The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has issued a BitLicense to NYDIG Execution LLC, a subsidiary of New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG LLC). In a statement published this week, the regulator revealed that the crypto custodian had been granted a virtual currency license and a money transmission license. In addition, another NYDIG subsidiary, NYDIG Trust Company LLC, has also been given permission to operate as a limited purpose trust company.

Scope of Permission

The permission given by the regulator allows NYDIG to offer crypto custody and trade execution services. Under the framework, the company can provide its customers with a range of options for digital asset custody including self-custody, third-party custodial contracting, or custodial contracting with NYDIG Execution or NYDIG Trust. The digital assets covered by the custody service BitLicense include BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTC.

In the statement, NYDFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said:

“As the financial services marketplace continues to expand and evolve in New York, the implementation of strong regulatory safeguards that encourage the responsible growth of the industry, while first and foremost protecting consumers remains critical. Today’s approval further demonstrates that operating within New York’s robust state regulatory system leads to a stronger fintech marketplace and promotes innovation and necessary compliance with effective risk-based controls.”

BitLicense Gaining Traction?

In his reaction to the news, NYDIG CEO Robert Gutmann expressed satisfaction with the NYDFS regulatory process, describing it as “clear and comprehensive.” This comes at a time when New York state regulators have come under fire from prominent crypto industry figures like Kraken CEO Jamie Powell, who in September likened the regulators to an “abusive, controlling ex,” following a report from the Office of the Attorney General alleging that Kraken may be illegally operating in the state.

Offering a contrasting viewpoint, Gutmann said:

“NYDIG is pleased to receive these regulatory approvals and we look forward to providing secure and transparent liquidity, custodial and asset management services to the institutional market. We want to express our gratitude to the NYDFS for providing a clear and comprehensive regulatory framework for investors, providers and users alike to engage with the burgeoning digital asset ecosystem.”

Despite public resistance from several members of the blockchain and cryptocurrency community, New York’s BitLicense program appears to be picking up steam as more organisations come onboard with the regulator. Earlier in November, CCN reported that Coinsource became the first recipient of a BitLicense to receive full permission to operate bitcoin ATMs in New York.

*This post is credited to CCN

Micro-blogging site Twitter has confirmed that a third party software provider is responsible for the series of cryptocurrency-related hacking on its platform.

A Twitter spokesperson said attackers exploited a third-party marketing solution to blast fake Bitcoin giveaway links from a slew of verified accounts, The Next Web reported on Friday.

The confirmation comes days after a number of high-profile public figures and brands including Elon Musk and Google got their accounts breached to propagate malicious cryptocurrency giveaway links.

To make the accounts appear legitimate, the scammers used accounts with Twitter’s own verification mark.

In such cases, clicking on any of the links in the scam guided users to a page where they were urged to send anywhere from 0.1-one Bitcoin to the scammers — with the promise that they would receive one-10 Bitcoin as a reward, the media had reported.

But the victims never received any Bitcoin after sending money to the scammers.

The scam is made to seem more trustworthy as various other compromised accounts reply to the tweet claiming that it works.

The confirmation the hackings originated from a third-party app explains how the attackers managed to run the Bitcoin giveaway scam at such a large scale and in such an organised manner,” the report added.

*This post is credited to Hindustantimes

If you’re a gaming lover and a blockchain enthusiasts, your world is about to change as blockchain developers have decided to bring a new Fortnite into the blockchain. With millions of active players, one of the most profitable games in the history of games is looking for new ways to satisfy its users. The success of Fortnite battle Royale game was what pushed other game developers to make battle Royale modes available. However, this reduced the frenzy around Fortnite as people began to sell their accounts and move to newer games.

Imagine Blockchain In Gaming

Implementing blockchain technology is going to change the gaming industry entirely. This is because blockchain will give in-game assets more value. The games will be able to transfer items to each other and this will serve as an incentive for players. In this case, the issue of scarcity will come to play and boost the value of in-game items. New options will be created for gameplay. Imagine a situation were Thanos gauntlet in Fortnite will always be available on the blockchain.

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Today – BTC / USD

Name Price 24H (%)
Bitcoin
$5,648.35
1.23%

A study conducted by WAX shows that developers are more likely to create more in-game items when they have the option of reselling them across several games. There are many other benefits of this arrangement. The CEO of Ultra, a blockchain powered platform had this to say:

“As industry leaders like Google, Steam, and Apple have the right to charge developers commissions that are too high, small developers can’t benefit from these platforms. However, blockchain is going to provide a lasting solution to these problems. It will change the gaming industry by giving developers instant payments that allow them to reinvest in their business”.

