Russian Social Media Giant VK Eyes Launching its Own Crypto: Report

Russian Social Media Giant VK Eyes Launching its Own Crypto: Report

           

The most popular social media platform in Russia, VKontakte (VK),

is considering developing its own cryptocurrency, local news outlet RNS reported on March 28. Per the report, an unspecified person familiar with the company’s plans told the outlet that the project involves the creation of individual cryptocurrency accounts for all the users of the platform. Still, the article also claims that the firm has not yet made a final decision about whether or not to launch the coin.

According to the report, RNS has obtained a presentation from the VK that shows how one of the ways users would be able to obtain the firm’s tokens is in exchange for their activeness and time spent on the platform. According to the article, the coins earned this way could be accumulated, transferred between users, exchanged for goods and converted (presumably to fiat currency) via VK Pay.

According to its official website, VK Pay is a cashless money transfer service that lets VK users send money to each other in messages using a credit or debit card. According to RNS, the service was launched in June last year. Per the report, VK also plans to integrate a tipping service so that users would also be able to send the bespoke cryptocurrency to the authors of posts that they like.

Market research company eMarketer forecasted in 2017 that VK would surpass 42 million users in Russia before 2018. Along with being a top social media platform, VK is currently ranked third most popular website in Russia, according to Alexa. Meanwhile, VK’s founder is Pavel Durov, who also co-founded the privacy-centric messaging service Telegram, popular in the ranks of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

In February, rumors spread that Telegram has to launch its own blockchain network, TON, by October this year to keep from voiding its token contracts. Previously, the company planned to hold a public initial coin offering, but reconsidered after receiving abundant funds — $1.7 billion — in its private two private token sales. Also in February, a New York Times article claimed that Facebook is “hoping to succeed where Bitcoin failed” with its highly secretive cryptocurrency project.

Article Produced By
Adrian Zmudzinski

Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/russian-social-media-giant-vk-eyes-launching-its-own-crypto-report

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Crypto Exchange Bithumb Reportedly Hacked of Almost 19 Mln in EOS XRP

Crypto Exchange Bithumb Reportedly Hacked of Almost $19 Mln in EOS, XRP

             

crypto exchange Bithumb posted on Twitter

This article has been updated to provide further details on the hack. Today, March 30, crypto exchange Bithumb posted on Twitter that their cryptocurrency withdrawals and deposits have temporarily been paused. In an explanation linked to the tweet, the exchange writes that at 10:15 (time zone unknown) on the 29th, they detected what they describe as abnormal withdrawals through their monitoring system.

The exchange notes that they have “secured all the cryptocurrency from the detection time with a cold wallet and checked them by blocking deposit and withdrawal service.” According to the translated note, the incident was an “accident involving insiders.” In its updated blog post, Bithumb points out that it was the exchange’s fault that it only focused on protection from outside attacks and did not verify its staff. The announcement promises that the incident won’t repeat itself, since the company is developing its workforce verification system.

The exchange’s EOS hot wallet started sending EOS to the attacker’s address yesterday until the company realized the attack was ongoing and started to move the funds to the cold storage wallet, which seemingly has not been compromised. More than 3 million EOS (about $12.5 million) have been transferred from the hot wallet. The company since pointed out that all the funds which have been stolen were those of the exchange, and that the users’ funds are in the cold wallet. According to cryptocurrency news outlet The Block Crypto, around 20 million Ripple (XRP) (equivalent to about $6.2 million) have also been stolen.

This is the second hack that the exchange encountered in under a year. In the investigation after the last hack, the exchange recovered $14 million of the stolen funds and the exchange stated that it expects to recover the losses this time as well. Bithumb claims to be currently conducting intensive investigations with the cyber police agency, the Korean internet & Security Agency (KISA) and cybersecurity companies. The exchange also notes out that it expects to recover the to recover the loss. Lastly,

the company notes:

“We will do our best to resume deposit and withdrawal as soon as possible to secure the service’s stability.”

