Antony Koroid

Research Expert Calls Bitcoin Attractive to Terrorists in Forbes Article

Writing for Forbes, research expert Nikita Malik asks whether Bitcoin is a reliable payment system for terrorists
Research Expert Calls Bitcoin Attractive to Terrorists in Forbes Article
Contents

In a recent Forbes publication, the Head of the Centre on Radicalization and Terrorism (CRT) at the Henry Jackson Society, Nikita Malik, recently explored the question of whether Bitcoin is a reliable payment system for terrorists.

Why attractive?

In Malik’s opinion, Bitcoin and its anonymity should be studied to understand why it's often used in the criminal world.

According to the Europol report for 2015, the first and most famous digital currency was featured in more than 40% of high-profile investigations related to money transactions between criminals in the European Union.

All information about Bitcoin and altcoin transactions are recorded in a distributed registry called blockchain. This information isn't tied to specific names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, pics, geodata, or any other information that can be used to identify the person. This makes it very difficult for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify specific illegal financial transactions.

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Exactly this financial security often makes digital currencies attractive to terrorists and criminals. The network doesn't allow to recall any confirmed Bitcoin transaction if the recipient doesn't send the money back. This prevents double fees and serves as a guarantee that the money will not be duplicated on the net.

Thanks to a network of anonymous miners, each such blockchain transaction becomes unique. In the case of the duplication, the network will automatically reject the transaction as fake and failed.

This benefits the people who conduct illegal operations. For example, those who are paid for illegal goods and prohibited services on the Darknet, which may otherwise be open to the authorities, or competing criminal organizations.

How is it used?

Malik says there are many examples of the illegal use of Bitcoins by terrorists.

In 2015, Maryland resident Mohamed Elshinawy received about $8,700 via Western Union and PayPal. He planned to use these funds to finance ISIS terrorist operations. In August 2015, Elshinawy was convicted

The same year, a fundraiser who identified himself as Abu Mustafa claimed that the Darknet should be used to raise funds in Bitcoin to confront US authorities. He managed to collect about 5 bitcoins (worth about $1000 that time) before his account was closed.

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Similarly, in June 2015, United States authorities convicted 17-year-old Shukri Amin from Virginia for using social networks to raise Bitcoin funds as financial support to terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

In 2017, a New York citizen received $62,000 in BTC, which she allegedly used for the same purposes. She used false data to obtain loans and several credit cards, which she then transferred to BTC before sending money to fake bank accounts in Asia.

The success of offline-online networks to raise funds in support of terrorist organizations has not yet been fully studied. However, numerous examples of the use of cryptocurrencies demonstrate the awareness of criminals in the latest technologies, notes Malik.

Nikita Malik is an expert in countering hate violence, terrorism, and extremism. Malike’s texts are regularly featured in the media, in the House of Commons, EU Parliament, the US State Department,  and other international organizations around the globe.

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Katya Michaels

Crypto Canal: Women in Blockchain Put Amsterdam on the Map

BTC.com, Bitmain Technologies’ digital platform, hosts a Women in Blockchain event in Amsterdam
Crypto Canal: Women in Blockchain Put Amsterdam on the Map
Contents

One of the distinguishing traits of the crypto community is its truly global scope. The principles of decentralization and a low barrier to entry are what make Blockchain such a great tool for promoting transparency, accountability and democratic participation. Given enough awareness, initiative and an internet connection, any place in the world can become a hub of Blockchain activity.

Europe boasts quite a few crypto hotspots, including London, Berlin and, of course, Malta. The Netherlands has a vibrant entrepreneurial culture and are consistently rated as having one of the highest qualities of life in the world, so it’s not surprising to see more public crypto events in Amsterdam. The city is also home to one of the global offices of Bitmain Technologies.

BTC.com, the digital platform founded by Bitmain to provide services for Bitcoin users, miners and developers recently hosted Bitcoin Fundamentalks: Women in Blockchain Special in Amsterdam. The event featured an expert panel, assistance with the BTC.com wallet installation and a Bitcoin Cash drop. U.Today spoke to the panelists about the Netherlands’ crypto community and the way Blockchain is changing the entrepreneurial landscape for women everywhere.

