Darryn Pollock

Africa’s Blockchain Boom Building From South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya

Africa’s Blockchain revolution is mostly being built in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, but its importance for the continent can not be underestimated
Africa’s Blockchain Boom Building From South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya

Reports highlighting the cryptocurrency space in Africa have pointed out a few interesting trends for the continent. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have long been seen as a stepping stone for struggling economies, however, it seems that there are just three countries leading the way in this space.

South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, a country whose own currency has collapsed to a point where the citizens are using the US Dollar, are seeing an influx of capital and ICO projects.

Facing fintech

The research shows that the African fintech boom is starting to take off. The report looks at the first quarter 2018 activity across the continent. It notes that African fintech startups have been the most attractive for funding flowing into African tech startups.

There are figures that show Kenya’s crypto exchange platform SureRemit raised $7 mln in an ICO and South Africa’s The Sun Exchange launched $5 mln.

Furthermore, In Zimbabwe, Golix is moving ahead with its plan to launch a $32 mln ICO after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was ordered to lift its ban on crypto businesses in Zimbabwe.

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Adoption growing

With the money flowing into these three countries in particular, and the evidence pointing towards a boom in fintech and with that cryptocurrencies, there has also been obvious adoption for the mainstream.

Zimbabwe and South Africa have been installing Bitcoin ATMs across their respective lands, and there are even cryptocurrencies that are being built to suit certain plights in Africa, such as Rhino poaching.

A chance to leapfrog Africa forward

However, these countries may be leading Africa, but the entire continent is a bit of a small fish in a big cryptocurrency pond. According to Eugene Etsebeth, and ex-central banker from South Africa who has turned his attention to cryptocurrencies, South Africa is lagging and not leading.

“The fintech scene in South Africa isn’t as strong as it looks. There are a lot of early startups, but I wouldn’t put it in the same category as for instance Israel or the West Coast. There is a big drive in millennials, like everywhere in the world, to be the owner of their own destiny. If they are computer programming literate they will probably take a risk early on. The fintech scene is prominent in South Africa, but I wouldn’t say it’s extremely large,” Etsebeth told CryptoComes.

However, there is a massive gap for Africa to really embrace the cryptocurrency space and take it forward while leapfrogging the monopoly of western financial systems that are not effective in Africa.

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Vera Thornpike

How Blockchain Addresses Healthcare’s Pain Points?

Blockchain technology influences all industries with healthcare experiencing the major impact. How exactly can blockchain technology upgrade healthcare?
How Blockchain Addresses Healthcare’s Pain Points?

Since the introduction of the blockchain, the digital world started changing irreversibly: it revolutionized the way we handle information and perform transactions. Blockchain provides umpteen possibilities, not only for crypto trading and financial world. Other companies can reap benefits from it, too, and healthcare organizations don’t stay on the sideline. Let’s find out how blockchain and smart contracts help healthcare companies address shortfalls and discuss a few cases in point.

Healthcare is in dire need of innovation

A perfect healthcare system is the one that sustains a decent level of medical support and provides timely help on a 24/7 basis. Whether we like it or not, there’s a myriad of regulations and legal issues that make the process time-consuming and complicated. There are lots of weak sides and gaps to pinpoint:

  • Important patient data is scattered over many systems and documents. Some of the information gets lost irreversibly.

  • Healthcare research results stay unreported, and the records are full of errors and misleading data.

  • Organizations communicate in an old, outdated way. When it comes to information exchange, the process is too long.

  • The problem of counterfeit medication production is still acute.

It goes without mentioning the financial aspect: both services and education in the sphere of healthcare are far from being widely affordable. The quality of service in private medical centers and governmental organizations is different, but residents of some countries don’t have any choice at all.

Therefore, a powerful, innovative solution is required to slog through the bureaucratic hurdles and turn the tables in favor of patients. The blockchain is the way to ensure the integrity of data exchange by storing information in encrypted algorithms and offering real-time sharing.

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Focus on the information

John Halamka, Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, expresses his position the following way:

Just using blockchain in healthcare because it's cool does not make sense. In 2017, I worked on several production blockchain applications, so I have a sense what works and what does not. The blockchain is not meant for storage of large data sets. The blockchain is not an analytics platform. Blockchain has very slow transactional performance. However, as a tamperproof public ledger, blockchain is ideal for proof of work. The blockchain is highly resilient.