Pointing out how blockchain can help prevent fraud due to its immutable features, Hanson said:

“Blockchain technology offers fraud-proof marketing that gives developers the power to spend their resources effectively while keeping track of legitimate resources”.

The Drawbacks Of Blockchain In Gaming

While blockchain may seem like the best technology for the gaming industry, it is not without its disadvantages. According to the lead developer of the POA Network, Igor Barinov, developing in-game items isn’t a problem. The main problem is getting users. In his words:

“Before you can play games based on blockchain technology, you’ll need to go through many steps that may not be required when playing centralized games. For starters, you’ll have to install a web wallet and you’ll need basic understanding of crypto-fuel like ETH to play the game. People who have no prior knowledge of blockchain technology may not be propelled to get onboard”.

Some blockchain-based games have cut out the need for some of these steps. For example, DopeRaider now allows users to enjoy the game by simply signing up with an email address. If the onboarding process for blockchain games are as simple as the process for centralized games, mass adoption will be possible.

Fortnite was able to reach an incredible height of success because it depended on creating new items that kept everyone happy. With Blockchain, both developers and players will be getting incentives. One day, a blockchain-based game will be as successful as Fortnite. All that is required is the simplification of the technology. The easier it is for average users to use it, the more the adoption.

*This post is credited to Smartereum

 

At 18:02 UTC, the bitcoin cash blockchain officially split in two.

With one iteration of the bitcoin cash protocol called Bitcoin “Satoshi’s Vision,” or Bitcoin SV, directly opposing the upgrades introduced through the project’s long-dominant Bitcoin ABC implementation, the blockchain forked into two distinct networks, with two separate cryptocurrencies.

And while a so-called “hash war” had been greatly anticipated, for now – at least – the two chains are steadily mining blocks on their respective networks. At press time, threats of cross-chain sabotage hinted at by Bitcoin SV proponents have yet to materialize, nor has any retaliation from the ABC camp.

Initially, the Bitcoin ABC network was the only bitcoin cash platform to successfully create new blocks and validate transactions after the system upgrade (or hard fork) went live. Two blocks in, however, the Bitcoin SV network saw its first block mined at 18:29 UTC.

Mining pool Mempool mined the first block of Bitcoin SV, with SVPool and Coingeek mining subsequent blocks. Mining pools Bitcoin.comBTC.com and Antpool have controlled the ABC action to date.

As of press time, Bitcoin ABC is 10 blocks ahead of Bitcoin SV, according to data compiled by Coin Dance.

How it’s all playing out

Thus far, most blocks mined on the Bitcoin ABC network have featured over 1,000 transactions, though starting at 20:48 UTC a significant drop in both block size and transaction count was recorded on blockchain explorer site Blockchair.

A few hours before hard fork activation, mining pools purporting to support the Bitcoin SV roadmap controlled a supermajority of the bitcoin cash network. However, according to bitcoin cash monitoring site CoinDance, Bitcoin ABC is now leading in terms of total hash power support.

One such example that received high attention over the course of today’s events was mining pool Bitcoin.com, which released an announcement to users saying all hash power going into mining the bitcoin blockchain would be temporarily deployed to mine Bitcoin ABC blocks.

Though this announcement received negative feedback from those who claimed the organization had no legal right to redirect mining support in this way, data on the site indicates that starting at 17:30 UTC the mining pool has steadily been reallocating hash power in support of the Bitcoin ABC blockchain.

In fact, as of press time, bitcoin.com purports that a total of 4218.89 Ph/s of hash power is being used to mine blocks on the Bitcoin ABC network; just one day prior that figure sat at roughly 240.00 Ph/s.

Remaining questions

As might be expected, the existence of two bitcoin cash chains leaves many questions, primarily regarding what will transpire in the days that come – and whether one chain ultimately gives way to another.

There was also an event Thursday that left lingering questions: as shown by blockchain explorer BlockDozer, a major spike in activity occurred within minutes of the chain split.

Taken by CoinDesk at 18:11 UTC, the above GIF captures transactions being submitted to the network in real-time on Blockdozer.

