North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements

North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements

Economy & Regulation

The state of North Carolina has pushed the passage of House Bill 86 and some digital currency advocates and firms like Coinbase believe the bill makes the state more friendly towards cryptocurrency businesses. At the moment North Carolina’s House Bill 86 has been presented to Governor Roy Cooper and awaits his signature.

Also read: Major Korean Crypto Exchange: $31 Million Vanishes

North Carolina House Bill 86 Includes Money Transmission Changes and Licensure Guidelines in Regard to Virtual Currencies Passes Unanimously

North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements On June 14, 2018, North Carolina’s general assembly unanimously ratified House Bill 86 which adds new language to the state’s permissible investments and statutory trust under the Money Transmitters Act. The bill’s final revision includes legal definitions concerning virtual currencies like bitcoin and other tokens. North Carolina’s legislation also requires the licensure of businesses that work with cryptocurrency activities. Furthermore, the state’s Commissioner of Banks Ray Grace can request data from the licensed cryptocurrency firm at any time. North Carolina House Bill 86 states:   

If the licensee possesses virtual currency as permissible investments under this Article, the Commissioner may at any time request that the licensee verify, in a manner acceptable to the Commissioner, aggregate virtual currency transmission obligations outstanding and virtual currency held as permissible investments, including virtual currency stored offline.

Coinbase Believes North Carolina’s Bill ‘Helps Cryptocurrency Companies Comply With the Letter of the Law’

North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements
Coinbase executive Mike Lempres

Commissioner Grace had also helped write the revised edition which included virtual currency definitions and licensee requirements. The firm Coinbase applauded the passage of House Bill 86 and formally thanked the banking commissioner, representatives Tim Moore, Dan Bishop, Jon Hardister, Bill Rabon, Stephen Ross, Jason Saine, and Jeff Tarte for helping bolster the legislation.

“Passage of House Bill 86 exemplifies how regulators and legislators can work together to foster innovation by either licensing cryptocurrency money transmissions or exempting cryptocurrency from money transmission laws,” the Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Coinbase, Mike Lempres said last Thursday.

By helping cryptocurrency companies comply with the letter of the law, leaders in both states are paving the way for the economic and social benefits of this new technology to flourish within their communities.           

The firm also complimented the state of Wyoming for recently passing its blockchain and cryptocurrency legislation after it had issues with the state prior to the passage of Wyoming’s guidelines. A while ago Coinbase suspended its services to Wyoming residents and the firm said at the time that the state’s Division of Banking made Coinbase operations impractical. As both North Carolina and Wyoming change their money transmissions laws the state’s look like they may see more business operations due to the legislative changes.

What do you think about North Carolina’s House Bill 86? Do you think more states will adapt virtual currencies into their laws? Or do you think these regulations are bad for cryptocurrencies in general? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Images via Pixabay, Wiki Commons, North Carolina Emblem, Coinbase, and Medium. 


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Market Analysis Report (20 Jun 2018)

ICST, the Individual Content & Skill Sharing Token, Will Launch Public Sale on June 21st

With community empowerment at the heart of its business model, ICST is opening the doors to its public sale from 21-27 June. To date, the company has raised over 25,000 ETH from private investors including ChainPE & ChainVC, and secured partnerships with industry giants including Uplive, The Voice & American Idol. Tokens will be usable from as early as Q3 2018, with video sharing app StarMaker kicking off the platform integration with 60 million users at launch.

Launching ICST is parent company Kunlun technologies, which boasts a billion-dollar portfolio of internet businesses & apps including Grindr, Opera Angry Birds.

Built on the Ethereum Blockchain, ICST offers entertainers, gamers and skill sharers an unprecedented degree of transparency, ownership, and security over their content. For years, middlemen in the entertainment industry have robbed content creators of both the revenue and sales data that helps them determine the popularity of their material. ICST gives power back to the people – both creators and customers – with its rewards-based platform for content & skill sharing.

The ad-free, fee-free and direct to customer protocol can be integrated by any compatible app or website.

For more details on the public sale and white paper head to www.icst.io.

