Forbes partner ICO Civil failed to raise $8 Million

ICOFailOfTheWEEK:

Forbes partner ICO Civil failed to raise $8 Million! Just 10 days ago Matt Coolidge, founder of journalism platform The Civil Media Company announced a cooperation with Forbes media giant. The collaboration was a “milestone for the block chain-based journalism,” said Coolidge on Medium.

The joy, however, was only of short duration. The blockchain startup www.Civil.co failed to reach the $8 million soft cap and canceled the ICO. Seems to be the end of the days when promoters simply had to hint at collaborations with established companies to impress investors.

Civil CEO Matthew Iles said it was probably too complicated to buy tokens. However, there were more problems as it was not clear why blockchain would be used. ICO projects fail all the time, of course.

But Civil’s stumble is particularly notable because the platform recently grabbed headlines due to its partnership with the two mainstream media organisations. Obviously ICO investors becoming more selective in general. First signs that we are back to a kind of normal.

Source: www.BTC-Echo.de, CCN.com 

#6 How can blockchain technology bring RoS: a Return On Society ? 

Let´s our true North be humanity.  We need stable societies! How can blockchain technology bring RoS: Return On Society? 

My brother Klaus Schwertner, Caritas Austria, fights anti-muslim racism. Featured in New YorkTimes with his #flowerrain (opposit to shitstorm) initiative to support a Muslim ‘New Years baby’ and his parents: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/world/europe/vienna-new-years-baby.html?referer=

We see many positive examples:  The UN Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development headed newly installed Commissioner Lawrence Cummins. They supports social blockchain projects.

Finland introduced blockchain debit cards for refugees
https://lnkd.in/e2J9jW6

Malaysia based Hada DBank blockchain project with no-interest-rates policy and a profit and loss sharing principles of Koran:
https://www.hada-dbank.com/

Myanmar:  Lala-World Blockchain network for undocumented refugees. https://lnkd.in/euwbmmA

However more to be done, to work on blockchain image beyond Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. Any ideas, suggestions for useful decentralised apps to support humanity? Any cases to collect charity funds via cryptos?  Please post them or  reach out to me.

#5 How World‘s Central Banks deal with Cryptocurrencies

It´s more than eight years since the birth of bitcoin and central banks around the world are increasingly recognising the potential upsides and downsides of digital currencies.

The guardians of the global economy have two sets of issues to address: First what to do, if anything, about the emergence and growth of the private cryptocurrencies that are grabbing more and more attention — with bitcoin climbing above EUR 16,000. The second question is whether to issue official versions.

Following you find an overview of how the world’s largest central banks (and some smaller ones) are approaching the subject:

U.S.: Privacy Worry

The Federal Reserve’s investigation into cryptocurrencies is in its early days, and it hasn’t been overtly enthusiastic about the idea of a central-bank issued answer to bitcoin. Jerome Powell, a board member and the chairman nominee, said earlier this year that technical issues remain with the technology and “governance and risk management will be critical.” Powell said there are “meaningful” challenges to a central bank cryptocurrency, that privacy issues could be a problem, and private-sector alternatives may do the job.

The volume of cryptocurrencies could at some point “matter” when it comes to monetary policy, Powell said in answering a question at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday. “They’re just not big enough” today, however, he said.

Euro Area: Tulip-Like

The European Central Bank has repeatedly warned about the dangers of investing in digital currencies. Vice President Vitor Constancio said in September that bitcoin isn’t a currency, but a “tulip” — alluding to the 17th-century bubble in the Netherlands. Colleague Benoit Coeure has warned bitcoin’s unstable value and links to tax evasion and crime create major risks. President Mario Draghi said this month the impact of digital currencies on the euro-area economy was limited and they posed no threat to central banks’ monopoly on money.

China: Conditions ‘Ripe’

China has made it clear: the central bank has full control over cryptocurrencies. With a research team set up in 2014 to develop digital fiat money, the People’s Bank of China believes “conditions are ripe” for it to embrace the technology.

But it has cracked down on private digital issuers, banning exchange trading of bitcoin and others. While there’s no formal start date for introducing digital currencies, authorities say going digital could help improve payment efficiency and allow more accurate control of currencies.