With these points in mind, organizations should consider using blockchain for:

  1. Storage of medical records. As soon as the patient’s personal medical history is generated and signed, it can be sent to blockchain that ensures total security and integrity of data. The same is applied to the results of medical trials and research. This is a mission-critical opportunity in cases when the integrity of medical record matters.

  2. Consent management. In the current healthcare system, every state has its own regulations of privacy and consent. Blockchain can serve to record the patient consent and share data. It allows every party to check the blockchain permissions for accessing medical data.

  3. Collection of information. The idea of rewarding patients for sharing data appeals to both sides. It is already implemented in a few projects — we will discuss them a bit later. Such approach brings mutual benefits: companies get enough data for research and trials, and people contribute to healthcare for some perks or financial compensation. They are sure that the data won’t get into wrong hands.

Therefore, blockchain technology changes the way of collecting and handling patient health information (PHI). It can be beneficial at a personal level, too: IoT devices, such as smart bracelets, can collect metrics and store it in a distributed ledger.

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Real life blockchain application: 5 Interesting projects

How is theory translated into practice? Let’s review a few projects that leverage blockchain successfully.

1. Shivom

This project is designed for the collection and storage of genetic data. Shivom has become one of the first blockchain-based solutions for medical corporations and scientists. How does it work? The users registering in Shivom system are encouraged to share their genetic information: they send biological material to the organization and get rewarded by the Omx token. The information about genomes is sequenced and stored in a database. Shivom guarantees total safety of personal data.

At the same time, the platform serves as a marketplace for organizations in need of medical data: drugstores, governments, research groups, universities, etc.

The information obtained via Shivom can be used for:

  • clinical research;

  • drug development;

  • precise identification of diseases;

  • prognosis of disease;

  • personal treatment.

Aside from financial reward, a user gets another perk: their genetic information can be used for diagnostics, prognosis, and disease treatment. With detailed genetic information at their fingertips, medical workers can develop an individual treatment plan and predict the reaction of the body to certain medications.

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What is the role of blockchain? It will eliminate the problem of trust, ensure data integrity and correctness, and solve the issue of patients’ consent, ownership of information, and authentication. Users contributing their personal medical data are given the private keys in order for the information to stay encrypted. They are free to choose who can access their data.

2. Doc.AI

This project was launched in 2016 by entrepreneurs Walter and Sam De Brouwer. The main idea behind Doc.AI is the visualization of a patient’s health future. Sound too complicated? This is how it works in layman’s terms:

  1. You collect medical data (genome, microbiome, etc), and send it to Doc.AI

  2. A team of data scientists analyzes the data and makes some predictive models.

  3. You get an insight into the data and can bring the information to the doctor.

For scientists, your data is essential to research fuel, for you — it’s a chance to get a professional opinion and go through the ‘troubleshooting’ process. Probably, scientists can predict health problems you didn’t suspect to have.

At the moment, any user is free to launch a data trial. The blockchain will guarantee the safety of their information and integrity of research results. Doc.AI is a good example of AI, blockchain technologies, and community working together for the sake of humanity.

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3. Iryo

There’s nothing more irritating than coming to a hospital to find out your medical records have been lost. Blockchain eliminates such risks, and Iryo is one of the projects that make steps towards integrity and the safekeeping of medical information.

The Slovenia-based enterprise is developing an open-source OpenEHR platform with a zero-knowledge data repository. It ensures the safety of medical data and prevents breaches and hacking. Thus, instead of having their medical information stored in different sources, patients can keep all records on Iryo facilities. The project can be evaluated by people from all over the world, but first the testing takes place in Slovenia.

4. Gem

This is another solution for medical data handling. Gem was established in Venice Beach, California, four years ago and is aimed to connect the data sets in a blockchain-based platform called GemOS. The creators strive to make healthcare more patient-oriented and facilitate data management.

Gem partnered with Tieto and Philips — a European health service provider — and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The latter works on population health data management. For Tieto, Gem helps connect data from Finnish blood banks and DNA registers.

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5. Medicalchain

This is an English company that’s developing a blockchain-based project for storing health records and sharing them with all related parties — doctors, laboratories, hospitals, pharmacists. Of course, it’s done after a patient’s permission only. In the nearest future, Medicalchain will also introduce telemedicine: it will help patients communicate with doctors online. Now people won’t have to meet doctors directly. In addition, third-party developers would be able to create applications on the basis of Medicalchain’s system. That means there will be the whole chain of digital solutions making our lives simpler.

