The marriage of art and technology has the potential to stamp out art forgery, making it a thing of the past by using blockchain technology, according to Thomas Crown Art. The art-tech agency, established by art dealer Stephen Howes and technology expert Ian McLeod, has created smART (Smart Art).

In an effort to eradicate counterfeit and provenance fraud, the company has created what it calls an innovative solution for artists and art collectors. The art itself has incorporated into it the underlying infrastructure on which cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are based. According to its website, smART uses a system that transforms a physical work of art into a form of Blockchain Wallet, which contains an incorruptible, immutable and publicly verifiable certificate of provenance.

“Forgeries are, unfortunately, a growing and serious problem in the art world,” Howes said. “The fraudsters, who are getting better and better at producing both fake artwork and provenance documentation, have been wreaking havoc throughout the market in the last couple of years.”

Art crime has long been a lucrative business. Howe and McLeod see using blockchain and decentralization ledger technology at the point the artwork is created as a viable solution to both art and provenance forgery.

The company is providing what McLeod said is “the ability to use new works of art as a literal ‘store of value’ and serve as a cryptocurrency wallet for owners whilst providing an independent method to conclusively prove the provenance of artwork quickly and easily and to view an immutable chain of ownership.”

“Using a blockchain to authenticate artwork is an ideal use-case for distributed ledger technology,” he continued. “It provides the ability to store a permanent, immutable record of artwork at the point of creation which can be used to authenticate registered works by anyone with an internet connection.”

All Thomas Crown Art artwork and prints are recorded onto the blockchain with their own unique smart contract so that the owner of the artwork is able to control the ownership of the piece using the work’s QR code and the artwork certificate.

“Using this cutting-edge technology, the art world can eradicate one of its biggest and most expensive problems – forgery – and can protect artists, galleries and private owners and collectors,” McLeod said.

*This post is credited to infosecurity-magazine

If you want to learn about crypto, Stanford is the university for you.

A Ph.D. in bitcoin or blockchain? That soon may be a reality as interest in cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology has become more mainstream, prompting college campuses across the globe to promise courses in the nascent subject.

In partnership with research firm Qriosly, San Francisco-based Coinbase found that, nearly half of the world’s top 50 universities, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, are now offering crypto or blockchain-related classes.

“In the last couple of years all they want to hear about is cryptocurrencies,” Aleh Tsyvinski, professor of economics at Yale University, who teaches Introductory Macroeconomics, told MarketWatch. The Yale professor’s class is the largest in the economics department, boasting some 300 students on average compared to the median class size of about 40. “It’s gone from the most boring class to the most interesting,” he said.

A study conducted by popular exchange platform Coinbase recently found that universities are forming research centers, and unfurling more crypto-related courses, mostly to meet rising demand and because they now see cryptocurrency as an area worthy of serious academic study.

In fact, one in four students want to take a cryptocurrency course, and nearly one in five own cryptocurrencies, according to the Coinbase survey.

*This post is credited to MarketWatch

The second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum is mobilized to put a decisive ending to corruption in commerce by the means of blockchain transparency.

As soon as the warm spring winds are starting to blow and the first gardening makes an appearance, multiple farmers and organic food producers begin to form a queue awaiting their turn for a trading spot on the market. The capital of Russian Federation, Moscow became a beloved destination for the farmers of the nearby countries who have paved a trading route while transporting their goods to the crowded and populous city.

Yet, despite of a yearly influx of farmers, Moscow’s authorities still lack a transparent and efficient system for trading spots distribution. The archrival of a cryptocurrency king Bitcoin, Ethereum is going to empower an intelligent system that will fairly allocate trading spots to farmers for weekend market.

The current system is operating under pressure, since the number of available spots is strictly limited and the competition is really intense. Over 20,000 farmers from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have submitted their application for the market season stretching between April 20 and November 25 and only about 15,000 applicants were approved.

The Ethereum-based system is to create an immutable and transparent record of applications, with updates made for those who are either approved or denied access, according to Andrey Borodyonkov, who serves as the blockchain product manager for Moscow City Hall. The depicted system is expected to facilitate the processes of applications review and control, while from the farmers’ side of a spectrum, it also provides an unbiased selection, since once they got into the blockchain, the applications could not be altered or removed.

