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Category Archive: Startup

The FCA wants to approve blockchain startups in England

fca_wants_to_approve_blockchain_startups

The English FCA wants to approve blockchain startups.

In fact, a “small but significant number of firms” that use the blockchain and works in the fintech industry could officially receive the FCA authorization.
To do so, the FCA is looking for projects involved in the Project Innovate program.
The FCA is evaluating more than 150 startups and 40 of them will be approved for further study.
The number of blockchain startups is growing fast, but regulators are always concerned about illegal activity and bitcoin volatility.
The FCA director of strategy and competition, Chris Woolard explained:
“We do think blockchain has got some potentially interesting applications and we are talking to firms thinking about how to apply that to financial services and how it could benefit consumers or indeed make the business of compliance easier.— There may be areas where we might want to encourage it a bit.”
He explains the FCA will announce more details about this project by the end of 2016. 
These startups will be the first to receive approval from the English FCA. 

Blockchain investments

Companies such as Greenwich Associates, EY, Accenture, and PwC explained that they believe that financial institutions will spend $1 billion USD for the distributed ledger technology during the current year.
Jeremy Millar of Ledger Partners said:
“Reports have claimed up to $100bn could be saved on the post-trade settlement process by using blockchain. Another estimate by Goldman Sachs said there could be $50bn of savings in the US repo market alone. The numbers are huge.”
The technology behind Bitcoin is growing its popularity within the fintech industry. More and more financial institutions and governments are developing and studying its applications. 
This way, the English FCA could be the next authority to officially recognize the potential of the ledger.

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Satoshi

Dubai Government to develop Blockchain applications

dubai_blockchain
Dubai government announced a $275m startup investment fund to invest and develop blockchain projects.
Revealed a few days ago, the Dubai Future Foundation launched the Dubai Future Accelerators project, a 12-week startup program that aims at encouraging innovation, including the blockchain. 
Thanks also to a partnership with the Dubai Holding, this program wants to promote the development of business ideas related to transportation, law, education and public utilities.
The project accepts ideas from companies; and the approved applicants will spend three months developing projects that are eligible for further funding.
Spokerpersons explained that applications have to include efforts to improve smart meters, smart cities and business process, by using the blockchain.
This project came after the Dubai Future Foundation decision to promote the distributed ledger development. 
The foundation, in fact, is one of the most active agencies to study blockchain technology, also thanks to the Global Blockchain Council (GBC) overseen by its Museum of the Future project.
Earlier, the GBC revelated seven projects created by prominent area businesses and startups.

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Satoshi

UNICEF Blockchain to improve child welfare

unicef_blockchain
UNICEF is looking for a software developer and consultant to develop and lead its blockchain project.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, in fact, revelaed how the organization wants to use the distributed ledger to improve child welfare worldwide.

Unicef Blockchain

To do so, UNICEF published a sheet where the fund explains that it is looking for new experts to improve its “research, consulting and prototyping applications for humanitarian purposes”.
UNICEF also has projects focused on identity and remittances. 
Dana Zucker commented to Coindesk:

“We want to grow our knowledge and thinking, so we want to bring someone on who can help lead the charge on thinking, researching and creating use cases for how blockchain will play a role in UNICEF’s work.”
The role will help developing blockchain applications, including a commitment to funding startups
The profile will work in New York with a 11 months contract and he/she will support the blockchain, together with MagicBox, the Innovation Fund Site and IOGT &uReport. 

How to apply to the UNICEF Blockchain project

Interested and suitable candidates are requested to send their applications with Subject “Software Developer, Consultant” to jobsugic@gmail.com on or before 10 August 2016.

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Satoshi

Why the Ethereum DAO collapse is good for the cryptocurrency

<img src="/images/ethereumdao.jpg" alt="Ethereum Dao" height="264" width="350" />

The news of the Ethereum DAO hacker attack is riding high and of course it brings lots of damages for the ethereum investors who stored about $150m of the cryptocurrency. 

However, it is always a good behavior to understand and see the other side of the coin, we would say. 
In fact, any negative event can allow to have a better environment and more secure technologies. 
A similar thing happened with the Mt Gox disaster, when we learned that an exchange must be built with more care and attention.
As Matthew Spoke, co-founder and CEO of blockchain startup Nuco, explained on Coindesk.
“the DAO attack will likely be reversed, as per Vitalik’s proposal; owners of TDT will be able to retrieve their ETH after the proposed hard fork; The DAO will be emptied of its investments; and future distributed autonomous organizations will learn from the lessons”.

