AmEx applies blockchain tech to fine tune its rewards scheme – Crypto News Review

By John Moore      May 24, 2018

American Express is be using HyperLedger to provide product-specific reward offers, that can be controlled by its merchants.  

Credit card giant American Express is to begin using a blockchain system to develop its reward points program, in the hope of further influencing the purchasing decision of its customers and providing tools for its merchants to boost business. According to a report by Associated Press, AmEx is already piloting the scheme, that will allow merchants to award reward points on specific items from their stock – the first participant is, apparently, created online wholesaler Boxed.

The company is using the Linux Foundation’s HyperLedger blockchain tech to underpin the system, which provides a platform that allows the creation of the product- (and, apparently, customer-) specific offers that can be created by AmEx, or the merchants themselves, whenever they see fit. The scheme could be integrated with inventory management, for example, to create allow stores to create promos for items it wants to clear off shelves.

More at: AmEx applies blockchain tech to fine tune its rewards scheme – Crypto News Review

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Hacking Continues: Now Bitcoin Gold Suffers from Double Spending Attack With Exchanges Losing As Much As $18 Million – Crypto-News India

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

Apple founder Steve Wozniak hails bitcoin and blockchain as ‘next major IT revolution’ – The Independent

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

Tea Tokenizers Arrested in China for Alleged $47 Million Crypto Fraud – CoinDesk

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

Smart ‘Battleships’ Are Right Around the Corner – The National Interest

By Salvatore Babones      May 17, 2018

Blockchain database technologies will power tomorrow’s internet of things – and that could include the Navy’s onboard weapons systems.USS Wisconsin (BB-64) Firing a broadside to port with her 16/50 and 5/38 guns

Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017 made “blockchain” a household word. However, Bitcoin is only one use case for the application of the basic database architecture called blockchain. A much more important application just over the horizon is the internet of things: the idea that many pieces of everyday technology will be made “smart” by interconnecting them with each other and sensors over the internet, allowing them to communicate and act in real time. For instance, a road would be able to alert a smart car about ice or snow on the ground and the car would be able to slow down in response. When the internet of things is added to the security of blockchain, more powerful technology can be built, and this could include military hardware such as the United States Navy’s next generation of surface combat ships.

How could such database technology run a battleship, and what would that look like?

A typical U.S. surface combatant ship, like the Arleigh Burke class destroyer, combines powerful radar systems with a host of different weapons systems. These weapons include ninety or more missile launch cells (each one capable of launching one of a dozen different missile types), two independent Phalanx close-defense systems, six torpedo launchers, a five-inch gun and several machine guns.

The challenge is to make all these combat systems work together without damaging the ship itself. America’s opponents have often fielded bigger, badder weapons than the United States, but the secret to naval success is systems integration. As the British proved at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, superior fire control trumps superior firepower.

For the U.S. Navy, systems integration still means the aging but effective Aegis Combat System. Now in its fifth decade of operation, Aegis is a centralized command and control system that links sensors and weapons together similar to how a boxer’s brain links his eyes and fists. But that very centralization is also a weakness; knock out the brain and you knock out the boxer.

More at: Smart ‘Battleships’ Are Right Around the Corner – The National Interest

Regulators will struggle to rein in resilient bitcoin – Financial Times

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

Massive Consensus Conference Succumbs To Blockchain ‘Echo Chamber’ – Forbes Tech #CuttingEdge

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