In March 2018, Medicalchain started a partnership with the Groves Medical group, an organization that counts over 30,000 patients. Groves decided to be among the first to try the technology and accept cryptocurrency as payment for its services. Four of its medical centers will get access to the data stored in the blockchain.

The role of cryptocurrency

All of the above-mentioned projects implement their own tokens and blockchain. However, it doesn’t mean a healthcare initiative needs to build its own decentralized ledger to benefit from the technology. There’s a myriad of charity organizations that accept contributions in cryptocurrency to spend it on patients’ health, research, and education.

SENS

Can we stop aging? Several scientists sponsored by SENS project are working hard to address this issue. They develop medications and treatment for aging-related diseases. The fund accepts crypto donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

The SENS team performs research in its own laboratory in California. Aside from that, it organizes annual conferences and seminars, publishes scientific articles, news and reports. SENS partners with American institutes and has already managed to tackle a lot of problems, including:

  • Cardiovascular and eye diseases;

  • Genetic changes and their influence on the body;

  • Cell aging.

Donations help researchers to rent laboratories and equipment in advanced universities. Beside, SENS gives education grants for outstanding students. Its funds are also spent to organize scientific meet-ups and conferences. Probably, SENS’ efforts will take us one step closer to immortality.

Medic Mobile

This project is sponsored by BitGive, one of the largest charity organizations that accept crypto. Medic Mobile provides medical education to those who cannot access it because of poverty and low quality of life, e.g. to people in Latin America, Africa, and some Asian countries. In the first quarter of 2018, Medic Mobile helped almost 20,000 people from 23 countries to get a medical education.

image

The organization educated in different spheres putting the focus on family planning, children’s health, and disease treatment. Thus, the organization raises the quality of medical help in regions where it’s crucial. Medic Mobile teaches both theory and practice: students master different medical instruments and get experience. Moreover, the organization carries research and publishes scientific works.

What about exchanges?

The crypto exchanges will be involved in the process of blockchain adoption, too. Successful healthcare ICO will make it to the exchange market to present their tokens. At the moment, the following coins can be traded:

  • Dentacoin (DCN);

  • Medibloc (MEDX);

  • Medicalchain (MTN);

  • Lympo (LMY);

  • FarmaTrust (FTT);

  • AIDOC (NRN);

  • Shivom (OMX);

  • Docademic (MTC);

  • Patientory (PTOY).

All of those tokens are of ERC-20 type.

Blockchain opportunities in healthcare

Evidently, the use cases of blockchain are endless, but what exactly are the benefits to be reaped?

Data integrity and security

The healthcare system is full of middlemen and bureaucratic procedures. Employment of blockchain allows exchanging data in a more transparent, secure manner.

There’s always the risk of mistakes, while blockchain is tamper-proof and eliminates the threat of human errors.

It also applies to research: blockchain ensures the reliability of information.

Safety of medications and drugs

Thanks to the new technology, the pharmaceutical supply chain can be protected against manufacturers of counterfeit production. Blockchain can be applied to control the process of drug development due to smart contracts and real-time recording. Thus, the process of drug production and distribution can be tracked by authorized parties and patients.

Easy access to medical records

Distributed ledgers can store medical history. Patients are free to access their information and provide access to it for third parties, such as doctors, hospitals and insurance providers. The blocks of information stay safe and secure.

Removal of third parties

Blockchain enhances payments without the involvement of third parties for billing management. All financial data is trackable.

Unique identifier for every patient

The distributed ledger gathers all patient’s data together and matches both IDs for the patient and IDs for the health records systems. Therefore, it can serve to store medical records, contacts, genetic and biometric data.

 

Thus, the technology renders advantages at all levels of the healthcare system - from individual (seamless experience for every patient) to corporate (patient data management, research).

Cybersecurity in healthcare

According to a report published by Deloitte, there were 112 million technological breaches in health record data in the year 2015. In 2016, over 27 million patients were affected by hackers. 43% of those breaches were initiated by insiders, and 27% happened because of ransomware and hacking. The number of connected health devices is growing, and it will be harder for the Health IT infrastructure and architecture to support the evolving IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) ecosystems.

By 2020, the global number of IoT connected devices is expected to reach 20-30 bln. Blockchain technology can help to bridge the existing gaps and enable device data interoperability while sustaining privacy and reliability. Such companies as Telstra (user biometrics and smart homes), IBM (cognitive Internet of Things) and Tierion (industrial medical device preventive maintenance) are making research on those use cases to introduce blockchain in IoT devices efficiently.

