By Sandra Upson January 19, 2018
IN 2014, JOSEPH Poon and Thaddeus Dryja were bitcoin-obsessed engineers hanging out at pizza-fueled meetups in San Francisco. Their conversation often turned to the central problem of bitcoin: How to make it more useful? The bitcoin network’s design effectively limits it to handling three to seven transactions per second, compared with tens of thousands per second for Visa. Poon and Dryja recognized that for bitcoin to reach its full potential, it needed a major fix.
The pair had an idea, one whose elements were already in the air at the time. On the weekends they met in unofficial coworking spaces to hammer out a paper describing their vision. Six months later, they revealed their work at a San Francisco bitcoin meetup. They called it the Lightning Network, a system that can be grafted onto a cryptocurrency’s blockchain. With this extra layer of code in place, they believed, bitcoin could support far more transactions and make them almost-instant, reliable and cheap, while remaining free of banks and other institutions. In other words, it promised to fulfill the cryptocurrency dream originally set out by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.
As word of their paper spread, blockchain enthusiasts started hashing out its technical details in blogs and on social media. Around the world, engineers began trying to turn the ideas in Poon and Dryja’s paper into working code. “It was the second most exciting paper I had read in the blockchain era,” says Rusty Russell, a developer at Blockstream, a blockchain technology company. “The first was Satoshi’s.”
More at: The Lightning Network Could Make Bitcoin Faster—and Cheaper – Wired
By David Pimentel January 19, 2018
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking for proposals on how blockchain technology can help improve its operations.
VA is a federal cabinet-level agency that provides near-comprehensive healthcare services to eligible military veterans at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics located throughout the country. It offers several non-healthcare benefits including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education assistance, home loans, and life insurance. It also provides burial and memorial benefits to eligible veterans and family members at 135 national cemeteries.
During the AFCEA Bethesda’s 10th Annual Health IT Day, VA chief technology officer Charles Worthington said the agency’s approach to blockchain is to take a step back and look at the problem the department wants to solve.
“We really would be looking to industry to surface use cases for us,” said Worthington. “I think we’re going to be coming to industry with problems we have, and if you think blockchain is an appropriate solution, bring it to us.”
More at: Blockchain Solution Proposals Sought By Department of Veterans Affairs – BlockTribune
By Robert J. Bowman January 19, 2018
Blockchain has the potential to transform supply chains.
Blockchain technology was created to support transactions involving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But it has quickly emerged from that dark and mysterious world to offer an invaluable tool for business in general, and global supply chains in particular. Touted as a secure, immutable system of record for any number of transactions between business partners, it seems an ideal tool for managing the complex web of relationships that make up a typical supply chain. On this episode, we learn about the applicability of Blockchain to supply chains from Jack Shaw, executive director of the American Blockchain Council. He explains just what Blockchain is, and offers his vision of the crucial role it will play in supply chains in years to come. Companies are promised an unprecedented level of security, convenience and efficiency. According to Shaw, Blockchain and supply chains have at least one thing in common: They’re both “team sports.” Hosted by Bob Bowman, Managing Editor of SupplyChainBrain.
More at: What Blockchain Means to Supply Chain – SupplyChainBrain
By Kellie Ell January 19, 2018
- Bitcoin is “something regulators need to deal with but not ban,” says former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair.
- “We don’t ban assets,” she says.
- Bair worries some people are investing in digital currencies without understanding what they are.
Amid threats of a potential ban on cryptocurrency, former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair said digital currencies such as bitcoin should be more tightly monitored but not stopped.
“It’s something regulators need to deal with but not ban,” Bair told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Thursday. Bair, who said she does not own any bitcoin, now serves as a board member for Paxos, a financial firm developing blockchain technology for digital currency.
“I think some additional regulation would be good, and I argue for that,” she said. “Especially on anti-money-laundering laws, where I think there are a lot of concerns over use of bitcoin or other digital currencies.”
More at: Regulate bitcoin but don’t ban, says former FDIC chair – CNBC
By Matthew Tompkins January 19, 2018
A new report that analyzes illicit transactions conducted on the blockchain has determined that less than 1% of all Bitcoin transactions are criminal in origin.
Elliptic, a UK based cybersecurity firm specialized in creating tools to identify criminality associated with blockchain related transactions, has released a report analyzing the global Bitcoin market with a focus on money laundering.
The results somewhat surprisingly find that the much-hyped criminal elements involved in Bitcoin appear disproportionately small, amounting to less than 1% of all Bitcoin transactions. Another surprising fact discovered in the report was that illicit Bitcoin transactions were again disproportionately made to European sources.
. . .
The research paper identifies the fraction of all transactions that consist of illicit payments here, emphasizing how the figure has fallen from just over 1% in 2013:
According to our study, the total percentage of identified ‘dirty bitcoins’ going into conversion services was relatively small. Only 0.61 percent of the money entering conversion services during the four years analyzed were verifiably from illicit sources, with the highest proportion (1.07 percent) seen in 2013.
More at: New Study Finds Less Than 1% of Bitcoin Transactions To Exchanges Are Illicit – Bitcoinist.com
By Julia Travers January 18, 2018
NASA has awarded University of Akron (UA) Assistant Professor Jin Wei Kocsis a three-year $333,000 Early Career Faculty grant as part of its Space Technology Research Grants (STRG) program. Dr. Kocsis will utilize the grant to develop AI and blockchain-based technology that will help satellites safely travel farther away while making decisions independently.
Space Travel and Fuzzy Logic
Satellites currently rely on wireless communication with Earth to send and receive vital mission data. As they venture further into space, these transmissions take more and more time to travel. If a satellite encounters space debris that must be avoided or needs to collect information from a nearby meteorite quickly, it is often incapable of doing so in time. Kocis says that,
“I hope to develop technology that can recognize environmental threats and avoid them, as well as complete a number of tasks automatically. I am honored that NASA recognized my work, and I am excited to continue challenging technology’s ability to think and do on its own.”
More at: NASA Bets on Blockchain and AI for Satellite Intelligence Study – BTCMANAGER