Horyou “Blockchain with a Purpose”: A Token for Inclusion and Sustainability

Promoting a traceable decentralized philanthropy, Horyou, the social network for social good, is introducing its HoryouToken, built on the concept of “Blockchain with a purpose”.

Horyou strongly believes in the power of technological advancements to support decentralization of philanthropy and to promote social good.

Launched in December 2013, Horyou social network currently gathers more than 250,000 users and 1,500 organizations from more than 180 countries.

HoryouToken provides access to a traceable and intelligent philanthropic redistribution service called Proof of Impact.

HoryouToken can be used:

  1. As a mode of transaction inside and outside the Horyou platform, as well as a Fintech payment solution intended to support philanthropy, through proof of impact
  2. To buy or sell products, as well as to subscribe to services and soft commodities that enhance social good within the future Horyou marketplace

What Horyou platform is trying to do, is to get (those) people talk to each other and to connect them to funders, I can think of nothing better” (Eric Schmidt, former Executive Chairman of Google)

Horyou team is driven by one purpose: to make the world a better place.
Be the Change, Be Horyou! Join us: https://tge.horyoutoken.io

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World’s Sixth Largest Crypto Exchange by Trade Volume Bithumb Hacked

Hackers have stolen cryptocurrencies worth $30 million from South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb, Cointelegraph Japan reported June 19. As a result all deposits and payments have been temporarily suspended.

The exchange states it will compensate users affected by the hack, and that all assets are being moved to a cold wallet:

“[Notice for the suspension of all deposit and withdrawal service]

We checked that some of cryptocurrencies valued about $30,000,000 was stolen. Those stolen cryptocurrencies will be covered from Bithumb and all of assets are being transferring to cold wallet.”

Bithumb moved a large amount of Ethereum to its cold wallet when they recently noticed abnormal access. On June 16, Bithumb announced an abrupt server check “in order to maximize security settings.” The maintenance was planned from 5:20 am KST to 9:00 am KST, but exceeded the scheduled time.

According to Korean resident officials from the Sentinel Protocol, a project specializing in hacking, scam, and fraud detection, the hot wallet was hacked on the night of June 19 and some of the stolen coins include Ripple.

According to CoinMarketCap, Bithumb’s 24-hour trade volume at press time is over $374 million, the world’s sixth largest.

Earlier this month, hackers stole around $37 million from South Korean crypto exchange Coinrail. While Coinrail was only ranked the 99th largest crypto exchange in the world in terms of trade volume, some in the media claimed the hack was responsible for crashing crypto markets. Industry journalist and commentator Joseph Young said:

“[The Wall Street Journal] thinks Bitcoin price fell 11% because a small cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea which a very small portion of local users utilize was hacked. Bitcoin fell because people sold and not enough people were willing to buy, not because of a small hack.”

Turcoin Ponzi Scheme Exposed, Founders Flee with Millions

Turcoin Ponzi Scheme Exposed, Founders Flee with Millions

News

Turkey’s so called “national” crypto, Turcoin, has turned out to be a classical example of a Ponzi scheme, local media reported. The founders of the “alternative” digital currency are believed to have fled the country with millions of dollars collected from defrauded investors. The company behind the Turkish token stopped distributing dividends earlier in June.  

Also read: Indian Ponzi Scheme-Funded Cryptocurrency Mine Raided by Police

‘National, Alternative, Rivaling Bitcoin’

Turcoin, presented as a “rival to the global virtual currency bitcoin,” has been exposed as just another Ponzi scheme, after the executives of the project suddenly disappeared, according to local press reports. The Turkish altcoin, advertised as a national alternative digital currency, was launched by the Istanbul-based company Hipper A.Ş. founded by Muhammed Satıroğlu and Sadun Kaya last year.

Turcoin Ponzi Scheme Exposed, Founders Flee with MillionsIn what sounds like a familiar scenario, every new participant in the network was supposed to bring more revenue to the person who signed them up. And as it happens with most financial pyramids, Turcoin crumbled as soon as growth grounded to a halt amid rising suspicions.

