South Korean electronics giant Samsung is apparently seeking a trademark in the United Kingdom for a cryptocurrency wallet, according to a Dec. 27 filing with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office.

In the “Classes and terms” section of the application, Samsung cites such developments as “Computer software for use as a cryptocurrency wallet; Computer software for cryptocurrency transfer and payment using blockchain technology; Computer application software for smartphones, namely, software to allow users to transfer cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology and pay via 3rd party’s application software.”

The application follows rumors — subsequently refuted by Samsung —  that the company has plans to include a cryptocurrency cold wallet on its Galaxy S10 smartphone. Samsung filed three European Union trademark applications for blockchain- and cryptocurrency- related software on Dec. 10.

Earlier in December, Cointelegraph reported that major smartphone manufacturer HTC integrated decentralized browser Brave on the HTC Exodus 1 phone, “the first native blockchain phone” with support for multiple blockchains, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) networks.

Last month, blockchain-focused electronics supplier SIRIN Labs launched its first blockchain-based smartphone called FINNEY. Based on both Android and SIRIN’s open-source operating system, SIRIN OS, the FINNEY phone offers a cold-storage crypto wallet and provides encrypted communications.

In October, Samsung’s production wing, Samsung Foundry, launched a new production process of its 7-nanometer (nm) Low Power Plus (7LPP) process node, which could reduce its energy consumption by up to 50 percent. The chip could purportedly have positive implications for crypto miners usings Samsung’s hardware, as energy costs prove to be a critical factor in the industry’s profitability.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Japan is one of the largest crypto hubs across the globe. Along with the United States, it’s the only country that enforces some sort of licensing structure for companies looking to enter the crypto space, and as it turns out, most companies are looking to get a piece of that action.

According to Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), approximately 190 new cryptocurrency firms are seeking entry to Japan’s digital asset market. Four months ago, that number stood at only 160, suggesting an increase of roughly 30 companies in a relatively short period.

Japan’s Crypto Scene Is Expanding

The FSA has issued a statement, explaining:

“Including preliminary consultation/ inquiries regarding registration, more than 190 operators are expressing their intention of market entry.”

This presents an interesting scenario in the sense that most companies are showing interest in being part of a legit enterprise. Japan’s FSA has sworn to become far more involved in the nation’s crypto arena following the Coincheck debacle that occurred last January. More than $500 million in crypto funds were stolen, and the exchange was widely criticized for its utilization of hot wallet over cold storage tactics.

The FSA then began working with Coincheck and competing exchanges to update their security protocols. The organization also began issuing warnings to exchanges advising them to cooperate with its new licensing structure and explaining that those who refused would face the possibility of shutdown.

There are roughly 16 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan including GMO Coin and SBI Virtual Currency. All cryptocurrency exchanges must register with the FSA before opening their doors for public trade.

The fact that Japan is being strict with crypto-based businesses and operations, yet so many companies want in suggests that these enterprises strongly desire regulation and a sense of legitimacy. Among the companies looking to perform crypto-related business in Japan are Yahoo!, Daiwa Securities Group, Money Forward Inc., Yamane Medical Corp., Avex Inc. and Samurai & J Partners.

The FSA Is Always Watching

In addition, the FSA has also given approval to Coincheck (following an extensive audit), Lastroots and Everybody’s Bitcoin as cryptocurrency dealers. This gives them and companies like them the opportunity to operate in Japan’s primary crypto sector while their applications are still under review.

Coincheck has slowly been reintroducing its services to customers after it was obtained by the Monex Group just a few months ago.

Are we likely to see other companies banging on Japan’s cryptocurrency doors? Post your thoughts and comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Blockchain could make its way into disaster relief operations from the United States Department of Defense, the organization revealed in a press release Dec. 21.

During a presentation hosted by the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) office in Philadelphia earlier this month, officials reviewed how blockchain technology could help emergencies responses.

Efforts to provide aid following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico were used as a case study.

“We think there’s a lot of potential [in blockchain],” CPI management analyst Elijah Londo commented, quoted in the press release:

“Where do we want to be as an organization in shaping and influencing where the [Department of Defense] goes with blockchain?”

