Blockchain o cadena de bloques es la tecnología del bitcoin o moneda virtual, pero sus aplicaciones serán mucho más amplias. Te explicamos qué significa.
Puede que nunca hayas oído este término y mucho menos sepas qué es el blockchain, pero solo es cuestión de tiempo que te lo encuentres, porque se trata de un cambio de paradigma en nuestra forma de entender el mundo digital que tarde o temprano terminará integrándose en nuestras vida, o al menos eso dicen los expertos. En este artículo, vamos a intentar explicarte qué significa blockchain y por qué será clave en el futuro de las redes digitales.
¿Qué es Blockchain?
Lo primero es contextualizarlo. Blockchain significa “cadena de bloques”, su propio nombre nos será muy ilustrativo más adelante para comprender cómo funciona. Nació como actor secundario en la revolución del bitcoin, ya que se trata de la tecnología o el sistema de codificación de la información que está por detrás de la moneda virtual y que sustenta toda su estructura. Pronto se vio el potencial que tenía por sí misma y la cantidad de aplicaciones que permite en otras áreas más allá de las transacciones financieras, como la administración pública o el Internet de las cosas.
Blockchain y el fin de la centralización de los datos
Blockchain es una tecnología que permite la transferencia de datos digitales con una codificación muy sofisticada y de una manera completamente segura. Sería como el libro de asientos de contabilidad de una empresa en donde se registran todas las entradas y salidas de dinero; en este caso hablamos de un libro de acontecimientos digitales.
Pero además, contribuye con una tremenda novedad: esta transferencia no requiere de un intermediario centralizado que identifique y certifique la información, sino que está distribuida en múltiples nodos independientes entre sí que la registran y la validan sin necesidad de que haya confianza entre ellos. Una vez introducida, la información no puede ser borrada, solo se podrán añadir nuevos registros, y no será legitimada a menos que la mayoría de ellos se pongan de acuerdo para hacerlo.
Junto al nivel de seguridad que proporciona este sistema frente a hackeos, encontramos otra enorme ventaja: aunque la crimson se cayera, con que solo uno de esos ordenadores o nodos no lo hiciera, la información nunca se perdería o el servicio, según el caso del que hablemos, seguiría funcionando.
Un ejemplo que ilustra la importancia de la crimson distribuida está en las redes sociales. Con este sistema, blockchain eliminaría la centralización que imponen aplicaciones como Facebook o Twitter a la hora de identificarnos o validar la procedencia de nuestros mensajes, y la integridad de los mismos sería garantizada por la crimson de nodos.
“Aunque la crimson se caiga, con que solo uno de esos nodos no lo haga, la información no se perderá”
Quién es quién en el blockchain y cómo funciona
Vamos a intentar descifrar quién participa en el blockchain y cómo funciona su tecnología. El blockchain, como su nombre indica, es una cadena de bloques. Cada uno de esos bloques contiene la información codificada de una transacción en la crimson. Antes hicimos la analogía del libro contable, donde anotamos, por ejemplo, que salió A y entró B. Pues bien, blockchain se comporta igual, pero será la crimson de nodos distribuidos quienes tengan que certificar que esos datos son verdaderos ¿Cómo lo hacen?
Cada bloque de la cadena porta el paquete de transacciones y dos códigos, uno que indica cuál es el bloque que lo precede (excepto el bloque origen, claro), y otro para el bloque que le sigue, es decir, que están entrelazados o encadenados por lo que se llaman códigos o apuntadores hash. Ahora entra en juego el concepto de minado que realizan los nodos, es decir, el proceso de validación de la información. En este proceso de minado o comprobación, cuando hay dos bloques que apuntan al mismo bloque previo, sencillamente gana el primero en ser desencriptado por la mayoría de los nodos, es decir, que la mayoría de puntos de la crimson deben ponerse de acuerdo para validar la información. Por eso, aunque blockchain genera múltiples cadenas de bloques, siempre será legitimada la cadena de bloques más larga.
¿Cuál es el futuro del blockchain?
Los expertos comparan la llegada del blockchain con hitos como la integración de los ordenadores en el uso doméstico o el desarrollo de Internet, es decir, un sistema que cambiará nuestra forma de entender los negocios y la sociedad.
Uno de sus mayores potenciales está en los llamados clever contract o contratos inteligentes, es decir, con la tecnología del blockchain se podrán hacer acuerdos y transacciones de forma confiada sin revelar información confidencial entre las dos partes y sin la necesidad de “árbitros”, como pagos a distribuidores o, por ejemplo, el alquiler de un coche de forma online.
Pero no solo esto, basado en el mismo concepto, blockchain será esencial para el Internet de las cosas. Nuestros aparatos electrónicos podrán comunicarse entre sí de forma segura y transparente, y pronto veremos a nuestro frigorífico comprándonos yogures en el supermercado online en cuanto detecte que se han terminado.