Ethereum DAO: what happened?

On June 17th, an unknown hacker (or a group of hackers) stole $60m in Ethereum coins from the DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that used the Ethereum Blockchain to leverage smart contracts and to provide a platform where people can vote and fund projects. 
Previously last week the DAO experienced another issue but it was fixed soon by the open-source community and the Etheruem DAO structure and problem-solving techniques.

Universal Wallet 

If you want to have a safe and secure wallet to store your Ethereum, you should visit HolyTransaction. 
Here you can store your Ethereum, but also several other digital currencies including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin and more. 

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Satoshi

Red Hat to help blockchain related startups

Yesterday Red Hat announced its idea to start its OpenShift blockchain that aims at helping financial companies with their initiatives related to the disruptive distributed ledger.
Thanks to OpenShift, Red Hat users can create blockchain applications using tools provided by indipendent sellers and with the support of Red Hat’s Openshift Dedicated program.

How Openshift works 

OpenShift Dedicated wants to help the startups related to blockchaintech, fintech ISVs, and traditional financial companies to begin their blockchain-based projects.
“A lot of folks in the market are looking to deploy on the big cloud providers, Amazon, Google, Microsoft. There are many companies offering cloud support”, Tapia commented.
Tapia clarified that OpenShift Dedicated is available on Amazon and will soon be available on Google and Microsoft Azure as well.
During a recent interview, director of OpenShift, Julio Tapia, explained that the company wants to use its own experience in the open source sector related to blockchain technology.
These were his words:
“We want to position ourselves with not only customers and partners, but leverage solutions developed in the entire ecosystem, taking all the innovation going on in the industry, maturing it for an enterprise market and making sure all the solutions can be launched and supported.”

Red Hat with Hyperledger

Previously, in February, Red Hat announced its partnership with the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, “an open source platform to advance the blockchain digital technology for recording and verifying transactions”, according to the press release.

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Amelia Tomasicchio

Helperbit wins the Blockchain startup competition in Amsterdam

On February 18th Helperbit won the blockchain startup competition held at the d10e in Amsterdam.
Helperbit is a “natural disaster management platform” that aims at helping stricken people with a simple peer-to-peer donation system.

Blockchain + GIS

Obviously this is possible thanks to the blockchain technology that allows a smart and fast transfer of values. Also, thanks to the interaction between the blockchain and the geographic information system (GIS) Helperbit can store all the information concerning the effects of the natural disasters.
The platform will be active in case of earthquakes, but also it will be extended to all the different natural disasters, such as hurricanes, fires and floods.

Blockchain Space

Again on February 18th, it was held the inauguration of the Blockchain Space, a “focused startup accelerator for talented visionaries creating disruptive solutions to real-world problems using blockchain technology”.
Among their selected startups, obviously there is Helperbit, who presented its project during the event held in Barcelona.
Helperbit team members are: Vincenzo Agui, Davide Menegaldo, Guido Baroncini Turricchia, Davide Gessa, Roberto Tudini, Gianluca Carbone and Luigi Angotzi. 

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio

Gemalto joins Symbiont to use the Blockchain

Recently we talked about several companies all around the world, like Microsoft or IBM, that are conducting tests about the blockchain and how to introduce it on their business.
Well, today is the turn of Gemalto, a digital security multinational who announced today its interest in the bitcoin technology.
Gemalto has in fact started a new partnership with Symbiont, a well-known blockchain startup that aims at “bridging the gap between the emerging blockchain ecosystem and Wall Street, with the first issuance and trading platform for Smart Securities™”.
According to a new interview with Gemalto’s vice president of business strategy Mark Yakabuski, the blockchain has two potential applications within the market.
These are his words:
“We believe that the first generation of blockchain is going to be driven by the financial services industry. The second generation, we believe the blockchain has the ability to be adopted within the Internet of Things. […] From what I’ve seen, security within the bitcoin and blockchain solutions is certainly in its infancy and there’s a lot of room for growth and improvement. […] But we believe that the solutions built on blockchain will expand quite rapidly, and we want to be a leading security option for our customers as that expands.”
So Gemalto – together with Symbiont – wants to find all the possible applications of the blockchain (like smart and programmable contracts, for example) and also wants to use the Bitcoin technology to improve Gemalto’s existing hardware and APIs.
“Our partners are looking for the level of assurance we provide on our products, and that leads us to believe that these ledgers are going to be adopted by those institutions”, he continued during an interview with Coindesk.
However, it is important to remember that Gemalto already works with some bitcoin exchanges, using its HSMs for cryptographic security.
Furthermore their techs can “adopt to new use cases, and we’re doing what we’ve done across financial industries, which is protecting identities and the transactions they perform”, continued Yakabuski.