The event’s speakers included: Nikol Daru– Marketing Manager of BTC.com and participant of #CryptoCanal initiative; Jana Petkanic– Blockchain consultant and co-founder of Blockchain Talks; Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt– founder of Blockchain food systems company The Fork; Berit Fuss – Blockchain consultant and speaker; Valeria Ferrari– PhD candidate at the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam working in the Blockchain&Society Policy Research Lab; and Eleonore Blanc– Content and Community Manager of BTC.com.

Blockchain in the Netherlands

U.Today: How would you compare the level of Blockchain and crypto adoption in the Netherlands to the rest of the world?

Nikol Daru: The Netherlands is a global leader in technological innovation and development, reflected in the active and vibrant Dutch cryptocurrency community. There are also many well-known crypto companies located in Amsterdam, that's why we use the term #Crypto Canal.

Valeria Ferrari: The interest is high within the public– big and small firms are not hesitating to invest in Blockchain expertise and implementation. Being a country that is responsive to new opportunities for economic and societal growth, the government of the Netherlands is promoting the industry and exploring the adoption of Blockchain for administrative purposes.

Berit Fuss: I am seriously impressed by the amount of organizations in the Netherlands that are exploring the technology. We also have a government that has a very proactive attitude towards Blockchain technology, something that you only see in a few other places in the world.

Jana Petkanic: Emerging economies have a real need for Blockchain, due to highly corrupted governance entities. However, R&D is more advanced in developed economies, so I think we shall be spreading the knowledge to those poorly facilitated regions.

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Welcoming women

UT: How has Blockchain changed the circumstances for women entrepreneurs in your experience?

Berit Fuss: I am not sure a lot has really changed, but all the developments and attention surrounding Blockchain technology have created a bigger stage for women who are also entrepreneurs to shine. I think that in a field as new as Blockchain technology, where there are few experts, it might be easier to claim a spot and get attention for the great work you (as a woman) are doing than in an established male-dominated scenario.

Valeria Ferrari: As a technology that has profound implications on the way information, wealth and thus power are managed and distributed among the members of a community, Blockchain inspires the disruption of established financial and business models, which are the heritage of centuries of white-male-dominated economies. In the Blockchain space, women contribute in defining how Blockchain can beneficially change some areas and aspects of an economy, but the number of women in this industry is still low– I hope to see a growing number of initiatives fostered by feminine-thinking.

Jana Petkanic: Blockchain itself hasn't changed anything, but I envision more women entering this industry in the future because Blockchain naturally reinforces principles of fairness, democracy and common good– features that women are more attentive and sensitive towards.

Nikol Daru: I don't think that Blockchain has specifically changed the overarching position of women to start or scale their own companies. But because of its open protocol, Blockchain is blind to gender-bias and allows any entrepreneur to kickstart their project given the possibility of crowdfunding via ICOs.

UT: What are some of the most important takeaways from the Bitcoin Fundamentalks: Women in Blockchain special?

Nikol Daru: We had a huge amount of interest, the event filled up in less than two days, and the turnout was great. The talk attracted over 100 women, and they said they felt invited here in a way they wouldn’t have at a regular Blockchain event.

Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt: We were very surprised that some women apparently feel more welcomed by having “women” in the title of an event.

Valeria Ferrari: The presence of so many ladies at this event was surprising for those who regularly attend crypto-related events in Amsterdam. In my opinion, this highlights that women are interested in the topic, but scared away from regular meetups by other circumstances such as fear of not being informed enough or encountering a closed community.

Berit Fuss: Many attendees said that they needed that little nudge of a women’s event to actually attend a tech-focused meetup. It was interesting to see that there were so many beginners on the topic, but a lot of these women had really interesting profiles. Lawyers, creatives, designers, UX-ers, entrepreneurs– these are all people we need to not only mature the pure tech itself but to create applications and experiences that people will be able to use.

Valeria Ferrari: It was amazing to see how everyone was interested in discovering not only how cryptocurrencies work but also how Blockchain could be used in their domain of expertise. 

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Stepping out of the Blockchain bubble

UT: What kind of initiatives would you like to see more of in the crypto community, both in Amsterdam and globally?