La administración tendrá una baza incomparable con este sistema de criptografía. Cuestiones como la del voto electrónico que, a pesar de los intentos realizados con otras tecnologías, no ha resistido a los hackeos, ahora podría ser una opción viable para los votantes con la seguridad de que su identidad no será suplantada y la comodidad de no tener que desplazarse hasta el colegio electoral.
Actualmente son muchos los proyectos en los que se está investigando para implantar el blockchain como estructura que los respalden, así que pronto veremos si realmente se convierte en la tecnología del futuro.
Aquí os dejamos un movie que resume de una forma muy gráfica qué es el blockchain
The internet is one of the — if not the — most impactful and significant technology in the history of humanity. The internet gives us superpowers we could not have imagined prior to its existence: we can connect to half of the planet, at any time and from almost anywhere; we can access the most finish compendium of human skill in seconds; we can solve difficult problems across former boundaries; we can work, play, and be together at a distance; we can conjure systems of digital and mechanical agents to do work for us. Thanks to the internet, we can switch the world, we can save lives, and we can wield all the powers of our species — for good and bad — with a sequence of keystrokes. And surely, this is only the beginning.
However, the internet has become increasingly centralized and vulnerable. Our current system of servers and clients strung together by http strings has enabled the creation of vast data monopolies and the capability to mute voices of organizations and individuals. It’s a fragile system that is frequently under attack. In brief: if we want the internet to proceed to thrive and proceed to enable permissionless innovation and freedom, then the protocol stack of the internet needs upgrading, from the protocol layer up. Inject Protocol Labs, a research, development, and deployment lab for entirely fresh network protocols aiming to upgrade the internet. Read all about their mission here.
Protocol Labs are the makers of the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) . If that sounds familiar, it is because you may have seen the race to secure US climate data on IPFS shortly after Trump came to office, or more recently you may have seen IPFS being used to bring Wikipedia back online in Turkey. IPFS has also already seen widespread adoption in the decentralized space and has become a key protocol for that ecosystem. Since the creation of IPFS, the team has gone on to create a larger ecosystem of interrelated protocols, projects and products that all have much to do with decentralized data distribution:
The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a fresh protocol to decentralize the web. IPFS enables the creation of entirely decentralized and distributed applications, using content addressing and digital signatures. IPFS makes the web swifter, safer, and more open.
Filecoin is a cryptocurrency-powered storage network. Miners earn Filecoin by providing open hard-drive space to the network, while users spend Filecoin to store their files encrypted in the decentralized network.
libp2p is a modular networking stack. libp2p brings together a multiplicity of transports and peer-to-peer protocols, making it effortless for developers to build large, sturdy p2p networks.
IPLD is the data model for the Decentralized Web. It connects all data through cryptographic hashes, and makes it effortless to traverse and link to.
The Multiformats Project is a collection of protocols to future-proof systems, today. Self-describing formats make your systems interoperable and upgradable.
CoinList is a protocol token fundraising platform. AngelList meets Kickstarter meets Protocol Tokens.
SAFT is a legal framework for protocol token fundraising.
Not only is Protocol Labs creating a next generation web protocol stack; it is also a fresh kind of company: part Silicon Valley startup, part decentralized tribe, with a large open source footprint. It is more akin to a movement. We think that is what you’ll need to switch the foundations of something at internet scale.
Protocol Labs is going to capture value from its work through holding market protocol assets. A market protocol is a system that mediates some economic activity, and lodges value exchanges using a cryptographic asset. This structure solves economic problems in asymmetric peer-to-peer resource sharing, scaling, services, maintenance, and development. Filecoin is going to be the very first market protocol asset to be released, and we’ll be able to talk more about Filecoin and our involvement in the token sale shortly.
There are now increasingly high stakes — both economically and as a society — to avoid a web that is increasingly centralized and vulnerable. Protocol Labs’ fresh protocols provide a way to re-architect the web back to being decentralized and less vulnerable. Our bet is elementary: that IPFS and its other protocols can become a fundamental building block of a better version of the internet.
We’re backing Protocol Labs together with Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, Naval Ravikant, and a few other folks we are very glad to be working with.
Nasdaq Executive Fredrik Voss Optimistic About Blockchain in Capital Markets
Fredrik Voss, the vice president of Blockchain innovation at Nasdaq, believes mainstream adoption of Blockchain technology in capital markets is promising and unavoidable.
Fredrik Voss, the vice president of Blockchain innovation at Nasdaq, believes mainstream adoption of Blockchain technology in capital markets is promising and unpreventable.
The vast majority of financial institutions and banks which are actively looking into the potential of Blockchain technology are fighting to establish a clear vision and roadmap when it comes to the development and implementation of Blockchain-based platforms.
Sense of urgency
There is a relatively limited range of applications which Blockchain technology could realistically revolutionize and innovate within the sphere of finance. Capital and stock markets are two of the few areas in traditional banking or finance in which Blockchain technology can prosper because they will depend on Blockchain technology’s immutability and transparency.