Borodyonkov also referred to the blockchain as an additional guarantee that the grievances of the farmers are a matter of past, saying:

“The entire dataset is publicly viewable, transparent and available for download. In that case, submission time can be confirmed, while the audit of the application history is also possible.”

The farmers’ dissatisfaction with the currently running system was a major trigger for the proposal development. Andrey Belozerov, the strategist and innovations advisor to Moscow City Hall’s CIO, believes that the new system will reduce the number of unpleasant cases.

He explained in the press release:

“We believe that farmers should have a transparent system to see why their application is declined or approved. Blockchain is to make sure that the process is fully transparent and no one can alter an application. We hope that blockchain will provide full transparency for everyone.”

The Moscow City Hall was looking for blockchain experts since 2016, as stated by Andrey Borodyonkov. This year, that team officially created the division called “Product Blockchain”. At the moment, a future savior of the Moscow’s commerce is trading for $289.74 with a slight 0.79% increase according to data from Coinmarketcap.com. Whether the recently made announcement would somehow change a long-term perspective of Ethereum’s price remains to be seen.

*This post is credited to coinspeaker.com

Coopet, a new blockchain game developed by Cootech, takes a step forward to blockchain gaming by allowing players to earn money while playing.

The global game market is huge, with recent capitalization surpassing $100 billion. Gaming has recently successfully begun to leverage blockchain technology. Blockchain is considered a critical element for the future of information technology, the key for digital transformation and future IT platforms, due to its unique features.

Gaming is considered to be one of the leading areas in the implementation of blockchain technology. Realizing the potential of this market, Cootech has developed its new blockchain game Coopet, which allows players to earn real money.

Based in Singapore, Cootech represents itself a company in the blockchain and online gaming industry, bringing two of the biggest areas in technology and their communities together. The company sees its mission in creating exciting titles with the help of blockchain technology, honouring and rewarding any players who participate.

Coopet is a virtual dragon-raising game developed on blockchain technology. The main idea is for players to breed and exchange their own pet dragons. Players own their own virtual property in the game, which is a great step that changes the way online games are played.

Coopet combines three prominent outstanding features that will help players to earn money. The first feature is the Solo Arena, which is set to be launched on September 20th, 2018. It will allow players to perform daily missions and get bonuses.

The second feature, the Concentration Arena is set to be released on October 10th, 2018. The winner of the Concentration Area will be honoured and rewarded by day, by week and by month. These rewards will be either dragon eggs or real money.

And the last feature is Reproduction. There are various rarities of dragons incorporated in the game. The higher the rarity, the higher the price. Male dragons have a mating function, whilst female dragons are able to reproduce and hatch eggs. These eggs can be sold or nurtured into baby dragons.

Coopet uses Ethereum’s smart contracts to create a complete ecosystem capable of reproducing thousands of dragons per minute. Each Coopet will be represented by a set of tokens created by Cootech, which cannot be copied, destroyed or modified.

Coopet has many great features that make it a trusted and secure game ecosystem. For example, all assets are controlled by players, all trades on blockchain are transparent, and overall, there are no interruptions throughout the game play.

The token is based on the Ethereum ERC-20 standard, and has a circulation of 120 million. The price of the COO will increase $ 0.025 every 48 hours. Upon completion of these sales, any excess COO tokens will be burned to prevent any future use.

The token will serve as a global value transfer unit, which affects the liquidity required in the gaming market. COO token owners can use them in Cootech’s ecosystem, where they are able to make transactions on an international long-term investment.

The highlight of the dragons in Coopet is the combat system which has five element rules. The game features a “new kingdom.” Each dragon is born on different lands, which consist of various rarities. The lands they represent are: Wood, Earth, Water, Fire and Metal.

Each dragon has its own characteristics, features and powers. The powers of all dragons are equal, so that the players will not stand out by showing off their skills. Most talented players can compete in the Coopet solo arena and the boss hunting arena, where they will be honoured and rewarded for their commitment and strengths as players.

Each dragon in Coopet can help players make money. Players can mate male dragons in the market which will bring them a certain amount of money. If they carry rare genes, a higher price can be set for the mating. Female dragons are able to lay eggs which can be sold for money or nurtured until they hatch into babies. The eggs created through mating are called golden eggs, as well as the previously mentioned diamond eggs.