The technological improvements would target centralized aspects of the current system, notably areas of logistics that depend on multiple centralized entities. Data sharing under such circumstances is an area ripe for innovation.

Also under review are “transaction processing and in-transit visibility of shipments.”

“This is where I can see where blockchain would have been a big help,” Construction and Equipment deputy director Marko Graham continued:

“Flowing [materiel [sic’ specifications and tracking data] from the manufacturer buying the raw materials to…getting the transportation and getting it on the barges.”

The broader U.S. defense setup has targeted blockchain’s benefits for several years, involving everything from blockchain workshops to a cryptographic chat platform.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Crypto education is growing by the day, and now Seoul, South Korea has become the latest center for a degree in bitcoin.

The Seoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies – known as Assist – has announced that it will be offering a new master’s degree program devoted to both blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The degree will offer students educational courses in blockchain technology, crypto-economics, and token sourcing. The school is also claiming this degree program as the first MBA blockchain certification for any business graduate school.

Crypto Graduates Exit with Pride

An official announcement reads:

“The mission of Assist business school’s crypto MBA program is to remedy the lack of academic research and systematic education currently available in the industry, despite a high level of social interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency.”

Assist has also stated that students interested in the degree program will be required to take specific courses dealing with bitcoin, Ethereum and EOS – three of the top five cryptocurrencies in existence today. Students will also be tested on general cryptology, deep learning, smart contracts capabilities and system dynamics mechanisms.

The crypto-economics division of the degree program will consist primarily of microeconomics, macroeconomics, theories on current financial trends, behavioral economics (to cover bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ price movements), game theory and mechanism designs.

Courses in management mechanisms, strategic statistics, digital marketing strategies, digital financial accounting, dApp planning, crypto funds and whitepaper composition (for students interested in creating their own altcoins or blockchain projects) must also be completed.

If anything, the degree sounds relatively demanding, though this isn’t the first university-accredited training offered on blockchain and crypto. New York University (NYU), for example, has been offering a course entitled “Law and Business of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies” since the fall of 2014. Students who take the course are expected to compose a 15 to 20-page term paper on a crypto-based subject of their choosing to pass the class.

Other schools are taking things even further. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is currently in the process of developing its own cryptocurrency. It also offers two separate blockchain courses entitled “Blockchain Fundamentals” and “Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains and Applications.”

South Korea’s Crypto History

South Korea has had something of a mixed relationship with cryptocurrencies throughout 2018. South Korea was (and still is) a major crypto and blockchain hub, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the world’s crypto transactions at one point.

Unfortunately, fundraising methods such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) are banned within the country thanks, in part, to ongoing fraudulent activity and the thieving of investor funds. The nation has also been criticized in the past for its overall lack of digital asset regulation as of late.

Is this a degree program you’d want to be a part of? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

A 20-year-old Hong Kong University student is looking to revolutionize the crypto space.

Kenta Iwasaki says the cryptocurrency arena has stagnated in recent months, and he’s looking to do something about it. Among the projects he’s currently leading is a $50 million fundraising effort for a cryptocurrency-driven marketplace known as Perlin, based on his own unique blockchain design.

The Crypto Space Needs to Change

He comments:

“There really needs to be something new, a new flavor to what you can do with cryptocurrency. Otherwise, the technology will be wasted on basic coin exchange.”

Iwasaki has been building software since he was eight years old. He’s already established himself as an entrepreneur, selling the software he designs for thousands of dollars online each month. His latest focus, Perlin, he says will provide a new way of valuing cryptocurrencies and how companies source Cloud-based computing power.

The company is also looking to make users a little money in the process. Smartphone owners have an opportunity to lend out their computing power to developers starting crypto businesses. Users provide their phones’ power in exchange for the company’s digital asset “Perl.” Customers who lend out their power can earn anywhere between $1 to $3 in crypto every six hours. Iwasaki is looking to have roughly 50,000 phones connected to the Perlin network by the end of 2019.