Who caused this spike in transaction activity – and for what purpose – remains unknown at this time, though the potential for another spam attack in efforts to overload either network is an ongoing possibility.

What’s more, wild fluctuations in bitcoin cash price were also seen throughout the day across different cryptocurrency exchanges.

Depending on ongoing hash power support and implementation of either software upgrade from users, prices could continue to see swings – but given the uniqueness of the scenario, it’s difficult to say at this time.

According to numbers on crypto exchange Poloniex, the comparative value estimated of both bitcoin cash cryptocurrencies is currently about $94 for Bitcoin SV and $285 for Bitcoin ABC.

*This post is credited to Coindesk

Ethereum-based payment platform OmiseGo and blockchain protocol Mass Vehicle Ledger (MVL) have partnered to research blockchain technology, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Nov. 14. MVL is the protocol behind popular Singapore ride hailing app TADA.

MVL and OmiseGo will develop a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to ascertain whether the decentralized OMG Network is suitable for MVL’s data record-keeping system. During the PoC, MVL will record data collected from TADA on the OmiseGo platform.

Moreover, the two companies have announced further technical and research cooperation on possible blockchain applications in TADA’s services.

On Nov. 7, MVL received a taxi provider license from the Land Transport Authority of Singapore, allowing it to launch its new taxi booking service, TADA Taxi. According to Business Insider, over 2,000 taxi drivers have joined the app through  partnerships with local taxi companies.

Other taxi companies and ride-hailing services have explored applying blockchain technology to their business models.  In May, Chen Weixing, the founder of Chinese ride hailing company Kuaidi Dache, revealed his plans to create a blockchain-powered ride hailing app, adding that the service might also include deliveries.

The automotive industry has also shown a marked interest in applying new technologies like artificial intelligence  and blockchain. IOTA and Volkswagen demonstrated a PoC that used IOTA’s Tangle system for autonomous cars at Cebit ‘18 Expo in Germany last June.

Daimler AG — which produces Mercedes Benz and Smart cars — presented its own Blockchain-based digital currency MobiCoin to reward drivers for environmentally-friendly driving habits, such as driving at low speeds.

*This post is credited to Cointelegraph

Big tech is getting in on blockchain in a big way. Microsoft has launched a cloud-based blockchain development kit powered by Azure.

“This kit extends the capabilities of our blockchain developer templates and Azure Blockchain Workbench, which incorporates Azure services for key management, off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging APIs into a reference architecture that can be used to rapidly build blockchain-based applications,” Microsoft blockchain engineering lead Marc Mercuri said.

The initial release will focus on three key themes: connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.

Among other things, Microsoft says the development kit will provide SMS and voice interfaces for tracking and supply chain solutions, integration with Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and support for mobile clients like Android and iOS. Indeed, Microsoft calls the kit an “end-to-end” blockchain solution.

The Redmond giant pointed out that its new offering will be compatible with a number of different ledger technologies, including Ethereum and Bitcoin.

To get developers off the ground, Microsoft has also prepared a white paper on how to use the kit to deploy decentralized applications.

Big Tech hopping on the blockchain bandwagon

Microsoft is hardly the only tech giant that’s made a foray into blockchain. IBM, Google, and Amazon recently launched similar development kits for blockchain businesses.

Previously, Microsoft has showcased various blockchain pilots, including one that aimed to curb spam calls in India and another one designed to help developers get paid (launched in collaboration with accounting firm EY).

The Redmond company is also working on a blockchain-powered system to manage identities.

It’ll be interesting to see what developers will think of its new blockchain development kit – and what projects they can build with it.

*This post is credited to Thenextweb

Internet retailer Amazon’s filings for two cryptography data-storage solutions have been approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Internet retailer Amazon has been awarded two blockchain-related patents. The two patents were originally filed back in 2018 and 2015 as part of a bid to solidify Amazon’s status as a contender in the domain. The patents, published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday, relate to cryptographic signatures and expandable data grids.

The first of the patents, called Signature Delegation, outlines a method for the protection of digital signatures while delegating signature authority to subordinates authorized to sign on the behalf of a central entity. The delegation of signature authority resembles the “Merkle Tree” structure — a binary data structure that facilitates the efficient verification of a large amount of data and is fundamental to blockchain technology.