Players can recognise the difference in the dragons’ appearance, as their rare genes will differentiate their shapes and colours. Depending on their rarity, the dragons are sold at different prices.

Gaming has taken a new step using blockchain technology and Coopet has taken it a step further. Players no longer have to spend money to play a game, but can earn real money instead.

*This post is credited to coinspeaker.com.

A group of leading venture capital firms believes that Dfinity can make blockchain technology viable for large-scale computing applications.

The Swiss startup today announced that it has raised a hefty $102 million financing round jointly led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital, a prominent crytocurrency fund. They were joined by a half-dozen other institutional investors. Dfinity has raked in a total of $195 million since launching three years ago.

The startup is using the capital to build a blockchain system it’s calling the “Internet Computer.” Dfinity’s stated goal is to create an affordable, distributed pool processing and storage resources that will be spread out over a multitude of disaggregated computers. The startup plans to put this hardware to use by enabling outside developers to build open-source applications atop the platform.

Dfinity hopes to support a variety of different use cases with the system. The startup promised in today’s funding announcement that the platform will be capable of supporting services with the potential to “play equivalent roles to Uber, Dropbox, LinkedIn and Salesforce.” The reason why users might choose Dfinity-powered applications over their better-established competitors is that, according to the startup, the underlying blockchain will offer “hard guarantees” their data won’t be misused.

The system is touted as uniquely equipped to support such large-scale use. It’s said to be capable of performing computations that take 300 seconds on Ethereum, a leading blockchain implementation, in just five seconds.

Dfinity attributes the platform’s speed to a number of blockchain breakthroughs made by its team members. The startup’s engineering group is comprised of former researchers from Google LLC, Yale University, Stanford University and other leading institutions who are led by Timo Hanke, a former math professor. The team’s impressive credentials is no doubt one of the main factors behind why investors are so optimistic about its prospects.

Dfinity founder and President Dominic Williams (pictured) told Fortune that the plan is to start testing the system with developers later this year. The startup expects to make it accessible to the broader public sometime in 2019.

*This post is credited to siliconangle.com

The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies is undeniable on the global scale, but what also is undeniable is the fact that the adoption rate has not been en masse over the past few years.

This is especially the case for many large-scale institutions, hedge funds and many top-tier investors throughout Asia. This is largely due to several factors in trading platforms, including the lack of consistency, limited usability, security concerns, high fees, and sub-par consumer experience.

In Hong Kong, in particular, complaints about misappropriated assets and market manipulation led to the technical breakdown of several exchanges, which led regulators from the Securities and Futures Commission to step in and police the market, curbing potential fraud often associated with virtual currencies.

This puts market professionals, such as accountants and lawyers, in the position to ensure effective gatekeeping to prevent fraud and dubious fundraising activities, ensuring compliance with the law.

Blockchain as a High Priority

It is through the implementation of such regulatory actions that Hong Kong is seeking to gain the reputation to become an important international blockchain hub, and according to the fintech lead at InvestHK, “Blockchain is a very high priority for us. There is hype, and there is the fast grab of money with ICOs in some cases. But what we are looking at building here in Hong Kong is an infrastructure for new businesses and existing businesses, to make sure the technology and innovations remain a key enabler for financial sector growth.”

Projects from around Asia are setting up their infrastructure in Hong Kong, like the Japanese Messaging Giant LINE – who recently setup a $10 million fund.

BitMEX are renting the world’s most expensive offices in Hong Kong – sharing the building with financial giants Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Bloomberg LP, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, which is bringing legitimacy to the the industry in Hong Kong.

Another crypto-exchange launched in Hong Kong called Coinsuper, which has over 1 million users and up to 250 million USD in daily trading. They are focused on ‘Fiat to crypto’ and have recently launched an ecosystem that connects investors, authorities and blockchain innovation labs.

Cryptocurrency is not a Threat

The Financial Services and Treasury of Hong Kong recently released a report which sheds light on the fact that cryptocurrency is not a threat, despite the chaos surrounding its regulations.

“Hong Kong applies no capital gain tax to crypto investment, making it a huge incentive for investors and therefore boost the industry,” says Michael Ou, CEO of CoolBitX. “I am excited to see Hong Kong become a crucial location for crypto-related activities and efforts.”

It was done in an effort for the general public to be aware that no specific regulation exists around cryptocurrency trading, and Money Service Operators licenses only have to be obtained for money services conducted in fiat currencies.

