What blockchain technology might look like on the world’s most popular social network, and who might want it.

When a company like Facebook posts five job openings looking for blockchain-related talent, it seems like a rather large step toward the adoption of the growing technology. Now, it’s probably an understatement to say Facebook has its issues (some of which ETHNews has covered), but with a reported 2.27 billion monthly active users worldwide for 2018, it would be hard to deny that Facebook’s implementation of blockchain technology could bring the tool to a gigantic audience.

Facebook launched its blockchain team in May 2018, bringing over David Marcus – the previous president of PayPal and Facebook’s vice president of its Messenger app division – to lead the project. What Facebook will be developing blockchain-wise wasn’t revealed in the recent job postings. Most of what can be gleaned is basic job description jargon, searching for those who “share a passion for tackling complexity” and reaching out to people who want to “[explore] the opportunity the blockchain will bring.”

Facebook’s privacy problems seem like the most obvious starting point for blockchain technology to tackle, but until the company tells us what they’re planning, it’s anyone’s guess what it’ll do. A look at what Facebook is currently trying to do to improve its platform, however, could give some insight into how it will be implementing blockchain usage, and who, for that matter, might even want it.

Facebook, Journalism, and Blockchains

Late-stage internet usage is a strange beast, especially when it comes to how one consumes news. Generally, nothing really needs to be sought out – information can just, sort of, be stumbled upon. It’s so utterly convenient, and Facebook is a big part of how people in the US stumble upon information. According to a Pew Research Center study from September 2018, 43 percent of American adults still get news from Facebook, despite the fact that they “expect the news they see on social media to be largely inaccurate.”

In January 2017, Facebook launched its “Facebook Journalism Project,” which, among other things, seeks to “establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry” by collaborating with news organizations to improve news literacy and Facebook’s own efforts to curb news hoaxes.

This article isn’t a deep dive into fake news, improperly sourced news, and Facebook’s role in how it delineates/delineated what 43 percent of Americans see, but if the company is already looking into promoting news literacy and weeding out hoaxes, blockchain might be a useful tool. In theory, a network of public, cryptographically signed, identical blocks of data would allow news organizations to authenticate the content that is being seen on Facebook, something the company tried to let its users do in December 2017, but didn’t necessarily make the grade.

Again, all of this is just grasping at straws, and the overall idea of Facebook working on blockchain technology requires a major suspension of reality: that Facebook would give up owning its users’ information. If one of the main statutes of blockchain tech is giving individuals ownership of their data, then it seems counterintuitive to what lets Facebook be Facebook – giving information to advertisers, creating targeted ads, and showing us only what we want (or what it thinks we want) to see.

It just feels naïve to see it beginning to work with a transformative technology and think that this is the moment Facebook will take into consideration how its users are affected day-to-day by its platform – and how that platform is set up to specifically target its individual users (especially knowing that the project involves Marcus, who oversaw the Messenger app’s push into advertising).

If nothing ever comes of it, maybe all Facebook’s blockchain project means is that in four or five years’ time, we’ll get another Aaron Sorkin romp with a Jesse Eisenberg-type walking-and-talking down a long hallway, speaking rapidly about a social network on the blockchain to distract us for an hour-and-a-half. I’m thinking something like “The Social Network 2: Social Network Harder.”

This post is credited to ethnews

Companies from Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union have apparently turned the small country of Estonia into a massive money laundering haven. An investigation into the Estonian branch of Denmark’s largest bank is examining up to $150 billion which may have been involved.

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From $3.9 Billion to $150 Billion

Denmark’s Largest Bank May Have Facilitated up to $150 Billion in Money LaunderingInvestigators at Danske Bank (CPH: DANSKE), the largest bank in Denmark, are reportedly combing through a whopping $150 billion worth of transactions that passed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015. While its likely not all of the suspicious funds are from an illegal source, this is a jump by an order of magnitude from the bank’s initially suspected figure said to be involved with money laundering by Russian and other Eastern European companies.

Last year Danish media sources reported the suspected laundered funds at $3.9 billion but in early July the figure jumped to between $8 and $9 billion. And earlier this month, FT reported that up to $30 billion may be suspect. The bank’s stock price has taken a considerable hit from the revelations.

“Any conclusions should be drawn on the basis of verified facts and not fragmented pieces of information taken out of context,” Danske Bank chairman Ole Andersen told the Wall Street Journal which brought up the $150 billion figure. “As we have previously communicated, it is clear that the issues related to the portfolio were bigger than we had previously anticipated.”

Weak Deterrence?

Denmark’s Largest Bank May Have Facilitated up to $150 Billion in Money LaunderingAccording to Estonian law, an individual may face up to ten years in jail for taking part in an organized money laundering crime. However, a company guilty of money laundering faces a maximum penalty of just 16 million euros.

Back in July, the bank’s Board announced it intends to waive all income from suspicious transactions in Estonia and use it “to the benefit of society,” like supporting efforts to combat financial crime. “It is still too early to draw any conclusions regarding the extent of the issues, as the comprehensive investigations into the matter are still ongoing. However, it is clear that we did not live up to our own standards or the expectations of society at large when it came to preventing our Estonian branch from being used for potentially illegal activities at the time when these transactions took place. This is something we deeply regret and which we should not benefit from financially in any way. Therefore we will not keep the income from these suspicious transactions,” CEO Thomas F. Borgen, said at the time.

Why are regulators going after crypto with so much money laundering going on in the banking system? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post is credited to news.bitcoin