An analysis of the flow of the stolen funds by a Twitter user shows that a portion of the funds is already being distributed to exchanges, while another portion has been moved to other addresses. The exchange that received the most funds (662,000 EOS) is EXMO, followed by Houbi (263,000 EOS), Changelly (192,000 EOS), ChangeNOW (140,000 EOS), KuCoin (96,000 EOS) and others. Changelly has published a post today, claiming that the instant exchange has been able to identify and freeze 243,000 XRP ($76,000) and 114,000 EOS ($479,000) believed to be proceed from the Bithumb hack. The XRP has been sent to Changelly in eight different transactions, while the EOS was sent in 52, and the associated wallet addresses have been blacklisted.

A Twitter user has also suggested that the hack may be related to the recent BitHumb’s layoffs. Last week, it was reported that BitHumb is currently cutting up to 50 percent of its workforce. Cointelegraph will update this story as it continues. As Cointelegraph also recently reported, data scientists at blockchain infrastructure firm Elementus have published details of recent transactions from crypto exchange CoinBene that they consider to be suspect, beginning with $105 million in crypto swiftly being moved out of the exchange’s hot wallet.

Article Produced By
Molly Jane Zuckerman

Molly Jane is a Russian Literature major from California with a background in writing. She joins Cointelegraph after working as a freelance journalist and blogger.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/crypto-exchange-bithumb-reportedly-hacked

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Argentina’s Dep Finance Minister: Crypto Adoption Could Reduce Demand for US Dollar

Argentina’s Dep. Finance Minister: Crypto Adoption Could Reduce Demand for US Dollar

           

Huobi Group CEO Leon Li met with senior Argentinian finance officials

this week to discuss the role of blockchain and crypto in the country’s economy, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on March 29. In a meeting in Beijing, Argentina’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Felix Martin Soto, claimed that the government should address crypto and blockchain tech as a way to promote Argentina’s financial inclusion and reduce state costs. Soto, who leads Argentina’s international financial relations, explained that half of the country’s population does not have bank accounts and operate cash transactions by converting their savings to United States dollars.

Soto stated that he believes that promoting crypto industry in the country will help to reduce its demand for USD, which will eventually contribute to stabilizing the local market and attracting global investment. In a delegation meeting that also included Argentina’s Director-General of the Bilateral External Finance Bureau, Javier Matias Mana, the parties also discussed a potential expansion of Chinese exchange Huobi to Argentina.

Soto elaborated:

“We would like to learn how to participate in cryptocurrency and blockchain industry from Huobi. […] Through tokenization on Huobi’s platform, for example, Argentina’s plentiful agricultural, mineral and energy resources could be well financed by global investors.”

The finance official concluded that "[w]ith Huobi's expertise in blockchain and cryptocurrency, Argentina can accelerate its pace to digital assets era." The news has followed a recent meeting between Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, and crypto investor and entrepreneur Tim Draper.  The notorious crypto bull told the president that the legalization of Bitcoin (BTC) would improve the economic situation in the country. According to Draper, crypto and blockchain adoption in the country can disrupt major problems in Argentina's economy, including the devaluation of the Argentine peso and the associated brain drain.

Founded in China in 2013, Huobi is a major global crypto exchange, currently ranked 12th largest globally by adjusted daily trading volume. Despite a massive bear market in 2018, the exchange recently reported a 100 percent growth in trading volume in 2018 over 2017. However, recently, Huobi announced that Huobi’s Australian subsidiary will be operated by a team at Huobi Global’s Singapore headquarters due to poor market conditions and associated recent staff redundancies at Huobi Australia.

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Experts: Ethereum Losing Ground to New Networks

Experts: Ethereum Losing Ground to New Networks

           

The Ethereum network is  losing ground as developers switch to other

projects, various experts told Bloomberg on March 28. Ethereum, which debuted in 2015, initially provided a platform on which developers could build decentralized apps (DApps), conduct initial coin offerings (ICOs) and write smart contracts. Many saw it as being the successor to Bitcoin (BTC).

