India Witnesses a Surge in Blockchain Events as Adoption Increases

India, the second most populous country has recently awoken to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Until last year, the country’s cryptocurrency community was made up of only a handful of people. Now, the rapidly growing ecosystem has witnessed not only an increase in Bitcoin and altcoin users but also blockchain technology developers and adopters.

In the past year alone, some of the leading banks in the country have forged partnerships with blockchain platforms like Ripple, Hyperledger and Stellar to develop and implement blockchain solutions for cross-border fund transfer and other operations. Recently, Bajaj Electricals became the first company to include cryptocurrency technology for settling vendor/supplier payments through Yes Bank. As the interest in the sector continues to grow, there is an upsurge of events related to various blockchain platforms.

The demand for such events, mostly among the C-level executives of various companies has also seen an increase in the entry fees. A comparison to earlier events to the ones happening this year shows the rising trend, moving from “free entry” to almost $1000 per ticket, which is a bit unrealistic in a cost-conscious market like India where blockchain technology is expected to help the unbanked and underbanked.

While few events do mint money in the name of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, there are few occasional “invite-only” events and regular free for all meetups that happen as well. Either held in small event spaces or restaurants, these events allow people to interact with like-minded cryptocurrency enthusiasts and industry experts to understand the technology better.

Blocksmiths recently organized one such “invite only” event in association with IBM Bluemix. Held on May 5, 2017, saw top management executives, CxOs, start-up founders, independent consultants and journalists in attendance. Organized with the intention of spreading awareness about cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology, discussions during the event revolved around blockchain’s various use cases in banking, manufacturing, logistics, IoT and cybersecurity.

The shifting trend in the Indian startup ecosystem towards cryptocurrency technology shows the country’s readiness to be part of a revolution that is expected to generate about $110 billion in impact by 2021.


Subscribe to our newsletter

Smart automobiles are a concept that has been in the works for a while. Starting from onboard computers which appeared at least a decade ago, the automotive industry has moved on to self-driven cars, and now they are stepping into the blockchain domain. In the recent months, companies like BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Faraday Future, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Toyota have presented innovative, breakthrough technologies at various expos, among which blockchain technology had a significant presence.

According to reports, the use of distributed ledger technology-based applications in the automobiles will augment the market’s big data with an end-point authentication process, pushing the total value to over $1 billion by 2022. The use of blockchain technology is expected to come in handy as the automotive industry moves towards increased digitization of onboard technologies that makes cars smarter. In addition, plans for rolling out autonomous vehicles and the increasing need for pushing over-the-air updates will increase the requirement for private and secure systems.

The report on an online publication draws few pointers from an article by Steven Overly on one of the leading US dailies to support its commentary on the increasing need for privacy and security. Overly was quoted saying,

“The arrival of big data in the automobile has reason to give consumers pause. For one, there are privacy and security concerns that require vigilance — car hacking has the potential to become a problem if automakers do not effectively safeguard against it. What’s more, automakers already have plans to turn that data into revenue, though many agree that car data belongs to the customers and they should determine how it gets used.”

Few existing examples of blockchain research in the automotive industry include Toyota’s attempts to use the distributed ledger for increased production, delivery and service efficiency while ensuring transparency to its customers. There are also concepts like blockchain wallets for vehicles in development which allows cars to pay tolls, parking fees and other charges on their own. Porsche recently announced its first Innovation Contest that invited participants to develop blockchain solutions for the automotive industry.

Many such developments are expected to come in the near future to make the vision of self-driven and self-reliant cars a reality, and blockchain is expected to play a huge role in it.

Ref: PYMNTS | Image: NewsBTC

Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are three buzzwords (four if you consider Bitcoin as well) dominating the internet. An Indian startup, Signzy Technologies has combined all the three to create a digital trust platform that speeds up compliance in the country’s banking sector.

Signzy has leveraged on the vast capabilities of IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain service and Watson cognitive computing and machine learning platforms to come up with the innovative product. According to IBM’s recent press release, the Signzy service will be capable of cutting down the identity verification and KYC compliance process for the banks by over 80 percent. IBM Watson’s intelligence and pattern recognition capabilities will play an important role in fraud recognition while the blockchain ensures privacy and security of the collected data.

The services provided by Signzy is said to be in accordance with the compliance requirements set by the country’s central bank — the Reserve Bank of India. As most banks rely upon manual verification at the moment, the technology platform will make the task easy for the institutions, helping them detect fraud, money laundering, financing of terrorism, identity theft and other illegal activities.

In order to use the system, banks will have to upload the relevant documents and images collected from the customers. These files will be processed by IBM Watson Document Conversion Service to interpret the text and images. It will then cross-verify the documents with an individual’s actual appearance using AlchemyVision Service and other relevant services to ensure their authenticity.