What should companies do?

It’s clear that blockchain technology cannot be integrated into healthcare in a day, but being among the first companies to leverage it won’t hurt. Therefore, companies from the sector should prepare for serious technical innovations.

At the moment, preparation involves:

  • learning about blockchain;

  • considering potential applications and use cases;

  • building initial capabilities;

  • collecting funds for upgrades.

The exact steps depend on the industry.

Pharma

Pharmaceutical companies are most likely to experience the influence of blockchain. They will realize the value of technology when it helps eliminate counterfeiters, validate product quality, improve the speed and performance of operations. Companies should determine how exactly the capabilities should be acquired — through the in-house technologies, a partnership with startups, or buying capabilities them as a service.

At the moment, they can start experimenting with off-the-shelf solutions and consider partnership with startups to develop their specific applications.

Medtech

Medtech developers should put a heavy focus on combining blockchain with the IoT. They need to explore how the blockchain can secure data transaction among numerous connected devices, for example, pacemakers, insulin pumps, and sleep apnea equipment. That will enhance more efficient management of patient information. Probably, a broader ecosystem should be established around connected devices (patient, health service provider, medtech supplier).

Health service providers and payers

Here, a lot of regulations and legislation issues should be addressed. At the moment, there are a lot of constraints that hurdle the efficiency of health care. For example, some countries don’t allow for the assimilation of patient data from different sources. To sharpen their competitive edge, healthcare providers need to boost their strength in such spheres as network management, medical management, and support functions.

Both providers and payers are the most influential players in the healthcare niche. They have a chance to implement blockchain by addressing technology governance issues, participating in cross-industry dialogue, and encouraging their clients to include blockchain-enabled privacy controls in their applications. Payers, in their turn, can promote new formats of service provision. For example, the above-mentioned Gem project plans to link the hospital records with the data obtained from other sources, such as wearables and employee wellness programs.

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Blockchain isn’t a panacea

Despite glowing prospects, we’re unlikely to see blockchain used in healthcare on a habitual basis very soon. To set the ball rolling, the industry should overcome dramatic changes, and the question is: “Are healthcare organizations ready?”

There are at least five factors that make blockchain implementation curve too steep:

  1. Development is very slow and challenging. When it comes to creating blockchain algorithms, programmers should keep the data consistent across every single node, and even a tiny error can disrupt the entire database. Even worse: one bug can render different data to one node and others. Fixing bugs is very hard because all users should agree to any changes — all in all, blockchain isn’t under the control of a single entity.

  2. Incentive structures are difficult to design. The rewards should be aligned with the network goals. All incentive issues should be solved right from the start. Otherwise, blockchain is worthless.

  3. Maintenance can be expensive: while in the centralized model, tasks are performed only once, in blockchain they must run thousands of times. The same data is stored in multiple places rather than one source. The cost of transmission, verification, and storage are too high, because every database (out of tens, hundreds or even thousands) should be paid instead of one centralized database.

  4. Risk of bad actors uploading wrong data. Since there’s no governing entity, blockchain can be entered by malicious users who can upload frivolous data or use the system for profit. Without strict rules for deterring bad behavior, the blockchain is doomed.

  5. The existing infrastructure should be evolved, too. Every hospital and organizations have their own well-established methods of data storage, supply chain, and payment system. All upgrades should be somehow compatible with the current technologies used — matching them is quite hard.

Bottom Line

The healthcare industry in both developing and developed countries has a lot of vulnerabilities and breaches. The use of blockchain technology and smart contracts can eliminate the problems connected with data management and security making services more efficient and quick.

Imagine that you can have all of your medical data (medical history, genetic and biometric info, data from devices) stored in one place, accessed within a second from any hospital in the world. You can discuss your health with your doctor via Skype call and make purchases in pharmacy, being sure that it’s a 100% original product. Sound good? The future of blockchain can make this utopian reality true.

However, it’s unlikely for us to enjoy such convenience in any place of the world because the implementation of blockchain in anywhere except crypto trading requires a lot of time, effort, and investment. The number of enthusiasts and pioneers testing blockchain on their facilities should be way higher to see any positive shift.

