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  • Mon, Apr 23, 2018 Amazon will publish blockchain framework for Ethereum and Superbooks

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    E-commerce giant Amazon announced in a blog post that its cloud computing service platform AWS launched a blockchain framework for Ethereum and Hyperleger Fabric, which allows users to build and associate their own blockchain distributed applications ( DApps).

    It is reported that users can create their own blockchain applications through the AWS CloudFormation Tamplates tool to avoid spending a lot of time manually setting up the blockchain network themselves.

    Although last year there were rumors that Amazon AWS did not intend to launch blockchain-related services, the company announced in December last year that it had established a partnership with the Blockchain Alliance R, and the R3 Corda platform became the first one on AWS. The blockchain solution allows users to use the blockchain distributed applications on the AWS platform to call new shares directly to develop applications.

    The Linux Foundation Foundation’s Superbook Blockchain Alliance was established in 2015 and released its first blockchain codebase Fabric 1.0 in July last year. Super-book blockchain products have been widely used in many blockchain solutions and platforms to improve enterprise services and technologies.

    This month, the "blockchain as a service" tool based on the superbook was deployed on Huawei's blockchain cloud service. In addition, IBM Switzerland and Proxeus also collaborated on faster, more efficient blockchain and smart contract solutions to help start-ups complete registration on the blockchain.

    The Ethereum blockchain was launched by Vitalik Buterin in 2014 and is now one of the most popular blockchain networks in the world. On Thursday (April 19th), NASA revealed that they are developing an automatic spacecraft that can make use of Ethereum blockchain technology to make decisions without human intervention.

    Earlier this month, the Chilean National Energy Commission also announced the launch of the Ethereum blockchain record system for the country’s energy sector to improve data security, accuracy, transparency, and accessibility.

  • Wed, Apr 18, 2018 Taxes on global cryptocurrency have been fully implemented, and some US investors are not concerned

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    Recently, the US tax season has arrived. However, there are some cryptocurrency investors who do not plan to do their tax duties. They think that taxes and cryptocurrencies are mutually antagonistic. According to data published by Credit Karma, fewer than 100 of the 250,000 filers who have recently used the tax platform have reported capital gains on their cryptocurrency investments.

    In fact, as early as 2014, the IRS issued a statement on how to pay taxes on cryptocurrencies. The statement states that when cryptocurrencies are used as capital assets, the profits and losses of cryptocurrencies will be treated as capital gains. Similarly, wages paid to employees of cryptocurrency companies should also be taxed, while cryptocurrency payments to independent contractors and service providers are reported as Form 1099.

    In February of this year, the United States passed a new tax law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which requires that cryptocurrency transactions must be taxed in the past 12 months. No tax is paid in the form of giving to others or donating to charities.

    However, contrary to what was expected, a survey questionnaire involving cryptocurrency investors showed that only one-fifth of respondents stated that they had submitted and paid the relevant taxes.

    The opposition to cryptocurrency taxation is more than the American people.

    According to Thai media reports, many cryptocurrency investors and project issuers in the country began to request the Ministry of Finance to postpone or abandon capital gains tax on cryptocurrency transactions; previously, Polish cryptocurrency investors organized an online petition to protest taxation. A spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Finance said on April 10 that the Ministry of Finance realized that it is "impossible" to levy a 1% tax on all transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

    Of course, some countries are still making progress in advancing tax policies. For example, Belgium has determined that it will impose a 33% tax on cryptocurrency income, Russia is expected to impose a 13% cryptocurrency related income tax, and Thailand imposes a 15% cap on the revenue of encrypted assets. There are also laws in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other governments that are promoting the taxation of cryptocurrencies. Therefore, regardless of investors' disagreement, the global taxation on cryptocurrencies has been fully implemented.

  • Wed, Apr 11, 2018 United Nations Project Services and the Dutch government cooperate on the blockchain pilot program

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    The UN Office of Project Services Services (UNOPS) is working with the Dutch government's blockchain pilot project to explore how to apply distributed ledger technology to the wider United Nations system and legal applications for external entities.

    It is reported that the cooperation of 13 legal industry authors will be promoted this time. They will publish the research results this summer, and then it is likely to hold a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York in mid-September.