According to Bloomberg, developers are now opting for other platforms like EOS and Stellar. In January, only 28 percent of DApps users were on the Ethereum network, while the EOS network saw 48 percent and Tron accounted for 24 percent. Co-founder of hedge fund Multicoin Capital Management Kyle Samani said “The simple reality is that until the last six-to-nine months, there were no other options besides Ethereum. Now there are."

Ikigai crypto hedge fund founder Travis Kling said, “Owning Ethereum today is a call option on what you think the network is going to be in the future. To the extent that Ethereum competitor projects get traction with developers, with users, with DApps built on top of the platform, that will be viewed by the market as being detrimental to the overall value of Ethereum, and that can have a negative price impact on Ether."

Others say that Ethereum’s block speed of roughly 13 seconds is beginning to lag behind other networks, which can purportedly confirm transactions in under a second. Bloomberg notes that the majority of token offerings are still reportedly conducted on the Ethereum network, and that its dedicated base of developers will keep it competitive. A member of the Ethereum Foundation

reportedly said:

“The thing that really shines about Ethereum is its vibrant community. Everyone keeps building and supporting the cause regardless of the markets. All of the recent progress on Plasma and Serenity (Eth2) really speak to that. ”

Earlier this weekend, Ethereum co-founder and prominent face in the crypto community Vitalik Buterin argued that the crypto community should evolve beyond the individualism associated with its early cypherpunk days.

Article Produced By
Aaron Wood

Aaron Wood is an editor at Cointelegraph, with a background in energy and economics. He keeps an eye on Blockchain's applications in building smarter and more equitable energy access globally.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/experts-ethereum-losing-ground-to-new-networks

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Blockchain Gaming Startup Announces Global Licensing Agreement With Formula One

Blockchain Gaming Startup Announces Global Licensing Agreement With Formula One

            

Blockchain startup Animoca Brands announced it had signed

a global licensing agreement with Formula 1® to publish a blockchain game based on the world-renowned racing series. The news was revealed in a press release from Animoca published on March 26. Formula 1® — which reportedly draws ~1.6 billion television viewers across over 180 territories and engages 506 million fans worldwide — has reportedly signed a licensing agreement that will allow Animoca to publish a blockchain game “F1® Delta Time,” based on non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The forthcoming blockchain game F1® Delta Time — the first phase of launch being set for May 10 — will reportedly have a collectible component based on NFTs, as well as a racing component that utilizes those NFTs. The press release highlights the significant brand power of Formula 1® and the new licensing agreement’s potential to broaden consumer exposure to blockchain.

Since launching its inaugural FIA Formula One World Championship in the 1950s, Formula 1® now reportedly runs 21 races in 21 countries across five continents each season, with a reported 4.1 million annual race attendees. Animoca claims the blockchain game will deepen fan engagement, and that the partnership aligns with Formula One owner Liberty Media’s aim to improve fan experience via significant investments in new technology.

To press time, Formula One has not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment on the development. As previously reported, in December 2018, Animoca Brands entered into a licensing agreement with Atari — famous for being the developer of iconic video games such as Tetris and Pac Man. The rights agreement will allow Animoca to produce and publish blockchain versions of Atari mobile games “RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch” and “Goon Squad” in most jurisdictions worldwide.

In February 2018, Atari saw its share price skyrocket by over 60 percent after announcing that it would be investing in cryptocurrency. During a recent appearance at crypto event Token 2049 in Hong Kong, Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin argued that blockchain applications outside of finance still face more difficulty gaining traction and acknowledged that developments such as NFTs and gaming can help broaden the technology’s outreach.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-gaming-startup-announces-global-licensing-agreement-with-formula-one

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Top US Energy Provider Ameren Eyes Blockchain Promise in Clean Energy Boost

Top US Energy Provider Ameren Eyes Blockchain Promise in Clean Energy Boost

            

Major United States energy firm Ameren and Canadian software

engineering and solutions company Opus One Solutions will explore the potential use of blockchain technology. The participants announced the news in a press release on March 28. Ameren, which currently services around 2.4 million electric and 900,000 gas consumers, will examine blockchain as one of a range of options in its clean energy initiative. As of May 2018, Ameren was listed among the top 20 U.S. gas and electric utility firms, based on market value.