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🎤 Interviews Katya Michaels

Vinny Lingham On Bitcoin Future and Next Crypto Star: Exclusive to CryptoComes

🎤 Interviews
The Bitcoin Oracle remains bullish on the cryptocurrency market: exclusive interview with Vinny Lingham
Vinny Lingham On Bitcoin Future and Next Crypto Star: Exclusive to CryptoComes

 

Vinny Lingham Talks to CryptoComes About the Aggressive Market, the Next Crypto Star, and Personal Data Security.

CryptoComes will surprise no one by confessing that we have been waiting for a turn at Vinny Lingham’s dispensary of uncanny cryptocurrency wisdom, especially given the market turmoil of the last few months. We got the chance at last week’s StartEngine ICO 2.0 Spring Summit in Los Angeles. Over a hurried breakfast between a panel on “The State of ICO Regulation” and his flight out to the next destination, Vinny shared some industry insights which we dutifully pass on to our readers - until the next encounter with the Bitcoin Oracle…

Katya Michaels: You are known for your predictions. So, are you always right?

Vinny Lingham: No, but you only need to be right half the time to be an oracle.

KM: Still, how do you do it? Is it just common sense?

VL: It’s more fundamental base, market timing, psychology, and so on. I'm not always right about it. I do also think that the market's been a bit too aggressive lately. But things can't go up forever, that quickly, it doesn't work that way.

Bitcoin Cash

KM: In any case, your predictions about Bitcoin Cash are being confirmed. Is there something inherent that makes it grow?

Vinny Lingham:

The network effect around Bitcoin Cash is growing faster than Bitcoin. It's a smaller currency, so it will grow faster, but the question is - can it catch up to Bitcoin. That still remains to be seen. Bitcoin has a network effect that is second to none.

KM: How far do you think Bitcoin Cash will go this year? Do you have a figure in mind?

VL: I don't, we'll see how it goes. It depends on whether or not it decouples from Bitcoin. Right now it trades in the range of Bitcoin, and it needs to decouple significantly, which might take a long time.

KM: Most cryptocurrencies seem to follow Bitcoin’s movement in the market. Do you think this can change?

VL: Yes, once you have stable coins and security tokens, they will be able to move on their own.

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Next big Crypto star

KM: Who is the next big star in Crypto - Cardano? EOS perhaps?

Vinny Lingham:

The next star is Filecoin, when it goes live eventually, later this year maybe. I invested in 2014 and I’m a big believer in the technology, the team and what they are doing.

KM: Are you still critical of Litecoin?

VL: I still don't understand Litecoin enough. I don't know how it's different from Bitcoin, except that it's a little bit faster. I still don't get it - maybe I'll never get it.

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Personal data security

KM: Your own project, Civic, addresses the security of identity and personal data. In the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica, how can Blockchain help users regain control of their information? Do you think there are any viable Blockchain based challenges to Facebook right now?

Vinny Lingham:

I don't think that Facebook has any challenges right now because it's just too big. Two billion people onboarding to something else is not going to happen anytime soon.

I do think that you can enhance user privacy by moving to solutions like Civic where people can control their own data and authorize who can see it and who can use it. But replacing Facebook right now is impossible, you can just build something different.

KM: Do you think people are ready to own and be in control of their data?

VL: I think a lot of people are ready and they want it, it's just not there for them yet.

KM: What are the main challenges to the adoption of identity-management platforms like Civic?

VL: The biggest challenge right now is that the current regulations don't really force companies to be cognizant of the use of data that they are storing. Now GDPR in Europe is coming in next month, and I think US regulations are coming as well. Adoption will happen when we have government regulations forcing companies to be responsible and they have to look at solutions like Civic.

Adoption

KM: What do you think is the best platform right now for decentralized applications and smart contracts?

VL: I think EOS.

KM: It seems that people misunderstand Blockchain applications and smart contracts a lot at the moment.

VL: Very much so. Everyone says “we can do all these cool things,” but no one is actually doing anything with it, there are no use cases.

KM: Why do you think that is?

Vinny Lingham:

It's early stage technology, that's always the case. The dream is there, the reality is a nightmare.

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KM: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are some of the most exciting technology developments now. What is the big next influence or application of that in crypto?

VL: I think it's just about finding use cases, a way that we could use this technology, something really cool. And it needs to be used at scale, it can't be five transactions a day. Even if use cases are there, adoption takes time - adoption takes longer than scaling. You can always scale things if you have enough adoption.

KM: And what is the key to encouraging adoption?