Its creators have initially trained the system by entering different data patterns, enabling it to recognize normal behavior and “red flags.” Based on the analysis of documents, the system generates a forgery score, highlighting anomalies, which comes in handy for further investigation.

Earlier studies on the potential of blockchain technology in the banking sector by the likes of Banco Santander has reported a potential savings of about $20 billion in compliance costs over time. The solution provided by Signzy in association with IBM is one such example. The future will see many more implementations, which could streamline banking operations, drastically reducing the cost for institutions. But whether these institutions will pass on the benefits to customers or not, is an entirely different story.

Ref: IBM Press Release | Image: NewsBTC

It looks like we have another social media tussle on our hands right now. Bitcoin developer Luke Dashjr has introduced a new BIP. That is nothing unusual, as there are many improvements to be made where Bitcoin is concerned. However, this particular proposal seemingly uses the governance layer found in the Decred altcoin. An interesting way to go about things, although it raises a lot of eyebrows.

Many people seemingly agree useful altcoin features may find their way to Bitcoin at some point. This is part of the reason why some people feel altcoins have a lot of merit. Bitcoin can use quite a few improvements, that much is evident. If an altcoin comes up with a new feature, it can be modified to become a part of the Bitcoin protocol. However, a recent BIP by Bitcoin developer Luke Dashjr has people up in arms right now.

Governance and Bitcoin Is A Touchy Subject

It appears this BIP in question “clones” the governance layer found in the Decred altcoin. Interestingly enough, Luke Dashjr feels any correlation with the Decred source code is a mere coincidence. In fact, he claims several developers have been looking at introducing a similar BIP over the past few years. One could also argue how every alternative cryptocurrency in existence right now copies Bitcoin, although that is a different conversation altogether.

Introducing a governance layer in Bitcoin would be quite a significant feat, though. Doing so would require a soft fork of the code, assuming it will ever become a part of Bitcoin. The BIP focuses on a new opcode for the Bitcoin scripting system. As a result, transactions can be constructed which are valid only within blocks signaling for or against arbitrary network upgrades. It is an interesting BIP to keep an eye on, that much is certain.

Some users on Twitter are pointing out the irony of this BIP, though. An earlier tweet by Luke Dashjr mentions how governance is nothing but a threat to Bitcoin. Any attempts to govern Bitcoin are an issue, in his opinion. It is important to note said statement is part of a block size debate taking place on Twitter earlier this year. Rest assured it is not the last we will have heard regarding this BIP and governance in Bitcoin.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

Every company has its own culture and practices when it comes to ideation and visualization of products. Cisco, the leading network infrastructure provider, has recently decided to leverage the power of the crowd to decide upon the future of blockchain innovation. Earlier last week, the company’s Hyperinnovation Living Labs organized a 48-hour brainstorming session in this regard.

The event was reported in Cisco’s recent blog post. According to the post, the event was held inside a portion of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Participants in the brainstorming session included executives, customers, thinkers and innovators who were involved in an intellectual discussion about ways to secure digitized supply chain using blockchain technology. The session also included visual representations of blockchain enacted by colored lighting.

The interactive session involved enacting various attack scenarios on blockchain nodes, represented by red colored hanging lantern while those functioning normally were colored green. Participants in the brainstorming session were given the task to thwart the attack, preventing it from disrupting the network.

The whole set up was designed and erected by Cisco Hyperinnovation Living Labs’ (CHILL) Senior Innovation Architect, Shannon Lucas. Lucas explaining the reason behind such an enactment said,

“CHILL is all about doing a form of learning. By building a prototype, a physical representation of the blockchain itself, we could move the conversation from the theoretical to the tangible. That’s why we build over a hundred prototypes over the course of the lab.”

The whole scenario was part of the rapid prototyping process where participants came up with a range of solutions whose pros and cons could be weighed before such a solution is considered for further development. The CHILL gathering was composed of Concept Team, Build Team, Insight Team and the Investment Panel. The explored opportunity areas included Data Intelligence, Virtual Supply Chain Security, Cross-Border Transactions, “New Ways to Move” and “Safe, Certified and Circular.”

Teams working through the 48-hour stretch proposed and built various prototypes, some of which will see implementation in the coming months, to further strengthen its existing network infrastructure solution that’s already in use and the $500 billion worth supply chain business.

Ref: Blog | Image: NewsBTC

Bitcoin has already proven its potential to act as a universal currency, overcoming geographical, cultural and political differences. The cryptocurrency has been a savior to many in suffering economies, throwing them the much-needed lifeline in the form of an alternative currency. The recent legalization of Bitcoin in Japan and Russia’s consideration to assigning a similar status to the digital currency has got another geographical region thinking along the same lines.