Hipper hit the headlines in Turkey with a lavish gala organized to promote the cryptocurrency last year. The event was attended by many Turkish celebrities, Hürriyet recalls. The company has also reportedly given away about 20 luxurious cars to the token’s early adopters.

The project suddenly stopped paying bonuses in early June. Since then, desperate investors have been trying to reach its Istanbul office without much success. “I am ruined. I don’t know what to do,” a 38-year-old man, who bought Turcoins worth 560,000 TL, almost $120,000 USD, told the daily. Hipper’s website is still online, currently offering “Cloud mining rental services.”

Billion Turkish Liras – Gone?

According to Sabah, the executives of Hipper have left Turkey with 1 billion TL stolen from thousands of defrauded investors. Many of them were lured with promises of monthly incomes of 250 TL (~$52) in return for an investment of 1,500 TL (~$315), the newspaper reported. Angry members of the scheme have raided the company’s office in the northwestern province of Kocaeli after their calls remained unanswered.

Turcoin Ponzi Scheme Exposed, Founders Flee with Millions

“I was only a mediator. Our company, Hipper, does not even have a single dollar in the bank. All the money went to Sadun Kaya’s company in Cyprus,” Muhammed Satıroğlu, one of Hipper’s founders, told Hürriyet. The daily wrote that he owns 49 percent of the company that issued the Turcoins.

Turcoin Ponzi Scheme Exposed, Founders Flee with Millions
Muhammed Satıroğlu and Sadun Kaya

Satıroğlu has joined investors in filing a criminal complaint against his partner, Sadun Kaya, who is said to hold 51 percent of the Turkish company and is thought to have fled the country with 100 million TL (~$21 million) taken away from about 10,000 people, according to the numbers quoted by Hürriyet. Satıroğlu claims he has not stolen any money and promises to start refunding Turcoin investors as soon as Turkish authorities unfreeze his bank accounts.

Meanwhile, Sadun Kaya, who has reportedly left Turkey, maintains that not he but his partners embezzled most of the money. “Everyone is trying to put the blame on me,” he complained in a conversation with Sabah. Kaya is also chairing the administrative board of Anafis Inc., another company involved in the scheme.

Amidst conflicting reports about the size of the fraud, it’s unclear if Turcoin will turn out to be the country’s biggest Ponzi scheme. The record holder for now, according to the online outlet Ahval, was revealed in March, when authorities in the northwestern province of Sakarya launched an investigation against Çiftlik Bank. Its 26-year-old founder Mehmet Aydın fled to Uruguay after reportedly collecting more than 500 million TL (~$128 million USD) from some 78,000 people in just two years.

Do you think authorities should take measures to prevent obvious Ponzi schemes? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Ahval, Turcoin.


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Market Analysis Report (19 Jun 2018)

State of the Crypto

Bitcoin is up 3.49% at $6,702.300 with a volume of Ƀ62.5k – $416.1M on the USD pairs.

Ether is up 0.77% against Bitcoin at Ƀ0.07743 per Ether and up 4.34% against the dollar to $518.88 with average volume Ƀ35.7k on the ETH/BTC pair.

Bitcoin Cash is up 0.69% to Ƀ0.1312 with volumes of Ƀ18.0k and up 4.46% against the dollar at $878.57.

Ripple is down 0.56% to Ƀ0.00008013 with volumes of Ƀ8.1k and up 2.93% against the dollar at $0.5369.

Zcash is up 1.81% for the day to Ƀ0.02919 per ZEC and up 4.96% against the dollar to $195.28 with an average volume of Ƀ3.7k for the 24 hour period.

Litecoin is up 2.79% against the dollar for the day at $97.6 and down 0.68% to Ƀ0.01457 on volumes of Ƀ13.2k.

Dash is down 0.33% at Ƀ0.03942 with Ƀ10.9k volume and up 2.75% against the dollar at $264.22.

Iota is down 2.51% to Ƀ0.0001745 on Ƀ3.1k volume.

Ether Classic is up 4.56% to Ƀ0.002292 with volumes of Ƀ10.8k and up 8.47% against the dollar at $15.37.