VL: Focusing less on the technology and more on the use cases. Also, getting companies to buy into it - companies aren't using blockchains right now, .01 percent maybe.

KM: Are the costs of transition too high?

Vinny Lingham:  

It's going to take a while. Look at the internet, it took 30 years to adopt, starting in the 70s and 80s. Why do we think it's going to be different this time? I'm not bearish, I'm bullish on it, but these things don't happen overnight, it takes time.

KM: But will the market climb back or is this it?

VL: I think I'm expecting one more big dip, then it'll come back and we’ll see how it goes.

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🎤 Interviews
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Darryn Pollock

Regulatory Trepidation is Hampering Cryptocurrency Adoption as Calls For Direction Get Louder

They say the cryptocurrency space is the Wild West, but when it comes to regulations, they are so vague that it is hard to know how to stay on the straight and narrow
Regulatory Trepidation is Hampering Cryptocurrency Adoption as Calls For Direction Get Louder

There have been two obvious waves in the cryptocurrency space. First, it was the incredible growth, adoption and mainstream adoption that permeated the last six months of 2017, then, following that, regulators have been forced to step up and decide how to govern this new financial technology.

At first, the two sides of this battle fought hard against one another as the idea behind cryptocurrencies is that they were free from centralized control. However, as that ideal has slowly been quashed, and a realization has emerged that cryptocurrencies need to fit into everyday regulation, the sentiment has changed.

Regulators have, inadvertently, become major shapers and movers of the cryptocurrency markets with announcements- either positive or negative- visibly shaking up the price of things like Bitcoin.

However, it would appear that they are not actually doing enough. The mandate for regulators is to set out clear and defined guidelines for this new technology, but this is not the case as many either try and squash them into existing rules or sit back and wait until there is a step that crosses a line before cracking down.

In reality, those companies that are actively engaging in viable and applicable Blockchain and cryptocurrency projects are baying for clear and transparent guidelines, because without them, adoption is being slowed right down.

Finding a direction

Part of the problem is the broad and vast application that Blockchain and cryptocurrencies endure. They are seen as money, a security, property or a commodity, and many blame this opacity for confounding the adoption of the asset class.

It is also not helpful that, in the US for example, multiple offices are trying to oversee different facets of one financial technology. These include the SEC, the CFTC, the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the IRS.

So, with the space so widely spread, it is understandable that regulation is taking time to find its direction. However, it is occurring, just at a rate that those involved in this fast-moving space are not accustomed to.

Angela Walch, associate professor at St. Mary's University School of Law in Texas and a Research Fellow at the Center for Blockchain Technologies at University College London, explains that clarification in regulation is happening, but it is under pressure.

“Each new enforcement action by the SEC and CFTC seems to be focusing on a slightly different behavior, with the goal of slowly clarifying which activities are problematic. Overall, US regulators still are attempting to walk the line of protecting consumers while not stifling innovation, but we are definitely seeing more industry pushes for greater clarity, with some new industry lobbying organizations forming in 2018,” Walch said.

She goes on to add:

“My fear is we may be heading towards a race to the bottom with global crypto regulation. US regulators are facing increasing pressure from industry to be more industry-friendly, with the threat of losing jobs and investment capital to foreign jurisdictions."

An unprecedented space

The issue for regulators is that with Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, which are decentralized and totally global, they have come up against something they have never seen before.

It has caused regulators across the globe to tackle the technology very differently; from China and its out-right bans to Malta and its friendly and welcoming regulation. But, these contrasting ideas are also leaving Blockchain companies confused as to what the global take on this technology is.

While the two ends of the spectrum at least offer clarity, the majority of countries sit in the grey area in between acceptance and rejection. It is in these countries, where a wait-and-see approach is prevalent that innovators of this technology are calling for a direction, calling for transparency, and clear and direct guidelines.

There is no doubt these will come, but will it all be too late as the innovators lose faith and abandon hope? Or, will this careful process weed out the time-wasters and poor projects, leaving only the strongest to form a Blockchain base?

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Exchanges Guide George Shnurenko

UpBit Review

🎓 Exchanges Guide
Upbit is a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange which, despite its local dominance, has yet to make a push for foreign customers.
UpBit Review

What is Upbit?


Upbit is a new South Korean exchange that was launched last year and swiftly gained popularity around the globe. In January 2018, Upbit already surpassed its Korean competitors by daily trading volume. Now it is the leading exchange operator (according to coinmarketcap.com/exchanges/upbit).