Blockchain is set to feature in the firms’ so-called Transactive Energy Marketplace (TEM), a microgrid built using Opus One’s technology to improve supply and demand ratios. “Identifying the value local distributed energy resources (DER) can provide to our distribution system and the customers it serves, helps inform how and where customers should invest in clean renewable power,” Ron Pate, senior vice president of operations and technical services at subsidiary Ameren Illinois, commented in the press release.

He continued:

“Transactive energy markets will ensure that distributed energy resources are compensated appropriately, for the services that they provide.”

The plans do not yet explicitly state how Ameren plans to leverage blockchain, yet come as energy providers worldwide turn to the tech to reshape their operations. As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, Japan’s Marubeni has partnered with a blockchain firm, LO3, in its own bid to increase the automation and efficiency of its renewable energy offering.

Prior to that, Fujitsu confirmed the positive results of a trial involving blockchain and another Japanese energy supplier, Eneres. Another scheme in February utilized Internet-of-Things platform Iota to develop a Proof-of-Concept for an autonomous smart energy grid in the Netherlands.

Thomas ClaimCo.in

TokenPay Seals Equity Deal in Australian Lingerie Giant Naked Brand Group

TokenPay Seals Equity Deal in Australian Lingerie Giant Naked Brand Group

            

Swiss decentralized payment startup TokenPay has acquired a large number of shares

in an Australian lingerie giant, a document originally issued on March 19 reveals. According to the filing, TokenPay purchased 1,840,216 shares of Naked Brand Group’s (NAKD) common stock, a 6.2 percent stake. The company has various brands on the market, perhaps the best-known of which is supermodel Heidi Klum’s Intimates line. Explaining the impetus behind its choice of spending and subsequent area for development, TokenPay revealed NAKD had in fact suggested it was curious about blockchain technology. “Why the move into lingerie? $NAKD management has expressed interest in exploring blockchain technology,” TokenPay wrote on Twitter on March 27,

continuing:

“It also operates iconic fashion brands w [with] $100m in sales, mostly to women. This is an undertargeted market in our industry. Potential for excellence by embracing crypto is real.”

Once the NAKD deal completes, TokenPay hinted there would be the option to purchase the company's products using crypto. As Cointelegraph reported, TokenPay has branched out into unanticipated industries before. In June last year, the startup partnered with the nonprofit body behind Litecoin (LTC) to acquire a roughly 10 percent stake in a German bank. Prior to that, a $2.5 million token investment saw TokenPay support efforts by privacy-focused cryptocurrency Verge to make major adult entertainment website Pornhub support its XVG token. The project appeared to have mixed success.

Article Produced By
William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/tokenpay-seals-equity-deal-in-australian-lingerie-giant-naked-brand-group

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Can the Blockchain and Token Economics Fix Privatizations?

Can the Blockchain and Token Economics Fix Privatizations?

              

Introduction

When I wrote this article about the dramatic collapse of the Morandi Highway Bridge in Genoa, I did it out of anger. Though it was clear to me that the roots of this tragic event were to be found in the wrong privatization model and its wrong incentives, I did not yet realize how this was a global issue. In the sense that the discontent and the failures of privatizations are a worldwide phenomenon — little known, mostly unacknowledged and rarely debated. Indeed, a quick web search under the keywords "failed privatizations" results in a long list of global failures — anywhere from Europe, to Africa, the United States, South America and Asia. This Columbia University paper and the Michael Hudson paper "Let us glory in inequality" are worth reading.

Privatizing state-owned assets or state-run services and functions has been an easy option for governments to raise money to contribute fixing their budgets. If privatizations may effectively improve the efficiency in which some assets or services are managed — whenever such assets or services are subject to free market forces and competition — there are privatizations which rather replace a state monopoly with a privileged rent-extracting private monopoly, which is shielded from free market competition. In practice, the state transfers its privilege of extracting rents — with a public asset or a service — into the hands of a wealthy private investor. This is the downside of privatizations, especially in so-called "natural monopolies" or with key strategic assets or services which the public is compelled to use without any alternative option. Such is the case, for instance, with toll roads, water, general health services, electric grids or prisons.

