Energy giants BP and Dutch Shell join forces to develop blockchain energy trading platform

BP and Royal Dutch Shell have today formed a consortium with various other energy companies to develop a blockchain-backed trading platform for commodities.

Expected to launch by the end of 2018 the platform will significantly help cut costs in oil trading and streamline various aspects of the industry including the replacement of paper contracts. Swiss based commodity trading firm Mercuria also joined today has long been an advocate of paperless contracts.

Other members of the consortium include ABN Amro, Norwegian oil firm Statoil, Koch Supply & Trading, trading house Gunvor, ING and Societe Generale.

“I am very excited about this initiative,” said Anthony van Vliet, ING’s Global Head of Trade and Commodity Finance, “Marquee brands and competitors in the energy, trade and banking industry sharing one vision gives us a great opportunity to transform processing in the energy trade commodity sector”

In a statement, the consortium expressed a desire to see this form of trading replace traditional methods: “Over time, the new venture intends to lead the migration of all forms of energy transaction data to the blockchain, improving data quality, further strengthening security and increasing the speed of settlements industry-wide, while reducing the cost for industry participants.”

The new venture is seeking regulatory approvals and would be run as an independent entity, the consortium said in a statement.

Other companies trying to revolutionise the energy sector with Blockchain technology are Grid+ which has so far raised 38,000 Ether and PowderLedger whose ICO has not ended raising $13 million dollars.

With increased transparency and independence from central government blockchain technologies are slated to revolutionise the energy industry for both consumers and producers.

In January, IBM and Samsung unveiled an early platform for controlling connected devices based on a blockchain concept called ADEPT. This platform uses software developed on the Ethereum blockchain that authenticates “smart contracts” that represent micro-transactions between appliances within a home to enable them to react autonomously and instantaneously to varying conditions.

Renowned Blockchain experts join Lendoit advisory board.

Israeli Blockchain firm Lendoit welcomes two new experts on to its advisory board.

High profile advisors Eddy Travia & Richard Titus have joined the advisory board of Lendoit, an Israeli-based financial firm that is using blockchain technology to revolutionise the peer-to-peer lending industry.

Travia, a key figure in the blockchain space since 2013, co-founder of SeedCoin and blockchain Space, and current CEO of investment firm Coinsilium brings a wealth of experience to the project.

With an impressive portfolio that already includes RSK, Factom, CoinDash and SatoshiPay. Travia was also nominated among the top 3 ‘Most Influential Investors of the Year’ at Blockchain Awards 2014 and has been a major influence in the space ever since.

Titus is currently the managing partner at ARK ICO Advisors, a Singapore based firm advising ICO projects all over the world including AdEx, Pillar & Hive. he brings over 20 years of technology, scaling and development experience to the project.

Having nurtured over 15 successful initial coin offerings the two new additions to the Lendoit advisory board will help pave the the firm’s success in the lucrative P2P industry.

Utilizing the Ethereum blockchain, Lendoit is a decentralised peer-to-peer lending platform that brings lenders and borrowers together globally using Smart Contracts on the blockchain to ensure transparency, trust, reduced risk and circumvent intermediaries.

Borrowers are able to download the Lendoit app and request a loan which is then auctioned to verified lenders on the platform, this provides borrowers with the ability to browse bids and accept the best loan rates to suit their circumstances.

Despite it not launching until next year Lendoit has already created strong ties with governments and corporations one of Israel’s biggest investment firms Migdal Investment Banking. Established in 1965 and part of Migdal Capital Markets Group, it currently manages assets valued at $9 billion for thousands of clients in the Israeli private, business and public sectors.

Compared to other P2P lending platforms on the market such as ETHlend and Salt, Lendoit offers a competitive advantage in various areas such as decentralised intermediate, interest auctions, and compensation funds.

Lendoit so far have also partnered with YETAX, Smartech, WHISP R&D, The Hive Project and Wings.

Whitepaper: https://lendoit.com/Lendoit-whitepaper.pdf

Telegram: https://t.me/Lendoit

LinkedIn executive spearheads new blockchain startup to create world’s first global WI-FI platform

Dylan Sharkey, former head of sales at Linkedin has left the networking platform to join Blockchain startup IUNGO Network as a senior advisor. With his support the startup aims to not only disrupt the global ISP market but also unify it with the latest technology.