Nikol Daru: There is a large and critical population that is being underserved by the current meetup landscape: beginners. We need more knowledge bootcamps and meetups with a focus on practical learning. With the Fundamentalks series, we aim to bring everyone up to speed, so they can have a foundation from which to develop a critical understanding of the space. There is a serious need for content that helps people orientate themselves within this chaotic and fast-paced industry.

Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt: There's currently an overdose of free/sponsored (hence biased) content. We hope the sector will mature this year with high-quality content supply and an informed demand, not just gold diggers seeking for easy return.

Valeria Ferrari: I believe that the Blockchain community should step out of its bubble, and interact more with other tech hubs in Amsterdam and in the rest of the world. For instance, I would like to see the young, vibrant startup environment of Amsterdam joining forces with the crypto community to create approachable, mainstream Blockchain-based solutions in fields such as the art and the food industry.

Jana Petkanic: We need more involved parties outside the community- cryptocurrencies will concern everyone in the near future, and I would appreciate if the mainstream media and public institutions showed a real interest in promoting non-biased information about this field.

Berit Fuss: We need to keep adding people with a variety of expertise to our Blockchain/crypto family in order to make applications practically usable. We need to create more tools for developers to build better applications. We need to keep bridging the gap between large organizations, governments and startups.

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Technology by people, for people

UT: Do you find that people who are new to the industry find it difficult to place their trust and business in the hands of new technology? How can they be convinced?

Berit Fuss: One of the early things I usually talk about with any person or organization I work with is that any technology is created by people and used by people. There is not some magic wand that will solve the world’s problems. This also means that people quickly understand that they have a role to play, whether that is to contribute, to collaborate or to voice their needs as a user. For me, it is not so much convincing people to put their faith fully in technology but letting people see the possibilities of technological development, and help them figure out how they can contribute and benefit.

Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt: The fact that technology needs to be demystified is nothing new and not Blockchain specific. Of course, the majority of people are tech-illiterate, hence also Blockchain-illiterate and require initial guidance.

Valeria Ferrari: Companies work for the logic of profit and this will not be disrupted by technology. What the technology does is allow us to think about new models of managing value and information, cutting costs in some domains, improving transparency in others, and potentially mitigating the capitalistic and secretive accumulation of data by tech-giants and finance firms. These kinds of improvements, however, can only be fostered if the awareness of people about existing problems is strong enough to force businesses to change.

Jana Petkanic: My greatest interest is not to convince, but to inspire. I believe everyone will understand the potential of Blockchain at the right moment.

Nikol Daru: I have no doubt that global adoption will happen because of people who are passionate about crypto and share their interest with others. Our community is very social and most people learn about crypto from a friend. We hope that people who attend our events will continue the butterfly effect and share their new knowledge with their friends.

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🎤 Interviews Katya Michaels

CryptoComes Women in Blockchain: Toni Lane Casserly’s Global Vision

🎤 Interviews
“The Joan of Arc of Blockchain” Toni Lane Casserly shares her vision of competitive governance, financial freedom and interdependence empowered by Blockchain
CryptoComes Women in Blockchain: Toni Lane Casserly’s Global Vision
Contents

Toni Lane Casserly has been a Blockchain evangelist from the moment she first discovered the innovative technology or perhaps the technology discovered her, in 2011.

Since then, she has been an advisor to organizations that include the Singularity University, HSBC and the United Nations; a speaker at countless Blockchain events and conferences; and the co-founder and original CEO of Cointelegraph, one of the largest media networks in the Blockchain industry.

CryptoComes spoke with Toni Lane a few days before she presented CULTU.RE at TokenFest in San Francisco. On stage, it becomes clear why the industry has given her the affectionate, quirky moniker “The Joan of Arc of Blockchain.”

The completeness and assurance of her vision, compounded by her uncompromising stance as a woman succeeding in the Blockchain industry, make her a particularly fitting subject to begin the CryptoComes Women in Blockchain series.