Monero is up 3.89% against the dollar at $127.66 and up 0.26% against Bitcoin at Ƀ0.01907 on volumes of Ƀ3.1k.

Neo is up 0.22% for the day to Ƀ0.005849 per NEO and up 3.79% against the dollar to $39.12 with an average volume of Ƀ3.5k for the 24 hour period.

Waves is up 0.94% to Ƀ0.0005359 on Ƀ2.5k volume.

Stratis is up 1.43% to Ƀ0.0004736 on Ƀ601.527 volume.

Cardano is down 1.43% to Ƀ0.00002421 on Ƀ2.1k volume.

NEM is down 2.14% to Ƀ0.00002927 on Ƀ651.089 volume.

EOS is down 2.37% to Ƀ0.001567 on Ƀ18.6k volume.

Tron is up 3.39% to Ƀ0.00000671 on Ƀ7.6k volume.

Stellar is down 1.4% to Ƀ0.00003454 on Ƀ2.1k volume.

CEO of UBS: Blockchain Will Transform Cost Base of Financial Services Industry

The CEO of Swiss financial services provider UBS Group Sergio Ermotti said that blockchain will be essential for the financial services industry in an interview with CNBC June 18.

Ermotti said that the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies will allow “[the] freeing up of resources to become more efficient,” adding that “[it] is a great way to allow us to… reduce costs.” He stated that blockchain will prove to be transformative to the industry’s cost base in five to ten years’ time, adding that prioritizing the application of blockchain technology will ensure that UBS remains competitive:

“Our industry will continue to be under pressure, in terms of gross margins. It’s no doubt. The only way you can stay relevant is not only by being strong in terms of capital, in terms of products, the quality of the people you have, advice you give to clients. You need also to be able to price it correctly.”

UBS joined a blockchain partnership called Batavia with IBM, Bank of Montreal, CaixaBank, Commerzbank, and Erste Group last fall. The project performed its first pilot transactions in April, which involved sending cars from Germany to Spain and furniture production textiles from Austria to Spain.

While UBS has been exploring blockchain use cases for its business, the financial services giant remains skeptical about cryptocurrencies. UBS chairman Axel Weber said earlier this month that the bank will not offer its customers trading services in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies. Weber even called for stricter controls on crypto, saying that, “[cryptocurrencies] are often not transparent and, therefore, open to being abused.”

Strong Demand for Crypto Experts on the Russian Labor Market

Strong Demand for Crypto Experts on the Russian Labor Market

Economics

Statistics from leading job search platforms indicate that the demand for cryptocurrency and blockchain specialists in Russia remains strong. Most employers offering these vacancies are either IT companies or banks. The competition for crypto expertise is getting tougher, as the country is preparing to finally regulate the fintech sector.  

Also read: Crypto Incomes Declared on Tax Returns in Russia

Don’t Forget to Mention Crypto Projects on Your Resume

Six candidates are currently competing for each vacancy in the Russian Federation, according to data collected by the Index Head Hunter platform, a project monitoring the labor market in the vast country. The ratio indicates a moderate level of competition among potential employees, which is favoring Russian employers. But is this the case in all sectors of the economy?

Strong Demand for Crypto Experts on the Russian Labor Market

The statistics gathered from Russian online job platforms point to a rise in the demand for experts in blockchain, mining and cryptocurrencies. According to Head Hunter, 387 vacancies in the fintech sector have been posted last month, while their number for the whole first half of 2017 was only 201. That’s 11.5 times more than during the respective monthly period of last year.

The majority of employers offering positions in the crypto sector are either IT companies or banking institutions, mostly concentrated in the capital Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the second largest Russian city. Many of these businesses are not even publishing job postings, but are constantly sifting through the resume database, said Natalia Godjaeva, general director of Superjob.ru, quoted by Bit Novosti.

Strong Demand for Crypto Experts on the Russian Labor MarketDevelopers and project managers are the most sought after specialists, Godjaeva added. She advised candidates to always mention any crypto and blockchain-related projects on the resumes they submit to job search websites, and assured them, “You will definitely be noticed.” Her comments come at a time when Russia is preparing to regulate the crypto industry with three drafts currently under review in the State Duma.