The government of Hong Kong is taking extra steps to educate the public on ICO and cryptocurrency investments, by reaching them through a variety of touchpoints. These touchpoints include their metro system, television, and social media.

The goal is to offer the public a comprehensive and holistic understanding of ICO and cryptocurrency investments following the rise in market interest, and each of these measures are showing signs of working as more citizens of Hong Kong are taking the next steps towards crypto.

The support of blockchain from the Hong Kong Government can clearly be seen. Recently, they created a special policy to expedite Immigration for Blockchain Job seekers – an important initiative to attract the best worldwide talent and aid projects which are currently based here.

*This post is credited to Forbes.com

INSEAD, the business school for the world, today announces the appointment of Don Tapscott, a leading authority on the digital age, as Adjunct Professor of Technology and Operations Management with effect from 1 September 2018. INSEAD has also agreed on a two-year partnership with The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), a think tank co-founded by Mr. Tapscott.

Blockchain is transforming business with far-reaching implications for the global economy and society. It is widely known as the technology that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and is referred to by Mr. Tapscott as the “Internet of value.” Blockchain also holds great potential for many more applications such as secure and validated data transactions. These applications can strengthen and stabilize developing markets, which opens opportunities around the world.

To prepare future business leaders to tap into the potential of this exciting emerging technology, the INSEAD–BRI partnership will advance research on the evolving blockchain technology and its impact on business and society.

Peter Zemsky, Deputy Dean at INSEAD and Dean of Innovation, states that “Blockchain technology will fundamentally create new business models, transform most industries, and even disrupt the disruptors. INSEAD needs to be on top of this new wave of change to prepare future leaders for this transformation. We warmly welcome Don to the institution and look forward to partnering with BRI to take research and business applications of blockchain technology to a whole new level.”

Don Tapscott comments that “Blockchain represents nothing less than the second era of the internet, but to fully realize its potential we need to make sure business leaders are educated about its strategic implications. That was what motivated us to start the BRI, and it’s why I look forward to working with INSEAD as they educate the global business leaders of tomorrow.”

Don Tapscott is the CEO of The Tapscott Group and the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of The Blockchain Research Institute. He is a globally recognized thought leader in this field and the author of 16 books, including worldwide best-sellers Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies is Changing the World. Mr. Tapscott is a member of the Order of Canada and ranked the number two most influential Management Thinker and number one Digital Thinker in the world by Thinkers50.

Under the partnership, joint research, teaching, and seminars will be conducted to better understand how this technology can change the way organizations are managed and prepare business leaders for a new definition of competition. The partnership will also support the development of an INSEAD online programme for business leaders to leverage the possibilities and strategic value of blockchain technology.

*This post is credited to Manilarepublic

The clock has been ticking for cryptocurrency mining apps to either comply with Google’s revised terms of service, or face removal from the Play Store.

In July 2018 Google initiated a ban on all apps that mined cryptocurrency on devices. Yet, around two weeks ago, it became evident that many apps that boasted on-device mining capabilities were still live on the Play Store.

As part of that ban the Big G gave developers, who already had apps live on the store, a 30-day window to revise their offering to comply with the new terms. The grace period has now passed. And while Google has begun purging some of the offending apps, it seems there is a lot more work to be done.

Of the eight apps we found in our previous report, three have been removed – MinerGate, AA Miner, and Free BCH Miner. NeoNeonMiner, Crypto Miner PRO, Pickaxe Miner, and Pocket Miner all still remain, and only one of those, Bitcoin Miner, claims to have amended its offering to comply with the new terms.

As we pointed out in our previous coverage, there was one app that even managed to launch to the Play Store after the ban. Google confirmed to Hard Fork this shouldn’t have happened, and proceeded to remove the app from the platform.

MinerGate, another mining app boasting over a million installs on Android, has also disappeared from the Play Store. Interestingly, MinerGate confirmed to Hard Fork that – in order to comply with Google’s updated terms – the latest iteration of its app was stripped down from its on-device mining features.

“Mining on your phone directly was among the core features of the MinerGate app before the last changes in Google Play Development policies.” MinerGate told Hard Fork in an email. “With the last update, we are removing this functionality to meet the updated requirements.”