Iwasaki says the advantage to Perl is that it is tied to something that never loses its value. Like stable coins, which are tied to fiat currencies like the yen, USD and the euro, Perl is hooked to computing power, which people and businesses will always need. This makes it less vulnerable to pump-and-dump schemes and volatility.

A study released by Tel Aviv University, the University of Tulsa and the University of New Mexico on December 18 suggests that nearly 5,000 individual pump-and-dump schemes took place between January and July of this year, though most of them involved relatively obscure or smaller altcoins.

But he believers Perl has its benefits:

“Even if suddenly people stopped trading, stopped using the exchange to buy and sell, it would still have a fixed value. It wouldn’t just die off as a cryptocurrency.”

Building the Business Even Further

Iwasaki is adamant that bad actors and volatility give cryptocurrencies a “bad name,” and prevent people from exhibiting trust in blockchain technology like they should.

In the future, he mentions he’d like to boost Perlin enough that it’s able to provide free internet service to residents of third-world or developing nations.

Do you see Perlin as a revolutionary venture in the crypto marketplace? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Having launched GiveCrypto.org earlier this year to make direct cryptocurrency transfers to people living in poverty, Brian Armstrong — CEO of US crypto exchange giant Coinbase — has now promised to give a huge chunk of his fortune away to charitable causes.

“This year, I started my first philanthropic effort, GiveCrypto.org, which makes direct cash transfers to people living in poverty. I’m excited about the potential for this organization to help people, but I’m still early on my journey of discovering how to have the most impact via philanthropy.”

Per a report on CNBC, Armstrong signed the Giving Pledge, becoming the first cryptocurrency entrepreneur to pledge to donate the majority of his wealth for the greater good.

The Giving Pledge is a campaign started in 2010 by billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, which seeks to encourage the world’s wealthiest to use their fortune to help make the world a better place. According to a Wealth-X report published on Business Insider, the total value of pledges made to the charity could be worth as much as $600 billion by 2022.

He joins other billionaires including Tesla’s Elon Musk, businessman Michael Bloomberg, and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, all of whom have dedicated the majority of their wealth to giving back. Zuckerberg, who joined the pledge when it was launched, promised to give away 99% of his Facebook shares during his lifetime.

Armstrong runs Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange whose valuation was recently placed at $8 billion after the completion of its last investment round. According to Forbes, Armstrong is worth $1.3 billion as a co-founder. The recent downturn in the market, which saw trading volumes drop on most trading platforms, will see Armstrong’s net worth dip, but he still can’t be far off the $900 million to the $1 billion range.

“Once a certain level of wealth is reached, there is little additional utility from spending more on yourself. One’s ambition begins to move outwards. I’ve always admired founders and leaders whose ambition to improve the world supersedes any goal related to personal wealth,” Armstrong explained on the Giving Pledge website.

This post is credited to ccn

South Korea’s government will spend 4 billion Korean won (KRW) (about $3.5 million) to set up a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP) in the city of Busan. The development was reported by South Korean newspaper Yonhap News Agency on Monday, Dec. 10.

Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city after Seoul, has announced that the city administration has selected a project to support an innovative energy industry in the region by building a VPP based on a citizens-shared blockchain.

The project will be reportedly represented at the national competition in 2019 hosted by the largest electric utility in South Korea, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).

By its definition, a virtual power plant is a cloud-based distributed power plant that integrates the idle capacities of multiple energy resources in order to optimize power generation.

The recently announced blockchain-powered VPP project is set to aggregate such power sources as Busan area factories and public facilities of energy storage system (ESS), as well as solar power plants.

The project was reportedly proposed by the city of Busan, as well as major local companies and institutions including Pusan National University (PNU), energy management firm Nuri Telecom, Busan City Gas and real estate firm Korea Industrial Complex Corporation.

The city of Busan has already been actively developing and promoting blockchain technology, according to Korean crypto-focused news agency TokenPost.

Earlier this year, Yoo Jae-soo, the Minister of Economic Affairs in Busan and former director general for financial policy at the Financial Services Commission (FSC), reportedly held a meeting to discuss the establishment of a special zone in the city in order to build a friendly environment for the development of the blockchain and crypto industry.