    Yoshiyuki Yamamoto is a UN Special Project Consultant for Department of Project Services and Blockchain Technology. He said:

    “Relevant research results will be published and will play a catalytic role in discussing the impact of blockchain technology on the legal industry. Our primary task is to further apply blockchain technology to existing regulatory frameworks, data and identification, etc. In the field."

    Koen Hartog, manager of the blockchain pilot project for the Dutch government, added that:

    "In order to make full use of the potential of blockchain technology, we need to fully understand the legal implications involved."

    As the executive department that implements the UN System project, the main task of the United Nations Office for Project Services is to seek partners on a global scale to help them achieve the UN's sustainable development goals.

    The blockchain distributed ledger technology previously explored by the United Nations Office for Project Services was mainly applied to humanitarian issues, while the Dutch government's blockchain pilot project mainly involved legal use cases. The UN Office of Project Services considers that such cooperation can give public administration and international organization officials better legal references.

    Koen Hartog added:

    “The Dutch blockchain experts have done a lot of work in the legal field and studied how smart contracts can, or can, become legal contracts. According to their research results, in some cases, the code may have laws. This is binding, but it is not always the case in all cases. Having experts in the law understand and participate in the blockchain project is very important for the further development of the ecosystem."

  • Thu, Apr 5, 2018 Cisco Developing Confidential Communications Via Blockchain In Patent Filing

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    Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT and networking, is developing a method of confidential group communications based on Blockchain technology, according to a patent application released by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) March 29.

    In the application, the company describes the way Blockchain can ensure more confidential and secure group messaging, file sharing, and tracking of membership history. The technology in the patent intends to address common challenges faced by ad hoc messaging groups:

    “How group membership is established, communicated, updated, and secured from unauthorized tampering are common problems for which a construct is not available that can be effective in the context of dynamic, decentralized, and self-organizing group.”

    “This method permits ad hoc and decentralized group definition, dynamic and decentralized membership updates, open sharing, tamper resistance, and tracking of membership history.”

    The method suggests establishing a secured network by using cryptographic keys. Only authorized participants will be allowed to join a group chat based on the aforementioned decentralized network.
    The genesis block, which "defines the initial set of group members", is generated by the first participant. All actions of the chat, including adding and deleting members to the conversation, will be recorded in the subsequent blocks. Other possible applications of this technology suggest not only text messaging but also file sharing and even streaming media:

    "In summary, presented herein is a method for achieving authorization in confidential group communications in terms of an ordered list of data blocks representing a tamper-resistant chronological account of group membership updates... There are many applications of these techniques. One such application is enabling end-to-end encryption of instant messaging, content sharing, and streamed media. This is useful in developing a protocol or application designed to enable confidential group communications."

    Filed in December 2017, the document is a continuation of a previous application, where Cisco proposed to apply Blockchain to track Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
    The publication of a patent application can grant the applicant certain provisional rights to the technology therein. If a patent is granted, the applicant can receive a reasonable royalty for infringing activity occurring from the date of publication of the patent application to the issue date of the patent.

  • Fri, Mar 30, 2018 Coinbase Releases Cryptocurrency Tax Calculator

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    Cryptocurrency startup Coinbase has launched a new gain/loss calculating tool as part of an effort to help its user base keep up with U.S. tax requirements.

    In a blog post published on Tuesday, the firm explained that the calculator can be used to generate a report which outlines their capital gains (or losses) on its platform, using a first-in-first-out (FIFO) accounting method.

    The tool comes with a few caveats, however, namely that it's primarily aimed at users who have bought and sold on Coinbase exclusively - and isn't recommended for those who have purchased digital assets elsewhere or participated in an initial coin offering, per the blog.

    "This tool provides a preliminary gain/loss calculation to assist our customers, but should not be used as official tax documentation without validating the results with your tax professional," the startup also cautioned.

    Its release follows an earlier step by Coinbase on the tax front, when, in January, the startup reminded its users that they are liable for U.S. capital gains, even going as far as posting a consistent banner about the issue.

    The issue of taxation and cryptocurrencies has always been someone of a contentious topic, ever since the U.S. Internal Revenue Service announced in 2014 that it would treat such assets as a taxable form of property rather than, say, a currency.