IUNGO is working on an open source blockchain solution that enables anyone to consume and contribute to a network of global wifi networks. For end users this means simple, reliable and fast internet access anywhere and for locals it opens up new avenues to monetize their excess internet bandwidth.

Impressed by the startups growing portfolio of successfully executed ventures and strong management Team Dylan felt he could bring a lot to the project’s scaling and execution goals. Through his experience in managing a team of over 100 employees at LinkedIn, before the company’s IPO back in 2011 he is hailed as one of the key players in taking the firm’s startup growth and turning it into the powerhouse it is today.

On the one hand IUNGO hopes to tap into the growing number of nomads, travelers, vloggers, freelance workers who have significant problems accessing WIFI outside of their home while on the go whilst on the other opening on the ability for local residents to rent any excess bandwidth they have to earn some extra money.

“Dylan joins with invaluable experience of contributing to the stellar growth of LinkedIn when it was still a fast growing startup before the successful IPO in 2011”, said IUNGO Network CEO Ričardas Bernotavičius.

In doing so IUNGO is aiming to become a global ISP provider that is quite literally powered by its community of users.

IUNGO is a community based distributed wireless internet service provider. Through their blockchain technology software and hardware they would like to bootstrap communities where people take on responsibilities and benefit from various rewards. Members can also contribute to the network by installing public wi-fi access points in their premises.

The company aims to use existing local internet infrastructure to provide the bandwidth and overlay its own access layer to enable unified end-user identification, authentication and billing systems making it possible for users to rent bandwidth and hire it seamlessly on the Ethereum network.

IUNGO is a globally distributed wireless internet service provider built with the help of a worldwide community. They are Bootstrapping a community where everyone can assume responsibilities and benefit from the associated rewards for running parts of the service delivery infrastructure. Members can contribute by installing Public Wi-Fi access points on their premises and/or running parts of the service infrastructure.

Ethereum ETN’s attract $10 million in assets after trading on Nasdaq

coinsharesLaunched just last week by Jersey-based financial firm CoinShares, the Ether Tracker One and Ether Tracker Euro exchange-traded note (ETN) has now surpassed $10 million since trading on Nasdaq Stockholm.

CoinShares combined assets under management (AUM) (which included the Bitcoin Tracker One and Bitcoin Tracker Euro) are now at $330 million since launching in 2015.

 

 

“When the group’s bitcoin ETNs – which are now at $330MM in AUM – launched in 2015, it took one year to attract the initial $10MM in AUM. The Ether Trackers achieved that in less than a week” says Ryan Radloff, Principal at CoinShares.

Due to popular demand by investors CoinShares is now providing professional asset research into the top 5 crypto-assets, this they believe is something new due to all previous research that was carried out more or less focused just on Bitcoin.

The first research is named Ether Asset Highlight launched today: https://coinshares.co.uk/#research

“We are excited to bring CoinShares Research to life as we begin to support the needs of the next wave of crypto investors. Now that we have a team covering ether, bitcoin and a few others on a full-time basis, expect more great coverage to come soon,” says Ryan Radloff, Principal at CoinShares.

The brand comprises two exchange traded bitcoin notes (COINXBT & COINXBE), two exchange traded ether notes (COINETH & COINETHE) and two funds (GABI & CoinShare Fund 1). All of these represent ‘first of their kind’ products in their respective categories.

For many investing in cryptocurrencies can be unfamiliar territory due to the complexity of managing wallets, dealing with exchanges and the related security concerns. ETN’s act as a gateway, simplifying the process for everyday investors who want to dabble in the cryptocurrency market but don’t know how.

Investers can now bet on the price of Ethereum through Nasdaq

coinsharesJersey-based CoinShares announced today that two Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) connected to the price of the Ethereum cryptocurrency can now be traded on Nasdaq.

Denominated in both Swedish Kronor and Euro, the ETNs are designed to track the price of Ethereum and are based on the average value of a select group of liquid Euro exchanges.

This comes as no surprise with other providers including XBT issuing similar ETNs for tracking Bitcoin last month and GABI, the first regulated BTC hedge fund combining the two entities to launch CoinShares who have crypto assets of around $300 million. These previous ETN’s were made available to investors through Hargreaves Lansdown.

Investing in cryptocurrencies have been notoriously difficult for everyday investors due to wallet, transaction and exchange complexities however with CoinShares historic NASDAQ announcement non tech-savvy investors will now have full access to the cryptocurrency market.