Building CULTU.RE

Katya Michaels: You have been involved in cryptocurrency and Blockchain from very early on and have observed this industry from a variety of perspectives. The project you are working on right now is CULTU.RE, a platform for competitive governance and self-sovereignty. Given how passionate you are about freeing humanity from the institutional constraints they were born into, what’s your view of the well-known phrase “Every nation gets the government it deserves?”

Toni Lane Casserly: I would totally disagree with that because government is a closed network. And when you create a system that is a closed network under the guise of civic participation, what you're actually doing is you're incentivizing system to system relationships over human to human relationships.

Blockchain technology redefines our ability to look at governance as a process of peer to peer engagement with a system to human stewardship as opposed to a system to human ownership.

I will never forget a time when I heard someone refer to a refugee as an economic asset. What?! A refugee is a person, a human life, another human being with thoughts, feelings and emotions. Looking at another human being and seeing their only value as an economic asset is unacceptable.

You can't have what you deserve if you are not empowered to create the world you want to see. The only way we're going to be able to do that for every human life is if we are fundamentally incentivizing people to have economic liberation through real open markets that are based on stewardship, generation and interdependence.

Blockchain evolution

KM: You have said before that the most important obstacle to governance through Blockchain is emotional maturity. Do you think the success of Blockchain implementation depends on the evolution of human consciousness or vice versa, the existence of Blockchain technology will drive such an evolution?

TLC: These are interdependent phenomena, and that's actually what Blockchain represents and it’s a core foundation of what we're building at CULTU.RE. Darwin never said “survival of the fittest.” What he actually said is that human species that will thrive and survive through the hardest times are those with the highest capacity for sympathy, altruism, compassion and reciprocity.

I believe it's not merely Blockchain technology and it's not merely evolution in consciousness. So many different things are coming together.

The rise in artificial intelligence and robotics will automate jobs that have taught humans that they are a part of a system rather than a dynamic meaningful, creative force in the world. Those jobs will be gone and new forms of economy will replace them.

We will experience another web of human interdependence through the evolution of biotechnology. We see shifts that are happening tectonically on our planet, along with climate change. All of these factors combined with the economic empowerment imbued by Blockchain are retranslating our relationship to what is really valuable — not just value as a scarce resource, but our human values and principles.

Path to mass adoption

KM: Recently, you joined the advisory board of Divi Project, a Blockchain smart-wallet platform that aims to make cryptocurrency more approachable and easy to use for the ordinary person, triggering a tipping point for Blockchain use. What are the conditions for making the entry point into cryptocurrency low enough for mass adoption?

TLC: I think, more than anything, we will see a shift in access when we experience real global connectivity. Not the opportunity for global connectivity, but actual free public Wi-Fi for every person on the planet. I do believe that is something that will happen within the next ten years, hopefully sooner.

Barriers to entry

KM: Do you think the entry point to Blockchain use and the industry is different for women compared to men, both in the Western world and in developing countries?

TLC: It’s obviously different because of the way business works, though there are some places where I would say it's not so. It’s really about how free women are in a country, and how open is the attitude toward sex because that is the primary thing that's used to oppress the female identity in society. Different women will experience different barriers based on their environment.

I am a white Western woman. I have my own challenges in the world, but I also have my own set of opportunities. There is a spectrum of entry points for women in different areas.

Depending on the cultural dynamic, women are going to have different opportunities and different risks to assess in the situations that they are entering.

For example, the risk profile in Scandinavian countries is significantly lower for women than almost in any other place in the entire world. The risk profile for someone in L.A. is going to be vastly different from the risk profile of a woman working in Silicon Valley, or someone in Europe.

The conversation that most women will experience will be vastly different than the conversations men will experience. In many instances, we have to work 50 times harder to get five times less the recognition, but it doesn't have to be that way. What it's really going to take for women to get the recognition they deserve is valuing yourself and taking ownership over what you deserve.

It's about understanding that whatever stakes are on the table and whatever game is being played, it is not your job to play the game, but you will win when you are able to redesign the board fundamentally.

Overcoming stereotypes

KM: As a woman in the Blockchain space for quite a few years now, have you noticed any difference in focus, as well as in the business approach taken by women as opposed to men?

TLC: There is obviously a difference in approach. When I go to a conference, I will meet a hundred people and some of them will know who I am because of my career in the industry, and they will want to work with me.