The secret of such a rapid success can be easily understood if you take a look at people who stand behind Upbit. Its founder is an ultra-rich entrepreneur Song Chi-Hyung whose net worth, according to Forbes, is estimated at 300 million dollars. Song Chi-Hyung is the CEO of an ambitious start-up Dunamu affiliated with South Korea’s technical giant Kakao that owns the most popular messager and one of the most popular search engines in the country.


Upbit Review


As of July 2018, it supports more than 140 cryptocurrencies (these include all of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap and a lot of altcoins like ICON (ICX). Upbit has listed about 30 new coins since its launch in 2017. You can check Upbit Reddit or Upbit Twitter for more information on the number of available coins.


Upbit exchange supports fiat money, but only the South Korean won (KRW). It is worth mentioning that the Upbit and Bittrex closely cooperate with each other. Bittrex is another popular America exchange which features the biggest amount of altcoins on the market. Upbit and Bittrex share all trading pairs excluding those that include KRW.

However, you should be careful before investing money in a specific altcoin. Upbit reserves the right to delist any currency from the site. For example, the exchange has recently removed MTL delivering a major blow to this currency, since Upbit is responsible for more than 1/5 of its global trading volume. The same happened to four other cryptocurrencies which is rather troublesome for Korean investors who have to look for foreign exchanges to purchase these altcoins.


How to Use Upbit?

home pahe
The bad news for whose who want to join this exchange is that it is only available for clients from South Korea. Furthermore, Upbit’s website is only available in Korean (even Upbit English version is not available) which further proves that they aren’t aiming at attracting foreigner customers.

  1. Since there is no Upbit English site, go to upbit.com and use Google Translate.
     

    sign up

     

  2. Then you will have to create a Kakao account which will be used for this exchange.
    kakao

  3. Once you’ve done that, you can use Upbit, but you won’t be able to deposit/withdraw money and engage in trading since the ID verification is mandatory here.

The bottom line of this Upbit review is that there is no point to create an account unless you become a South Korean citizen. While the majority of exchanges strive for global dominance by constantly expanding the list of supported countries, Upbit wants to focus on its local market.


Is Upbit Safe?


As mentioned above, Upbit Korean exchange is directly connected to Kakao Corp, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that this exchange has strong cyber security protection. Not a single breach has been reported yet. There were rumors about an Upbit hack spreading across Telegram about a week ago, but the exchange denied these allegations and explained that all the inconveniences were due to a recent network upgrade.

In May 2018, FSS put Upbit under investigation which reportedly made its clients to flee in droves. After South Korean ban, the future of cryptocurrencies was in limbo, but now the country (which still remains a major crypto hub) is softening its stance by imposing regulations instead of banning exchanges. The result of the Upbit investigation showed no signs of any illegitimate activities which proves that Upbit is a reputed exchange. By putting crypto business under scrutiny, the South Korean government wants to create a safer environment for traders.

Is Upbit safe? Practically any Upbit exchange review states that this platform highly secure. As mentioned, above you actually have to provide your ID in order to make any transactions. The exchange operator also encourages its users to enable TFA and safely keep Upbit API keys. On top of that, Upbit’s hot wallets are protected by a Blockchain security company BitGo.


How to Trade on Upbit?


You cannot trade with leverage on Upbit which may seem as a major disadvantage for some serious investors, since margin trading can significantly increase your gains.

You can see all of the trading pairs listen on the right side of your screen. In the central of the screen, there is a candlestick chart and prices from various popular exchanges above this graph (the platform conveniently calculates the average price). There are different indicators for advanced traders. In order to buy or sell money, pay attention to the chart at the bottom of the page where you can place an order. Apart from the web version of this exchange operator, there is also a mobile app for Android and iOS.

markets




NB! Upbit doesn’t allow you to place orders smaller than 500 won ($0.45) which makes trading slightly more challenging.


Upbit Fees


Upbit fees are pretty competitive even compared to other Korean exchanges.

Deposit Fees

  •  

Withdrawal Fees

0.0005 BTC, 1 XRP, 0,01 XLM, 80 TRX (depends on the particular currency)

Trading Fees

a flat 0.25% fee per each trade

 

Exchanges Guide
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SingUlarity Darryn Pollock

What is Noiseless Marketing and How Blockchain Helps Products With Real Value

SingUlarity
Marketing is evolving to a point where it is becoming noiseless, it is getting back to its roots, and the value of the product wills out
What is Noiseless Marketing and How Blockchain Helps Products With Real Value

Marketing is a major factor in every single business and every single market, and plays a huge role in the success or failure of products and services. As such, it is a dynamic and ever-evolving space that is filled with competition and cut-throat ambition.