In June of this year, South Korean governmental agency, Industry-SW ICT Convergence Association (WICA), also revealed plans to establish a blockchain center in Busan modeled on Switzerland’s Crypto Valley. According to the plan, the South Korean version of Zug’s Crypto Valley is set to be located at Haeundae, an affluent and touristic beachfront space in eastern Busan.

Earlier today, the country’s second-biggest commercial bank, Shinhan Bank, launched a blockchain-based initiative within the internal processes of the institution in order to reduce the number of human errors in record keeping.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Major global online payments system PayPal has launched a blockchain-based reward system for its employees. Financial news channel Cheddar reported on the platform launch Thursday, Dec. 6, citing PayPal’s director of innovation Michael Todasco.

According to Cheddar, the program was prepared by PayPal’s innovation team, which is based in San Jose, California, over a six-month period and was launched in mid-November.

Employees using the program are granted tokens for participating in innovation-related programs and contributing ideas. These tokens are only valid within PayPal and can be traded among the participants of the program via “public ledger.”

Todasco compared the reward system to Venmo — a mobile payment service that has public and private social media-like feeds. On the website designed for the token program, employees “can like and comment on and see all the activity going on within PayPal related to innovation,” Todasco explained.

The tokens collected by staff can be exchanged for over 100 “experiences” offered on the platform. For instance, they can play poker with PayPal’s vice presidents, have coffee and a trail run with CFO John Rainey or practice morning martial arts with CEO Dan Schulman. One of the items even allows an employee to borrow a top manager’s dog for one day.

As Cointelegraph previously explained, blockchain is frequently used for loyalty programs. For instance, United States household cleaning supplies manufacturer SC Johnson and environmental organization Plastic Bank recently launched a recycling campaign in Indonesia, granting tokens to local citizens for waste collection.

As well, Spanish banking giant BBVA has begun using internal tokens for an initiative in its Spanish and Argentinian branches to reward people who help train other employees or master new skills themselves.

PayPal, which has been exploring blockchain for two years already, is also interested in crypto payments. In March, the company filed a patent in the U.S. describing the ways to speed up crypto transactions using secondary private keys. However, Peter Todd, a Bitcoin developer and cryptography consultant, later stated that it appeared PayPal was trying to patent a technology that had previously been developed by Bitcoin (BTC) hardware wallet Opendime.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has successfully collaborated with IBM to pilot a blockchain supply chain system, according to an ADNOC press release published on Dec. 9.

The release notes that ADNOC — a state-owned oil company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — is reportedly among the world’s leading energy and petrochemical groups, with a daily output of about 3 million barrels of oil and 10.5 cubic feet of natural gas.

The pilot project has “provided a single platform that tracks the quantities and financial values of each bilateral transaction” between the involved companies automating the accounting, the release reports.

The system had been announced by the ADNOC Digital Unit Manager, Abdul Nasser Al Mughairbi, at the recent World Energy Capital Assembly in London. During the summit, he noted that “this could be the first application of blockchain in oil and gas production.” Al Mughairbi then further illustrated his perception of the underlying technology:

“Blockchain is a game-changer. It will substantially reduce our operating costs by eliminating time-consuming and labor-intensive processes, strengthen the marketing and trading of our products, and create long-term sustainable value.”

Zahid Habib, an IBM representative, claimed that the system “enables the ability to track irrefutably, every molecule of oil, and its value, from well to customer.” ArabianGazette also added that in the future, customers and investors will be given access to the data “providing seamless integration among stakeholders.”

The press release further noted what ADNOC hopes this system will bring to the company and its customers:

“[The system] will reduce the time it takes to execute transactions between [its] operating companies and significantly increase operational efficiencies across its full value chain. It will also improve the reliability of production data by enabling greater transparency in transactions.”

Cointelegraph reported earlier last week on the launch of a blockchain-based processing tool from post-trade management platform VAKT, designed for an initial group of crude oil industry clients including giants such as BP, Equinor, Shell, Gunvor and Mercuria.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market also completed a test of a blockchain-based system earlier this week. The international financial free zone in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reportedly successfully concluded a pilot for the Know Your Customer (KYC) project.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the top-five hospitals in the US, is partnering with Korean blockchain startup MediBloc in an effort to find better ways to store and share patient data.