    Concerns over the ambiguity of the IRS guidance - in its new blog, Coinbase itself writes that "we understand taxes for digital currency can be complicated" - have fueled complaints from professional circles.

    The topic also carries an added degree of weight for Coinbase specifically, which was the target of a lawsuit by the IRS as it sought information on U.S.-based users in an effort to sniff out potential tax avoiders.

    Ultimately, the startup would send information on about 13,000 users who had transacted on the platform between 2013 and 2015 after being ordered to by a U.S. district judge in November 2017.

  • Thu, Mar 29, 2018 China: PBOC Begins Blockchain Rollout With ‘Blockchain Registry Open Platform’

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    China’s central bank realized the first of what will likely be many Blockchain implementations in the form of the Blockchain Registry Open Platform (BROP), released Monday, March 26.

    Unveiled at the Global Financial Science and Technology Summit in the city of Hangzhou, BROP is an open Blockchain protocol developed by the Zhongchao Blockchain Research Institute. The Institute is the last link in a chain of subsidiaries under ultimate ownership of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

    BROP targets multiple economic sectors and principally aims to decrease bureaucratic burdens, including authentication requirements for government organs.

    The unveiling sees the PBOC finally bring to life the results of its fervent ongoing Blockchain patent activity, the bank having submitted almost 70 such patents last year. In 2017, China reportedly filed the most Blockchain patents of any country in the world.

    “We started the layout of blockchain technology in early 2015 and set up the Zhongchao Blockchain Research Institute last year,” Fan Guifu, CEO of the Institute’s umbrella corporation Zhongchao Credit Card Industry Development told local news outlet Tencent.

    “Our key focus is the development of blockchain and other emerging fin

  • Wed, Mar 28, 2018 Venezuelans to Buy Homes and Property with State Cryptocurrency

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    Venezuelans will be able to buy houses and other property with their new national cryptocurrency. Real estate deals in petro will be authorized in April, President Maduro announced. The government will also finance the construction of 230,000 new homes using funds from the pre-sale of the oil-backed crypto.

    Also read: Rubles Can Buy You Petro Maduro Says While Denominating Venezuela’s Currency

    Four Economic Zones to Accept Petro Payments
    All citizens and legal entities in Venezuela can now buy the national cryptocurrency through its website and soon they will be able to spend their petros as well. Sales of real estate in the oil-backed crypto will be allowed from April 20, Nicolás Maduro said, quoted by Noticia al Día.

    The Venezuelan president also revealed authorities will create four special and exclusive economic zones to stimulate the circulation of the petro. They will be located in Los Roques, Paraguaná, Ureña and on the Margarita Island. Goods and services there will be priced in the new government-issued cryptocurrency.

    Last month Maduro authorized all savings banks in the country to use the petro, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Later he said all state institutions engaged in foreign exchange had been instructed to do the same.

    Maduro announced that more than 200,000 orders from 133 countries have been placed during the 30 days of the petro pre-sale. He told local TV the total of the orders amounts to $5.25 billion USD. The president also said petros can now be purchased with fiat currencies like Russian rubles, Chinese yuan, Turkish lira and euro, as well as with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum and NEM.

    Three Million Homes to Be Built With Petro
    Earlier this week Venezuela’s head of state said 82.5 million petros had been sold since the launch of the national cryptocurrency in February. The socialist government in Caracas intends to use some of the $735 million collected from the pre-sale to finance the construction of 236,000 new homes.

    Authorities plan to build a total of 3 million housing units by 2019 under the Grand Housing Mission launched in 2011. Their construction will be financed with funds from the sale of the oil-backed currency. A presidential decree is expected to allocate 14,000 hectares of government-owned land to the project.

    Nicolás Maduro reiterated his rejection of the new sanctions imposed by the White House. US President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order banning American citizens and legal entities from any transactions with Venezuelan cryptocurrencies. “Venezuela repudiates the measures against the petro,” Maduro said adding that they were intended to harm the country’s economy.

    Venezuela will also host another global blockchain and cryptocurrency technology event, its president announced. The conference will be held mid-April in Caracas.