But I know that when men talk to me, they will ask about me, my life, where I grew up. It’s not that those questions are offensive or I find them invasive, but their interest in talking to me is getting to know me, for a potential relationship. When men are talking to men, they are thinking about making money together.

We have to realize that this is something unconscious in most of the societies around the world. It’s about surviving, which means acquisition of resources and reproduction- men are focused on the survival of the tribe and women are valued for their fertility. That dynamic still exists in most of the world at varying levels of extremes, with different kinds of cultural norms. So we are still basically primal humans, apes.

But we're getting there; we’re evolving in some ways. I feel like there are some of us who are transcending and reaching these states of higher consciousness. The situations are different, but if you understand that going in, you can generally disarm it.

Economic empowerment

KM: How do you assess the “women in Blockchain” or “women in technology” discourse right now? Do you find it engaging, or underdeveloped, or missing the mark perhaps?

TLC: To get some perspective on this, if we look at the market for ICOs, two of the largest ICOs that were ever raised were Bancor and Tezos, both of which have female leadership. I want to point out that we have seen women do some powerful and incredible things in the Blockchain industry.

Because in Blockchain people are on the Internet, it’s less of a situation where a woman is sitting down privately with a man in a close setting, putting her in a vulnerable position because of the power dynamics in the relationship. Instead, she can say, “hey, Internet here's our work, so you can look at it and if you want to invest, we are opening this up to a marketplace.”

When we are opening up these marketplace principles, it is a huge way for women to gain economic opportunity. We are changing the dynamics for investing in women and fundraising for women.

There's a huge amount of pressure behind the Women in Blockchain movement, and it's because the economic barriers for women are being lifted. It will be amazing for the entire world to see what happens when we give women financial economic opportunity and education.

The number one factor for reducing climate change across the board in the world is an education for girls and women. There’s a reason why the Dalai Lama said the world will be saved by the Western woman. These communities are growing in an incredibly strong way and we're seeing a vast amount of unity between women that are coming together in this space.

It's not about standing together to fight against what's wrong; it’s about standing together to create a future that is right. Those are the kind of movements that we need to build, movements of unity, not of separation.

🎤 Interviews
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Urvashi Verma

Blockchain Market Watch: Which Startups Are Top VC Firms Investing In?

VC firms are acutely aware of the potential of Blockchain to transform our world. While many companies will build solutions; which ones will succeed?
Blockchain Market Watch: Which Startups Are Top VC Firms Investing In?
Contents

VC firms are acutely aware of the potential of Blockchain to transform our world. While many companies will build solutions; which ones will succeed?

Two venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz (Andreessen) and Union Square Venture (USV) may have cracked the formula of how to make future bets on Blockchain.  Both have been investing in blockchain-based technologies and cryptocurrencies since 2013, according to CB Insights.

Factors Fueling Growth in Blockchain Market Cap

The demand for blockchain technology solutions is expected to increase rapidly due to the growing adoption of its distributed ledger technology. Global blockchain market size is expected to grow to 7.6 bln by 2022 from 411.5 mln last year, according to a report from Research and Markets.

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Factors fueling the exponential growth of the Blockchain market have been the rising cryptocurrency market capitalization rates and initial coin offerings combined with the benefits of processing transactions, the report says.

VC Investment Trends To Watch: Decentralized Apps

Investors have been pouring funds into decentralized applications (dApps).  

CryptoKitties, a decentralized app crypto-collectible digital cats raised $12 mln Series A at the end of March.  CryptoKitties, built using Ethereum, are digital pieces of content that are unique, have a fixed number that someone can own, buy, sell, trade.  USV described CryptoKitties, as digital collectibles that could not have existed before the emergence of Blockchain.

The company said in its blog post:

“We think digital collectibles and all of the games they enable will be one of the, if not the first, big consumer use cases for blockchain technologies.”

Andreessen recently invested in Dfinity a startup that plans to create a decentralized cloud capable of competing with Ethereum and other smart contract platforms. The company received  $61 mln in Feb. and intends to use them to incentivize developers to build on its cloud, according to CB Insights.