Synho Do, director of the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation, a joint venture of MGH and Harvard Medical School, told CoinDesk that the hospital is expanding research in a range of areas “from medical image analysis to health information exchange by leveraging our cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Regarding this specific partnership, Do added:

“In collaboration with Medibloc, we aim to explore potentials of blockchain technology to provide secure solutions for health information exchange, integrate healthcare AI applications into the day-to-day clinical workflow, and support [a] data sharing and labeling platform for machine learning model development.”

The trouble with patient data is that multiple entities – hospitals, research bodies, insurance and pharmaceutical companies – need the information about those that are receiving medical help. But currently, they’re all keeping their own data that can’t be shared securely and often is in various incompatible formats.

“Every day, when people go to hospitals, lots of information is created, but it’s difficult to transfer it from one hospital to another,” Allen Wookyun Kho, MediBloc’s founder and CEO, told CoinDesk.

He added that MediBloc is not only developing a distributed ledger for storing and sharing medical data, but also working on a tool that would convert data now held by hospitals from existing formats to a universal one.

A range of blockchain startups have been working on enabling fast and secure transmission of healthcare data. But partnerships with actual major medical institutions such as MGH – which U.S. News and World Report ranked No.4 in the country in its most recent annual survey – are rare.

The reason they are rare is that to share the data, hospitals need full access to it from IT vendors designing data systems for them, said Kamran Khan, CEO of blockchain startup Translo, which also is working on a system for health data within Harvard Innovation Labs.

The vendors, in turn, are not motivated to let this information out of the silos they designed, which is why hospitals have different electronic healthcare systems with different codes, and even within one hospital, there can be several systems for different kind of diseases.

Khan told CoinDesk:

“Even in Boston, there are 27 different systems for only 17 hospitals, and they lack interoperability. This is done on purpose: once the data is out of the siloed system, the hospital can create their own system.”

This is why, to create a new system, a hospital needs to persuade its vendor to provide full access to the data in the existing one and to be really convinced itself that the new system will benefit the institution.

Partners across Asia

MediBloc, however, has had notable success in getting partners, at least in Asia; according to Kho, now eight medical institutions across the region and 14 tech companies, including Deloitte Anjin LLC, Deloitte’s Korean branch, have signed up to test MediBloc’s system.

Dawn Lee, the startup’s business development manager, told CoinDesk that the company got the South Korean government’s attention as one of the first blockchain companies to run an initial coin offering (ICO) in Korea, in December 2017.

This, and the fact that MediBloc’s founders, Kho and Eunsol Lee, are doctors, helped to develop relationships with government officials and actual hospitals.

As a result, it was selected as a provider of blockchain technology for two government-funded projects, with Bundang Seoul National University and Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Lee said.

That record of working with big medical institutions led the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation to approach MediBloc, she said. “The MGH Lab came across our company, we started talking in early spring, signed a deal in summer and we’ve just started the research.”

MediBloc’s main focus now is building an ecosystem upon which other startups can build their apps for various ways to use and exchange health data.

A testing environment version of the blockchain was launched in August, the network is expected to go live before the end of the year and become fully functional in the second quarter of 2019, Kho said. MediBloc’s public blockchain will use the delegated proof of stake consensus method and is currently relying on 10 nodes — on the mainnet, the number will be 21, Kho said.

There are also apps in the works by MediBloc planned to go live in the first half of 2019. One of them, currently in a beta testing phase with 300 users, is designed for patients to sell the information about their symptoms and the prescriptions they get to MediBloc. After that MediBloc will analyze that data and sell the analysis to pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

In the future, users will be able to sell or share their data directly to the buyers, without MediBloc as an intermediary, Kho told CoinDesk.

The main goal of this all is to let patients independently decide what to do with their information.

“We make patients the mediums of their own data,” Lee concluded.

This post is credited to coindesk