In the last 18 months at least fifteen cryptocurrency funds have launched and around five crypto-based investment products are currently pending review with regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“Today is a historical moment for Ethereum and ether as an asset; and for the future of crypto-assets. It was a little over two years ago that the bitcoin ETNs began trading – offering investors exposure to bitcoin via an established exchange for the first time. Today, we are able to bring ether to the market and mark another major first. It is important to remember how far and how fast the space has matured in the less than 8 years since this revolution began,” says Ryan Radloff, Co-Principal at CoinShares.

We put some questions to CoinShares in a short interview:

What type of investors do you hope to attract with the ETH ETNs?

Product is for any investor who has qualified access to Nasdaq Stockholm.

Can you give us an estimated $ price of what you think Ethereum will trading at by 2018?

No price target right now – though we did a valuation model in our latest Ethereum research which may be helpful

Do you plan to trade on other exchanges such in currencies such as £ or $ ?

Cannot comment on future plans of that nature, apologies

What other cryptocurrencies do you have in mind? are you open to other ETNs with other currencies?

We delivered this product because the market had been requesting it since last year. We will follow market demand for future products as well.

John McAfee sits on advisory board of crypto exchange set to revolutionise India

Renowned businessman and security analyst John McAfee has partnered with and will sit on the advisory board of BitIndia, an open source blockchain wallet and exchange for the streets of India.

With less than 0.5% of indians currently utilising Bitcoin, the company aims to educate and promote cryptocurrencies to directly take on the very real and growing issue of high banking rates that currently plague over 1.2 billion of the country’s people.

This is to be achieved through an easy to use cryptocurrency platform that takes away the complexities of cryptocurrencies and replace them with an intuitive system which not only allows the average layman to store and use Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple currencies but to also trade them against the national currency, the Indian Rupee.

Plans also include for seamless integration on a local level allowing users to access terminals that allow for everyday and recurring purchases such as groceries, bills and dining out.

bitindia

Given the size of the Indian population and its urgent need for a decentralised and fairer economic system if executed properly BitIndia is in a prime position to spearhead and develop the Indian Cryptocurrency space into a major global player, one that will shortly rival China and South Korea.

John Mcafee’s no stranger to business, his role at Bitindia will bring a great deal of unparalleled expertise and guidance.

Bitindia is currently running an initial coin offering (ICO) which allows anyone to invest in the exchange and make a share of the profits, find out more here https://bitindia.co/ or read the whitepaper https://bitindia.co/whitepaper.pdf

Upfiring: Blockchain startup could revolutionise P2P file sharing

This year we’ve seen the launch of many ICO’s, with the majority just being blatant scams or just down right useless.

That said every so often a project comes along that not only only has a genuine purpose but also thrives in a blockchain environment. This week that project is Upfiring, a blockchain company aiming to revolutionise the P2P file sharing industry as we know it.

Utilising the Ethereum Blockchain, Upfiring has created a decentralised autonomous P2P network that allows anyone to easily share files regardless of if they are on a desktop computer or smartphone.

File-sharing is currently seen as an unrewarding process for both seeders (due to little to no return for sharing) and frustrating for downloaders (due to the lack of seeders and slow speeds).

Upfiring has a solution to address this. The company has developed technology which solves many of the current problems we see today with P2P file sharing such as seeding, searching, downloading, ratings, and peer evaluation.

In layman’s terms the Upfiring process is as follows:

  1. A seeder shares a file through the Upfiring network
  2. The file is encrypted by the platform
  3. A downloader requests access to the seeded file but can only download once they have paid using the currency of the network which is UFR tokens.
  4. Once downloaded and paid for in full the file can be decrypted.

The above is a seamless process that requires no technical; knowhow on the user’s part. Given that UFR is also a tradable currency allows both seeders and downloaders to utilise exchanges to buy and sell the tokens as and when required.

Despite file sharing existing since the early days of the internet recent statistics show that the industry has continually grown over fifty percent since 2008. With no sign of this slowing down the industry has long been overdue a technology overhaul to speed up and improve efficiency.

Some of the Issues with current file sharing platforms:

  • Lack of seeders
  • No benefit to seeders
  • Risk for seeders
  • Snooping/ privacy concerns
  • Massive disparity between file download and availability ratio.