Marketing has also been driven by technology and with that, the likes of Above the Line marketing have come to the fore and become very much a part of the mass media. With that space growing exponentially, it has been a massive fight for those marketers to push theirs above the line agenda.

Above the Line at its peak

But, big Above the Line marketing, in a competitive environment, has meant that the marketing is more important than the product.

Marketing has entered a space where the product is secondary, and the fine margins between a good and great product can be determined more about how they are marketed.

But as times have begun changing, and even technology shifting, there is a change in the wind for marketers as well. Marketing differentiators have shifted to Below the Line to try and prove their products worth, but now, there is a layer even lower than that needs to be figured out.

People have started to grow tired with flashy Above the Line marketing and are more intent on knowing what their fellow users think. Communities are forming and their power is being felt, more so, communities are also becoming transparent thanks to technology like Blockchain.

Companies can't press the communities with the perceived value anymore. The information spreads from one community member to another, and hence the need for noiseless marketing.

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Below the Line

The popularization of mass media and things like television, radio, and other such platforms for Above the Line marketing saw a boom in advertising for products and services, applying to a mass market.

People were convinced that certain products were a must have and that they were superior to other competitors, simply because they had a bigger advertising budget and could push a perceived value down people’s throats.

As marketing helped consumerism boom, so it exponentially made the product market and the advertising market that much more competitive. The barrier to entry for people creating a range of products was far less, and the market became flooded for choice in different products.

The only way to really differentiate oneself from the competitor was through advertising. The value being advertised or spurted through marketing was not necessary as high as it stated, but it was perceived that way.

Above the Line was soon being challenged as the market was no longer faceless and voiceless. Suddenly, through the Internet and social media, the customers could speak out and interact with the product creators. They had a voice, and it became just as important to advertise Below the Line again.

Below the Line advertising allowed the products to demonstrate themselves, put other marketing spins on, and try and add extra value rather than forcing a perceived value. The customers would no longer lap up everything that was said, and they could see the value and would let others know where that value began and ended.

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The new horizon

Still, as marketing continued to move with the times, social media and the Internet was used as a tool, and the perceived value of things was also manipulated through marketing. Ratings, star reviews and other forms of comments are easily forged, and so, the market differentiator may have shifted, but the products were still being defined by new forms of internet marketing.

Marketing's reputation has become sleazy and the perception is that every advert or marketing strategy is trying to get the most out with the least in. People are no longer falling for it.

This has led to what is seen as a new standard in marketing that can be considered “noiseless marketing.”

Noiseless marketing is essentially letting the product do the talking, and not wasting people’s time with unnecessary fluff on trying to push a product.

Silent marketing rather listens than shouts, and takes in what is needed by being intuitive, and creating exactly what is wanted.

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Community transparency

As new technology comes forward, such as Blockchain, marketers again have to adjust, just like they did to television and the Internet. The thing is, with Blockchain, the steps in marketing are already being made with this phenomenon of noiseless marketing.

Blockchain supports the idea of community transparency and the relationships and connections of real trust. Companies willing to market their product will have to offer something of real value, invest less in marketing as it will be of much lesser use than it is today.

Trust is the ultimate catalyst for any community. There are projects like U°Community that build a transparent community platform with dynamic reputation. Users could create content, interact with people, direct their own communities, run businesses, and even build dApps without having to leave the ecosystem.

Communities that are formed in Blockchain will be the judge, jury and executioner of a product, and they will not be spoken to through marketing to be swayed one way or another. The trustless and transparent nature of the Blockchain and the communities present on it will also make it difficult for marketing to get around this core.

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A Blockchain way of life

The creation of Bitcoin and Blockchain came out of a changing in global sentiment to move away from corporations and centralized control. It is Blockchain and its decentralized nature that is so important and tempting for the new generation.

In this way, noiseless marketing is also a reaction to a desire to be less reliant on centralized authorities- this time in advertising. Blockchain is the means on which a global desire can be played out, and down the line it will be the end of centralized control over the population.

To this end, noiseless marketing needs to become the future. Although it will be tough and a lot of players will become extinct, the ones with value will win. And the community will only win too.

SingUlarity
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