Blockchain and cryptocurrency to watch out for in 2018

By Ian Allison    December 13, 2017

AI and data sharing, green crypto mining, magical blockchains and a new ‘World Computer’.

It’s that time of year again, and in keeping with tradition, here are some promising blockchain technologies to watch out for in 2018.

AI and blockchainYou can hear an insistent murmur about how the two most exciting technologies of the moment – blockchain and artificial intelligence – can be married. At the protocol level, blockchains need to be highly deterministic so sticking a machine learning black box in the middle is not a recommended strategy – not yet anyway. What’s often talked about is AI-driven data analytics being leveraged in a trading capacity, so crypto-hedge funds and so on.

However, a much more interesting play concerns the way blockchains can be used to share data. Data is the essential ingredient in creating effective AI, which makes data the most valuable naturally occurring resource on the planet. A small but growing number of interesting startups are clustering around the data sharing use case.

For example, the OpenMined project is addressing the current problem of having to centralise data to train a machine learning model, using a combination of homomorphic encryption, multi-party computation and blockchain.

More at: Blockchain and cryptocurrency to watch out for in 2018 – International Business Times

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Bitcoin Has Gone Mainstream. That’s a Very Big Deal – CoinDesk

By Michael J Casey    December 13, 2017

Michael J. Casey is chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor of blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative.

Last week, my eighth-grader came home saying that all the boys at school were talking about bitcoin.

Some might describe this vignette, and many others like it from the past few weeks, as a 2017 version of that ominous 1929 moment when shoeshine boys started giving stock tips. But whether or not they signal the bursting of a bubble, these stories also mean something far more important: bitcoin has gone mainstream.

I’m not talking about the long-awaited mass adoption point in which a critical mass of users owns, earns and spends bitcoin. We’re still a long way from that notion of “mainstream.”

Rather, it’s a moment of global awareness and dialogue. Even without user adoption, it opens up an immeasurably large array of possibilities, both positive and negative.

More at: Bitcoin Has Gone Mainstream. That’s a Very Big Deal – CoinDesk

A Career in Crypto: How to Work in the World’s Fastest Growing Market – Hacked

By Sam Bourgi    December 13, 2017

The cryptocurrency revolution is more than just a fad – it is creating real jobs in the economy. Recent data provided by LinkedIn showed that bitcoin-related job postings in the financial sector alone skyrocketed 900% over the last three years, a clear sign that enterprises were seeking cryptocurrency experts. This figure is 460% in the software industry alone.

Demand is also percolating in the freelance community, with the likes of Upwork and Freelancer seeing a surge in crypto-related job postings in the IT, marketing and content writing fields. Clearly, the crypto economy is multi-faceted, and is making people a lot of money in more ways than one.

So, what does it mean to work in the cryptocurrency economy, and what can you do to become a viable contender for one of these lucrative opportunities? Below we look at five high-growth areas you might want to consider.

ICO

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are all the rage these days, and for good reason. The controversial, but highly lucrative crowdfunding model has emerged as the holy grail for startups wishing to fund their big ideas.

More at: A Career in Crypto: How to Work in the World’s Fastest Growing Market – Hacked

Why the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Economy Needs to Be Regulated — and How – TheStreet

By Jordan French    December 12, 2017

The crypto-economy is inspiring everyday people who are learning more about it, and want to participate in it. Still, it is growing largely without oversight.

In fact, one reason (besides its pure promise) why it’s grown so much over the past few years is because it was unregulated. As currencies like Bitcoin have risen beyond all expectations, now is the right moment to talk about instilling macro policies for the crypto-economy.

This past October, the market size of tradeable crypto instruments surpassed $150 billion, on track to rise by an order of magnitude next year with the formal introduction of liquid, functioning derivatives. To translate this strong initial growth into a sustainable ecosystem with consumer and investor protections, a smart regulatory framework can thwart avoidable disruptions and attenuate some of the unwanted volatility among real-world users.

More at: Why the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Economy Needs to Be Regulated — and How – TheStreet

I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here’s Why. – The New York Times

By Kevin Roose    December 12, 2017

Several years ago, tech enthusiasts in San Francisco began buzzing about a new and mysterious thing called Bitcoin. There were rumors that the virtual money, invented by a pseudonymous math genius named Satoshi Nakamoto, would revolutionize modern finance and render government-backed currency obsolete. Or maybe it was just a passing fad.

I wanted to understand the phenomenon for myself. So in 2013, I bought a single Bitcoin, a clunky and labor-intensive process that involved going to a CVS and using MoneyGram to wire the dollar value of a Bitcoin — which was around $140 at the time — to a cryptocurrency exchange. I sold my Bitcoin a week later for a small loss, thoroughly unimpressed with the experience and pessimistic about the virtual money’s prospects.

“The Bitcoin dream is all but dead,” I wrote.

More at: I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here’s Why. – The New York Times

Bitcoin Is Soaring. Here’s Why It’s Not Ready for the Big Time – WIRED

By Tom Simonite    December 12, 2017

“To the moon!” The phrase is the battle cry of true believers in cryptocurrency bitcoin—and charts of its price in recent weeks point directly heavenward. Yet beyond a batch of newly minted crypto-millionaires, the digital asset’s recent bull run has also exposed long-standing weakness in the underlying technology that could crimp bitcoin’s long-term viability.

More at: Bitcoin Is Soaring. Here’s Why It’s Not Ready for the Big Time – WIRED

Vanguard will use blockchain to share index data – InvestmentNews

By Ryan W. Neal    December 12, 2017

The meteoric rise of bitcoin may be dominating headlines, but cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the blockchain iceberg.

Some say the technology’s real opportunity is in revolutionizing the way information of all kinds is stored and shared.

Vanguard Group announced Tuesday that it is looking to capitalize on this idea by using blockchain to simplify and automate the process of sharing index data. The $4.8 trillion asset manager said its blockchain—developed in partnership with the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) and Symbiont, a technology company focused on institutional applications of blockchain—will enable index data to move instantly between index providers and market participants.

Warren Pennington, a principle at Vanguard’s investment management group, said this reduces tracking error of Vanguard’s index funds, eventually resulting in lower costs and improved performance for advisers and their clients.

2018 LAUNCH

After a successful pilot, Vanguard said it will begin automatic delivery of CRSP index data and intraday updates over its private blockchain sometime in 2018.

More at: Vanguard will use blockchain to share index data – InvestmentNews