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MIT Reveals Three Ways to Destroy Bitcoin

An article in the MIT Technology Review came up with not one or two, but three plans to destroy the virtual currency Bitcoin. The article, titled “Let’s Destroy Bitcoin,” unveils three paths that could result in the demise of the artificial currency.

1. Government Takeover

According to the article, the first option to take down Bitcoin is a government takeover of the cryptocurrency with the creation that the article dubs “Fedcoins” (Federal Reserve-backed coin). The introduction of Fedcoin could be overseen by the IMF, the World Bank and the Federal Reserve. Fedcoin would reportedly improve upon the efficiencies of Bitcoin, not only reducing the demand for decentralized virtual currencies but also eliminating it.

The increasing value of Bitcoin has some experts forecasting the release of a U.S.-backed digital cryptocurrency. A study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance reports that central banks around the world strongly favor blockchain technology. Over 20% of the central banks surveyed indicated that they would be using the blockchain technology by the end of 2019, while 40% would have active blockchain-based apps within 10 years.

One professor cited in the article argued that a shift away from cash would help governments collect taxes and enact monetary policies more easily.

2.Facebook Sneak Attack 

Another strategy the article offers to destroy Bitcoin is a takeover of Bitcoin by Facebook. This strategy involves the social networking site creating its own BTC wallets for its users and rewarding them in the artificial currency for interacting with ads. The tech company could also give its users an ad-free experience if they allow it to mine on the unused power of their computer.

Facebook could overthrow Bitcoin by issuing its own artificial currency, notes CoinTelegraph, just like Telegram is trying to do. Telegram, which has around 200 million users all over the world, aims to create its own app-specific cryptocurrency, called “Grams”, which users could use to pay for services within the network or could send each other. The messaging app raised over $850 million from investors by February by selling the currency in advance of an ICO (initial coin offering). In a second round in March, it had raised another $850 million.

3.Go forth and multiply 

The third and last strategy of MIT was “tokenization of everything.” The article noted that goods and services will be greatly represented by tokens in the future and those tokens could be exchanged with anything ranging from babysitting services to local subway rides.

The professor cited earlier in the study described a future in which there would be thousands of ways to pay for things, using tokens which are similar to the gift cards and point systems that companies already use to attract their customers. The key difference would be that the blockchain technology would make them secure and easily transferable. With time, Bitcoin would lose its importance as more efficient tokens come to the fore.

Can Facebook’s Fake News Problem Be Solved?

Almost two years ago, the problem of fake news on Facebook landed on the public radar.  In his recent testimony before the Commerce and Judiciary committees of the U.S. Senate, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed data privacy, fake news, and Russian disinformation on the social media platform. Zuckerberg apologized for the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach and defended the social network in the data piracy controversy.

Three ways to fix Facebook’s fake news problem

Facebook has been quite slow to agree that it has an issue with fake news on its news feed, which is viewed by about 1.18 billion people daily. Here are some solutions that media experts, technology experts and academics have given to solve the false news problem –

  1. Human Editors – Several experts believe that human editing, which depends on a trained professional to evaluate a news article before it is streamed, could help address the fake news issue. Proponents say that human editing is much better than algorithms (which Facebook currently uses). There is evidence that Facebook’s algorithms can easily be confused by complex editorial decisions. However, hiring people is not easily scalable– it would require too many people to do the job, making it cost-prohibitive. Also, it would not be possible for people to edit and stream content quickly.
  2. Crowdsourcing – Crowdsourcing, where the firm mobilizes the crowd to provide a solution to the challenge, is another option. This option would open up the evaluation and assessment process to the public. People would be able to apply for a “verified news checker” status that enables them to rank the news as they read it. This is similar to the way Wikipedia works, and could be a better option than hiring human editors. In addition to this, Facebook could avoid possible accusations of bias by using crowdsourcing, because anyone can be part of this solution.
  3. Machine learning or algorithmic vetting – This is the approach which Facebook currently uses. In 2016, the tech giant fired its human editors’ team to replace them with an algorithm. This option, however, is not working because it is still unable to identify fake news and satire. But Facebook says that it is working on its technology. Also, we cannot ignore that algorithms are much easier and cheaper to handle than human beings.

These are some of the options open to Facebook to fight the phenomenon of fake news. Facebook’s CEO said recently that hiring more people with local language skills could help in identifying potential problems faster as well.

How Blockchain Integration Will Improve Corporate Efficiency and Transparency

The implications of using distributed ledger technology to track the lifecycle of products and services are staggering. Businesses are already increasing the efficiency, security, and transparency of their brands by integrating Blockchain technology into their existing production and shipping processes.

Before Blockchain

Supply management has always been one of the most important logistical hurdles for product-based businesses. Companies and end users alike have long speculated on the helpfulness of maintaining records that indicate the full life-cycle of individual products. Data such as where parts and materials were sourced, time of assembly, and even general notes taken during maintenance or ongoing inspections of quality would make it possible to determine the integrity of each individual product on a granular level. Recording the events in a products life cycle would also introduce the ability to track points of failure and inefficiency, making it easier for corporations to improve the competency of their manufacturing, delivery, and maintenance processes.

Until recently however, the burden of labor was far too great to track any but the most critical of supply data. The most prevalent roadblock has been the problem of efficiency. Using pre-Blockchain resource planning systems, all relevant data must be collected, parsed, organized, stored, and recalled manually by employees operating at different levels of a company. In cases such as shipping, this data will often even be manually accessed by second and third party companies as the product journeys from its origin to destination. Employing people to log these tasks is an expensive and time consuming endeavor. Of the limited information that is currently retained, it is rarely available or transparent to customers.