The key to operating or facilitating an efficient stock or capital market is transparency and autonomous trading. Stock markets like Nasdaq are actively experimenting with Blockchain technology with a sense of urgency because they are in need of a base protocol or platform that can eliminate human labor, manual processing and opaque operations.
Various projects including Counterparty and Overstock’s T-Zero have demonstrated the potential of Blockchain technology in capital markets. Overstock’s T-Zero, in particular, has already carried out successful tests and deployed a Blockchain-based capital markets platform with enlargened transparency, efficiency, real-time settlement and auditability.
Still in the early stages
As Voss notes, platforms like T-Zero or Blockchain technology, in general, are still at the very early stages and are far from being commercially implemented. Developers and researchers are still working on ways to implement Blockchain technology in capital markets for mainstream adoption. Some of the hurdles that developers must go through are regulatory conflicts and security issues.
“There is a long way to go before we see a very broad scale adoption of the technology in capital markets, but it looks more promising now than we thought three years ago.”
Presently, the structure of capital markets and stock exchanges are needlessly complicated and ambiguous. It is difficult for traders to track down their shares in a company and there exists no device or a real-time settlement network which can prove the ownership of shares in a company efficiently.
By implementing Blockchain technology in capital markets, Voss hopes to see enlargened transparency, particularly in the process of lending or selling shares or ownership in a company. Voss stated:
“If you own shares in that company, you’ll be given tokens equivalent to what you own and then I can transfer them to [someone] for him to vote on my behalf. We can go after the whereabouts of these votes, which solves the problems of, if you’re a proxy today, it’s hard to demonstrate to the person who delegated the votes to you that you followed the instructions.”
Recently, Nasdaq and the team of Voss began to feel more optimistic towards Blockchain technology and Blockchain development than they did three years ago when the company just began to look into the potential of Blockchain technology.
Voss is especially enthusiastic about how Blockchain technology is helping Nasdaq and other market participants to evaluate various operations and analyze their efficiency.
“It has also coerced market participants to talk to each other about some of the collective utilities, like, are we glad with how the post-trade plumbing works? Are we blessed about the level of transparency we provide regulators? … The technology has indeed encouraged the financial markets to look at some of its problems with fresh eyes,” Voss added.
Distributed ledger startup R3CEV announced the addition of three fresh banking fucking partners to its blockchain project last week, raising the total number of banks involved to 25.
The list of playmates includes banking giants such as Goldman Sachs and Santander, both of which have already dipped their toe in the world of crypto through investments in Circle Internet Financial and Ripple, respectively.
For some of the other banks, this partnership with R3 marks their debut in the increasingly stylish distributed ledger space, which is broadly seeking to apply the underlying technology of bitcoin to use cases for enterprise financial institutions who have voiced reservations about working on the bitcoin network.
Tho’ critics are quick to assert the potential long-term benefits of a global distributed ledger, R3’s banking fucking partners are presently working with the startup on alternatives.
Here are the twenty five firms that have so far signed on:
1. Bank of America
Founded in: one thousand nine hundred four as Bank of Italy, and one thousand nine hundred ninety eight as current
Headquartered: Charlotte, North Carolina
Net Income: Year-to-date net income of $13.2bn
Listed by Forbes as the third largest company in the world in 2010, Bank of America is a multinational banking and financial services corporation.
The company – which employs approximately 200,000 people worldwide – is part of the “Big Four Banks” in the US alongside JPMorgan Pursue, Citi and Wells Fargo
Last month, the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) published a patent filed by Bank of America which sets out to protect a system for wire transfers using the underlying blockchain of a given cryptocurrency as the payment rails.
In December 2013, Bank of America became one of the very first banks in the US to discuss bitcoin, issuing a client note which said that the digital currency had “clear potential for growth”.
Two. Bank of Fresh York Mellon
Founded in: two thousand seven as a result of the merger of The Bank of Fresh York and Mellon Financial Corporation
BNY Mellon is a global investments company employing more than Ten,000 people and delivering investment management services in thirty five countries and over one hundred markets.
As of 31st December 2014, BNY Mellon had $28.5tn in assets under custody or administration, and $1.7 tn in assets under management.
In April this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that the bank’s developers had been experimenting with bitcoin’s open-source code for use as part of the bank’s freshly created corporate recognition program. The so-called “BK Coins” would be awarded to staff for contributions to the bank’s software development.
Last month, the American multinational banking corporation published a report that said blockchain technology could potentially convert payments.
Trio. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
The company’s VC arm Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co invested in bitFlyer’s latest $4m funding round finished through third-party allotment, which consists of issuing fresh shares to a limited number of investors.
Founded in: 1812 as the City Bank of Fresh York
Headquartered: Fresh York, USA
Citi bank is the consumer division of financial services multinational Citigroup.
