IBM: Blockchain Cooperation with India’s Telecommunications Providers

IBM wants to prepare Indian telecommunications providers for the fourth industrial revolution. The responsible regulatory authority TRAI has also recognized the potential of blockchain and DLT.

While crypto currencies have a hard time in India, the government around Prime Minister Narendra is very sympathetic to blockchain technology. Modi not only wants to push the cooperation of the BRICS states in this area; in addition, the World Economic Forum in Maharastra opened a “Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” in October.

Indian interest in distributed ledger technology has also brought Bitcoin code technology giant IBM onto the scene

The US company is currently working with Indian Bitcoin code telecommunications companies on the Bitcoin code solutions for the country’s huge telecommunications market. This was reported by The Economic Times on 12 December.

“We have completed the proof of concept and pilot projects with all major telecommunications providers and with TRAI in this area,

Sriram Raghavan, CTO of IBM India and South Asia, told the Economic Times. TRAI, or The Regulatory Authority of India, is the Indian regulatory authority for telecommunications. It met with the companies involved on 10 December to discuss the next steps. A TRAI official told the Economic Times:

“[…] Telecommunications service providers are now in the process of updating their providers.”

First Bitcoin code

Both IBM and TRAI have so far been silent about which providers are meant by this Bitcoin code, which is not a scam says onlinebetrug. In the coming months the first Blockchain and/or DLT products are to come on the market. First, the national Do-Not-Call database is to be converted to DLT. Customers who do not want to receive calls from telemarketers can register their telephone numbers there.

One thing is certain: the telecom companies of the subcontinent can certainly tolerate a fresh cell cure. Despite its immense size, the Indian mobile phone market is not considered to be very lucrative. The reason for this is the low prices. However, there is still enormous growth potential in the area of network coverage. 70 percent of India’s population lives in rural regions. Only 58 percent of the country is covered by the telecommunications network.

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CoinShares study: 77 percent of Bitcoin Mining’s energy comes from green electricity

According to a new report by CoinShares, Bitcoin Mining not only uses electricity predominantly from renewable sources, but also acts as a promoter of clean electricity in certain regions. What is behind the thesis?

Bitcoin Mining doesn’t have a very good reputation. Critics of the No. 1 crypto currency all too often refer to the immense amount of power used for the proof-of-work algorithm (PoW), i.e. the security of the decentralized network. For such a volatile speculation object, the argument goes, the annual energy expenditure is out of all proportion.

The new CoinShare study on the status quo of Bitcoin mining paints a diametrically opposed picture of the situation. In “The Bitcoin Mining Network – Trends, Marginal Creation Cost, Electricity & Sources” the authors come to the conclusion that the data situation does not permit any other interpretation than that at least 77.6 percent of the electricity for Bitcoin Mining comes from renewable energies. Better still, through Bitcoin’s constant energy demand, the network siphons off excess energy reserves and thus stabilizes the power grids. This in turn even has a positive effect on the efficiency of electricity grids and promotes renewable energies.

An overview of the Bitcoin news

First, the authors of the Bitcoin news deal with the advantages of PoW. The Bitcoin news authors counter the critical attitude of many PoW opponents by stating that PoW algorithms are the safest of all consensus algorithms. Every network participant can participate in the verification of transactions by operating a full node and thus independently verify the network integrity.

Bitcoin Mining is therefore not a “senseless waste of energy”, but rather a necessary process for maintaining the network.

“We also believe in the advantages of a global, censorship-resistant, highly liquid currency with a sound monetary policy. In view of this, the costs are worth it.”

Profitability of Bitcoin formula

As BTC-ECHO reported, the Bitcoin formula miners currently have a hard time. Read more about it: A rising hash rate is countered by falling prices. This toxic combination is driving many players out of the market. However, according to the authors, profitable mining is still possible. You just have to know where. The report cites the Sichuan region in China as an example. Low temperatures and low electricity costs make for ideal conditions for Bitcoin mining.

Something new in the West
However, the trend is away from Chinese concentration. According to this, large mining farms are currently investing less in China than in countries such as the USA, Canada and Russia. Because there are often better conditions (faster Internet, lower temperatures, better regulation). According to the study, only 60 percent of the hash rate remains in the Middle Kingdom.

Bitcoin ETF: Jay Clayton expresses security concerns

A Bitcoin ETF is a partly longed-for investment vehicle in the crypto community. It is intended to flush big money into the ecosystem and attract institutional investors. Now SEC Chairman Jay Clayton commented on the issue.

Jay Clayton, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, commented on 26 November on a hotly debated topic in the crypto community:

Bitcoin trader ETFs

They have the reputation of radiating security for potential investors – and thus luring new money into the Bitcoin trader market. Exchange-traded funds are investment funds that track indices and have the same price trend as the underlying index (in this case Bitcoin). This means that investors can ultimately benefit from a performance without fearing a scam and actually having to buy the asset in question. In short, a Bitcoin ETF would greatly simplify investment in crypto currencies.