Japan: Study Mode

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in an October speech that the BOJ has no imminent plan to issue digital currencies, though it’s important to deepen knowledge about them. “Issuing CBDC (central bank digital currency) to the general public is as if a central bank extends the access to its accounts to anyone,” Kuroda said. “As such, discussion about CBDC revisits fundamental issues of central banking.”

Germany: ‘Speculative Plaything’

In a country where lot of citizens still prefer to pay in cash, the Bundesbank has been particularly wary of the emergence of bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele said in September bitcoin was “more of a speculative plaything than a form of payment.” A shift of deposits into blockchain would disrupt banks’ business models and could upend monetary policy, Thiele said. At the same time, the Bundesbank has been actively studying the application of the technology in payment systems.

U.K.: Potential ‘Revolution’

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has cited cryptocurrencies as part of a potential “revolution” in finance. The central bank started a financial technology accelerator last year, a Silicon Valley practice to incubate young companies. Carney says technology based on blockchain, the distributed accounting database, shows “great promise” in enabling central banks to strengthen their defenses against cyber attack and overhaul the way payments are made between institutions and consumers. He has nevertheless cautioned the BOE is still a long way from from creating a digital version of sterling.

France: ‘Great Caution’

Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in June that French officials “advise great caution with respect to bitcoin because there is no public institution behind it to provide confidence. In history all examples of private currencies ended badly. Bitcoin even has a dark side — there were this data attacks.” He said “those who use Bitcoin today do so at their own risk.”

India: Not Allowed

India’s central bank is opposed to cryptocurrencies given that they can be a channel for money laundering and terrorist financing. Nevertheless, the Reserve Bank of India has a group studying whether digital currencies backed by global central banks can be used as legal tender. Currently, the use of cryptocurrencies is a violation of foreign-exchange rules.

Brazil: Support Innovation

The Banco Central do Brasil sees “no immediate risk for the Brazilian financial system” but remains alert to the developments of the usage of those currencies, it said in a statement this month. The bank pledged “to support financial innovation, including new technologies that make the financial system safer and more efficient.”

Canada: Asset-Like

The Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor, Carolyn Wilkins, who is leading research on cryptocurrencies, said in an interview this month that cryptocurrencies aren’t true forms of money. “This is really an asset, or a security, and so it should be treated that way,” Wilkins said. As others, she viewed distributed ledger technology as promising for making the financial system more efficient.

South Korea: Crime Watch

The Bank of Korea’s focus has been protecting consumers and preventing cryptocurrencies from being used as a tool of crime. Deputy Governor Shin Ho-soon said this month that more research and monitoring was needed.

Russia: ‘Pyramid Schemes’

Russia’s central bank has expressed concerns about potential risks from digital currencies, with Governor Elvira Nabiullina saying “we don’t legalize pyramid schemes” and “we are totally opposed to private money, no matter if it is in physical or virtual form.” For the moment, the Bank of Russia prefers to delay a decision on regulating the financial instruments unless President Vladimir Putin pushes for action sooner.

The central bank will work with prosecutors to block websites that allow retail investors access to bitcoin exchanges, according to Sergey Shvetsov, a deputy governor.

Australia: Monitoring Closely

The Reserve Bank is closely monitoring the rise of digital currencies and recognizes the technology underpinning bitcoin has the “potential for widespread use in the financial sector and many other parts of the economy,” head of payments policy Tony Richards said last month.

Turkey: Important Element

Digital currencies may contribute to financial stability if designed well, Turkish Central Bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya said in Istanbul earlier this month. Digital currencies pose new risks to central banks, including their control of money supply and price stability, and the transmission of monetary policy, Cetinkaya said. Even so, the Turkish central banker said that digital currencies may be an important element for a cashless economy, and the technologies used can help speed up and make payment systems more efficient.

Netherlands: Most Daring

The Dutch have been among the most daring when it comes to experimenting with digital currencies. Two years ago the central bank created its own cryptocurrency called DNBcoin — for internal circulation only — to better understand how it works. Presenting the results last year, Ron Berndsen, who was in charge of the project, said blockchain may be “naturally applicable” in the settlement of complex financial transactions.