Growing Global Crypto Labor Market

By all indications, the crypto labor market in Russia is experiencing growth. Several months ago, the RF Ministry of Labor and Social Protection received a request by representatives of the industry to officially introduce a “professional holiday” for specialists and experts working in the field. That hasn’t happened yet, but the department promised to look into the proposal.

Competition for qualified crypto and blockchain professionals has been increasing globally, too. Recently, the social network Linkedin announced that from the start of 2018 until mid-May 4,500 postings on the platform have contained any of the following keywords: blockchain, bitcoin, cryptocurrency. Linkedin said that’s 151 percent more than in the whole of 2017. In December, it reported more than 500 percent increase in the listing of skills pertinent to cryptocurrency.

Strong Demand for Crypto Experts on the Russian Labor Market

The popular freelancing platform Upwork has also witnessed a spike in the job ads from the blockchain industry last year – a 2,625 percent increase when compared with 2016. According to the US-based platform Toptal, specializing in posting job opportunities for IT specialists, the demand for blockchain developers has jumped by 700 percent. Earlier this year, IBM announced it was hiring 1,800 IT experts, including specialists knowledgeable of blockchain.

Both vacancies and applicants for employment in the crypto sector have increased substantially in other corners of the world, as well. This is the case with India, where cryptocurrency and blockchain related job postings increased by 290 percent in the six months to November, 2017, as reported by the Indian branch of the global job site Indeed. During the same period, job searches containing crypto-related keywords rose by 52 percent.

Do you think the strong demand for crypto and blockchain experts indicates a positive future for cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Bitcoin News is growing fast. To reach our global audience, send us a news tip or submit a press release. Let’s work together to help inform the citizens of Earth (and beyond) about this new, important and amazing information network that is Bitcoin.

Market Analysis Report (18 Jun 2018)

State of the Crypto

Bitcoin is down 1.22% at $6,444.280 with a volume of Ƀ39.7k – $258.2M on the USD pairs.

Ether is down 0.6% against Bitcoin at Ƀ0.07669 per Ether and down 1.63% against the dollar to $494.05 with average volume Ƀ35.6k on the ETH/BTC pair.

Bitcoin Cash is down 0.99% to Ƀ0.1298 with volumes of Ƀ18.1k and down 2.05% against the dollar at $834.81.

Ripple is down 1.97% to Ƀ0.00008027 with volumes of Ƀ6.9k and down 3.2% against the dollar at $0.5167.

Zcash is down 1.61% for the day to Ƀ0.02865 per ZEC and down 2.96% against the dollar to $185.07 with an average volume of Ƀ4.0k for the 24 hour period.

Litecoin is down 2.66% against the dollar for the day at $94.19 and down 1.41% to Ƀ0.01464 on volumes of Ƀ12.6k.

Dash is down 3.56% at Ƀ0.0395 with Ƀ10.3k volume and down 4.56% against the dollar at $254.73.

Iota is down 2.03% to Ƀ0.0001784 on Ƀ2.5k volume.

Ether Classic is down 1.27% to Ƀ0.002184 with volumes of Ƀ10.4k and down 2.29% against the dollar at $14.07.

Monero is down 2.93% against the dollar at $121.78 and down 1.3% against Bitcoin at Ƀ0.01896 on volumes of Ƀ3.0k.

Neo is down 0.79% for the day to Ƀ0.005764 per NEO and down 1.93% against the dollar to $37.05 with an average volume of Ƀ3.3k for the 24 hour period.

Waves is up 1.26% to Ƀ0.0005321 on Ƀ2.5k volume.

Stratis is down 0.75% to Ƀ0.0004656 on Ƀ571.993 volume.

Cardano is down 1.61% to Ƀ0.0000244 on Ƀ1.9k volume.

NEM is down 0.7% to Ƀ0.00002996 on Ƀ526.431 volume.

EOS is down 3.25% to Ƀ0.001579 on Ƀ13.1k volume.

Tron is down 1.22% to Ƀ0.00000649 on Ƀ5.5k volume.