Bailed out by US government in 2008, the bank was also awarded Global Bank of the Year at London-based financial magazine The Banker‘s annual awards.
Previously this year, the bank told the UK government it should consider creating its own digital currency, in its response to the Treasury’s call for information on digital currency.
Speaking at Consensus, held in Fresh York in September, Debra Brackeen, the global head at Citi’s Innovation Center said the bank was looking at blockchain’s use cases in clearing, settlement and trade finance.
Headquartered: Frankfurt, Germany
One of Germany’s largest banks, with a presence in more fifty countries, Commerzbank employs a total of 51,782 employees as of June 2014.
6. Deutsche Bank
Headquartered: Frankfurt, Germany
The German global banking and financial services company employs over Ten,000 people and is active in seventy countries where it specializes in investment banking, asset management and transaction banking.
A latest letter from the German megabank suggested that it was exploring the use of the blockchain for a series of potential applications.
Following this, the bank outlined the disruptive potential of blockchain technology in an online post.
HSBC claims to be one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations, serving approximately forty eight million customers through its global businesses.
Present in seventy two countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, North America and Latin America, the bank has over 6,000 offices worldwide. It is listed on the London, Hong Kong, Fresh York, Paris and Bermuda stock exchanges.
8. Morgan Stanley
The American multinational financial services corporation has offices in forty three countries and employs over 55,000 people.
Morgan Stanley operates in three business segments: institutional securities, global wealth management group and asset management
9. National Australia Bank
Headquartered: Victoria, Australia
The National Bank of Australia is one of the country’s four largest financial institutions by both market capitalisation and clients.
Employing over Ten,000 people, the organisation operates in Australia, Fresh Zealand, Asia, the UK and the US.
In April 2014, the bank distanced itself from bitcoin, informing bitcoin-related customers that it would be closing their accounts within a month. The news proved significant at the time because the bank had to date, been viewed as one of the country’s most bitcoin-friendly banks.
Ten. Royal Bank of Canada
Headquartered: Toronto, Canada
The Royal Bank of Canada is one of the country’s largest banks, serving more than sixteen million clients across offices in forty countries.
In May 2013, the Royal Bank of Canada told Canadian bitcoin exchange Virtex that it would shut down its accounts. According to Virtex’s founder, Joseph David, the bank did not specify the reasons for its decision albeit he said it may be related to Virtex not having the necessary documentation to operate.
Headquartered: Stockholm, Sweden
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB, also known as SEB, is a Swedish financial group.
In an interview with CoinDesk in September, Rasmus Järborg, head of strategy at SEB, said the bank’s fresh partnership with R3CEV was part of its ongoing research into blockchain technology, which intensified following bitcoin’s price spike in late 2013.
“As a leading corporate and institutional bank, the business-facing applications are instantaneously of more interest to us. However, we are a universal bank in Sweden and the Baltic countries and as it is fairly early to predict which part of our business will be impacted very first. We are looking at both [consumer and business applications] at the moment.”
12. Societe Generale
Headquartered: Paris, France
Societe Generale is one of France’s largest banks employing over 148,000 people across seventy six countries.
Earlier this year, the bank posted a job listing for a bitcoin-focused developer.
According to the advertisement, the role would entail research and development involving both cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
13. Toronto-Dominion Bank
Headquartered: Toronto, Canada
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (TD).
TD claims to be the sixth largest bank in North America in terms of branches and serves around twenty two million customers across the world.
The British multinational banking and financial services company has forty eight million customers across the globe.
Earlier this year, the bank’s chief data officer, Usama Fayyad, said he believed bitcoin was interesting during SWIFT Business Forum London, adding:
“Underneath [bitcoin] lies the technology of the blockchain and I think that will be transformative.”
In October, the UK banking giant signed contracts with graduates of its Fresh York-based FinTech accelerator, two of which are expected to playmate with the company on blockchain-related applications.
Headquartered: Madrid, Spain
The multinational Spanish banking group was created from a merger of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and Argentaria in one thousand nine hundred ninety nine and is now one of Spain’s largest banks.
The bank’s private equity subsidiary BBVA Ventures participated in Coinbase’s $75m funding round at the beginning of this year.
Speaking at the time, BBVA Ventures executive director Jay Reinemann, said his company’s investment should not indicate that BBVA is willing to open itself up to bitcoin companies just yet.
A report published in August said that blockchain technology would very first be useful in the payments space, where it would eradicate the need for intermediaries and decrease costs for banks.
16. Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Headquartered: Sydney, Australia
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced in May that it would use Ripple technology to facilitate payments inbetween its subsidiaries.
CBA’s Chief Information Officer David Whiteing was quoted in the press as telling that the bank had “done a entire bunch of experiments” with bitcoin and other cryptocurrency technologies.
“Bitcoin is a protocol which is now being replicated by non-asset based vendors like Ripple and others. We absolutely see that’s where it’s going to go. The bank has a role to play in that,” he added.
