Blockchain

What next? Oh yes, turning a luxury car into a non-fungible token

We’ve seen more than one project use the immutability of blockchain to verify important physical things. So, for instance, a pioneer in the space, Verisart, has brought blockchain certification of high art to leading galleries worldwide, and other players are now entering this growing market. Codex Protocol is a new startup also putting art on the blockchain. The benefits are obvious: reducing to near-zero the possibility that an artwork could be fake. This is an incredibly powerful idea, especially at the high end of the commercial spectrum. A relatively new idea is to take blockchain to the car market. Automakers are already starting to take an interest. BMW, Ford, Renault and General Motors recently joined a new working group of more than 30 auto companies to employ blockchain technolog...

0x lets any app be the Craigslist of cryptocurrency

Centralized crypto exchanges like Coinbase are easy but expensive because they introduce a middleman. Not-for-profit project 0x allows any developer to quickly build their own decentralized cryptocurrency exchange and decide their own fees. It acts like Craigslist, connecting traders without ever holding the tokens itself. And instead of having to bootstrap their way to enough users trading tokens on their app alone so that there’s liquidity, 0x offers cross-platform liquidity between users on the different projects it powers. The problem is the user experience of decentralized apps is often crappy compared to the consumer apps we’re used to across the rest of tech. From sign-in to recovering accounts to conducting transactions, it’s a lot more complicated than Facebook Login, PayPal, or S...

Kodak-branded KashMiner Bitcoin mining rig for rent wasn’t — and won’t be

Write off another piece of crypto craziness: A Kodak-branded Bitcoin-mining rig that was on show at CES in January, where it generated much headshaking and skepticism that it could ever deliver the claimed returns, has evaporated into the ideas ether from whence it came. The BBC reports that the plan to rent access to Kodak-branded KashMiner devices for the chance to earn Bitcoin returns has collapsed. Spotlite USA, the company that had shown off the rig at CES, was also never officially licensed to use Kodak’s brand for the mining rig, according to the report (although the company does seemingly license Kodak’s brand for use on LED lighting products which nonetheless have nothing at all to do with Bitcoin mining so…). Nor had it installed multiple KashMiner devices at Kodak’s offices, as ...

Russian hackers used bitcoin to fund election interference, so prepare for FUD

The indictment filed today against 12 Russians accused of, among other things, hacking the DNC and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign also notes that the alleged hackers paid for their nefarious deeds with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This unsavory application of one of tech’s current darlings will almost certainly be wielded against it by opportunists of all stripes. It is perhaps the most popular and realistic argument against cryptocurrency that it enables anonymous transactions globally and at scale, no exception made for Russian intelligence or ISIS. So the news that a prominent and controversial technology was used to fund state-sponsored cyber attacks will not be passed over by its critics. You can expect bluster on cable news and some sharp words from lawmakers, who will...

Coinbase teases new cryptocurrency assets for which it’s ‘exploring’ support

Coinbase is taking a look at some new cryptocurrencies to add to its exchange. The list is kind of a pre-announcement, with the startup saying that it’s “exploring” adding the assets and is working with local banks and regulators to make them happen. On the list are… Coinbase is one of the most popular exchange companies and holds quite a bit of sway in directing attention and enthusiasm within the broader blockchain/cryptocurrency space, so the exploration announcement is sure to bring some added interest to these particular assets. Last month, the site announced it was adding Ethereum Classic to the exchange, though in a blog post published today, Coinbase notes that while adding that asset was relatively straightforward, it’s going to take some regulatory work to add any of these new to...

You can now trade Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on Robinhood Crypto

Fintech startup Robinhood is expanding its cryptocurrency trading product with two new token listings. Users in selected states can now trade Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash from the app. Robinhood is currently providing one of the easiest ways to get started with cryptocurrencies. You can download the app, upload some money and buy tokens in just a few minutes. But there are a few caveats. First, Robinhood is only available in the U.S. if you want to trade stocks, ETFs and options. And if you’re interesting Robinhood Crypto more specifically, it is only available in 17 states. Robinhood also claims that there’s no fee on cryptocurrency trading. Given the liquidity of cryptocurrency exchanges, there’s always some spread. It means that if you buy one bitcoin and if you sell one bitcoin, there wil...

