Accenture, Microsoft building blockchain ID prototype for healthcare, others – Healthcare IT News

Prototype could help by creating a digital identity for 1.1 billion people around the world who don’t have a formal ID.

Accenture and Microsoft have created a prototype based on blockchain technology with the aim of creating a digital identity for 1.1 billion people around the world who don’t have a formal ID.

According to Accenture, one-sixth of the world’s population cannot participate in cultural, political, economic and social life for lack of ID.

Establishing identity, Accenture executives said in a statement, is a must for gaining access to healthcare – and to a host of other services benefits and activities, such including education, voting, banking, mobile communications, housing, and family and childcare benefits.

More at: Accenture, Microsoft building blockchain ID prototype for healthcare, others – Healthcare IT News

GSA calls for blockchain and machine learning to speed acquisition – fedscoop

The General Services Administration is looking to speed up acquisition by harnessing innovative machine learning and blockchain technologies.

The administration released a request for quotes June 19 to improve its Multiple Award Schedules FASt Lane program. FASt Lane was implemented in 2016 to give government agencies timely access to new technology innovation by shortening processing times.

Now, GSA says it has up to $149,999 to offer to contractors for a proof of concept that can further improve FASt Lane processing and proposal review times with distributed ledger technology — the foundation of blockchain technology, which also forms the basis of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin — automated machine learning, artificial intelligence based technologies and electronic interchange technology.

More at: GSA calls for blockchain and machine learning to speed acquisition – fedscoop

What is the InterPlanetary File System? – The Merkle

In the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency, decentralization is key. This often leads to some new and exciting innovations, to say the least. The Interplanetary File System is one of those innovations which more people should pay attention to. Now is a good time to take a closer look at what IPFS has to offer and how it will shape the future of our society.

THE INTERPLANETARY FILE SYSTEM EMBRACES DECENTRALIZED FILE STORAGE AND SHARING

It is quite interesting to see how many projects are working on decentralized file storage and sharing right now. We have recently highlighted a few of those projects, including Storj and Sia. However, one of the first initiatives to fully embrace this concept goes by the name of the InterPlanetary File System, also known as IPFS. This protocol is established on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.

More at: What is the InterPlanetary File System? – The Merkle

You’ve never heard of these 5 classes—but their areas of study will boost your pay in the future – CNBC Make It.

If you want the excitement of working in a growing industry, like renewable energy or artificial intelligence, you could try to strike out on your own as an entrepreneur. But maybe you don’t quite have the skills for those hot industries that promise higher pay and more growth.

The good news is that there are a host of new courses you can take and areas to study, which you’ve maybe never heard of — but that will put your resume at the top of a hiring manager’s resume pile. Keeping your skills fresh is increasingly important as industries turn over or face existential crises: “The current shelf life of technological skills is less than five years, [making] it crucial for individuals and employers alike to boost their skill sets,” said Sarah Tilton, senior regional director of coding bootcamp academy General Assembly’s New York office, in an email.

Mic pored over new course offerings at top online instruction sites like Udacity and Coursera — and examined reports on in-demand jobs requiring a specific new skill, — to come up with a list of five classes you can take to set sail on a fresh career. We used salary tracking site Paysa and job listing site Indeed to estimate expected salaries. Some, but not all, of the courses are free.

1. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies

If you’ve been following the news, you know the price of the cryptocurrency bitcoin has soared recently. But if you’ve really been following the news, you know that bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg for a technology with much more potential: the blockchain.

More at: You’ve never heard of these 5 classes—but their areas of study will boost your pay in the future – CNBC Make It.

Can Bitcoin’s First Felon Help Make Cryptocurrency a Trillion-Dollar Market? – Fortune.com

After spending a year in prison, Bitcoin pioneer Charlie Shrem has a new job and a new mission: Strengthening the ecosystem of blockchain assets—and, just maybe, helping build the future of the Internet.

“My word is gold,” says Charlie Shrem, glass of absinthe in hand, light winking off a pinkie ring he wears that is embossed with a Bitcoin symbol. “And I make sure everyone gets paid.”

Bitcoin’s first felon is in his favorite mode: full-on bluster. We’re in Sarasota, where he lives, perched on stools at Pangea Alchemy Lab, a faux-speakeasy tucked behind a curtain in the back of a sandwich shop. The bartender is a bearded anarchist who, after making our drinks—he drips water from a sort of four-armed decanter onto sugar cubes suspended on slotted spoons above glasses of French absinthe—asks if I’ve read Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by the anthropologist David Graeber. Shrem has been offering plenty for the bartender to eavesdrop on, a discourse that features words like Bitcoin, blockchain, digital currency.

More at: Can Bitcoin’s First Felon Help Make Cryptocurrency a Trillion-Dollar Market? – Fortune.com

Are Smart Contracts Smart? A Critical Look at Basic Blockchain Questions – Coindesk

David M. Adlerstein is counsel at New York City law firm Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz, where he focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate, securities law and regulatory matters.

In this opinion piece, Adlerstein discusses the current state of smart contracts, providing what he believes is a useful definition for the concept that can help answer key questions about the emerging technology.

I invite the reader to perform a simple experiment: Ask five people with reasonable working familiarity with blockchain to list five key potential benefits of the technology.

I’d wager that at least three will include “smart contracts” on that list. Ask that same group to define what a smart contract is, and you’ll get at least three different answers (likely ranging from an agreement for the transfer of an asset on a blockchain, to the simple execution of code on the blockchain, to the koan-like “code is law”).

While it is clear that technology (notably blockchain) is opening new horizons for the creation and performance of legal agreements, there is no consensus as to what people mean when smart contracts are discussed. This naturally sows confusion, including as to the legal status of smart contracts.

This article attempts to enhance discussion by positing a working legal definition of smart contracts, and, using that definition as a framework, offering preliminary answers to three fundamental questions of interest to technologists and lawyers alike: Are smart contracts contracts? Are smart contracts smart? And are smart contracts legally recognizable?

More at: Are Smart Contracts Smart? A Critical Look at Basic Blockchain Questions – Coindesk

The FBI Received Over 2,600 Ransomware Complaints in 2016 – CoinDesk

The FBI received more than 2,600 complaints about ransomware last year, according to a new report.

Published yesterday, the annual review of cybersecurity threats from the law enforcement agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) outlined a range of statistics, including the number of submissions it received regarding ransomware.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts an infected computer’s data, demanding a payment – usually in bitcoin – in return for the information being unlocked.

More at: The FBI Received Over 2,600 Ransomware Complaints in 2016 – CoinDesk