At the time of writing there is no app under the MinerGate name on the Play Store. We reached out for further comment from MinerGate and will provide updates as we hear more.

Rogue mining apps

As we predicted in our previous coverage, developers are already looking for alternative ways bypass Google’s ban and distribute apps with on-device mining functionalities.

Indeed, despite removing the mining capability from the latest iteration of its app on the Play Store, MinerGate has also reissued an older version (which still comes with on-device mining) through its website.

The ban from Google can only go so far towards protecting smartphone users, be warned that if you download and install apps from third parties you may also be installing malware or other illegitimate scripts to your smartphone without even realizing it.

And as security research Troy Mursch reminds: “mobile devices are not designed, nor optimized to mine cryptocurrency.”

*This post is credited to thenextweb

If you are a netizen, you must have already noticed how certain ads pop up while you are surfing videos on YouTube. Most of the times, these advertisements have close connections to the products and brands you have been searching recently. However, this is not the case always! Finding fake ads of reputed brands like Mercedes-Benz and Waitrose is not uncommon at all. According to reports from The Times of London, several reputed brands have found their advertisements among objectionable and explicit content.

Why should you care about online ad fraud?
If you are an advertiser, this should be a cause of concern for you. According to a recent study, over 20% of the clicks you are getting on your ads can be from bots and tricksters. Censoring the internet and running the entire web without advertisement is impossible. In short, good content and commendable user experience require sponsorship.

Sadly, advertisers are pouring money into digital ads, but they are not receiving the returns they expect. The advent of various smart devices may have expanded the scope of viewing content, but they have done little to ensure that the content is genuine.

According to the Association of National Advertisers, entrepreneurs are wasting over $7 billion on online adverts people do not see. The experts expect the numbers to grow beyond $335.5 billion in the next two years. When companies are ready to spend billions on online advertisements, it is understandable why malicious activities are always around the corner, waiting.

We have seen the likes of Meth-bot that cost the ad industry around $5 million per day. They used bots to mimic human data, created over 250,000 individual domains. These new sites had a resemblance to big fish like ESPN and Vogue.

Digital ad fraud is a serious concern for advertisers and users, too. While the fraudsters use bots to mimic human behavior, trace cursor movements, and hack social media accounts, they fake their geo-location data to avoid detection. As a result, along with regular display ads, the premium online video advertisements are also taking a hit. Digital fraudsters are messing up analytical data, upturning the KPIs and disrupting online campaigns of many of the more reputable brands in the world.

Blockchain as a potential solution to online fraud
Is there any current technology that can prevent pixel stuffing, ad stacking, search ad frauds and affiliate ad frauds? Experts say that it’s possible. They believe that advertisers can prevent similar frauds by turning to blockchain. We are not talking about cryptocurrencies, but the decentralized open-source ledgers.

A fusion of existing ad technology and blockchain can give advertisers the power to keep an eye on each impression and eliminate the fear of fraud. Leading advertising research firms like Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Tech Lab and Data & Marketing Associations already are working on creating a blockchain solution that can help advertisers detect and prevent fraudulent activities. However, the wide variety of online ad frauds make the task of developing a uniform system difficult.

Below are the major use cases of blockchain that can be implemented to prevent online ad frauds:

Ethereum-based ready solutions – Several startups and advertising research companies have been working on blockchain systems that can stop bots and impostors. Ethereum is the best-known blockchain right after Bitcoin. Instead of a central ad server, it offers a decentralized system to advertisers to monitor the activity of their partners. Google, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat have adopted similar history-proof, decentralized ledgers.

Blockchain counterattack – This mechanism adopted by the Ads.txt DApp allows publishers and content owners to list the authorized sellers of their inventory in a .txt file. This file is served from within the root path of their domain’s web server.

Blockchain-based exchange for traders – A combination of the financial matching engine and the latest blockchain technology allows advertisers to enable transparent transactions. It is a NASDAQ Inc. initiative that aims to provide advertisers and publishers a completely secure platform that supports buying, selling and re-trading advertising contracts.

In the digital era, online ads are an important channel for brands to use to reach out to their target audience. Ad fraud not only puts a hole in the pocket of the brands but also harms the end users, who need reliable information to make the right decisions. With the ability to impart transparency to the system and trace an online asset, blockchain can surely help reduce, if not completely stop digital fraud.

*This post is credited to isaca.org.