Scandinavia: Exploring Options

Like the Dutch, some Nordic authorities have been at the forefront of exploring the idea of digital cash. Sweden’s Riksbank, the world’s oldest central bank, is probing options including a digital register-based e-krona, with balances in central-database accounts or with values stored in an app or on a card. The bank says the introduction of an e-krona poses “no major obstacles” to monetary policy.

In an environment of decreasing use of cash, Norway’s Norges Bank is looking at possibilities such as individual accounts at the central bank or plastic cards or an app to use for payments, it said in a May report. Denmark has backtracked somewhat from initial enthusiasm, with Deputy Governor Per Callesen last month cautioning against central banks offering digital currencies directly to consumers. One argument is that such direct access to central bank liquidity could contribute to runs on commercial banks in times of crisis.

New Zealand: Considering Future

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, once a pioneer on the global stage with its early introduction of an inflation target, said Wednesday it’s considering its future plans for currency issuance, and how digital units may fit into those strategies. “Work is currently underway to assess the future demand for New Zealand fiat currency and to consider whether it would be feasible for the reserve bank to replace the physical currency that currently circulates with a digital alternative,” the RBNZ said in what it termed an analytical note.

Morocco: Violating Law

Representing one of the more stringent reactions, the country has deemed that all transactions involving virtual currencies as violating exchange regulations and punishable by law. Cryptocurrencies amount to a hidden payment system, not backed by any institution and involving significant risks for their users, authorities said in a statement this month.

Bank for International Settlements: Can’t Ignore

The central bank for central banks has said that policy makers can’t ignore the growth of cryptocurrencies and will likely have to consider whether it makes sense for them to issue their own digital currencies at some point. “Bitcoin has gone from being an obscure curiosity to a household name,” the BIS said in September. One option is a currency available to the public, with only the central bank able to issue units that would be directly convertible to cash and reserves. There might be a greater risk of bank runs, however, and commercial lenders might face a shortage of deposits. Privacy could also be a concern.

Agustin Carstens, the incoming head of the BIS, told Bloomberg that bitcoin deserves close scrutiny. “Anything that grows in price as fast as bitcoin has done it, without having a real clear understanding of what is behind it, should at least raise some eyebrows,” he said.

Sources: adapted from BBC, AFP bloomberg.com / Eric Lam

#4 Criminals flee in masses from Bitcoin to other cryptocurrencies

Olga Kharif from Bloomberg.com sees cryptocurrency Monero and others lure criminals as bitcoin’s privacy weakens. Bitcoin is losing its luster with some of its earliest and most avid fans – criminals – giving rise to a new breed of virtual currency.

Privacy coins such as Monero and Zcash, designed to avoid tracking, have climbed faster over the past two months as law enforcers adopt software tools to monitor people using bitcoin. A slew of analytic firms such as Chainalysis.com are getting better at flagging digital hoards linked to crime or money laundering, alerting exchanges and preventing conversion into traditional cash.

Monero quadrupled in value to $349 in the final two months of 2017, according to coinmarketcap.com, placing it among a number of upstart coins that that rose faster than bitcoin, the world’s most valuable digital currency. Bitcoin roughly doubled in the same period, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Together with top crypto security experts and ethical hacker Jorge Rodriguez  the platform HackerTracker is created which works on improving security of ICOs and Crypto companies

#3 Energy blockchain – does it make sense?

Blockchain technology receives a lot of media attention these days with promises made that it will revolutionise many sectors. Blockchain is the backbone of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

As blockchain was developed as an offshoot from the financial sector, it makes sense to compare the possible applications in the energy sector to those developed from the financial sector.

The use of blockchain could remove the need for banks as middle men. Accounts would be based on the distributed ledger, and the transaction would be securely recorded. This would reduce costs and increase transparency.

The energy sector however has a different concept of “middle men”. In many transactions, a physical delivery of gas or electricity is made. As you can see the system is highly complex:

It involves various market participants between buyer and seller, including transmission system operators (TSOs), exchanges, central counterparts, and clearing houses. These may be involved in:

– operating critical transportation / transmission infrastructure; or

– reducing the risk of counterparty default.