The patent filing describes a method in which “the signature authority provides a key-distribution service that distributes blocks of cryptographic keys to authorized signing delegates. An authorized signing delegate contacts the key-distribution service and requests a block of cryptographic keys.”

The second patent, Extending Grids in Data Storage Systems, describes a new method for creating extendable shards in a database. Sharding refers to a type of database partitioning that divides large databases into smaller, faster parts called ‘data shards’ that are more easily managed. Such a method is potentially useful for creating considerable flexible datasets — including the ones seen in a blockchain.

The two patents awarded to Amazon tackle issues with blockchain-enabled distributed data storage that have been previously addressed and leveraged by several blockchain-based data storage startups such as Siacoin, Arweave, and FIlecoin. The patents seem to be developed as an addition to the company’s technological arsenal.

Amazon, which is currently the eighth largest company in the world by annual revenue, has heavily invested in both cloud computing as well as data storage, and has a market share that is roughly triple the size of its main competitor, Microsoft.

In addition to its blockchain, cryptography and distributed data storage-related projects, Amazon has also filed patents related to cryptocurrency-specific solutions. In April, the U.S Patent and Trademark Office approved Amazon’s filing for a data stream marketplace that would allow governments and law enforcers to track Bitcoin users.

*This post is credited to Cryptovest

“Asset” may have a clinical ring to it, but it refers to much of what makes our lives, businesses and stock portfolios go ’round. The deed to your house, the 401(k) you plan to retire on and the antique watch you inherited from your grandfather are all assets; so clearly “assets” are worth the effort it takes to keep them safe and manage them efficiently.

What’s also clear is that blockchain technology is melding with this world of asset management. Blockchain’s immutable and decentralized ledger is the perfect framework for the wide range of companies looking to take asset management to the next level. If you follow blockchain news, you know that blockchain asset management isn’t a fringe idea — it’s a movement being embraced by some of the biggest technology, finance and research institutions out there.

Examples? In 2016, IBM started using a blockchain to track its software and hardware’s complex movement through their development and deployment supply chain. And global services firm Accenture just announced the launch of its own software license blockchain platform. Blockchain asset management also has clear applications in the finance world: One study concluded that if blockchain were implemented in the investment industry, asset managers could save $2.7 billion per year.

But broader asset management is possible, using blockchain technology: Many companies and thought leaders believe virtually any physical or intellectual property is blockchain-compatible. CoinBase CTO Balaji Srinivasan even predicted that blockchain tokenization could “turn the world into a massive stock market.”

Blockchain’s advantages for many asset classes

Different companies are exploring different ways to handle blockchain asset management and competing to find who can develop the most user-friendly, efficient, reliable and ultimately groundbreaking asset management tool. These companies share a basic framework for how blockchain and asset management work together: They use blockchain tokens or portions of a block in the chain to represent ownership of an asset. The owner of the blockchain property owns the asset it’s tied to.

Blockchain assets’ connections to real-world intellectual or digital properties with intrinsic value make them a different breed from standard cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (whose value stems partially from the network’s perception of its value) or utility tokens such as Ether (whose value stems in part from its usefulness in a specific platform).

A universal source of “truth”

Tying assets to the blockchain can unlock a wide range of benefits. A blockchain can serve as a universal source of the ruth about transactions, and that’s attracted stakeholders in complicated asset management situations. For example, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is partnering with the firm Digital Assets to revamp its Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS), to implement a new blockchain settlement system for the exchange.

ASX CEO Dominic Stevens says he can save Australian investors over $20 billion by launching the platform, which he says will form a “perfect chain of title” whenever securities transfer from participant to participant. Securities exchanges expect such significant savings because blockchain-assisted asset transfers require significantly fewer administrative resources to ensure compliance, settlement and reconciliation.

Getting on to the open market

Platforms such as Polymath are helping investment-seeking companies to offer “securitized token offerings.” These investment products encode fractional ownership of securities (think: shares of stock) on to the blockchain. The tokens can be bought and sold on the open market (because the SEC regulates them), moving securities sales outside of traditional exchanges altogether.

Fractional tokenization of securities and other assets creates liquidity in traditionally illiquid markets. If you own a large, immobile asset such as a building, it’s usually difficult and costly to buy and sell ownership portions of that asset to others. However, a blockchain can make fractional ownership possible, allowing you to buy and sell shares in previously illiquid entities.