About the author: Amelia Tomasicchio is a writer and a journalist of Bitcoin-related news and articles. She started writing about Bitcoin in 2014 and she graduated in Rome with an essay about movie industry related to Bitcoin.

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Amelia Tomasicchio

Bitcoin ~ Hands On Code: Discover Bitcoin Open-Source Technology

(LuissEnLabs) LUISS ENLABS in collaboration with Bitcoin Foundation Italia and
Codemotion presents the first of a series of technical conferences
“Bitcoin ~ Hands On Code”.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 2nd of July, from 4pm to 8pm and enjoys the participation of speakers Thomas Bertani, Founder&CEO BitBoat Ltd, Guido Dassori, IT&building automation Freelancer, Luca Matteis, Semantic Web Developer, as well as Francesco SimonettiAndrey ZamovskiyNickolay Babenko in live streaming from San Francisco.

The mission of the conference is to remove friction between bitcoin and
developers, encouraging the development of an appropriate tech scene
around Bitcoin, an incredible open-source based technology, aiming to
disrupt finance and money as we know them today.

There’s an
enormous opportunity for developers, who are already jumping in and will
have a real impact on the future, contributing to this open-source
technology.

Jump on board!

Program:

16.00 – Welcome: Tobia De Angelis, Augusto Coppola
16.15 – 17.15 – Panel moderated by Franco Cimatti, Developer and President of Bitcoin-Italia: Speakers’ interventions
17.15 – 17.30 – Break
17.30 – End (Around 20.00) – Hands on Code, guided by Thomas Bertani, a developer with a deep expertise in bitcoin/blockchain and founder of BitBoat.net.

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Satoshi

How Purse.io can shave 25% off Bitcoin buyers’ Amazon bills!

A good startup, they say, should find a problem and solve it
elegantly. Well, California-based company Purse.io solves two problems
and ties the solutions together in one neat package.

(CoinDesk) The company
is marketing its service at people who would like to purchase items at
Amazon using bitcoin, which the retail giant doesn’t yet accept. But
integral to its solution are those who want to obtain bitcoin using a
credit card, perhaps in areas where exchanges are not available.
By
matching these two markets, Purse.io is able to able to offer bitcoin
purchases on Amazon, powered by a kind of bitcoin exchange that uses a
buyers’ discount to incentivise bitcoin owners to ‘sell’ their digital
currency.
This process is similar to a peer-to-peer (P2P)
marketplace, where Purse.io acts as an intermediary, offering users the
platform, bitcoin wallet and escrow for transactions.
Andrew Lee, co-founder of Purse.io, told CoinDesk:

“I
think people that try it and realize they just saved 25% on Amazon are
excited about that possibility. For the first time, they’ve been able to
do something useful with bitcoin [rather than just buy and hold].”

How it works

Firstly,
when someone – Alice, say – wants to use bitcoin to purchase items for a
discount from Amazon, she deposits bitcoin in her Purse.io account.
Then, using a ‘share’ URL, she imports her Amazon ‘wish list’ into
Purse.io and indicates what level of discount she would like for the
items.
purseio1
When complete, the listing is posted on the Purse.io marketplace.
purseio2
Next,
someone looking to obtain bitcoin for a similar amount, we’ll call them
Bob, accepts the transaction and purchases the items on Alice’s wish
list using a credit card. Soon after, the items are shipped to Alice.
Once
the items have been received, Alice notifies Purse.io, at which point
her bitcoin is released from escrow and is sent to Bob (see the company’s explanatory video below).
“It’s kind of like an exchange, but with that Amazon layer,” explained Kent Liu, the second founder of the company.
It
is worth noting that while there is a recommended 25% ‘maximum’
discount, in fact, the user sets the amount and transactions have been
accepted with discounts as high as 45%.
However, Liu explained
that there is a ‘sweet spot’ for item price compared to percentage
discount that is likely to make the transaction quickly accepted:

“Anything below 15% at $500 [total price], […] will get taken.”

