May 24, 2108
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 24
Translation by Jonathan Chong [Chinese version 中文版]
About US$1.3 billion has been invested in blockchain companies in the first five months this year, surpassing the amount of venture capital in the field for the whole of 2017, Crunchbase reports.
A number of large funding rounds related to blockchain technology have been reported this year.
Orbs, an Israeli startup that offers blockchain as a service for consumer brands, raised US$118 million.
Ledger Wallet, a Paris-based bitcoin wallet maker, raised US$75 million; Project Shivom, a German company that applies blockchain technology to genomics, raised US$32 million; and blockchain analysis platform Chainalysis raised US$16 million.
More at: VC blockchain investment hits US$1.3 bln, topping 2017 funding – ejinsight
By Ashish Bhatnagar May 24, 2018
Cryptocurrency networks seem to be on the target of some organized criminals these days. It was only two days ago when I reported that Japanese cryptocurrency Monacoin suffered from a selfish mining attack recently, and yesterday there was the news of Verge suffering from a DDoS attack. However, the worst doesn’t seem to be over yet, as now news has broken about a 3rd major altcoin that suffered from double spending attack. This brings the number of coins suffering from cyberattacks within this week to 3.
The altcoin we’re talking about is Bitcoin Gold. With a market cap of $795 million as of now it’s 24th largest cryptocurrency in the world. However, that sort of scale didn’t stop hackers from taking over 51% of its network for a double-spending attack. Let me tell you what happened in detail.
More at: Hacking Continues: Now Bitcoin Gold Suffers from Double Spending Attack With Exchanges Losing As Much As $18 Million – Crypto-News India
By Anthony Cuthbertson May 18, 2018
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has given another powerful endorsement of cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology, hailing its revolutionary potential at a conference on Thursday.
Speaking on stage at the WeAreDevelopers World Congress in Vienna, Mr Wozniak said he believed the blockchain will have a huge impact on the technology sector, hailing it as “the next major IT revolution that is about to happen.”
Despite his positive outlook for bitcoin and blockchain, Mr Wozniak said in a separate interview at the event that he was “bothered by what technology has become,” referencing Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
More at: Apple founder Steve Wozniak hails bitcoin and blockchain as ‘next major IT revolution’ – The Independent
Another cryptocurrency project has been busted by law enforcement in China for allegedly soliciting money from investors with fraudulent claims.
According to Guangdong Daily, a provincial government organ in China, police in Shenzhen arrested six individuals Monday who allegedly defrauded 3,000 Chinese investors out of $47 million by selling a cryptocurrency they claimed was backed by a commodity.
The six suspects formed a firm based in Shenzhen called PEB, which beginning in January 2017 issued a blockchain-powered token dubbed Pu’er Coin, according to the report.
The project’s website says buyers of the token are entitled to hold a contract representing ownership of a certain amount of the Pu’er Tibetan tea the firm has in stock, which it claims to be worth billions of dollars.
While the token can be subsequently exchanged in a secondary market called Jubi.com, another website claims the contract can also bring a 12 percent annual return if investors choose to lock their funds for 12 months.
According to the police investigation, though the firm had only a “very limited amount of the tea in stock,” it promised high short-term returns to investors in social media promotions and roadshows at high-end hotels.
More at: Tea Tokenizers Arrested in China for Alleged $47 Million Crypto Fraud – CoinDesk
From Nima Tabatabai, Westminster Business School, London E8, UK May 17, 2018
The article, “ MBA view: will bitcoin regulation undermine its value? ” (May 16), made disappointing reading, as my fellow MBA colleagues were unable to go deeper than the superficial analysis of bitcoin prevalent in mainstream discourse.
Firstly, bitcoin is not simply a new asset like oil or equities. Bitcoin is a monetary asset, and thus, by definition, is entirely speculative in nature. Bitcoin is thought to be the hardest money created to date, epitomising the school of Austrian Economics. Due to totally inelastic supply and variable demand, volatility will remain high until the rate of entry of new money into the ecosystem is dwarfed by that already inside.
More at: Regulators will struggle to rein in resilient bitcoin – Financial Times
By Jason Bloomberg, Contributor May 17, 2018
8,500 blockchain and cryptocurrency fans packed the New York Hilton Midtown to its gills this week in what organizers were calling the largest blockchain conference ever. Yet, while excitement around these technologies are indubitably at an all-time high, much of the activity at the show diverged from business reality.
The problem: most of the noise around both blockchain and crypto is little more than the community talking to itself – a massive ‘echo chamber’ that in its final analysis promises no lasting business value for its participants.
This echo chamber filled with schemers, scammers, speculators, and their various marks did not account for the entirety of the conversations at Consensus, however.
In contrast to the carnival huckster atmosphere dominating the event were firms focused on the other side of the blockchain equation: those seemingly rare but essential business models where blockchain may actually deliver real business value – in spite of all the nonsense at surrounding booths.
A bifurcation of sorts, therefore, was evident at Consensus: the sober, serious participants focused on business value vs. the insanity that is the frothy blockchain/crypto world today.
More at: Massive Consensus Conference Succumbs To Blockchain ‘Echo Chamber’ – Forbes Tech #CuttingEdge
By Akshay Makadiya May 16, 2018
The American multinational technology heavyweight IBM has partnered with environmental fintech startup Veridium Labs in a bid to tokenize carbon offset credits by releasing cryptocurrency token via the Stellar project’s blockchain.
Counterbalancing Carbon Footprints
IBM has previously worked with blockchain projects, but their new collaboration with Veridium Labs will entail the first time the company is getting involved in developing a cryptocurrency.
The joint initiative was just announced by Bridget van Kralingen, a Senior Vice President with IBM Industry Platforms and Blockchain. She noted:
“By using a public, permissioned blockchain network, we can help Veridium create a new sustainable marketplace that is good for business and good for the world. This is a great example of how industries are being reinvented by blockchain, in this case establishing a far more efficient and transparent approach to carbon accounting and offsetting that will empower individuals and companies to play a role in improving our environment.”
More at: IBM to Help Tokenize Carbon Credits on Stellar Blockchain – Bitsonline