Example: The New York Times recently reported that blockchain assets are changing the world of high-value art collecting. Art investment platform Maecenas owns about half of a valuable Andy Warhol painting — but it’s divided the other half into fractional ownership shares to be bought and sold on a blockchain-trading platform.

Blockchain can even be used to secure less tangible assets such as digital and intellectual property. Lexit uses a blockchain to organize an entire marketplace of startup technology and intellectual property.

Challenges in blockchain asset management

Blockchain assets still have hurdles to overcome. But this area of tech and finance is the source of constant innovation, which means some of those hurdles won’t remain as impossible as they used to be, for long.

One significant obstacle to the mass adoption of blockchain assets is the difficulty of proving that the assets and identities claimed on the blockchain are genuine. Blockchain networks can only accurately gather data on the state of their own network. Information verifying whether that network accurately represents real-world assets must come from third parties, and those third parties can make mistakes — or lie. Imagine that you decided to tokenize your home on the blockchain, then discovered that someone else had gotten there first and was claiming your home as his asset!

Blockchain asset management companies are working hard to solve this problem. TrustToken, a project designed to facilitate asset trades via the blockchain, uses platform tokens as collateral against blockchain assets, disincentivizing misbehavior. Metaverse, an asset-management platform touted as the next Chinese “Ethereum Killer,” uses an ecosystem of digital identities verified by “Oracles,” or entities that check the network against real-world information.

In sum, Blockchain assets are the future, and to a greater and greater degree, that future is already here. In the long run, blockchain assets could change how our society thinks about day-to-day economic activity, as the boundary between the offline and online world becomes amorphous.

*This post is credited to Entrepreneur

The Thai branch of U.S. global IT company IBM will promote blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) in order to turn the country into a major sales hub in the surrounding region, English-language daily news outlet The Bangkok Post reports Wednesday, Nov. 14.

According to the article, IBM is going to promote blockchain in collaboration with the country’s central bank, Bank of Thailand. A recent survey by IDC-IBM shows that global spending on blockchain will reach $9.7 billion by 2021.

Moreover, IBM is also discussing the possibility of blockchain education in local schools and universities, aiming to provide enough member of the workforce for the industry in the nearest future.

IBM concurrently plans to use Watson AI, a computer system equipped with AI and capable of answering questions by using its database, to find insights for different areas in the country, such as retail, education, finance, business, and energy.

Thai officials have recently started applying blockchain in different areas. In early October,  the Thai Ministry of Commerce revealed it started conducting feasibility studies on the use of blockchain in copyright, agriculture, and trade finance. And later in November, the local Revenue Department announced its plans to track tax payments using blockchain and maсhine learning.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, IBM is also actively promoting blockchain technology, elaborating decentralized solutions for different areas in numerous patents. In late August, the number of patents filed by IBM comprised 89, which made the U.S. corporation one of the biggest players in the area, surpassed only by China’s Alibaba with its 90 applications.

IBM has filed several more blockchain-related patents since then, including patents for a blockchain-driven platform for scientific research and another for the decentralized storage of trusted locations for augmented reality (AR) games.

*This post is credited to Cointelegraph

H&M in-house brand Arket has confirmed it is testing a new product integration powered by blockchain technology developer VeChain.

In an email to Hard Fork, an Arket spokesperson said the clothing store has been running a minor blockchain implementation to trace product data in a secure manner. The H&M subsidiary did not clarify how widely it is testing the solution – or in which locations.

“Arket has done a small Proof of Concept (POC) through a pilot testing with VeChain to use blockchain technology to secure product data traceability in the value chain,” the spokesperson told Hard Fork. “The test was made on a wool beanie from the autumn 2018 collection.”

Rumors of a possible collaboration between the H&M-owned brand and VeChain first began circulating after cryptocurrency enthusiasts took to Reddit and Twitter to share videos of users trying out the blockchain-powered implementation at Arket locations in London.

In the footage, you can see the users scanning an Arket item with VeChain Pro – an app that helps customers find more detailed information about a product.

It is worth pointing out that Arket’s collaboration with VeChain is far from a done deal, and merely an experiment at this point.

“The test is ongoing and has not yet been evaluated,” Arket told Hard Fork.

Regardless of the outcome though, it’ll be interesting to see H&M’s perspective on the usefulness (or the uselessness) of using blockchain as a supply chain solution.

*This post is credited to The Next Web