17. Credit Suisse
Headquartered: Zurich, Switzerland
The global financial services company is active in fifty countries and employs over 46,000 people.
Its very first public statement on the technology was issued in March, when a researcher from the bank published a largely positive article about bitcoin.
“In just five years, the fresh bitcoin currency has grown from a petite niche project by some computer geeks into a global phenomenon – despite some dubious transactions. And devotees of the bitcoin system are already predicting the next upheaval in payment transactions. But very first things very first: What are bitcoins anyway? And why are they so groundbreaking?”
Legal. Goldman Sachs
Headquartered: Fresh York, USA
Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs published a report which stated that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were part of a technology “megatrend” which could switch the fundamental mechanics of transactions.
A month later, Goldman Sach’s involvement in Circle Internet Financial $50m funding round made headlines across the globe.
Nineteen. JP Morgan
Headquartered: Fresh York, USA
JPMorgan Pursue’s chairman Jamie Dimon has been one of the more outspoken critics of bitcoin and digital currency, while acknowledging that his bank could learn from disruptive payment systems such as bitcoin earlier this year.
Dimon issued fresh remarks about bitcoin and blockchain technology during the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference in Fresh York in September.
During his question-and-answer session, Dimon noted that JPMorgan was optimistic about the potential use cases for distributed ledger technology, but has continued to suggest that global governments will not permit the use of cryptographic tokens as digital currency for much longer.
20. Royal Bank of Scotland
Headquartered: Edinburgh, Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RSB) is a subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, which together with NatWest and Ulster Bank, provides banking facilities across the UK and Ireland.
RBS is expected to demo its blockchain-based proof-of-concept – which uses Ripple’s technology – as part of a £3.5bn technological revamp.
More recently, the bank made headlines after its technology chief officer said it had experimented with its its own in-house cryptocurrency.
21. State Street Corporation
The corporation – which employs over Ten,000 people –is one of the oldest financial institutions in the US.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, State Street is presently experimenting with the technology for use in institutional banking as well as the processing and monitoring of loans, mortgages and other financial products.
At the time, company representatives said they were nosey about whether the bitcoin blockchain was the right technology for asset transfer use cases.
State Street senior managing director Hu Liang told the media outlet:
“That’s what we’re attempting to understand. From a business point of view, we’re attempting to understand identity. Inbetween playmates in a transaction, you want to see each other’s trades but you don’t want others to see them. And you want regulators to have oversight. So, how do we do that?”
Headquartered: Zürich and Basel
The Swiss investment bank made headlines earlier this year after it announced it was set to open a blockchain research lab in London’s Canary Wharf.
In interview with CoinDesk, Alex Batlin, the former engineer who now goes the research lab, said:
“In principle it’s [blockchain technology] very likely one of the thickest confluences of technology and business right now.”
23. Mizuho Bank
Mizuho Bank, Ltd was created as the result of a merger inbetween Mizuho Corporate Bank and Mizuho Bank in July 2013.
The bank has offices in over thirty countries and according to its LinkedIn page is one of the largest financial services companies in the world, with total assets amounting to over $1.6 tn as of March this year.
Of the banks involved, Mizuho has perhaps the longest track record of engaging with the bitcoin and blockchain industry, having served as a banking playmate for now-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.
Mizuho is presently embroiled in ongoing lawsuits related to its partnership with the company.
Headquartered: Stockholm, Sweden
According to its LinkedIn page, Nordea – which employs over Ten,000 people – is the largest financial services group in Northern Europe.
UniCredit is a leading commercial bank in Europe with an international network spanning seventeen European countries and fifty markets. The bank has approximately 9,000 branches and employs almost 150,000 people.
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KBC and Cegeka trial ground-breaking blockchain application for SMEs
Tuesday, July 12, two thousand sixteen — KBC together with IT specialist Cegeka and various companies are very first in the market to successfully test Digital Trade Chain (DTC), a blockchain solution that facilitates secure international trade inbetween SMEs. Many Belgian SMEs depend on import and export to grow their businesses. At least 77% of Belgian exports are destined for the European market and primarily its neighbouring countries. Large companies use documentary credit as a way of reducing the risks involved in doing business, but this solution is not always suitable for SMEs.
KBC and Cegeka are continuing to develop DTC and are negotiating with extra parties to make the platform more widely available and lighter to access.
 Foreign Trade Statistics 01-03/2016
KBC's fresh Digital Trade Chain application is a digital platform for managing, tracking and protecting domestic and international trade transactions inbetween SMEs and simplifying trade finance. DTC links parties, i.e. buyer, seller, KBC and the counterparty's bank. The app registers the entire trade process from order to payment, displaying it in an at-a-glance flowchart and ensuring payment when all contractual agreements have been met. The platform is fully automated and available 24/7, so the order-to-payment process is much quicker than the traditional exchange of documents. It also requires far less back-office administration.