    Do you think Maduro’s administration will be able to successfully introduce the petro in other sectors of Venezuela’s economy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Thu, Mar 22, 2018 What The Blockchain Revolution Means For CMOs

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    It’s been hailed as a global revolution, and shunned as a piece of technology used by drug dealers and cartels. But in reality, blockchain (the underlying technology that enables crypto currencies like Bitcoin) is a fascinating piece of technology that has the power to change our world.

    Think of blockchain as a ledger that lives on every device on which it is installed. Whenever the ledger is changed, the information is updated on each device. This networked method of tracking information has supported the rise of decentralized currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

    But blockchain has a wide variety of uses that have already started to shape consumer expectations, go-to-market strategy, and data collection. Moving forward, the blockchain revolution will mean brands need to start positioning themselves differently in a world where decentralization and transparency are king.


    Consumer Expectations Are Changing

    Consumer expectations are already changing as a result of blockchain thanks to tools like HybridBlock, which provide laypeople with information about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. HybridBlock’s suite of products will educate and provide all of the tool to enter cryptocurrency as a novice and advance through the ranks to become more skilled and educated.

    As consumers and companies learn more about the capabilities of blockchain, they will begin to choose products and services that operate in a decentralized manner. One Silicon Valley startup, OPEN Platform, provides a turnkey solution for blockchain integration between both on-chain and off-chain applications. What this means is that developers, marketers, and businesses can now build marketing tools and applications with minimal blockchain knowledge.

    OPEN Platform CEO Ken Sangha says they understand the next wave of marketing applications and that CMOs will be focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. "Much like mobile applications spawned the last generation of technology CMOs that’s why we’ve built OPEN in the most modular way possible, to appeal to the next generation of marketing application developers and the CMOs who will use them.”

    But thanks to blockchain, the technology is designed to safely and transparently share data between a large group of people without needing centralized oversight to keep data safe.

    Thanks to blockchain, customers can monitor how a corporation handles their data, or track the origins of a particular item. Blockchain gives consumers the platform they need to hold centralized institutions accountable.

    Capital Is Becoming More Accessible

    The second most common reason why startups fail is that they “ran out of cash” according to a report by CB Insights. CMOs in need of funds to bring marketing campaigns to life can now propose a new avenue of funding to other members of the c-suite.

    Thanks to blockchain, and cryptocurrencies, startups now have access to capital through avenues that simply did not exist a few years ago. Take TrustToken as an example, a technology that is poised to enable people around the world to buy fractional ownership in commodities like real estate, gold, or small businesses.

    Each asset or business could get its own token, that is tradable on global cryptocurrency exchanges just like Bitcoin or Ethereum. TrustToken’s technology will be used to audit the asset ownership and monitor each transaction, bringing the power of blockchains to improve real-world markets.
    Customer Sentiment Can Be Evaluated On-Demand

    The world’s visionary tech companies are investing billions of dollars in artificial intelligence. Jeff Bezos recently announced that Amazon was going to double down on voice assistants, an AI based technology that has started to revolutionize the way consumers interface with brands.

    But smaller organizations are at a disadvantage when it comes to developing AI tech. Whereas large companies have massive amounts of data with which they can feed machine learning algorithms, small organizations do not have the same luxury.

    With blockchain, consumers and companies can buy and sell data via decentralized, but highly transparent markets. Synapse is one such technology, the platform allows consumers to sell their data in exchange for SYN tokens, and allows buyers to track individual users in return. On a larger scale, this helps create a dynamic AI ecosystem that can actually become smarter and more efficient over time leading to a full AI economy.


    Iris is another blockchain based platform designed to allow consumers to sell their data (in this case it’s health data), while at the same time, making it possible for researchers and corporations to access large data sets on demand. With the proper incentivization, Iris is proving that consumer data can be shared in a mutually beneficial fashion.

    Finally, ClearPoll uses blockchain technology to safely record a poll respondent’s selection. Plus, it gives organizations a new way to incentivize and collect consumer sentiment. Using POLL tokens, respondents are rewarded for participating in a poll, making it easier for brands to instantly evaluate customer sentiment. ClearPoll also offers in-depth respondent metrics on thousands of historical polls.

    Brands That Adapt Fastest Will Win

    The blockchain revolution will gradually pickup steam. Just as on-demand revolutionized content and commerce by changing customer expectations in a matter of years, blockchain will have a similar impact on what customers expect from brands.