Regarding infrastructure, this would be required even under a blockchain and smart contract regime. Assuming that TSOs are “middle men”, in order to be removed either buyer or seller would need to own the linking infrastructure.

Regarding default, such “middle men” are designed to reduce transaction risk. As blockchain seeks to remove third parties to reduce transaction risk, it could be argued that no significant benefit is to be gained through replacing such third parties by using blockchain.

In light of these factors, two questions are key to considering the value of implementing blockchain in the energy sector:

– Who do you want to remove from the transaction? e.g. facilitator, transporter, exchange operator, clearing house

– Why? e.g. reduction of cost, risk, other?

The answers to these should be considered in that the success of blockchain lies in its specific ability to:

– reliably and securely record transactions; and

– automatically execute transaction-specific clauses.

Considerations in implementing blockchain

Certain energy transactions lend themselves well to justify the use of blockchain, such as the trade of Renewable Energy Certificates or Guarantees of Origin, whereby:

– the administrative infrastructure is currently designed to ensure a reliable register of transactions and the prevention of double counting; and

– transactions are separate to the trade of actual electricity, so that there is no (direct) physical delivery component, i.e. the transaction is entirely virtual.

Other transactions are however more complex, such as those requiring the physical delivery of energy. These may currently rely on administrative infrastructure designed to reduce risk, negating any significant benefit which blockchain could offer.

Furthermore, these require physical input from the contracting parties or third parties, potentially undermining the benefit of automatic execution and/or the security of the system.

Takeaways

• As demonstrated by some of the pilot projects, wholesale electricity and gas trading may lend itself to a shift towards blockchain technology.

• Unlike many other physical goods, gas and electricity transport is to a great extent already controlled remotely. Smart contracts could enable the automatic execution of a gas delivery from one party to another.

• Payment could be made automatically by transferring a fiat currency held in escrow or a cryptocurrency. This would significantly reduce the risk of buyer default, and only upon full payment would the title to the gas be transferred.

• Using a framework agreement, blockchain could reduce transaction times, costs and the risk of payment default, and reduce the need for insurance and credit guarantees. Transaction data could be automatically reported, facilitating regulatory compliance and offering market price tranparency.

• This system could be coupled with the automatic matching of gas supply and demand across various timeframes, allowing for highly efficient and low cost electricity gas markets.

• The adoption of blockchain and smart contracts by various sectors appears to be gaining momentum. This is likely to continue.

• Blockchain is a technology still in its infancy and there are no clear trends or limits as to how it could be used in the energy sector. There are many pilot projects which are currently exploring various uses.

• The initial use for blockchain in the energy sector will likely be process optimisation, involving the automation of simple and standard internal processes.

• There are however several takeaways from a legal review of the benefit of blockchain in its current form, in particular smart contracts

– smart contracts are self executing, however cannot replace paper contracts and require a conventional legal framework to have legal effect;

– smart contracts appear to work best when a contract is entirely virtual, rather than requiring physical inputs or deliveries; and

– consideration must be given whether removing the third party from a transaction is of actual benefit in terms of increasing efficiency and reducing costs and risk.

• In testing and implementing a blockchain system, one needs to consider the type (public, consortium or closed), as well as whether one should develop the blockchain internally or outsource it to a blockchain service provider.

• Even where large companies could absorb the risk associated with internally- performed smart contracts, it would need to consider matters such as:

– whether blockchain would be implemented for a core (high risk) or non-core (low risk) business area;

– the degree of control it has over the blockchain;

– data privacy issues the balance between encryption and transparency;

– IP rights over the data (held by the company or the service provider);

– performance assurances from and liability of the service provider;

– the appropriate jurisdiction;

– regulatory compliance obligations; and

– an exit strategy(e.g.data migration assistance).

Source: Andreas Gunst and Kenneth Wallace-Mueller from from DLA Piper

#2 Eight crypto facts 2018

What will 2018 bring for crypto currencies? As cryptocurrencies explode in value, from Bitcoin to Ether, I think we are witnessing the birth of a new paradigm for business, economics and finance. Big companies like Siemens, IBM, MasterCard, WallMart are jumping in to the market as well as big players from logistics, energy, agriculture, food, pharmaceutics and more.