Luc Gijsens, KBC Group International Markets CEO, explains: 'SMEs are having to run their businesses differently in an increasingly digital age. KBC aims to give them innovative solutions to gear up to an increasingly digital environment. This successful DTC trial shows that blockchain technology offers a number of opportunities that we want to proceed testing and developing.'
KBC chose Cegeka for the IT company's expertise in blockchain technology. KBC and a number of banks in Belgium's neighbouring countries and its core Central European markets are presently exploring how this app can help to facilitate and boost international trade inbetween SMEs.
The solution was very first assessed by seventeen SMEs in different sectors and then tested by Bru Textiles and Aristide,[Two] two textile companies in Kontich. Importers and exporters were enthusiastic about the user-friendliness and the clear transaction process. DTC is lightly accessible on a PC, tablet or smartphone.
Testing and customer surveys provided a lot of useful feedback on further improving the application, the feasibility of which is presently being assessed by KBC and Cegeka. If further tests confirm the success of the initial trials, KBC will launch the application on the market.
Note for editors:
Observe our brief demo (1’15) or larger demo (Trio’15) to see how DTC works in practice.
Blockchain technology works based on a collective ledger system updated by its users. Whenever a transaction is made it is validated by all users. It can also include data. When a transaction is validated by the network, the collective ledger system is updated. Ledgers are encrypted to ensure they cannot be tampered with. Since KBC's DTC app is based on a 'permissioned' blockchain with clever contracts, the legal liability of all parties involved is clear and the authenticity of conclusions provided by the system are assured.
It’s Time to Switch to Blockchain-Based Email Systems
Running email systems on Bitcoin’s blockchain technology is becoming increasingly imperative, as current email services are cumbersome and no longer secure. Indeed, email service providers are using obsolete technology that has become too vulnerable to ever-more sophisticated hackers.
Substitute Outdated Email Systems With Blockchain-Based Email
After suffering the largest data breach in history, Yahoo is now urging its users to switch their passwords. However, switching passwords is an almost futile exercise. Actually, experts warn that switching passwords frequently might be counterproductive.
To improve email systems while protecting user account data requires a radical switch of technology.
Fortunately, a few startups are already doing that. They are converting email systems using Fourth Industrial Revolution technology.
For example, John McAfee Swiftmail is a mail system that runs on Bitcoin’s blockchain technology. Two hundred fifty six bit, end-to-end encryption protects Swiftmail data and renders data interception futile, claims the company.
“John McAfee Swiftmail is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, proof-of-work, encrypted mail system that uses bitcoin technology to substitute email. A Swiftmail wallet address looks like this: ab99b776de244fe0f70f229921517829,” explains its website.
Cryptamail is another decentralized email system that runs on blockchain technology. Because the blockchain stores the messages, “there is no central point that stores your messages, so there is nowhere to steal or even submit a request for your private data,” affirms its website.
Most Famous Data Breach Ever
Current email systems are no longer secure. Yahoo recently exposed that it had suffered the world’s biggest-ever hack, compromising more than one billion user accounts. Hackers stole Yahoo users’ crucial individual data. Most disturbingly, the stolen information could have included unencrypted or encrypted security questions and their respective answers.
Yahoo reported that the hack of one billion user accounts occurred in August 2013. However, Yahoo announced it only on December 14, 2016. Forensic experts are still investigating the mega data breach. “We have not been able to identify the intrusion associated with this theft. We believe this incident is likely distinct from the incident we disclosed on September 22, 2016,” said Bob Lord, CISO Yahoo.
“Based on the ongoing investigation, we believe an unauthorized third party accessed our proprietary code to learn how to forge cookies.”
Previously, in September, Yahoo disclosed another incident in which information pertaining to five hundred million user accounts was stolen in 2014.
Yahoo links these two major criminal incidents to “the same state-sponsored actor.”
State-Sponsored Hackers and Geopolitical Implications
News on data breaches is recurring almost daily, affecting email service providers, as well as businesses, government agencies, and political organizations. The impacts of these incidents are potentially far-reaching.
Take, for example, the latest hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Allegedly, this hacking adversely affected the outcome of the two thousand sixteen U.S. Presidential elections. Many contend that state-sponsored actors performed the hacking.
In effect, according to NBC News, “U.S. intelligence officials now believe with ‘a high level of confidence’ that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.”
Cyberattacks have been the norm for a long time. Now, however, the frequency, magnitude, and implications of email hackings and other malicious acts are enlargening dramatically. As a result, it is now urgent to innovate and stir toward more secure email technologies, such as those that integrate the security that the Bitcoin’s blockchain technology provides.
What do you think about running email systems on Bitcoin’s blockchain technology? Let us know in the comments below.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock, John McAfee Swiftmail, and Cryptamail.
Is Google Working on its Own Bitcoin? Why Blockchain Doesn’t Suit Conventional Banks
Blockchain is only one of many technologies within Bitcoin which powers its peer-to-peer protocol. It essentially is like a database that stores, secures and facilitates transaction data for Bitcoin users.