Dissatisfaction for such a model of privatizations has fuelled many calls to reverse them in many countries such as — for example, in the United Kingdom regarding its dysfunctional railway system or the water and gas sectors. In another interesting research paper, the author, Mildred E. Warner,  

emphasizes:

"The privatizations experiment of the 80s and 90s has failed to deliver [….] This has led to reversals. But this reverse privatization process is not a return to the old model […] Instead, it heralds the emergence of a new, balanced position, which combines use of markets, deliberation and planning to reach decisions which may be both efficient and more socially optimal."

Then suddenly it occurred to me that what I did elaborate — instinctively and out of anger after the events of Genoa — is exactly what is needed globally to achieve this new "more balanced position.” So I went to work again on that initial proposal and the result is this article, which expands on the use of the blockchain and token-economics as a viable model to reverse wrong and dysfunctional privatizations in strategic public sectors.  

I also wish to thank my fellows Thomas Euler and Karl Michael Henneking, who provided me with valuable feedback and ideas on the governance for this new model. Since the crypto space is moving at a rapid pace, I expect to see frequent new developments and innovative approaches on this topic. Thus, I regard this model as being very "fluid" and subject to future modifications and improvements.

Using token-economics

Although the origins of token-economics can be traced back to the early 19th century — in the field of psychiatric studies — the term is now commonly borrowed by the crypto world to refer broadly to a system of economic incentives used to influence stakeholders´ behavior toward a predefined virtuous model that benefits the whole system. Token-economics is a branch of the social studies, and it does not differ from traditional economics, except that it looks closely at behavioral economics and game theory in order to provide the right economic incentives to drive individual behavior.

Creating a blockchain/DLT-based system to manage strategic public assets

The template below can be applied to public assets or services that are strategic to the society as a whole and would be better not left solely in private hands but, ideally, the state shall always retain at least the control of such assets/services in order to shield the society from the consequences of abuses by private operators. Such assets are, for example, vital water sources and its supply infrastructures, energy plants and grids, public roads, minimum healthcare services and infrastructures, and prisons.

The Tokenization: Equity or security token?

The term "tokenization" is mainly associated with securities, equities and real assets, and it indicates the creation of a digital token that represents different types of rights — such as ownership, right to some economical payment, voting, etc. — connected with the underlying asset.  The token is normally issued on a blockchain. In the proposed model, the tokenization is necessary to "translate" economical rights connected with the public asset in a digital format that can be easily distributed to stakeholders and to which smart contract provisions can be attached in order to guarantee the automatic enforcement of certain provisions key to the incentives. The strategic public asset (‘A’) will be transferred into a special-purpose vehicle ("SPV"). Here there are substantially two options:

Option one is to tokenize the shares of the SPV by issuing equity tokens which incorporate ownership rights, voting and profit-distribution rights via smart contracts.

Option two is to issue security tokens — not representing equity participation in the SPV — but simply an economic right to share the profits of the SPV.  

The difference between the two options are: (i) in option one, equity tokens are issued, and therefore the corresponding ownership portion of the SPV and ‘A’ are also transferred; (ii) applicable corporate law will dictate the voting rights belonging to shareholders and, as a consequence, to all equity token-holders. This will likely reduce the flexibility of the governance. Moreover, because applicable corporate law also dictates the formalities for the transfer of the shares (such as companies’ registries and public notaries), those "real world" procedures enormously complicate the reconciliation between the equity tokens issued digitally and the underlying share certificates, thereby impacting on the flexibility and the automated execution of smart contract provisions.