Though in the early stages of the blockchain based economy, there is sufficient evidence we are in the midst of a transformation shaped by the Internet’s growing global network infrastructure: Wifi network proliferation. Decentralised finance. The sharing economy. Peer-to-peer transactions. A new transaction trust mechanism. Mobile commerce. AI. Internet of Things. None of this could happen without the Internet so now on to the next evolution.

Let’s all think bigger. Don’t fear the Blockchain. Let’s shape a better world. I think the blockchain economy means new jobs, millions of new businesses, new careers, new wealth creation, new venture capital, new services and financial products. You get it. Maybe we get to tackle big grand challenges like smarter health care, climate change, clean energy and hunger.

Big ideas deserve big wonderful innovations to make happen.

Some facts that I forecast for 2018:

1 Blockchain enabled services are up and coming. From security, to commerce, to transportation, commerce, trade to energy. Imagine entire cities designed for and enabled by the blockchain. Smart City Initiatives will expand to blockchain applications.

2 Fiat currencies go digital. Central banks and nations will entertain and develop digital assets to be representative of currency. Think digital tokens for Yuan, US Dollars and of course the Euros. The exchange rate of digital to crypto will accelerate economies.

3 Digital energy tokenisation will be more widespread. There is much value hidden in the global energy supply chain. A new market will enable a new economy by digitising energy supply networks that foster innovations and clean energy alternatives.

4 Digital supply chains on the blockchain: Most are quite wasteful and not digital but analog. A more efficient and secure global network of supply chains leveraging the Blockchain will happen.

5 Health data on the blockchain. New companies that use the blockchain to create pools of users that want to enhance their health, prevent disease and support their wellness could create a new global health services ecosystem.

6 Transforming global food production. This is next for transforming the one billion people who do not have clean water or access to food. This could be resolved with Blockchain innovations. First projects will start in 2018.

7 From artists, to musicians to creative makers: The Blockchain Enables Independent Entrepreneurs. Get paid for your creativity in crypto. More people to people direct crypto commerce.

8 The Blockchain transforms finance and investments. What we see already is that funding for startups through crowdfunding declined. We will see new financial products that enable investment, such as Blockchain ETF’s, Crypto Hedge Funds, Funds of Funds, blockchain futures, token peer to peer trades, probably crypto retirement products, A mixtur of digital assets will transform the investing marketplace offering individuals new choices leveraging Blockchain economics.

Get ready for the new Digital Age. Study crypto! It will be important to our children. Why not for you?

Source: adapted from Reuters, BBC, James Canton

#1 My wettest Blockchain dreams!

Dies ist die Kurzfassung des Beitrags.

How I got to know about cryptocurrency:

Four years ago, it was a topic on social media, especially on Twitter. It also came up when we had to design new research programs at City of Tomorrow, a research program I manage focused on digitisation in planning, construction, management, and greening of buildings and city districts, and sustainable city planning.

What are thoughts on digital currencies like bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the least intelligent application for blockchain technology for the moment. Given that 7 transactions per second are only possible on their system, it’s still super slow compared to Visa, which handles 2000 transactions per second. However, bitcoin became very famous over the last years and has helped bring more attention to blockchain technology.

To explain blockchain to people is difficult for me. We still have to learn a lot of vocabulary.

BlockchainEthereumICO, DLT, DAO, NEO, SH-256, hashes… it still needs a lot of effort to explain to my parents what I am doing at the moment with blockchain.

How important, do you believe, is blockchain technology to future developments cross-industry?

Very important.

It could probably disrupt many industries. Banks, real estate companies, and energy utilities are seriously threatened by young cheeky startups. Some people working in the sectors threatened, know about it and are enthusiastic about blockchain technology. It´s just that CEOs do not fully understand the impact and power of blockchain technology.

Through City of Tomorrow, you work with many cutting-edge technologies like virtual and augmented reality, drones, and blockchain. Where do you see the future taking us?

Physicist Nils Bohr once said, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future”. I may add: and especially about blockchain.

What I see is that we will have to live with many surprises. Blockchain will take its time to be implemented on a scale where we can see that it works. At the moment it’s still at laboratory scale. And we know from other technologies: what works in the laboratory sometimes still has a long way to go to be accepted by the market, accepted by the people.