Blockchain is only one of many technologies within Bitcoin which powers its peer-to-peer protocol. It essentially is like a database that stores, secures and facilitates transaction data for Bitcoin users.
Over the past few years, leading banks and financial institutions have focused on building Blockchain-based systems including cross-bank payment facilitation implements, inter-ledger protocols and numerous layer financial solutions. Billions of dollars have been allocated for the development of so-called “private Blockchains or ledgers” and banks are yet to demonstrate the commercial success of the Blockchain.
One major reason why banks proceed to fight to adopt the Blockchain and demonstrate its usability within the financial industry is the regulatory conflict which arises due to the decentralized nature of Blockchain.
By money transmission and financial policies, banks are required to rigorously oversee transactions and financial activities. If a public Blockchain network-based system is implemented, banks will not be able to manipulate transactions and thus lose control of their network.
Basically, a public Blockchain network cannot be adopted due to regulatory hurdles. Private Blockchain networks can’t be applied either due to severe security issues. Over time, investors and Blockchain consortia realized that Blockchain doesn’t suit the financial industry and corporations such as the R3CEV have moved on to Blockchain-inspired technologies.
Is Google working on its own Bitcoin?
Google-funded Currencycloud is following a roadmap that is similar to the R3 consortium. Instead of pegging their system on Blockchain, Currencycloud is injecting the financial industry with a Blockchain-inspired technology that is actually applicable to a broad range of operations such as transaction facilitation.
Recently, Currencycloud raised another $25 mln funding round from Google’s venture capital arm GV, which puts their total funding to date at almost $55 mln, acquired from prominent venture capital firms and technology companies including Sapphire, Notion Capital and Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten’s fund Anthemis.
Essentially, the infrastructure of Currencycloud works as a cross-bank ledger that permits instantaneous transactions in a more secure yet cheaper ecosystem. With a plain API, banks can utilize Currencloud’s infrastructure to optimize settlement of payments.
Currencycloud CEO CEO Mike Laven stated:
“GV looked at that and looked at empowering developers and making it effortless for them to tie up to global services and said that is consistent with our view of the world, a contraption that's part of globalization. That was part of the theme of the investment. We've been telling all along, we're not just a payments company, not just an FX company. We're a platform with API access to the world of global payments."
A rapidly emerging group of fintech companies and Blockchain-inspired infrastructure developers are targeting banks and financial institutions that can utilize their solutions to optimize large commercial projects. So far, Blockchain technology, or to be more specific private Blockchain network-based platforms, haven’t proved its worth in the financial industry despite billions of dollars being invested in the technology.
The question remains if Blockchain technology is relevant in the field of finance and if it actually can improve banking services. Concerns of investors on fintech and Blockchain startups is that banks are beginning to realize Blockchain without Bitcoin or the main digital asset, hash power and an open community of developers isn’t at all efficient.
Blockchain-Based Email System: Is It The Way To Go For Securing Emails?
Email servers are permanently vulnerable to sophisticated hackers, a Blockchain-based email system is the reaction to a more secure email which cannot be hacked and have user information stolen. CoinIdol.com studies whether Blockchain email systems produce the most secure email accounts.
Inbetween 2013-2015, around one billion Yahoo user accounts were hacked in what Yahoo referred to as a state-sponsored hacking attack. Many other sites, such as Smooch & Tell and Adult Friend Finder, have also suffered similar kind of hacks, where approximately four hundred twelve million user accounts were exposed. This brings us to the conclusion that the current technology being used by email service providers is obsolete and exposed to sophisticated hackers.
Can Blockchain-based Emails provide the safe haven users need?
Recently, some startups pioneered incorporating Blockchain technology into email security. One of them is led by the security mogul John McAfee, the pro behind the McAfee antivirus. John McAfee , on their website, explains how the fresh Blockchain-based email system swiftmail works:
“Swiftmail is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, proof-of-work, encrypted mail system that uses bitcoin technology to substitute email. A Swiftmail wallet address looks like this: ab99b776de244fe0f70f229921517829”
Cryptamail is another decentralized email system that runs on Blockchain technology. Because the Blockchain stores the messages, “there is no central point that stores your messages, so there is nowhere to steal or even submit a request for your private data,” affirms its website .
CoinIdol.com spoke to Antony Jenkins , a member of the Blockchain board of directors, about data safety in Blockchain-based storage systems. He said:
“Blockchain uses data consistency coupled by using fingerprints, only fingerprints consistent with a data set join up to form an internally consistent Blockchain. Anyone who wants to meddle with any of the data has to regenerate all the fingerprints from that point forwards and the Blockchain will look different and will be denied by the system, this way the Blockchain technology proves to be the most secured.”
What does incorporating Blockchain in Email systems mean to end-users in terms of complexity?