Stellar is down 1.75% to Ƀ0.00003489 on Ƀ2.1k volume.

Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for Institutions

Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for Institutions

Finance

While the major banks are taking their time with offering OTC crypto trading, new entrants to the space are stepping up to fill the void. Social investing platform Etoro, which focuses mainly on retail traders, is now expanding into the institutional segment with a new cryptocurrency offering.

Also Read: This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?

New Crypto Trading Desk for Hedge Funds

Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for InstitutionsEtoro, which recently announced that it is expanding into the US with ten cryptocurrencies, is reportedly setting up an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk in London for institutions wishing to trade on cryptocurrencies. The platform is connected to fifteen cryptocurrency exchanges from which to pool liquidity and is also said to be planning to launch one by itself. The move is explained as answering demands from hedge fund owners who expressed interest in experimenting with crypto trading.

“We are launching an OTC desk for institutions. We’ve seen more and more interest from corporates and institutions,” CEO Yoni Assia told Business Insider. “We’ve actually set up our corporate team here in the UK to start setting up accounts to trade on eToro. We’ve announced that we’re launching the exchange as well so, between the exchange and the OTC desk, we’re also starting to serve more potential institutions and financial institutions.”

The Growing Institutional OTC Crypto Market

Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for InstitutionsInstitutional OTC desks help big players whose massive transactions might move the markets if they were done in the open. And trading outside popular exchanges can also be seen as risk management, for trying to avoid losing funds in the case of another exchange hacking incident.

In the US, Circle Financial and Cumberland Mining operate OTC crypto services and Goldman Sachs was reported to be in the process of entering the field, although its CEO has denied the rumors. Additionally, JP Morgan and Fidelity are said to be assessing a move into the space. In the UK, Barclays was reported as supposedly considering launching a crypto trading desk back in April. And financial industry insiders, like David Mercer the CEO of LMAX, which recently launched a physical crypto exchange dedicated to institutional clients, expect UK banks would eventually join the market next year. In the meanwhile, big players have also set up their own private network for OTC trading, buying and selling billions every month among themselves via Skype.

“I think there is growing institutional demand and interest of public investors to understand whether they can join the party,” Etoro CEO Assia said. “That is something we definitely see out there. We see more and more public market players and big banks who are interested in this space and feel left out because they’re not allowed to invest in crypto or ICOs.”

Are London banks in risk of losing hedge fund to new trading desks if they won’t support cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Smart Cities and Blockchain: Four Countries Where AI and DLT Exist Hand-in-Hand

Have you ever heard about smart cities where traffic, public services and document circulation are fully automated? The smart city concept integrates big data and the internet of things (IoT) to optimize the efficiency of urban processes and services and connect to residents. One example of this innovation could be light sensors that save electricity and road surveillance costs.

The basis for how automated systems and infrastructure sensors will coordinate their activities and communicate with each other is currently being tested in Dubai, some cities in China and the US.

The future is now

McKinsey analysts predict that by 2020 the number of smart cities will reach 600 worldwide, and 5 years later almost 60 percent of the world’s GDP will be produced in them. Digital technologies could become the engine of economic progress, and blockchain, without a doubt, could be one of them.

Let’s imagine how far we can progress if the following innovative inventions are united. What aspects of a city would be run by IoT and blockchain, say, in ten years? Unmanned cars and trains can run in the cities and control over airspace no longer requires dispatchers. Products do not deteriorate, sellers do not drive up prices, and medical cards do not disappear. Does it sound like a utopia? Not exactly.

It could be surprising to know that somewhere, this ‘smart future’ is being built right now. And it’s not just about cryptocurrencies or payment services, but about whole cities with all processes controlled by blockchain. These are the cities of the future, and they are already being created.

United Arab Emirates

Today, Dubai is considered one of the most digitally progressive cities in the world. With unmanned trains, automated sensors, flying taxis, solar panels, and Wi-Fi benches, perhaps it has everything that an avid futurist needs. The authorities of the Emirates are not stopping at what has already been reached and are actively implementing the most innovative ideas in order to turn the city into the first blockchain-based smart megapolis by 2020.