I see that augmented and virtual reality is slowly taking off, and even now applied to the conservative construction industry. However, the applications are still very limited, the quality is lacking and there are only a small number of use cases.

Artificial Intelligence and self-learning systems could really be of help and at the same time the greatest threat to humanity. Here we have to learn a lot. And also regulate.

Blockchain technology will be implemented in the city of the future for land registration, confirmation of ownership, health services, and food safety, to name only some.

What are some of your biggest concerns around blockchain?

Actually, I have no concerns. But maybe I am much too in love with this technology and don´t see the disadvantages yet. I just see chances, opportunities, and dreams coming true!

What trends are you witnessing in Europe?

Good old lady Europe shows that she has some really capable people who can bring forward wonderful use cases for blockchain and dig deeper into its secrets.

There are slowly – too slow, but we are in Europe – being developed national funding programs for research funding of blockchain technology projects. Incubators are opening, offering accelerators to startups and entrepreneurs. The City of Zug in Switzerland has started their crypto valley and Austria started a Blockchain in the hub, which both show how the scene is developing.

Which industries, in your opinion, will be easiest and hardest to disrupt through the blockchain?

Easiest: Banking.

Hardest: ICT industry.

Why: Banking has, per definition, given the highest amount of trust to their customers. And blockchain technology is all about trust. You don’t have to trust a bank to transfer the money to your kids. You trust the technology. In our case, blockchain technology. The ICT industry will be the hardest to disrupt because this industry will maybe even have new jobs to offer.

While we’re seeing promising blockchain startups across a variety of industries, the technology is still in its infancy and some believe that it will take years for it to mature enough to become viable commercial alternatives. What are your thoughts on this?

I agree. It will take time.

Time to understand what are the best systems we can work on, like ethereum is. It still has many weaknesses.

Time to find out what problems can be solved best with the technology. Is it the complicated applications used by small groups or peers? Is it the large-scale applications involving every citizen on this planet (and his future avatar/digital twins)?

Time to see where the market appreciates the technology. Time to overcome concerns and critics after the crash of some of the cryptocurrencies and after people lost money through failed ICOs.

What are your thoughts on blockchain in energy management as seen in the light of the high energy costs contributed by crypto mining?

I talked to my father about blockchain. We discussed the energy consumption of crypto mining. He told me that the first computers he worked with had some MByte capacity and an enormous energy consumption.

Blockchain technology is in its infancy. Energy consumption is a problem that will be solved. We solved it for computers; why not for blockchain?

What are some blockchain use cases you are most passionate about?

Energy, health, elections, food security, and land registry, to name some of them. My favorite is energy applications and health.

I find it very touching to see that I can have my data back. I won’t have to give it to Facebook in the future. And if they want my data, they have to pay me for that.

Do you believe blockchain has the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing socio-economic needs?

I am not sure. A technology is as good as its users. It can lead to some layoffs, especially in large industries. But new jobs will evolve. However, I personally think that it will contribute to people having a less direct link between a job and an income. To disconnect that is one of our world’s most pressing needs.

How is the blockchain industry evolving, from what you’ve seen since you first become involved?

We are still in the laboratory scale phase. Some testing applications can involve a few thousand users. It’s the beginning. Still amateur craftspeople style. Internet of 1992.

A crowd of motivated people follow my posts and articles on LinkedIn, and every day there are more of them. This is an indication of how the blockchain topic is gaining momentum.

From your evaluation of blockchain whitepapers, where do you think companies are going wrong, and what principles should they align themselves with?

White papers are sometimes what they call themselves. All white. I sometimes don’t find any intelligent words on them.

My main point: a technology shall solve a problem. And sometimes I don’t find the problem described in white papers.

What is the problem blockchain technology shall solve? That is the first question! And then one has to prove it. In written form. Most whitepapers I see make the mistake of starting with the hypothesis that blockchain can solve every problem of this planet.

Are you personally invested in any blockchain companies?

I am not. I bought some bitcoins and ethers, at the time of purchase valued 1000 Euro. The maximum amount I would allow myself to lose when gambling in a casino.