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Startups Taking on Bitcoin

USV’s 2018 investments target cryptocurrency startups like Algorand and Chia that are capable of building products that take direct aim at the existing limitations of Bitcoin. Algorand, a startup which is building a high-speed blockchain-based payments protocol raised $4 mln in its seed funding round in Feb.

Chia is a new cryptocurrency, which garnered $3.4 mln in seed funding at the end of March. The company says it uses a more energy-efficient mechanism than Bitcoin’s Proof of Work. While Bitcoin has a much more substantial market presence at this time; these companies are poised to challenge Bitcoin’s new Lightning Network, experts say.

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🤷 Opinions Evgeny Konstantinov

The Egg of Andy Weir

Opinions
Blockchain and sharing economy went public in 2009 and are a total success
The Egg of Andy Weir

If the name of Andy Weir does not sound outright familiar, then the movie The Martian will. Andy Weir is the novelist who wrote the book in 2011 that was made into the eponymous movie in 2015.

Weir’s most famous short story, however, that went through another round of popularity with the movie release and that he published on his website back in 2009 is “The Egg”. Tallying at around 1,000 words, the story has been translated into over 30 languages by readers and is still bringing today around 100,000 visits to Weir’s website monthly.

The gist of the story is this. A man dies in a car crash and emerges in a place of nothingness where he meets God. God tells the man he will be reincarnated as a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD. Not only that, but that the man is constantly going through reincarnations through time and that every person the man ever knew directly, including his wife and kids, by proxy, or indirectly like Hitler and Jesus — they have always been reincarnations of this very man. Every person that ever existed in the universe is this man.

If you haven’t read the story, read it, it’s likely to be worth your time.

The quote of particular interest is where God explains to the man why the universe exists the way it does:

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

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Sharing economy formation

Again, the “The Egg” is Weir’s most famous story and it was relatively popular before the book and the movie The Martian. Why though? I am going to try and give this a little perspective and whether it’s a stretch, of course, entirely up to you, but it might be worth a little ponder-over.

Andy Weir published the story on his website in 2009, and the date is almost at the crest of the wave of the sharing economy formation as a concept and roughly at the foot of the sharing economy implementation in various models.

The term ‘sharing economy’ started appearing in the early 2000s and some sources attribute the first use of the term in public to professor Lawrence Lessig.

Sharing economy was a novel idea and required a leap of trust that took a lot of people to make, and it took years for a lot of users and investors to grow on.

What’s interesting though is that the concept took a firm root around the same time when the global financial crisis peaked in 2008. When the trust went away from the vertical structures — institutions — and splashed into the state of distributed, social, and horizontal.

If we list a few examples of companies that immediately come to mind when we talk sharing economy, the dates of when they started are telling:

  • Kickstarter — founded in April 2009

  • Uber — founded in March 2009

  • Airbnb — founded in August 2008

  • Indiegogo — founded in 2007

  • BlaBlaCar — founded in September 2006

With the collapse of the vertical trust flow came the great new realization of distributed trust models in which people made the great leap and started trusting each other — allowing complete strangers into their apartments, sharing long-distance car rides with someone they never knew, and giving money to people through a website simply because they liked the idea of what was promised and didn’t need or want corporations to shove a new product down their throats.

Did people shortcut the empathy distance and realize they were all more or less similar and closer to each other with the rise of the sharing economy? They arguably did.

This was the time when Andy Weir published “The Egg”, the story that says:

“Every time you victimized someone, you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

What’s extremely interesting is that the Bitcoin network went live in January 2009. It’s fascinating how much time the humankind and the ideas move in unison and do so without realizing it. The implementation of Blockchain, a trustless public ledger, that should be — or already is, depending on what project you follow — the backbone of the distributed, social, and horizontal trust happened at the same time that the implementation of the sharing economy started. Both the Blockchain technology and the sharing economy became a success.

When you check the timeline and put “The Egg”, the collapse of vertical trust, the sharing economy, and the Blockchain technology in the same row, you realize we are talking the same thing. U°Community believes the next wave of development and progress is in establishing transparent and immutable paths for the flow of the energy of trust for the communities — which are the now of the world progress — to truly thrive.