Brexit means blockchains, lots and lots of blockchains

Does Brexit mean blockchain? The UK government has published a whitepaper — some two years in the baking — where it sets out its fuzzy thinking in an attempt to move beyond two years of Brexit fudge by squashing its warring factions behind a compromise customs arrangement to try to live up to its promise of a “future relationship with the European Union”, i.e. without lashings of fudge. Unfortunately though, for citizen sanity, business reality, and, well, anyone not happy gambling everything on fantastically functional systems that don’t exist yet, it’s still leaning heavily on undefined technological solutions to try to make its alternative customs arrangement fly. (Or, more realistically, limp towards another accusation of magical thinking by the EU.) Instead of the current Customs Unio...

HTC’s blockchain phone is real, and it’s arriving later this year

HTC isn’t gone just yet. Granted, it’s closer than it’s ever been before, with a headcount of fewer than 5,000 employees worldwide — that’s down from 19,000 in 2013. But in spite of those “market competition, product mix, pricing, and recognized inventory write-downs,” the company’s still trucking on. And while its claim to being “the leading innovator in smart phone devices,” is up for debate, the Taiwanese manufacturer has never shied away from a compelling gimmick. Announced earlier this year, the Exodus definitely fits the bill. The “world’s first major blockchain phone” is still shrouded in mystery, though the company did reveal a couple of key details this week at RISE in Hong Kong intended to keep folks interested while it irons out the rest of the product’s hiccups. Chief among the...

Watch all the interviews from TechCrunch Sessions: Blockchain

What a day. Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered in Zug, Switzerland for TechCrunch Sessions: Blockchain. In addition to some of the key people of the Ethereum Foundation, the team interviewed the entrepreneurs behind Binance, Coinbase, ConsenSys, CryptoKitties and many other organizations. The event was packed with interesting content. But if you couldn’t be there in person, don’t worry as you can watch everything that happened in Zug: Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.

RIP “crypto”

RIP “crypto”. You had a good run. This week veteran cryptographer Matt Blaze, finally gave in — to what must have been a near-constant, low-level drone of ‘CAn Buy Crypto.com???$$$$!’ spam — and sold the pithy domain name he registered in 1993, in the midst of the PC era crypto wars, to use as an encryption policy resource, to Monaco, a Zug, Switzerland-based payments and cryptocurrency platform startup whose self-styled mission is “accelerating the world’s transition to cryptocurrency”, positioning itself at the nexus of the current crypto craze. So crypto.com now points to cryptocurrencies. Which seems a fitting moment to say RIP “crypto” as shorthand terminology for an entire domain of cryptographic work that underpins so many more things than just Bitcoin or Ether or Ripple or Litecoin...

Early uses of blockchain will barely be visible, says Hyperledger’s Brian Behlendorf

The blockchain revolution is coming, but you might not see it. That’s the view of Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project. Speaking at the TC Sessions: Blockchain event in Zug, Switzerland, Behlendorf explained that much of the innovation that the introduction of blockchains are primed to happen behind this the scenes unbeknownst to most. “For a lot of consumers, you’re not going to realize when the bank or a web form at a government website or when you go to LinkedIn and start seeing green check marks against people’s claims that they attended this university — which are all behind-the-scenes that will likely involve blockchain,” Behlendorf told interviewer John Biggs. “This is a revolution in storage and networking and consumers.” As for where b...

Jina Choi, SF Regional Director of the SEC, is coming to Disrupt to talk ICOs and more

The Securities & Exchange Commission, the federal agency responsible for protecting investors and maintaining fair and orderly functioning of our securities markets, has 11 regional offices, including in Miami, New York, Boston, and Chicago, None has quite the workload as the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, where a major area of focus in recent years has been investor fraud in pre-IPO companies, particularly the many startups that in an earlier era would have either have gone public or else out of business, but which today linger as privately held outfits because there’s so much money sloshing around. Among the companies to find themselves in the SEC’s sights in recent years is HR software outfit Zenefits and its founder, Parker Conrad; they were fined $1 million last October as p...

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