New Technology, Old World

To comprehend how the integration of Blockchain technology would benefit our existing business landscape, it is important to first understand how distributed ledgers work in practice. Information is traditionally stored in a manually updated database. The records in this database are controlled by a centralized party that is responsible for their accuracy, organization, and dissemination. However, because such databases are manually maintained, they are prone to both human error and machination. For this reason, it is reasonable to doubt the accuracy of these records.

Integrating the Blockchain with existing enterprise resource planning, or ERP, systems enables firms to source existing data and share it in an immutable, secure, and trusted manner. What this means for corporations and their consumers is higher quality products, sourced in exceptionally cost effective ways, with a far greater level of accountability. In this respect, the significance of Blockchain business integration cannot be understated.

Blockchain technology improves on the traditional model by distributing database records between many different points of failure. Not only does the distribution of this information make it more transparent, it also ensures that the events recorded within each database are provably true. Blockchain integration also removes the manual component from data entry by allowing event instances to record themselves to the database in real time by way of smart contracts that self-execute when predetermined parameters have been met. As each piece of data is entered into the product’s life cycle record, it instantly becomes accessible to anyone with an internet connection and the appropriate block explorer.

Infinite Use Cases

Although there are infinite use cases, there is one that is frequently touted by industry insiders is Asset Life Cycle management. Imagine if, when buying a car, you could know within seconds where, when, and how the vehicle was built. Information about the vehicle’s driver history, maintenance, and quality assessments would be at your fingertips. Someday, if you chose to sell the car to another driver, they too would have access to transparent, up-to-the-minute data for the vehicle. They would be able to see how often it had been taken in for repairs, how long it had been active on the road, and even access accident and damage reports accumulated over the car’s lifespan with a level of unparalleled accuracy.

Problems Left to Solve

While businesses are exploring Blockchain integration more today than ever before, the technology is still far from mass adoption. Though the technology is free and open source, it also requires a high level of knowledge and practical expertise in order to implement it usefully for businesses or consumers. For now, the necessity of this expertise has created a barrier to entry that even the biggest corporations are hesitant to cross. As Blockchain integrations become easier for existing businesses to perform, however, the improvements to efficiency, safety, and transparency will compound to a point of no return. Once that happens, it won’t be long before we no longer remember a time that the world wasn’t run on Blockchain.

Russia And Its War On Telegram

Telegram is a secure, encrypted messaging app that has gained popularity around the world.  It has also been banned in Russia.

Telegram had refused, based on its moral obligation to its users, a demand by the Russian government to hand over user encryption codes by April 4th.  Russia’s resulting ban of Telegram officially started shortly thereafter, and Russia has done everything in its power to try and block Telegram as effectively as possible- by blocking millions of IP addresses.

However, the result of knocking 15.8 million (mostly Amazon and Google-owned) IP addresses resulted in a downward spiral that affected both online banking and online retail shopping in Russia.

Telegram has pledged to do everything it can to keep services available to its Russian users in spite of the ban, and is currently still providing services to around 9.5 million users in Russia by redirecting traffic in an effort to avoid the Russian censors that have been put in place. Telegram has also advised its users to turn on a VPN when using the app.

Russia responded to the ban’s incomplete success by taking a different approach:  pressuring app stores to stop supporting the Telegram app. Russia has officially approached Google and Apple and asked them to get rid of Telegram on their app stores.  So far, however, these requests have been unsuccessful. This comes as no surprise, since Telegram is fast becoming one of the most popular apps in the world.

 

6 Popular Crypto-Accepting Businesses

If you’re a crypto enthusiast, it’s always great to hear of more sites and brick-and-mortar establishments that accept cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment, giving you more options as where to spend your hard-earned Bitcoin. Hearing about crypto-accepting sites also offers crypto enthusiasts hope for the future of crypto, in spite of so many large companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter shunning digital currencies. Below is a list of some prominent companies that let you pay with cryptocurrency.

  1. Virgin Galactic- Richard Branson, the owner of the famous Virgin brand, is all for creative enterprises and is a cryptocurrency fan. Most of his Virgin companies accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. The most exciting way to spend your digital money with him would undoubtedly be on one of the Virgin Galactic trips to outer space. The sky is not the limit for cryptocurrencies!
  2. Subway- The world’s biggest on-the-go sandwich supplier now accepts Bitcoin when you pay at some of its branches. While you may not be able to use this function at all branches, it looks like Subway will extend its use of cryptocurrency if enough of its customers opt for it.
  3. Overstock.com- Overstock was one of the first major online retailers to embrace cryptocurrencies all the way back in 2014. Overstock accepts a range of different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Monero and Litecoin. The great thing about Overstock is that you can buy nearly anything on the site, from TVs to couches.
  4. Expedia- Expedia is one of the biggest online travel booking agencies out there, with many deals and flights and accommodation worldwide. Just like Overstock, Expedia also started accepting Bitcoin as a valid payment method back in 2014.
  5. Shopify- Shopify allows individuals to setup their own stores on its site, creating a massive online marketplace that has done incredibly well. In late 2013, all of the Shopify retailers were given the option of accepting Bitcoin, by using BitPay.
  6. PizzaforCoins- Who doesn’t love pizza? This innovative company made headlines with its famous pizza delivery app. PizzaforCoins doesn’t make the pizza itself, but acts as a middle-man delivery service between customers and a variety of pizza retailers, including Dominoes and Papa Johns.

 

It is impossible to predict the future, but the adoption of cryptocurrency as a payment method by these and other vendors is a vote of confidence in the viability and future of the sector.