The question as to whether the Securities and Exchange Commission has finally agreed to allow ETFs has been a concern for the community for some time now. Only in November did VanEck say that all the conditions for admission had already been met. So far, however, no one has heard anything more about an approval. This should come as no surprise, as the SEC’s list of questions is quite long. With a decentralised technology and a more or less unregulated market environment, it is not necessarily easy to monitor or prevent things such as liquidity, custody, arbitrage and manipulation.

Bitcoin ETF: Security concerns still predominate crypto trader

In this context, Jay Clayton also expressed concerns about the crypto trader funds. According to Bloomberg he said that crypto currencies are still not protected against theft and/or can be manipulated: Crypto Trader Review 2018 ยป Full Scam Check

“What investors expect is that the trade […] underlying the ETF is a meaningful trade that is free […] from the significant risk of manipulation. This type of protection does not exist in many of the markets where digital currencies are traded”.

Thus, Bitcoin ETFs are unlikely to be approved in the near future. Considering the current situation around Exchanges, one can understand Clayton’s concerns. The debate over Bitfinex and the alleged manipulation of Tether alone are not necessarily evidence of a safe ecosystem. Also the Causa Envion leaves so some hurt investors behind.

What one must not overlook here, however, is that it is the stock exchanges and other middlemen who are not (always) safe. The Bitcoin blockchain itself is difficult to crack.

Rain and sunshine in the Lightning Network

The Lightning adoption is progressing. Since a few days the company Blockstream publishes daily a new application, which uses the Lightning Network. But the Second Layer Network still suffers from teething troubles.

The Lightning Network, the off-chain solution to Bitcoin’s scaling problem, is on everyone’s lips. It should not only solve the classic problem of transaction fees in a sustainable way, but also enable a fast exchange into other crypto currencies via Atomic swaps.

Lightning-Adoption progresses, first applications are the Bitcoin formula

A few days ago BTC-ECHO reported that the Lightning Network has now arrived in the Main Net. The number of Lightning Nodes has now reached almost 1,500, the Bitcoin formula adoption is progressing faster than the Bitcoin formula Cash acceptance.

This positive news is currently culminating in the neologism of LApps. LApps are Lightning Apps, i.e. applications that would not run without the Lightning Network. Blockstream has been publishing a new LApp every day for almost a week now.

These primarily have micro-payment solutions in mind and want to offer payment solutions based on Bitcoin, especially in the content sector. One feels reminded of SatoshiPay: via FileBazaar, micro-payments should be possible for users who offer photos, videos or documents. Lightning Publisher for WordPress is a distinctive name: bloggers can use it to place individual posts behind a paywall. With Nanotip you can pay other Litecoin users small amounts as recognition – Reddit users quickly feel reminded of tipbots. Finally, PayPerCall is intended to extend the concept of microtransactions to various API calls.

Loss of money through the Bitcoin trader

So far, the Bitcoin trader experience of the Lightning Network coincides with what you see when you look out of the window. The spring fever, however, is clouded by an unpleasant news: Is Bitcoin Trader a Scam? Read This Review Before You Sign Up! One user stated that his Bitcoin transaction was lost via the Lightning Network.

A user with a faulty channel database (i.e. a database containing the available payment channels for the network) did what anyone would have done: restored an old backup.

But now the problem was that this backup was obsolete. So the Lightning Node of the unfortunate sent the wrong status of the payment channels. Other nodes recognized this error, interpreted it as an attack attempt and acted accordingly.

Strictly speaking, the Lightning Network worked as it should: it detected that the database had stored incorrect information regarding account balances. This would be tantamount to a double-spending attempt.

Such a strict procedure is important: via the Lightning Network, the sender only announces in the first step that he wants to send a certain amount x to the recipient – an actual transaction takes place later. Such announcements wouldn’t be worth much more than promises if they weren’t controlled and synchronized decentrally.

And it is precisely this control that the poor user has fallen victim to. By the way, the user does not have to complain about a big loss: He only wanted to send the equivalent of 20 Euros.

Errors in the application layer, not in the Lightning Network
The error was therefore less one of the lighting network itself than of the application level. The Lightning Client should not allow transactions based on an old channel database in the first place, so that such errors cannot happen.

You can see from the incident that the Lightning Network certainly still has to do its homework. For the individual Bitcoin user, this means that he should be careful with Lightning transactions for the time being and not send excessive amounts of money. However, this should be possible with a network that supports microtransactions.

XRP price with over 60 percent weekly gain – How justified is the price explosion of the Ripple Coin?

XRP, Ripple’s token, has rallied massively this week, with the XRP price climbing over 60 percent in just one week. One of the main drivers behind these price jumps is the announcement that the XRP token will be deployed within a payment network for the first time. So far in commercial practice only the infrastructure of the company Ripple was used without XRP being used.