Therefore, I came to the conclusion that the second option is better because:
a) ‘A’ and the SPV remain always 100 percent in public hands;
b) the security token issued does not represent equity in the SPV but simply the right to a monetary payment;
c) even if this is still a security for the purpose of securities laws application and compliance, the issuer will have very few constraints in designing the monetary rights attached to it — as well as their role in the governance (i.e., voting rights);
d) the issuance is not limited by physical ownership like in option one (i.e., one share-one token) or by the value of the shares, but only by the profitability of the SPV-’A’ or, if insufficient, by the willingness of the state to step up to guarantee for the shortfalls;
e) such security tokens can also be airdropped to key stakeholders and/or properly auctioned to investors, should the state need to raise money to either buy back the asset or pay penalties to private investors in the case of reverse-privatizations or,  if necessary, to revoke previously granted private concessions over public assets. In conclusion, option two seems simply far more flexible.

Main stakeholders and financial flows

The main stakeholders will then be:

  • The state which owns the asset.
  • The citizens who use the public services/assets.
  • The maintenance and service contractors.
  • Token holders.

Financial flows will be:

  • Fees generated by the ‘A’ and collected by the SPV, such as tolls for public roads or utility bills.
  • SPV´s payments for maintenance services and repairs.

Blockchain and DL

In my first proposal, I advocated for the use of a public blockchain with open access. Some commentators have also disputed the need for a blockchain in that model. Some confusion is generated around the term ‘blockchain.’ This term is now widely used to refer to pretty much any type of distributed ledger (DL) and certainly not only to the first and purest form of blockchain, which is the Bitcoin protocol. Therefore the use of a blockchain/DL in this model essentially means creating an asset accounting system of the records stored. Since the way DLs can be built is both modular and optional, there is no need here to build a 100 percent permissionless and decentralized blockchain like Bitcoin. Some functions can be decentralized, while others can be centralized. Also, centralization can still be positively influenced by governance provisions in order to guarantee more distributed supervision and control.

Moreover, whatever type of blockchain/DL and consensus protocol are adopted to make this model work, this remains a technical issue, which is outside the purpose of this article and which will be solved by technically proficient people other than myself. What is important to note here is that it should guarantee mainly (i) transparency and (ii) immutability of the records stored. This means that the Stakeholders should be able to access all documentation regarding, for instance, the financials of the SPV, maintenance bills, safety reports, engineering reports, public tender procedures, bills from contractors, etc.  Everything should be under the light and open to public and governmental scrutiny, and data should not be changed or corrupted by any stakeholder. This is a well-known problem. When dramatic events like those in Genoa happen, key evidence and documents suddenly disappear from the servers.

Token-economics and the right incentives for stakeholders

A balanced system of economic incentives and governance tools is essential in order to positively influence the behavior of key stakeholders, such as the contractors, the auditors and the state itself. The contractors are an essential part of it. Too frequently, especially in public procurement jobs — such as public roads, for instance — the poor conditions of the work done and of their subsequent maintenance status are of great concern to all the citizens. In the best case, this is both a sign of the state´s incapability of managing its resources and of holding the contractors accountable for the bad jobs done. In the worst case, this is a sign of corruption.  

To hold the contractors accountable, they must have an economic interest in the proper functioning and proper maintenance of the asset which generates the revenues. This can be done by ensuring that contractors "have skin in the game.” In addition to being paid in installments at the reaching of milestones, as is normal, contractors will also be paid-in-kind with the tokens issued by the SPV. This ensures that the contractor holds an interest in the continued functionality of the assets. In case of disputes, the public administration will have an additional recourse against the tokens allocated to the contractor, which can be automatically repossessed or burned via smart contract provisions. Clearly, dispute-resolution mechanisms and so called "Oracles" must be in place as well.

More "skin in the game" can also be given by requiring the contractors to subscribe to an interest-bearing government bond in percentage of the contract value. This government bond can be also ‘tokenized,’ thereby ensuring an additional recourse against the contractor, should it be in breach of contract obligations or of its guarantees/warranties or maintenance periods. This bond will be held as a collateral in a smart-escrow.  While its function is similar to that of a traditional performance-bond — where a bank guarantees performance on behalf of the contractor — the difference here is that the state bond does not have a cost for the contractor, and it benefits, in a virtuous cycle, both the government and the contractor which receives the interest payments. The flexibility that can be achieved by programming different features in that digital bond is another key advantage.