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🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Bloom of Identity Protection Market: Past-ICO Review

👁 ICO Watch
Blockchain-based identity protection is a growing industry and there are many companies entering this market. What makes Bloom stand out?
Bloom of Identity Protection Market: Past-ICO Review
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Blockchain technology is allowing users to take back ownership of their identities and this market is becoming more and more saturated with companies that promise control over access to users identity and personal information. To get a better idea of what Bloom has on offer, CryptoComes was able to get in touch with Head of Community Relations of Bloom, Derek Silva. But before we jump into the action, let’s first review Bloom’s financial footing.

Financials

Bloom’s ICO ran from Nov. 30, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018 and raised some $41.4 mln in funding. The token (BLT) entered the market on Jan. 15, 2018 at $2.15 per token and has fallen down to $0.25 at the time of writing. CoinMarketCap ranks the token at 399 with a total market cap of $12.1 mln and very low trade volumes of around $123,000 per day.

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Trifecta of consumer credit protection

BloomID: establishes identity and creditworthiness. Third parties can publicly vouch for others’ identity information, legal status and creditworthiness. These third parties can be friends, family, peers or organizations, who earn revenue by evaluating a user’s credentials.

BloomIQ: is a decentralized system that manages credit history. One of its primary goals is to allow a user to import existing credit history to this system.

BloomScore: calculates credit risk. It is a dynamic indicator of an individual’s likelihood to pay debts that adapts to the maturity of a user’s credit history. This is just like a credit score.

Silva gave some general comments about the company and its services:

What really sets Bloom apart from other Blockchain-based identity or credit scoring protocols is that Bloom sees both solutions needing to be unified together. Financial data without a verified identity is useless to many lenders and other organizations that have to comply with Know Your Client or Anti-Money Laundering legislation. A digital identity without any financial data to back it up is also highly limited in potential use cases. So the Bloom protocol, putting BloomID, BloomIQ, and BloomScore together, provides far more real-world utility to both BloomID holders and organizations participating in the protocol.

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Team

John Backus– CTO

Bakus is the CTO and co-founder at Bloom. He has a BS in computer science from Stanford University and has been active in founding tech companies since graduating. He is also CTO and co-founder of Cogito, another identity management company.

 

Alain Meier– Co-founder

Meier is a co-founder and also a co-founder at Cogito. He has a BS in CS from Stanford and spent two years on the Stanford Bitcoin research group.

Jesse Leimgruber– Co-founder

CEO of NeoReach, a company providing influencer intelligence with customers including NBC, Walmart, Honda, Amazon, and others. Also Founder and Chairman of Rank Executives, an enterprise internet marketing and content agency.

Derek Silva–  Head of Community Relations

Silva has a breadth of experience in computer systems, business, and communications. With a degree in computer systems technology, Silva has forged a career with CS as a foundation and gaining more business and communications related experience as he founded his own companies in the past and learned new roles throughout his career.

Getting ready to launch apps

Bloom is getting ready to start launching its dapps on multiple platforms, Silva added,  

“Right now we're finalizing the iOS dApp, the Bloom Lending Marketplace, integrating our first documentary attester for verifying photo identification, and our Android dApp will be launched later this year. There is more in the works, and we will unveil a new, public roadmap soon.”

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Concerns and final notes

While the technology sounds great, there is going to be a much competition in this field, and consumers will have a large variety of choice. For investors, the company has a high hard cap of $50 mln, the majority of which will be used for user acquisition. Usually, the higher the starting market cap for a project, the lower the potential return for ICO participants. Finally, it appears that all the co-founders are working on Bloom on a part-time basis while they are also working on other businesses that they have founded. It is unclear how much time they spend on Bloom.

Silva followed up with some parting figures and facts:

“We have well over 11,000 BloomID holders so far, and we anticipate that number to grow drastically as we release our mobile dApps, starting with iOS, in the very near future. We also have 25+ lenders that are going to participate in the Bloom Lending Marketplace at launch, and dozens of other organizations working on integrating the Bloom protocol into their dApps and systems. We are poised for incredible growth in the latter half of 2018.”

Let’s see what the second half of this year brings.

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