Originally, Ripple took over to attack the supremacy of the transaction processing standard SWIFT. After 45 years of a quasi-monopoly, there are good reasons to replace the outdated SWIFT settlement standard with a new, faster, cheaper and – ideally – even more decentralised system. But how decentralized is the bank coin at all? What role can the crypto currency XRP play here?

And what are the chances of seriously competing with Bitcoin profit?

The Ripple protocol is basically Bitcoin profit and can also be operated without the company Ripple. In practice, however, it is a fairly centralized service that is used by individual banks detached from the company’s own currency XRP. More than 120 banks use the Ripple infrastructure xCurrent to accelerate transactions – completely without XRP tokens.

Token Economy with xRapid?
In order to make up ground against the SWIFT settlement standard, xRapid, a payment infrastructure that this time also uses the XRP token, is to be launched in the coming weeks. The XRP token will be used as an “intermediate currency”, which will be significantly faster and cheaper than traditional bank transfers. Ten banks are currently testing the new Ripple processing standard. However, it is uncertain or difficult to assess at this point whether this standard will be able to assert itself in practice. This service is aimed primarily at financial institutions in emerging markets, which often have to contend with high liquidity costs. Finally, remittances in emerging markets often require prefinanced accounts in the targeted local currency. With xRapid, these liquidity costs could be reduced. In any case, the XRP price responded to the announcement on September 18th with a 17 percent jump and, as we can see from the current price trend, was able to continue the rally. With xRapid, XRP could for the first time fulfil a real function outside speculation.

The matter of Bitcoin profit

It is always a controversial topic how decentralized Ripple or XRP is. On the one hand, it is an open source protocol – anyone can set up a Bitcoin profit network completely detached from the company and act as a validator. However, the prerequisites for this are very high and involve a lot of inconvenience. Therefore, it is not surprising that the open source protocol is hardly used outside the Bitcoin profit. The current use case, the use of the Ripple infrastructure without XRP, is a highly centralized affair.

Another thorn in the side is the distorted separation of company and crypto currency. So Ripple never gets tired of emphasizing that the company basically has nothing to do with the crypto currency. A statement that is misleading, considering that Ripple keeps the XRP in escrow and uses it to finance the company. Also the infrastructure xRapid is clearly tailored to XRP. Accordingly, it doesn’t seem very authentic to pretend that Ripple and XRP are completely detached from each other.

The fungibility of the currency

DASH is, as you have said, a crypto currency that allows anonymous and instantaneous transactions, making it an electronic counterpart to cash.

How is this technically realized?

Unlike other crypto currencies, DASH uses a network of servers that perform more tasks than the typical nodes. That is why they are also called master nodes. This is a decentralized network, since in principle anyone can start their own master node.

For instantaneous transactions, a randomly selected group of master nodes – the so-called quorum – can block transactions so that double spending is avoided. With the help of this quorum, the payee knows after a little more than a second that the payment has been securely received. This makes DASH a suitable solution for fast transactions such as buying a computer.

Master Nodes also give users great privacy by deleting the transaction history of individual coins on request, thereby increasing the fungibility of the currency.

In addition to anonymity and instantaneous transactions, the third keyword that comes to mind about DASH is the special governance system: not only the miners, but also the operators of the master nodes as well as other stakeholders who support the public relations work for the digital currency receive a share of the royalties collected through the mining and transaction fees.

How is it guaranteed that the money is shared fairly between these parties?

In my opinion, the governance system is the greatest strength of DASH! Through this system everyone can make his contribution to the development of the network.

This guarantees that the fate of the crypto currency is not only in the hands of the miners and a defined circle of developers. Anyone can submit a proposal to the network.

They can ask for a consensus decision of the whole network on important questions or ask for help to start realizing ideas to improve the digital currency or its ecosystem.

These proposals are voted on by the network itself (i.e. the masternode operators), ensuring that these funds are made available to projects that the network finds valuable.

On the last question, I would like to go back over it: one could say that the governance system of DASH is reminiscent of a DAO. Now we know about the end of the best known DAO. Do security concepts exist that make something like the DAO exploit impossible?

Well, DASH’s code is based on Bitcoin’s – which has proven to be extremely robust through many tests. In addition, the code that governs governance has been stable and unhacked since mid-2015.

The code is tested before each new release according to all rules of the art and is open source, so that everyone can take a closer look at this code themselves.

The operators of master nodes are, as you have already briefly explained, those who decide which proposals are accepted or rejected. If a project is approved and a certain amount of money is available to the submitters, how is this distribution regulated? Is there a kind of Smart Contract or how do you guarantee that the project will receive the requested amount?

The network itself regulates the payment to the addresses of the approved projects. Every month, all approved proposals whose outstanding amounts are within the budget are paid directly by the block chain itself. This is done with such banned “super blocks”. The process is completely automated and nobody can intervene here.