We all know that the blockchain technology is more than units on a computer. In many ways, it is designed to help and create a massive social impact with its use cases and different scenarios. One of them has been uncovered lately, just in time when Syria has gotten the world’s attention for the chemical attack on their citizens over the past few years.
The situation in Syria has been devastating for long now, with many refugees running away from the country and seeking asylum in the West. Another problem are the refugees themselves – which are fleeing everywhere and cannot be properly tracked or monitored.
Thanks to a new cutting-edge blockchain technology, this is going to change. In other words, every refugee will be able to keep their data private. The application has been developed by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) as well as other industry partners.
The benefits of this project are endless, both in the social and economic aspect. The impact of it, on the other hand, could shape the lives of many new generations to come. Even if we see it from a humanitarian perspective, the lives of the Syrian refugees have been completely changed and everyone deserves a chance to rebuild them.
In the midst of the crisis, this project can help the refugees re-connect with technology and rebuild their lives. They could transact from a single digital wallet comprised of a record of their purchase history, identification and “access to financial accounts” (which they don’t have nowadays).
This will likely improve a lot of things. The architect behind the program, Houman Haddad, is confident in this and hopes to see the Syrian refugees being able to transact from a single digital wallet with a proper blockchain-fueled ID system.
NASA Funds The Development Of Autonomous Spacecraft That Will Use Blockchain
What do you think about the use of blockchain in the space?
The truth is, there is not much to be thought rather hear some news regarding it. And obviously, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has got to be the first to try a project like this.
After being awarded a new grant that supports the development of an autonomous spacecraft, NASA plans to use blockchain technology without any human intervention – to help the spacecraft make decisions.
The grant was given to Jin Wei Kocsis who is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Akron (Ohio) in order to support her research. Currently, Kocsis believes that the research program will examine the application of the Ethereum-based blockchain tech for developing a new and secure computing system that will be used in deep space.
As she stated:
“In this project, the Ethereum Blockchain technology will be exploited to develop a decentralized, secure, and cognitive networking and computing infrastructure for deep space exploration… I hope to develop technology that can recognize environmental threats and avoid them, as well as complete a number of tasks automatically. I am honored that NASA recognized my work, and I am excited to continue challenging technology’s ability to think and do on its own.”
Essentially, the system will focus on the underlying “smart contracts” technology in order to build a spacecraft that will be able to “think” for itself and automatically detect and dodge floating debris in the timeliest manner possible. Kocsis hopes that a technology like this will move the space industry to a whole new level and innovate a lot of things.
According to Thomas Kacpura who is an advanced communications program manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, this is the first time that the center considers blockchain applications for space communications and navigation.
Bitcoin Climbs Back To $8,250 While Ethereum And ERC20 Outperform
The past few days were great for alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) and Ethereum, which have all outperformed Bitcoin. The valuation of the crypto market is right now at $348 billion and is moving closer to the $400 billion region.
While many would think that the extreme volatility and uncertainty will cause the altcoins to sink, the investors seem to turn out to the cryptocurrencies with the deepest liquidity and stability. The two major corrections in January and February (that sent the crypto market from $816 billion to $240 billion) are now history – and investors heavily lean towards Bitcoin as the safe haven asset.
Altcoins are in the spotlight over the past few weeks, recording strong gains against Bitcoin and moving differently from the leading cryptocurrency. This week, the ERC20 tokens such as Tron (TRX) and ICON (ICX) all performed well against Bitcoin and Ethereum. The increasing value of these tokens and the rising demand from investors in the global market for minor cryptocurrencies like these – show that investors started seeing their value and have become more confident in the market.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, is once again back to $8,250. Over the past 24 hours, the price has recorded a 3% increase and seems to be surging more than it is sinking (when viewed through a 3-week period).