Governance tools

Aligning private contractors´ incentives is only part of the game, while influencing the state´s behavior is much more difficult. To do so, we have to create the right set of governance tools.  The main concern here is to avoid that the state wastes money and to make sure that it efficiently allocates the revenues generated by the asset. Therefore, a proper set of governance rules for the SPV and all the stakeholders are essential in this model.

The first step shall be to earmark the revenues generated by the SPV to be either (i) spent in maintenance or (ii) reinvested in new infrastructure or (iii) distributed to the token-holders. The percentage of redistribution of the residual profits can also be programmed differently in the smart contracts in order to maximize incentives — for example, by rewarding the most diligent contractors with higher percentages.

The second step shall be the creation of governance bodies.

In this model I have conceived three governing bodies, the Treasury, the Asset Committee and the General Assembly:

  • The Treasury receives the revenues from the SPV and, in compliance with its mandate to earmark the revenues as indicated above, it allocates the funds as indicated by the Asset Committee.
  • The Asset Committee shall be constituted by representatives of the state, of token-holders and of technically qualified professionals in the specific sector of activity. The Asset Committee decides how to spend the revenues of the SPV, based on a set of priorities and reports received from third-party controllers, auditors and technical experts on the conditions of the asset (i.e., maintenance and/or new investments).
  • The General Assembly is composed by all stakeholders, and it will vote the composition of the Asset Committee and perform an ex-post supervision of the allocation of the funds done by the Asset Committee.

Interestingly, my colleague Karl Michael Henneking at Untitled-INC has introduced the concept of Proof of Quality Management (PQM), which is basically a rating mechanism to evaluate how efficient the Asset Committee has been in allocating the funds. Essentially, a rating index — reflecting the status of the asset — can be created by comparing the sums invested with the levels of satisfaction expressed by its users and with the reports from the auditors and technical experts. Simply, the more the funds invested and the lower the feedback received from stakeholders, then the lower the rating and therefore the performance of the Asset Committee will be. Vice versa, the lower the sums invested and the higher the feedback reports received, then the higher the rating and the performance of the Asset Committee will be.

Conclusions

While the limitations and dysfunctions of past privatizations are now apparent and ever more publicly questioned, the need for a new approach and a new model for managing key public strategic assets becomes ever more pressing. The interest with which my first proposal has been received was, for me, a pleasant surprise and the enquiries received from a number of public administrations — including from Nigeria regarding the possibility of using this model to reverse the privatization of its electricity grid — brings me hope that something will change in the future and that new technologies, such as blockchain/DLs and smart contracts, will be instrumental to the creation of this new model.

My hope is to see this model applied anywhere there is need to economically and effectively manage public strategic assets without blindly leaving them in private hands nor in wasteful public hands. A new and more balanced model of management for strategic public assets and services is now at hand.

Article Produced By
Andrea Bianconi

Andrea Bianconi is an international business Lawyer with over two decades experience, a scholar of Austrian Economics, monetary history and geopolitics, a believer in the future of Bitcoin and Blockchain based technologies, a trader with interest in commodities, precious metals, currencies, Tech stocks and Cryptos. A speaker/panelist at conferences and events.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/can-the-blockchain-and-token-economics-fix-privatizations

Thomas ClaimCo.in

German Gov’t Says Blockchain Can Support Europe’s Unity at a Fundamental Level’

German Gov’t Says Blockchain Can ‘Support Europe’s Unity at a Fundamental Level’

            

Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAFM)

has found that blockchain has far-reaching potential to improve asylum procedures. Following a successfully completed proof-of-concept (PoC), the findings were published on March 26 in a white paper. The paper was edited by BAFM and authored by the Project Group Business & Information Systems Engineering of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT.