Benefits of incentivised file sharing:

  • Seeders are compensated (resulting in more high quality seeds)
  • Larger variety of seeds
  • Seeds can be rated more effectively
  • Faster access and downloads
  • A self sufficient system that settles payment publicly

Upfiring is currently running an initial crowd offering where anyone can invest in the technology in exchange for Upfiring tokens. You can find out more about the project and support it at: https://upfiring.com/

Their whitepaper can be accessed here: https://upfiring.com/Upfiring_Whitepaper.pdf

UK regulatory body issues ICO warning

The UK’s financial regulatory body has issued a press release warning consumers about the risk of investing in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

ICOs are very high-risk, speculative investments.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said ICOs are very high-risk and that anyone investing should be prepared to lose their entire stake.

The FCA does not have the power to regulate a high majority of ICO’s as they fall outside of their legal boundaries, but some may be conducting regulated activities including the exchanges selling the tokens.

If you are not aware of how ICO’s operate they work similar to normal crowd funding events but instead of investors paying in fiat they are paid for with a token or coin e.g Ethereum or Bitcoin in return for a project token.

It has been estimated that around £1bn in fiat has been invested into ICO’s so far and this number is growing exponentially.

The FCA’s warning issued today swiftly follows the People’s Bank of China who have allegedly issued similar warnings and have recently “banned” some ICO’s although experts say this ban was temporary.

You should be conscious of the risks involved and fully research the specific project if you are thinking about buying digital tokens.

As with any ICO’s we recommend carrying out your own independent research to ensure the legitimacy and that it’s worth risking your own money. Common red flags include no whitepaper, unverifiable team members (missing Linkedin profiles or social profiles), projects in the very early stages without any prototype. ALl in all the best policy is to just use common sense when assessing each project and remember if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

Could Uber be the first big company to accept Ethereum?

After a laborious nine-week search Uber’s management board has voted to appoint crypto-friendly Dara Khosrowshahi as their new chief executive – a potential win for Bitcoin Ethereum.

Under Dara’s 12 year run, Expedia was one of the first major organisations to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment (back in 2014) and subsequently legitimising it. So much so that both Microsoft and Dell followed suit shortly after. Dara is also a personal investor in Bitcoin startup 21 inc and has been an influential promoter of blockchain technology and its uses in real world projects.

With Bitcoin dominating the early days it made sense for Expedia to start accepting the cryptocurrency, however three years down the line it would seem Ethereum would be a better all round solution.

Bitcoin has also encountered a number of issues of late, many of which have stemmed from its slow confirmation times and increased transaction fee’s. With neither of these issues being appropriately addressed it is impossible to use this currency in any time critical use cases. Ethereum however with its lightening fast conformations (which are soon to get even faster) and low transaction fees would be a well equipped contender. It only takes around 15 seconds for a transaction to be confirmed on the Ethereum network making it easy to pay as you pop out of the cab, as opposed to Bitcoin which would require you to… well we’re not quite sure how that would work.

Rumours around Uber accepting cryptocurrencies have long circulated but until now they been nothing more than internet chatter, with Dara’s appointment however it may well become a reality. These are exciting times for the cryptosphere.

Will you be paying for your next uber with Ether?

WannaCry: Hackers start to move stolen Bitcoin

WannaCry Bitcoin on the move as hackers cash out

Bitcoin linked to the infamous WannaCry malware attack which held thousands of computers ransom around the world is now on the move according to security experts.

Since the attack three Bitcoin wallets have been sitting idle with roughly 52 Bitcoin, but as of today they have been split into multiple tiny amounts and distributed to various other wallets and exchanged for a more anonymous cryptocurrency, a common tactic used by hackers to disguise and obfuscate trail. At this stage it is not yet known if the coins movement is related to the perpetrators or a law enforcement agency.

wanancry

Victims were asked to pay between $300 and $600 to get their systems back.
According to various security firms the Bitcoin has been exchanged for Monero on a swiss-based cryptocurrency exchanged named ShapeShift which facilities such transactions with minimal if none AML or KYC checks for small amounts.

Monero is the choice cryptocurrency for anyone looking to remain completely anonymous as it offers superior privacy and tumbling features. The link between the two currencies will be almost completely untraceable allowing the perpetrator to use the laundered Monero without any red flags.

Many people are still blaming the NSA for the thousands of victims computers being held ransom due to the 0day exploit used in the WannaCry attack originating from leaked NSA skyware.

It’s safe to say that despite the best efforts of security experts and government agencies it is likely the trail will now go cold.