Saxo Bank is one of the best examples for the investor behavior nowadays. The Danish investment bank that focuses on online trading has stated that it expects the inflow of institutional capital into the crypto market to lead to more surges in the price of the vast majority of cryptocurrencies. Their 2018 2nd quarter report reads:
“If there is a significant pullback in the equity markets, there will be an inflow of money into uncorrelated assets, or assets that lie outside the reach of the traditional financial system in which cryptocurrencies are a potential alternative. The inflow of institutional capital to the cryptocurrency market due to the increase in regulation and investor protection could lead cryptocurrencies to a positive quarter,”
As noted by Saxo Bank, the increase in demand for Bitcoin from institutional investors and retail traders is something that needs to be noted – and something that may set Bitcoin apart from the competition in the future.
Brazil’s Largest Investment Firm Plans To Launch A Crypto Exchange
The largest investment firm in Brazil, XP Investimentos, is now overlooking the crypto space and actively figuring out how to launch a cryptocurrency exchange. As a financial services company that manages over $35 billion for over 500,000 clients, the firm is not linked to cryptocurrencies in any possible way. However, this may change real soon.
According to Brazil’s Department of Federal Revenue, XP Investimentos recently registered XDEX INTERMEDIACAO LTDA – a company with around $7.3 million in registered capital.
The newly available data shows that this company was initially registered in August 2017. During the month of November, when most of the cryptocurrencies were surging, the exchange got its capital and turned to XDEX.
The local Brazilian news outlet Portal do Bitcoin confirmed this data and showed that this company is linked to XP Investimentos. However, there is still a lot that is unknown about this new cryptocurrency exchange. As Portal do Bitcoin states in a post on their website:
“It is not yet known what services the new exchange will provide. A source, who did not want to be identified, said that the action will be in the so-called over-the-counter market. That is: focused on movements of large volumes of capital and BTC.”
What’s most interesting in the entire situation is that XP Investimentos has been researching the crypto space for a while. In October 2017, they revealed that they registered the “XP Bitcoin” brand. One month later, they hired Fernando Ulrich who is a Brazilian cryptocurrency expert.
In Brazil, there are a lot of ‘rival’ associations in the crypto space. Even though associations are not yet certain on how cryptocurrencies should be regulated in the country, the president of one of these associations, Fernando Furlan, recently said:
“There is legal uncertainty. Depending on the purpose, it may be considered a means of payment or a financial asset. “
All in all, XP Investimentos’ move may come at the right time. After Brazil’s largest crypto exchange Foxbit went down for over 72 hours.
Japan Leads The Crypto Trends With 3.5 Million Active Traders
A new report from Japan’s Financial Services Authority showed a huge interest in cryptocurrencies. According to it, Japan has more than 3.5 million active crypto traders residing in the country.
The full survey covered 17 Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges – showing that the most traded cryptocurrencies in the country include the names of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.
When it comes to demographics, most of the Japanese traders are aged from 20 to 40 years old. Only a third (34%) are in their 30s. The annual trading, on the other hand, has risen from $22 million in 2014 to a massive $97 billion in 2017 – with the Bitcoin asset trading even higher, increasing from $2 million (2014) to $543 billion in 2017.
Japan’s trading industry is certainly booming. As a result, the country is taking a hands-on approach to ICO regulation. While China and South Korea chose to ban ICOs completely, Japan’s government has collected a team of researchers to work on regulatory guidelines that will grant approval to ICOs whose application is successful.
Currently, the guidelines include identification of potential money laundering activities which are among the main concerns for many government authorities and ICOs. Aside from that, the guidelines will also cover cybersecurity measures in order to prevent fraud as well as insider trading.
The good thing in all of this for traders is that the potential legalization of ICOs in Japan could be the bridge to other regulation by the surrounding (and other active) countries to follow. In an era where cryptocurrencies dominate the markets, there is definitely need for some kind of regulation – and Japan’s efforts may be the answer to legally incorporating ICO fundraising in the blockchain, fintech and traditional finance markets.
In the end, this makes Japan the world’s largest Bitcoin trading market – which is why its government must meet the issue head-on and explore new ways to sustain this growth.
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