In terms of the number of projects being implemented, including those where blockchain is used by Google, Uber, Amazon, IBM and other corporate giants, Dubai ranks first in the world, thanks to the government-supported Smart City program. The Smart City program, launched in 2014, involves the phased implementation of more than 545 projects that will change the way residents and visitors of Dubai interact with the city. The local authorities plan to create a paperless digital space in the private and public sectors. All document circulation will be conducted in electronic form, and launching a business will become more simplified for citizens.

Pic1

Source image: Thairath.co.th

In particular, a pilot program is being developed to track, ship and deliver imported and exported goods using blockchain technology. The main idea of its integration into the foreign trade of the city is to create a single safe and transparent platform. The implementation of a blockchain system into the urban structure is projected to save about $1.5 billion and 25.1 million man-hours due to increased efficiency in the processing of documents, which is supposed to set government institutions free from queues.

Blockchain will be also applied in logistics and storage. This will help create an entire system of smart unmanned trucks for the transport of products or materials.

Estonia

It would interesting to know that blockchain was used in Estonia before it became mainstream, and even before Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin.

They say that the reason for such progress was the cyber attack of 2007, when — at one point — the websites of state services and the government went offline because of heavy DDoS attacks. This caused Estonia to reconsider its attitude toward data security and reach out to what we are now calling blockchain.

Since 2012, distributed ledgers have been used in Estonia’s national health, judicial, legislative, security and commercial systems. The technology has already gone beyond the scope of experimentation and has reached mass adoption. In particular, the Estonian government has introduced blockchain to provide its citizens access to control their personal data. Due to this, Estonians can control, view and, if necessary, challenge illegal access to their information. Moreover, from now on, citizens have the opportunity to check medical specialists or civil servants who looked through their medical card, insurance or driver’s license. Any official who accesses personal data without permission can be prosecuted.

The government seems to be sensitive to its citizens data security and integrity. Perhaps it’s one of the remedies the value of which is hard to underestimate, not only in terms of comfort, but also in terms of preventing irreparable consequences, such as the tragedy in Haiti in 2010, when an earthquake destroyed the archives containing land records, leaving residents having to challenge their real estate ownership.

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Source image: Quedeus

China

Chinese authorities plan to create 1000 smart cities, where technologies and data collected should improve the lives of every resident, Deloitte reports. In January 2013, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development formally announced the first list of national pilot Smart Cities, referring to this technology as a “sector that should be strengthened and encouraged.”

The first city of the future is supposed to be Yinchuan, where they have already abandoned traditional payments. Now, instead of tickets, passes and documents, it is enough to simply show one’s face! And no more tiresome shopping — products are ordered through a mobile application.

Despite the negative attitude of the authorities toward cryptocurrency, they still believe in the technology. The country’s digitalization strategy, identified in the 13th Five-Year Plan for National Informatization in December 2016, states:

The Internet, cloud computing, large data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain… will drive the evolution of everything — digital, network and intelligent services will be everywhere.

In April 2017, the Wuzhen Think Tank released a white paper on the development of China’s blockchain industry. The paper introduced global and domestic blockchain-industry trends and provided valuable knowledge for research entities and related enterprises. A few months later, the National Committee of Experts on Internet Financial Security Technology published its Compliance Blockchain Guidelines.

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Image source: Gatecoin blog

Currently, Chinese authorities are actively studying blockchain in terms of more orderly data storage. On April 24, the National Audit Office of China discussed the use of the technology to solve problems inherent in centralized storage infrastructure.

Li Ming, an official working with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, has revealed that the Chinese national standard plan for blockchain has been completed and is to be announced publicly soon. It’s already known that blockchain national standards include data security, business and application standards, and other credibility and interoperability standards.

It is planned that each separate office and accredited auditor will be assigned a separate node, which will help reduce the burden on the government, while providing a trackable ledger that will record each transaction. However, despite the green light given by the government, it is not yet known how soon the discussion of the project will go into the implementation phase.