The PoC — undertaken by BAFM, Fraunhofer FIT and an unnamed technology partner in the first half of 2018 — focused on evaluating blockchain’s potential to support two crucial aspects of asylum procedures: the creation of reliable and secure digital identities and improving communication and cooperation between authorities at a municipal, state and national level. For the PoC, the three partners used a private and permissioned version of an Ethereum-derived blockchain, using a proof-of-authority consensus algorithm.

The white paper outlines that blockchain can enable the creation of tamper resistant digital identities for refugees that arrive without ID documents, based on biometric data collected at the moment of their initial registration in the receiving country. This immutable blockchain-based identity would then support further aspects of the asylum procedure and ensure the consistent and secure identification of each asylum applicant across multiple organizations. The white paper’s authors propose that a robust, blockchain-based identity solution could have far-reaching positive pan-European implications,

noting that:

“Blockchain could be the ‘digital enabler’ of European federalism in the asylum context. […] A European platform for the decentralised management of asylum procedures […] would enable the transparent storage of a person’s place of initial registration. […] Digital identities are per se nationally agnostic and could thus support Europe’s unity at a fundamental level.”

The white paper notes that data protection laws pose a key challenge for blockchain innovation within a European context — a reference to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a landmark EU-wide legal framework for personal data privacy, which took effect in May 2018. Nonetheless, a GDPR-compliant architecture for a blockchain-powered asylum system could be possible, the white paper suggests.  A Cointelegraph analysis published in fall 2018 studied the prospective benefits blockchain can bring to strained immigration systems worldwide.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/german-govt-says-blockchain-can-support-europes-unity-at-a-fundamental-level

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Crypto Exchange CoinBene Assures Users That Prolonged Maintenance Not Due to Hack

Crypto Exchange CoinBene Assures Users That Prolonged Maintenance Not Due to Hack

             

Top-ranked cryptocurrency exchange CoinBene

has reassured users that its prolonged maintenance downtime is not due to a hack, as some community members had feared. The exchange made its official announcement in an official tweet today, March 27. With the announcement, CoinBene has responded to users’ ongoing concerns that delays in processing deposits and withdrawals were signs of a possible platform hack.

In its statement, CoinBene
— currently ranked 4th on CoinMarketCap by adjusted daily trade volume
— clarifies that is has been undertaking measures to update the exchange’s wallet immediately. The exchange reports that it had received news from multiple other
— unnamed
— crypto exchanges of recent thefts of their users’ assets. The CoinBene security team says it then took swift action to protect and upgrade the wallet’s security to protect their users. The announcement, emphasizing this has been a preventive
— not reactive

measure, reassures users that:

“User assets on CoinBene platform are 100% secure, our platform promises that if any user assets will be lost, we will compensate 100% [sic]. […] The CoinBene security team monitors any anomalies at all times and will issue a warning the first time to prevent any possible risks.”

The statement also instructs any user aware of a security risk to their account to contact the platform’s support team. In a separate tweet in the same thread, CoinBene emphasized that users should not worry about the prolonged maintenance currently underway. Evidently relieved twitter users responded positively to CoinBene’s clarification, although stated it would have been preferable to issue an announcement sooner to quash community concerns. One user expressed their ongoing frustration over frozen deposits, to which CoinBene responded that Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Tether (USDT) deposits have already been reopened, and others are set to be opened “asap.”

As previously reported, community members had been closely eyeing open blockchain transaction data records in light of their suspicions surrounding CoinBene. One industry figure had proposed that massive outgoing transactions from CoinBene shown on major statistics website for Ethereum, Etherscan, might serve as an evidence of an attack — concerns that a fellow sleuther assuaged by noting that the transactions in fact appeared to indicate transfers to a wallet designated as cold storage.

In a recent report to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, crypto index provide Bitwise Asset Management stated that it believes CoinBene’s trading activity is suspicious, especially due to the fact that trading timesteps frequently coincide and the amounts of buying and selling are almost similar. Just yesterday, Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange DragonEx notified its users that it suffered a hack on March 24, the full details and scales of which are yet to emerge.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/crypto-exchange-coinbene-assures-users-that-prolonged-maintenance-not-due-to-hack

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