All about incentive

Liu said that he came up with the idea for Purse.io about a year ago, when bitcoin’s price had risen to a level not previously seen before, and as a result there were a number of new BTC-related services appearing.
“People were excited to spend bitcoin,” he said.
The
problem, at least from Liu’s perspective, is that every service charged
fees. Why not give people an incentive to unload bitcoin, allowing
others improved access to the cryptocurrency?
“It is difficult to
buy bitcoin. It is really, really hard,” said Liu. “Our market is people
who cannot overcome that difficulty. [And] the difficulty is not going
to decrease that easily anytime soon.”
Instead of charging bitcoin
buyers on Purse.io, the company levies a 1% fee on those selling the
bitcoin and getting an Amazon discount.

Easing bitcoin’s on-ramp

Globally,
it is still not easy to buy bitcoin. While, in the US, users that have a
checking account can easily convert dollars into bitcoin using
exchanges like Coinbase, in
many countries, there is no way to convert the local fiat currency into
digital currency without jumping through a lot of hoops.

The top liquid markets for bitcoin are in USD, EUR, HKD and CNY. Source: BitcoinchartsThe top liquid markets for bitcoin are in USD, EUR, HKD and CNY. Source: Bitcoincharts

Doing so might mean exchanging one fiat currency into USD, then wiring it to a company such as Bitstamp, which will exchange it into bitcoin. At every step of the way a fee is charged.
However, someone with an international credit card can purchase items on Amazon from pretty much anywhere.

Spending credits

So,
essentially, anyone living in a country that does not have a viable
bitcoin exchange could be a potential customer for Purse.io.
It’s a
better value proposition to for many, and furthermore, the fact that
affiliates of Amazon receive a certain amount of credits that must be
spent on the website may boost take-up of the service.
Someone in India, for example, may want to convert those credits into bitcoin rather than Amazon items, or even rupees.
Purse.io founders Andrew Lee (L) and Kent Liu.

Purse.io founders Andrew Lee (left) and Kent Liu (right).

Relying on Amazon

So
what would Purse.io do if Amazon shut them down? The founders have
thought about that, but believe that for the time being they are
providing a service that is in demand.
“We think we’re helping [Amazon],” said Lee. “They don’t want to take bitcoin now. They’re not ready for it.”
In April, an Amazon executive said that the company decided against accepting bitcoin due to weak customer demand.
Furthermore, there is added complexity for the company compared with
other retailers that currently accept the digital currency.
According
to Purse.io, Amazon’s marketplace strategy is problematic: having so
many third-party sellers, a good portion of products on the retailer’s
website are not sourced from Amazon itself, creating complexity that the
likes of TigerDirect and Overstock don’t have to deal with.
“I don’t think we’ve seen a real big retailer accept bitcoin that has a marketplace,” Lee explained.

Trustless escrow

Although Purse.io provides a wallet for
users to store the bitcoin they have acquired, Liu said the company
would prefer to not store substantial customer funds:

“Right now, we are holding people’s money. But we don’t want to do that.”

However,
by holding funds until the Amazon items are delivered, Purse.io has
positioned itself in the digital currency escrow business, which could
be a promising strategy.
A recent FinCEN ruling indicated digital currency escrow is not a money transmission business, which is likely to mean less regulatory scrutiny for the company as more authorities issue guidance.
In
the future, the company plans to offer multi-signature transactions
that have three keys: one for the buyer, one for the seller and one for
Purse.io, creating a trustless form of escrow.
“None of us hold enough keys [in this model],” said Liu. “Nobody has control over [the funds], unless two people agree.”

Building a footprint

For several months, Purse.io has been working on its product at the Plug and Play Technology Center in Sunnyvale, California, since being accepted as one of several bitcoin startups in its accelerator scheme.
At
a recent bitcoin meetup at the centre, which provides assistance to new
tech startups, the company talked to Patrick Murck, General Counsel of
the Bitcoin Foundation.
“He told us we’re pretty good from a regulatory standpoint,” Liu said.

Both Gyft and Purse.io gift people incentives to spend bitcoin. Both Gyft and Purse.io give people incentive to spend bitcoin.

Lee
and Liu have now brought in some extra hands as far as development goes
and they hope to raise more funding, in addition to the seeding that
Plug and Play provided.
The plan is to focus on product and
building out the multi-signature escrow, with the possibility of adding
further retailers and building Purse.io’s own marketplace with the
userbase it is developing.
Amazon will likely, at some point,
accept bitcoin. Until then, though, Purse.io is going to take advantage
of its growing following, said Lee:

“We’re generating
that userbase as long as this Amazon window is open. At the same time,
we’re continuing to develop new services we can offer to these users.”

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Satoshi