Nevertheless, this is an official recognition of the beginning of a new digital era in China, which gave a big impetus to the development of blockchain technology. And again, as in the case of Estonia, blockchain has become a solution to the security problem. In 2014, one of Hong Kong’s largest banks, Standard Chartered, lost nearly $200 mln as a result of credit fraud. Scammers used duplicate invoices for the same goods to get money from banks. To prevent more financial frauds Standard Chartered, together with a government agency in Singapore, utilized the blockchain and developed a unique cryptographic hash for each invoice. Companies managed to create an electronic ledger of invoices that uses a parallel platform to the blockchain employed in Bitcoin transactions. This ensures that no double operations are carried out and banks do not lend money for fake invoices.

The US

Blockchain technology in the US is not just a tool for operating cryptocurrencies or managing databases. Local authorities recognized the potential of blockchain in the provision of public services and launched a number of projects currently in different stages of implementation.

The state of Delaware was the first to announce the Delaware Blockchain Initiative in 2016. This comprehensive program launched by then-governor Jack Markell is designed to stimulate the use and development of blockchain technologies and smart contracts in both the private and public sectors of the state. It’s worth noting that the authorities officially recognized electronic transactions recorded in blockchains as verifiable data, and the bill was signed in order to legalize blockchain transactions for accounting and other business records for local companies. The initiative was supposed to become a step in preventing future taxation-related problems and records manipulations. But recently, expectations of Delaware’s blockchain supporters appeared to have been dashed, as the current administration under the governor John Carney has shown more caution than its predecessor.

The new authorities are slow in the mass adoption of blockchain, being more focused on traditional models of economics and business management. Yet Symbiont CEO Mark Smith, whose company Symbiont partnered with the ex-administration to move state archives into blockchain, is optimistic in relation to the future adoption of the technology:

The Blockchain Initiative partnership between Symbiont and the state of Delaware continues to be a positive one. We strongly believe private-public relationships bringing blockchain technology to state infrastructure will create advancements that benefit everyone involved.

Perhaps the current government of Illinois will work faster than its predecessors. In 2017, the state announced the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, which calls on the consortium of state agencies to cooperate in exploring innovations presented in distributed ledger technology. The authorities of the state also intend to promote the use of blockchain “to transform the delivery of public and private services, redefine the relationship between government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust, and make a leading contribution to the State’s digital transformation.”

Who’s next in the blockchain queue? West Virginia will launch the blockchain-based pilot version to conduct mobile voting in 2018 regional elections. And let’s not forget about New York, with its Microgrid project being developed specifically for households who want to buy and sell electricity produced by solar panels. Ethereum-based contracts are supposed to solve citizens’ old problems — they finally use electricity exactly where it is produced, and, within a day, can exchange solar energy with neighbours, depending on which side of the street is currently better illuminated.

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Image source: Kashmirnarrative

Alibaba Cloud & Waltonchain signed an agreement on strategic cooperation aimed at using blockchain technology in the field of smart cities. The results of the partnership are designed to address the problem of limited resources and services caused by the rapidly-growing megapolis population.

Other countries

Other countries have also put a tag on the map of blockchain globalization. However, many projects are at the planning stage, rather than the exploitation stage. For example, the German energy company RWE is working on the creation of an Ethereum-based network of charging stations for electric vehicles. Drivers will be able to control the charging process using a special application, and blockchain registry will be responsible for calculating the energy spent, making payments and identifying users. Another outlandish idea is to create a “charging on the fly” opportunity, when the electric car is charged directly during the trip.

The Australian government announced a grant of $8 million for a blockchain project to create ‘smart utilities’, and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) plans to use the technology to prevent a recurrence of the disaster in 2011, when a leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant caused significant and widespread disruption.

A new life of blockchain

The life of metropolises does not stop for a minute, and the launch of new technologies takes time. It may take years before blockchain, which will interact with IoT, artificial intelligence and big data, will be integrated to manage urban services and public infrastructures.

However, many countries in the world have already embarked on the path of a digital economy and very soon we could see qualitative changes in social, economic and environmental aspects of life, without piles of papers, giant traffic jams, documentation errors and double transactions. Look around you — maybe the city you live in is one of them.