The Lightning Network Could Make Bitcoin Faster—and Cheaper – Wired

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

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What Blockchain Means to Supply Chain – SupplyChainBrain

By Robert J. Bowman     January 19, 2018

Blockchain has the potential to transform supply chains.

What Blockchain Means to Supply Chain

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

Regulate bitcoin but don’t ban, says former FDIC chair – CNBC

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

Hyperledger’s Behlendorf: 2018 Will Bring Breakthrough Blockchain Developments – Nasdaq.com

By Jessie Willms, Bitcoin Magazine    January 17, 2018

hyperledger_behlendorf.png

Brian Behlendorf is confident that 2018 will be a peak year, not only for Hyperledger – the international consortium of companies and organizations developing open source, permissioned blockchain technology – but also for blockchain technology in general as businesses and governments recognize the potential power of distributed ledgers and smart contracts.

“2018 will be the year that Hyperledger and blockchain come into their own. Projects demonstrating real world solutions, like Change Healthcare , that will enable healthcare systems to better and more efficiently process claims and payments, will launch this year.”

Hyperledger, founded in 2015, incubates and promotes blockchain technologies for business, including distributed ledgers, client libraries, graphical interfaces and smart contract engines.

More at: Hyperledger’s Behlendorf: 2018 Will Bring Breakthrough Blockchain Developments – Nasdaq.com

Best Ways To Learn About Bitcoin in 2018 – AppInformers.com

By Mitch Green    January 16, 2018

Bitcoin has become one of the hottest topics in news media since the digital currency hit $1000 in value. Everyone with an interest in making money wants to invest in bitcoins. But beneath the excitement to earn money is a technology with great potential. Here are six different resources to enlighten you about bitcoin, its technology, benefits and applications in the real world.

Bitcoin News Channels

There are over a dozen top websites that specialize in cryptocurrency news. At the top of these news channels is Cointelegraph, a website launched for the sole purposes of writing bitcoin news. Cointelegraph is available both as a website and as an app. Here are top 5 news channels to subscribe to:

  • Cointelegraph- Cointelegraph is a dedicated news channel for bitcoins, Initial Coin Offerings and new blockchain technologies.
  • Coindesk-launched in 2013, Coindesk offers comprehensive news and guides on cryptocurrencies.
  • Crypt0 YouTube Channel-This is a popular vlog for bitcoin news.
  • Bitcoin.com-Like Coindesk, this website offers both news and comprehensive bitcoin articles.
  • Cryptocoinnews.com-this is yet another news website and mobile app that specializes in cryptocurrency news.

More at: Best Ways To Learn About Bitcoin in 2018 – AppInformers.com

Why blockchain is a belief system – FT Alphaville

By Izabella Kaminska    January 11, 2018

In an interview with Fox Business on Tuesday, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon back-pedaled on his September claim that bitcoin is a fraud “worse than tulip bulbs”.

He said “he regretted” making the remarks because they dismissed the technology in broad terms, adding “the blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that.”

It’s not clear how much of the U-turn was prompted by the highly personalised hate campaign run against him on social media by crypto promoters. What is worth noting is Dimon’s especially apologetic stance towards “blockchain”, the technology that underpins cryptocurrency and which financial institutions are heavily investing in in a bid to revolutionise settlements.

According to Bloomberg, Dimon “believes in blockchain” — a turn of phrase that speaks volumes about the state of the technology being advocated.

As argued here, however, “blockchain” as a phrase is entirely meaningless. For the most part it is just a bundle of pre-existing technologies brought together in a cryptocurrency context to solve a problem most of the regulated financial system does not have: a lack of trusted intermediaries.

Aside from solving that very specific issue — and doing so extremely expensively — blockchain achieves little beyond the novelty of broadcasting transactions publicly and pseudonymously in a way that achieves ledger immutability.

More at: Why blockchain is a belief system – FT Alphaville

Commentary: Blockchain Could Replace Social Security Numbers – Fortune

By Frederick Kerrest    January 11, 2018

In the wake of the Equifax breach and countless others compromising Americans’ privacy, one thing has become clear: It’s time to get rid of Social Security numbers.

While a string of digits on a paper card did the job in the 1930s, and got the government’s stamp of approval for identification purposes in 1972, it’s irresponsible for those nine numbers to continue to be the universal identifier for every part of our lives. We can do better; even the White House says so.

But the natural follow-up question—“What’s the replacement?”—is where things get complicated. We could have a digital, national ID card system like Estonia, but that’s proven to have its own security issues. We could use biometric technology to validate identities, using retina scans or facial recognition software, but these systems aren’t foolproof.

What about blockchain? Does the new, buzzy technology have the potential to one day replace Social Security numbers?

More at: Commentary: Blockchain Could Replace Social Security Numbers – Fortune