    While today blockchain may seem like a vestige of libertarians and tech nerds, the powerful and secure technology will becoming increasingly mainstream.

    As a result, brands that embrace the tenets of the blockchain revolution will be best situated to win over prospective customers who are interested in supporting innovative companies.

    Big brands are already embracing blockchain. Burger King released their own cryptocurrency built with blockchain, and IBM is helping a Chinese retailer to improve food safety using blockchain. Visionary companies know the importance of embracing blockchain innovation, it’s time for other CMOs to embrace the revolution as well.

    Conclusion

    If you thought you only needed to worry about trends like machine learning, and augmented reality, think again.

    Blockchain is here to stay. That means CMOs have new opportunities to connect with consumers, raise capital, and capture data. But most of all, it means marketing leaders must embrace change as decentralization and transparency becomes the norm.

    @steveolenski is a marketer who also happens to be among the most influential writers in the space. He's been called The CMO Whisperer & Distiller of Truth. He's looking for his next challenge.

  • Mon, Mar 19, 2018 Puerto Rico Aims to Attract Blockchain Startups With New Council

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    Puerto Rico's government has created an advisory council aimed at spurring the development of blockchain businesses on the island.

    The move was announced Thursday during the Blockchain Unbound conference in San Juan. Manuel Laboy Rivera, Puerto Rico's secretary of economic development and commerce, struck a bullish tone during remarks about the tech's future prospects. The council is composed of a mix of public and private sector representatives, including Rivera, the government's chief innovation officer and its secretary of the Treasury, as well as a mix of entrepreneurs and investors that have moved to Puerto Rico.

    Blockchain, he said, "is accelerating economic and social changes worldwide and Puerto Rico wants to be a part of it."

    The creation of the council comes after a number of high-profile blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs followed investor Brock Pierce to U.S. commonwealth to set up a "crypto utopia" of sorts.

    According to Rivera, Puerto Rico already offers a beneficial location for new businesses, a state of affairs that is buoyed by the tax incentives outlined in several legislative acts. These include Act 22, which provides exemptions for individual investors that are residents of the island.

    On top of that, Rivera said the government - through the advisory council - will be looking at ways to develop the best possible regulations and legal framework to support blockchain businesses. That said, as a U.S. commonwealth, Puerto Rico has all the protections given by federal government and must also abide by American regulatory frameworks.

    Puerto Rico's interest in attracting blockchain entrepreneurs and investors comes after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.

    As such, the government in Puerto Rico would like to diversify its economy - and according to Rivera, officials there see blockchain as one way to do that. And after detailing the openness of the government to the industry, Rivera, pointing to the beautiful landscape and vibrant culture on the island, joked:

    "But most importantly, you'll be doing business in a tropical island."

  • Sat, Mar 17, 2018 Moscow's Blockchain Voting Platform Adds Service for High-Rise Neighbors

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    Moscow is extending its use of a blockchain-based voting platform to the city block level.

    Announced today, the municipal government of Russia's national capital has launched Digital Home, a service allows neighbors in high rises to electronically vote and communicate on issues like whether to replace the building entrance door or hire a new management company.

    The service uses Active Citizen, an electronic voting platform that runs on a private version of ethereum.

    Each year, Moscow residents hold five thousand to seven thousand face-to-face meetings on such matters, according to a press release issued Wednesday, but such gatherings are getting harder to arrange in a busy urban environment.

    "We believe it's essential to build a convenient environment to allow neighbors to influence the neighborhood they are living in," said Andrey Belozerov, an advisor to the chief information officer of Moscow. "The pace of life in [big cities] imposes its conditions and it is rather difficult to find a suitable time for everyone and schedule a meeting between neighbors offline."

    Active Citizen launched in 2014 and has amassed more than 2 million users. In that time, it has facilitated 3,510 polls where users voted on subjects like the name for a new metro train and the color of seats in a new sports arena.

    Late last year, it began using blockchain technology to make results publicly auditable and assuage concerns about the city's vote counting.

    "Once the vote is placed, it will be listed in a ledger consisting of all votes [that have] taken place across a peer-to-peer network," according to the city's public statement. "It will guarantee that the data will not be lost or altered by someone after the vote was casted so there is no chance for fraud or third-party interference."