We could wonder if this switch of technology would bring a big switch in user interfaces and the ease with which we could send and receive emails. CoinIdol.com spoke to Phil Raymond , CEO & Co-Chair at Crypsa, Cryptocurrency Standards Assoc . and he said in a statement that:
“Blockchain based emails is no different from any other email system on the user interfaces, everything is still effortless to navigate and some operators can build mobile apps and web based apps for their email systems to make the practice more convenience for the very first time user.”
What will a Blockchain-based email system mean for the time taken inbetween sending and receiving an email?
As observed from the bitcoin Blockchain, there is a significant time lag inbetween the time bitcoin is sent and the time the user at the other end receives the bitcoin in his wallet. We spoke to Nicolas Cary , an pro on Blockchain technology, about the relay time of emails when Blockchain is used inbetween the sender and the receiver. He commented to CoinIdol.com:
“There is virtually no time lag, the messages are received instantaneously just like in the traditional email technologies. The bitcoin Blockchain involves miners who have to verify every transaction in the bitcoin network and at times the network practice data backlog when very many transactions are queued up.”
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Last week Google announced plans to roll out a $9.99 monthly subscription-based YouTube membership. The membership is called YouTube Crimson and it will give subscribers access to ad-free user-generated content (UGC) including original shows starring YouTube’s most popular creators, a gaming app, and the long-awaited YouTube Music service. YouTube Crimson is an titillating stir that will set fresh industry standards and for the very first time will give content creators a larger platform from which to address a paying market.
As a major leader in digital content creation, the fresh streaming initiative will have to address the challenges of charging for digital content. These will include:
Understanding the type of UGC the public is willing to pay for
Ensuring that special content is not pirated
Compensating creators decently for their work to incentivize content publishing (mainly a concern for YouTube Music)
The response to the very first issue lies deep in the troves of Google’s user data. Google knows what people want and don’t want. It’s a consumer-focused concern, which Google and large tech firms generally do a superlative job at addressing. The 2nd question however, is more convoluted. Historically the Internet community has not been particularly respectful of intellectual property, especially not with music. With the integration of YouTube Music and Google Play, Google will be tasked with making sure that digital music retains value and that rights holders are compensated. In many ways it’ll be similar to how Google already manages accounts, but with fresh subscriptions to acquire much more will be at stake.
The third challenge is the hardest. Presently, digital music credits and rights management is a mess. Royalty payments for flows are terribly low, and require an obscenely long processing period before payments ever reach creators. Because ownership of a musical work can be collective by numerous entities, rights information are often spread across the globe in an untraceable disorder. For every contributor to be compensated decently, each track must include accurate metadata, listing each individual involved in the creation of a work. However, that’s usually not the case. Since music has been on the Internet, the industry has failed to maintain accurate records of rights information
To do YouTube Crimson right, Google will have to pioneer a rights management initiative that protects, disambiguates, and organizes the world’s digital IP information. A database of ownership rights metadata has never been successfully compiled (See GRD for reference), but if anyone can do [it,] it’s Google. They’re the top of the totem pole in terms of sheer content and technological capacity, and they also have deep enough pockets to fund a project of this scope. So the question isn’t so much if Google can solve the IP problem, but how they will do it?
Without hesitation, I would suggest the bitcoin blockchain as the technology for the job.
Put simply, the blockchain is a distributed ledger system used to store information cryptographically so that it can never be altered
Information written to the ledger can be programmed to execute directions like distributing payments or sending data. The technology is also open source, meaning that programmers can fork the code and build extensions to fit diverse use cases. One of those use cases is IP rights management, and several companies are already developing blockchain applications to register all types of IP on the blockchain.
One very advanced project comes out of a German company called Ascribe. Like its competitors, Ascribe offers content creators a way to register their works online by ‘ascribing’ original media to the bitcoin blockchain. Once a work is registered on the blockchain it is time stamped and published on a public ledger displaying the metadata associated with each work. The information could then be programmed to perform deeds like instantly releasing payments to relevant parties in the event of a stream or download. Soon, their technology will also be able to scan uploaded content for one-of-a-kind watermarks to prove unique ownership and track the use a digital work. One of the company’s executives summarized the importance of registering content with a pithy equation: ideal providence=ideal ownership.
The technology could also develop the capability to perform switch sides media searches that would yield ownership information upon a search on a digital file. By employing all of these features, widespread adoption of Ascribe could bring us close to the creation of an intellectual property database. For YouTube Crimson, exploring this chance could help protect not only its native creators but also digital content at large.
As I mentioned before, tech companies have done an awesome job at making digital content accessible to consumers. But many times, the special treatment we’ve received has come at the expense of content creators. Now more than ever, Google has an incentive to protect the creations of its artists. My hope is that they will provide original creations with the highest level of protection and set a precedent for streaming services and producers of digital content. With the reach and power it wields, Google has the means to build an equitable infrastructure of digital intellectual property rights.