securities or commodities laws, they will make a referral to the Department of Justice which can initiate a criminal prosecution and arrange for the parties to be taken into custody by the FBI.

 Trade manipulation

 Trade manipulation is a serious allegation that can be hard to prove. In such cases like the Tether-Bitfinex trade manipulation and pump allegations, how can law enforcers definitively prove or disprove illegal practices?

The SEC and the CFTC are charged with maintaining market integrity and protection of the investing public.  The agencies have considerable investigatory resources they can marshal to prove market manipulation and fraud.  In many cases blockchain data, trading records on crypto exchanges, email and instant messaging communications, and bank records can be used to establish the manipulation.

Ponzi schemes

Big-time Ponzi schemes like Bitconnect and Davor, while they take advantage of new technology for their schemes, aren’t exactly new. Could regulators have taken them down earlier, before they amassed so much money and gained enough influence to matter? If so, why didn’t enforcers do that?

The agencies are working hard to deal with the flood of ICOs and other digital assets that are being launched by legitimate and nefarious actors.  I do not believe regulators could have prevented scammers from launching their offerings.

Bitconnect and Davor – promoters, founders, and members

 If there will be any prosecution against similar companies, how wide is the scope of that prosecution—will it be just the founders, or will promoters and members be included? After all, they all were involved in the pyramid scheme regardless of whether they realize it or not.

Any civil or criminal action against the issuer will more than likely also identify the officers of the issuer of the digital asset and any third parties they hired to solicit potential investors.  Parties that engage in sales of securities without a registration or an exemption from registration may be subject to enforcement actions by the SEC, relevant state regulators, as well as investor actions for rescission. The SEC and the state regulators have authority to enforce respective federal and state securities laws through administrative proceedings, civil court proceedings, and referrals for criminal prosecutions.

The SEC can bring an action in court and seek permanent or temporary injunction or a restraining order against a party that has violated the securities laws.  In addition to an injunction, the SEC may also seek civil penalties and equitable relief for such violation.  The SEC may transmit such evidence of securities laws violations to the attorney general, who may, in his or her discretion, institute the necessary criminal proceedings under the securities laws.

Anonymity and fake profiles

 This is perhaps, one of the biggest challenges regulators and enforcers now face. In an age where anonymity and fake profiles have been quite efficient in protecting criminals, how do regulators plan to fight back?

The SEC, the CFTC, and the Department of Justice have considerable capabilities to investigate and identify parties that are engaging in civil or criminal violations of the securities and commodities laws.  While cryptographers may think they can evade detection of their illegal activities, the government will eventually catch up with them.

Balancing legislation

 Are regulators zeroing in on a framework that would circumvent technical gaps and vulnerabilities while also balancing the freedom that blockchains provide—such as in the tug-of-war between privacy (anonymity) and security (transparency, KYC/AML)?

Members of Congress in both parties are currently struggling with this issue.  There is a desire to promote innovation and a fear that certain technologies may facilitate criminal activities, money laundering and terrorist financing.  It is difficult to predict where Congress and the President will come out on these issues.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.