According to reports, the Palestinian officials are planning to create their own digital currency in the next five years to establish an autonomous financial system. The new cryptocurrency based system is expected to reduce the region’s dependence on its neighbor Israel while safeguarding itself against potential external interferences.

Currently, people in the region do not have their own legal tender, and most of the transactions happen either in euro, US dollar, Israeli shekel and Jordanian dinars. With the new digital currency, the Palestinian state will be able to conduct transactions with its own legal tender. The Palestine Monetary Authority already has a name for it, and they intend to call it Palestinian pound.

The decision was made public by the Head of Palestinian Monetary Authority, Azzam Shawwa while participating in the annual meeting of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development held in Cyprus. The ease of creating a digital currency, compared to printing banknotes may make this project successful in the conflict-ridden region. However, there are concerns about the 1994 Paris Protocol Agreement which has effectively revoked the monetary authority’s power to print its own currency.

Mentioning the monetary authority’s choice of cryptocurrency over conventional banknotes, Shawwa said,

“If we print currency, to get it into the country you would always need clearance from the Israelis and that could be an obstacle, so that is why we don’t want to go into it.”

As the state continues to build the necessary infrastructure to rebuild its financial system, the Palestinian pound is not going to make an appearance anytime soon. It may take almost five years before the first Palestinian pound transaction can take place. But it is a good start nevertheless.

Ref: AlArabiya | Image: NewsBTC

Key Points

  • Bitcoin price after a dip towards $1160 against the US Dollar found support and bounced sharply.
  • A monster bullish trend line with support at $1660 on the 4-hours chart of BTC/USD (data feed from SimpleFX) acted as a barrier for sellers.
  • The price bounced sharply and currently trading above the $1800 level.

Bitcoin price surged higher above $1800 against the US Dollar, and the current movement in BTC/USD looks very bullish for more gains in the near term.

Bitcoin Price Trend Line Support

It was a nasty week for Bitcoin price, as it continued to gain momentum above $1700 against the US Dollar. My view of continuing gains in BTC is playing well. Recently, the price traded close to the $1910 level from where a correction was initiated. The price traded below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $1510 low to $1905 high.

On the downside, a monster bullish trend line with support at $1660 on the 4-hours chart of BTC/USD was waiting. It acted as a barrier for further declines below $1650 and pushed the price back higher. There was also a test of the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $1510 low to $1905 high. The price is now back above the $1800 level. It looks like a correction wave is over, and the price may soon retest the last swing high at $1905.

Bitcoin Price Weekly Analysis BTC USD

If all goes well, there is a chance of further gains above $1900. On the downside, we have two bullish trend lines at $1660 and $1610, which may continue to act as a support. The overall trend is bullish with a chance of BTC/USD testing $2000.

Looking at the technical indicators:

4-hours MACD – The MACD is currently gaining momentum in the bullish zone.

4-hours RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI is now back above the 50 level and heading north.

Major Support Level – $1660

Major Resistance Level – $1900

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX

Key Highlights

  • ETH price recovered well from the $69.30 swing low against the US Dollar, and moved above $85.
  • There is a crucial bearish trend line formed with resistance at $88.60 on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD (data feed via SimpleFX).
  • A break above the $88.60-89.00 resistance is needed for ETH buyers to gain control.

Ethereum price recovered well against the US Dollar and Bitcoin, and now ETH/USD is looking to break a crucial resistance near $89.

Ethereum Price Trend Line Resistance

This past week was mostly neutral for ETH price as it remained above the $80 area against the US Dollar. There were mostly swing moves, with a decent buying interest near $84. Earlier, there was a sharp dip towards the $70 level where the price found support. A low was formed at $69.30 from where a recovery was initiated. The price first traded above the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement level of the last decline from the $100.60 high to $69.30 low. It prompted further buying.

The price managed to move above the 100 simple moving average (H4) at $81, which is a positive sign. There was even a break above the 50% Fibonacci retracement level of the last decline from the $100.60 high to $69.30 low. At the moment, a crucial bearish trend line with resistance at $88.60 on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD is preventing gains.

Ethereum Price Weekly Analysis ETH USD

The same trend line resistance is important since is near the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level of the last decline from the $100.60 high to $69.30 low. A break above it needed is for further gains above $90. On the downside, the 100 simple moving average (H4) at $84 can serve as a major support.

4-hours MACD – The MACD is slowly moving in the bullish zone.

4-hours RSI – The RSI has just moved above the 50 level, and heading higher.

Major Support Level – $84.00

Major Resistance Level – $89.00

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX