カテゴリーアーカイブ: blockchain

Microsoft Is Building an ID Verification Platform on Bitcoin

Microsoft

Microsoft is leveraging blockchain technology to create a trustless digital identity scheme, but its not launching a token or building a private blockchain to do so. Its building on Bitcoin instead.

Announced on May 13, 2019, Project ION is an open-source, Layer 2 network built out of the public key infrastructure protocol Sidetree. In practice, “it is akin to Lightning, in that there is no secondary consensus among ION nodes,” a source close to the network’s development told Bitcoin Magazine.

“This is just like Bitcoin, but for IDs,” the source said.

The idea here is to make user names obsolete. Instead of logging into Facebook, email or any other application with a username, users can use a digital decentralized ID (DID) instead. This DID, like a private key when signing a transaction to the Bitcoin network, proves ownership. Individual ION nodes on the secondary network will be responsible for keeping track of these DIDs and timestamping them onto the Bitcoin blockchain for reference and attestation.

To create an ID, a user would wrap a public key into a DID creation document on the ION network, signing this input with their private key and sending it to a node on the network. This ION node then archives the metadata (without accessing the data itself) as a DID document for other nodes to reference. To set ownership of the DID in stone, the node batches reference hashes for all of the DIDs it has received into an OP_RETURN transaction and anchors it to the Bitcoin blockchain (this can be done on a variable schedule, either every block, every few blocks, etc.).

Every time a user updates their DID state — by creating a sub-ID or updating metadata, for example — the corresponding node updates these changes in the DID document. And whenever a batch is anchored on the blockchain, each ION node, which is constantly monitoring the blockchain, will identify the hashes as originating from the ION network. They’ll then pluck this transaction batch from the network, reference the DID documents in the nodes that sent it and sync up with the latest states of the IDs to keep the network up to date. Nodes can choose to batch transactions and monitor the chain, while others that wish to cut operation costs may simply monitor the chain to keep DID states up to date.

“Unlike money, decentralized identifiers don’t have the same doublespend problem,” the source told Bitcoin Magazine. “All we need is chronology.”

This chronology is the key to DID owners proving that the most current state of a digital identity belongs to them. In practice, it would work like this: When sending a DID to a verifier, this party would challenge a user to resolve the state of this identity with its corresponding DID document on the network to prove ownership. This can only be done using a secret value given to the DID owner when the identity is hashed onto the blockchain, and only an owner can resolve or update a DID’s state using this value.

Users can create various identities under this schemata for any number of use cases. ION’s DIDs could be used for zero-knowledge, proof ID verification in bars, for example, or it could be used for membership programs with hotels and airlines — there’s also innumerable use cases for signing into online services.

The source emphasized that, while Microsoft has been developing the technology, it’s open source and anyone can run a node. Plus, the legacy computer company won’t charge a fee for the service.

According to the announcement, a handful of companies have shown early interest in running ION nodes, including Bitcoin hardware and security firm Casa, data center Equinix and internet security company Cloudflare.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

HTC to Launch EXODUS 1s, Smartphone With Full Node Capacity

HTC

Electronics company HTC has announced that it is launching a smartphone to bring crypto and blockchain technology to a wider audience in Q3 2019.

According to a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine, “The EXODUS 1s will be the first smartphone ever to have full node capabilities” containing the full Bitcoin blockchain.

“With the EXODUS 1, we gave people the power to own their own keys, now we’re giving people the power to run their own node,” Phil Chen, decentralized chief officer at HTC, told Bitcoin Magazine. “It’s about building technology for the free world.”

Without going into specifics, Chen added that he has been working on the project “for some time” and that the largest hurdle was “developing a device that can act as a true full node and hold the full Bitcoin blockchain on the device.” He believes that this goal has now been met.

Chen also described some of the phone’s technical challenges.

“The full Bitcoin blockchain is around 200 GB [and] increasing at about 60 GB per year,” he said. “The full ledger can also be pruned down to approximately 10 GB.”

The phone can support the pruned version at all times, but the use of the full blockchain will require an additional SD card. Additionally, it is recommended that users only run a node off of a stable Wi-Fi connection due to the large data requirements and have a way to recharge the phone on hand.

Chen claimed that “the phone will not be able to mine for bitcoin itself, but we have upcoming partners to announce that will offer hashrates.” The Bitcoin ecosystem relies on both mining activity and the operation of nodes, but Chen observed that mining is much more strongly incentivized. Ideally, the means of running nodes like this with a low cost of entry will help invigorate the overall system.

“Running a node is maybe the most important part of the blockchain as it helps secure the network; every one of them acts as an authoritative verifier of every single transaction of the block,” said Chen. “We first empowered the user by owning their own keys and now we’re focused on empowering the user to run their own node to help secure and grow the network.”

Ideally, the presence of nodes like this will also increase blockchain app operation. According to the press release, additional technical details will be available closer to the product’s commercial release.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Five Years in the Making, Bisq Exchange Launches Its Bitcoins DAO

Bisq

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are one of crypto’s more novel and ambitious applications — one that Bitcoin, until recently, has had nothing to do with.

In practice, they’re a bit younger than Bitcoin forks and older than smart contract-focused blockchains. The idea is that you can devise a decentralized governance system using the blockchain’s cryptographic controls — rule of code, so to speak. Using tokenomics and technical schemes, the DAO affects certain laws over its participants, incentivizes them to play by the rules and encourages the community to hold itself accountable.

Dan Larimer’s BitShares, with its delegated proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, was the first DAO, followed by Dash. Since these trailblazers went live, DAO endeavors have become dominated by the Ethereum ecosystem, including, most notably, the eponymous and disastrous The DAO — best known for forfeiting millions in ether to the void after an incompetent coder unwittingly deleted a wallet library — and Maker, among others.

Perhaps because of Bitcoin’s limited scripting language and, conversely, Ethereum’s rich scripting language, Ethereum has been the frontrunner for popular DAOs in recent memory, while one has never launched on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Until now, that is.

Bisq Gets an Upgrade

Bisq, one of the Bitcoin community’s only truly decentralized exchanges, introduced version 1.0 of its software this week. Along with other ancillary upgrades, the release dropped a bombshell by furnishing Bitcoin with its first DAO.

“Bisq’s DAO, launched on Monday, April 15, is (to my knowledge) the only attempt of its kind to decentralize a project’s management and funding to the extent it does,” Steve Jain, a Bisq contributor, told Bitcoin Magazine.

With its intention to migrate toward distributed governance, Bisq will strive for an even greater degree of decentralization than it already features. Its software operates on Tor, and each user must run their own separate instance of the program (akin to running a node on a much smaller scale) to access the exchange, making it completely peer-to-peer.

The privacy-minded exchange offers a rare, KYC-resistant fiat ramp for bitcoin trading, allowing users to facilitate fiat exchange with payment apps, bank wires and even hard cash swaps, like LocalBitcoins offers. With each trade, bitcoin is locked away in multi-signature contracts, requiring arbitrators to resolve any conflicts should a dispute arise in a trade.

Jain said that this version upgrade was a long time coming.

“The DAO was intended to be a part of Bisq from the day it was first conceived in 2014,” he revealed, adding that this launch has been in the works for five years — meaning that its development predates even the infamous Ethereum DAO. Now that it’s live, he believes that the program has realized an even truer version of itself, one that separates it from the pack.

“From this standpoint, Bisq is a totally different beast —in terms of software and governance — than any other exchange,” he claimed.

How the DAO Works

Bisq’s governance will revolve around a token, but speculators need not apply — the project isn’t launching an ICO. Instead, each BSQ token will be minted through a process known as coloring.

Colored coins, so-called because they are distinguished from regular coins on the blockchain, are simply satoshis marked for a specific use case. To create tokens for Bisq, for example, users submit satoshis to the DAO, which are then “painted over” to represent BSQ. These tokens give users the ability to participate in the Bisq DAO.

This participation can take many forms. For traders on the platform, BSQ will give them trading discounts, not unlike BNB coin for Binance users, but this token’s use case is more dynamic than that. Contributors, for instance, can submit a compensation request to the network for payment in BSQ after finishing a project for the DAO. The community then votes on whether or not compensation should be awarded, and the developer submits satoshis to mint the colored BSQ tokens.

More than just developers, DAO contributors could be designers, support staff, social media managers or writers. These contributors can also stake BSQ in a bond to fill a high-trust position in the DAO, like a back end engineer, copywriter or social media representative. If these de facto employees are caught slacking off or acting up, the community can confiscate their stakes as punishment.

“It’s a dynamic system of stakeholders acting in their own best interests … And notably, there are no gatekeepers to manage it all,” Jain said. “BSQ is bought on the open market, and it’s issued by collective stakeholder voting. Personal vendettas, bank tantrums, government policies, company rules … none of these things can get in the way of someone doing work and getting paid for it.”

To start, 3,657,480 BSQ has been minted to compensate a team of more than 200 contributors for their five years of labor to get Bisq and its nascent DAO up and running. Going forward, Jain told us that new BSQ will be put into circulation every month to fulfill compensation requests. Any BSQ used for trading fees, on the other hand, will be burned and taken out of supply entirely.

Should I Trust the Government?

For some, the DAO’s attempt to realize cohesive-yet-anarchic governance is utopian at best and foolhardy at worst. Critics point to Ethereum’s DAO and the ensuing hard fork as a bailout of sorts — the crypto equivalent of the windfalls Washington bestowed on Wall Street during the Great Recession.

Other criticisms point to the notion that incentives aren’t powerful enough to keep bad actors in line, or that governance systems, depending on structure, give these bad actors mechanisms to game the system and circumvent checks and balances.

Bisq’s own governance is twofold. Voter clout is determined on a weighted basis (how many BSQ tokens you own) or merit (your reputation on the network). Voting based on token count is a red flag for many — it’s one of the reasons people look at EOS’ block producer elections as a pay-for-play playground, for instance. When asked if he felt that a stake-based voting model might enable vote buying and give the 1 percent an opportunity to out-influence the other 99, Jain noted optimism around the intentions of stakeholders.

“[To vote you must] allot a certain amount of the BSQ you own for your voting weight,” he said. “You must own this BSQ, and yes, you can buy as much of it as you want on the open market. We think that’s fair. Presumably, assuming no bad intentions, someone with a lot of money who really believes in the Bisq network may want to buy a lot of BSQ to have a big influence in its decisions.”

He continued to qualify that merit “is worth more than pure stake weight.” Basically, someone who contributes to the network has more of a say in voting than someone who bought their tokens; if I earn 10,000 BSQ tokens, for example, even if I sell them, my vote holds more clout than someone who bought 10,000 BSQ on the market. Merit will decay on an annual basis, as well, meaning contributors have to keep working on the ecosystem to maintain or bolster their reputations.

“Lastly, the merits ‘stack,’ so if I have 10,000 BSQ of merit and 5,000 BSQ in my BSQ wallet, I can stake 5,000 BSQ for a combined voting weight of 15,000 BSQ,” Jain said.

With this governance structure in place, Jain emphasized that one of the most significant — and exciting — differences with this version upgrade is that contributors can finally get paid for their work. This work, he continued, includes “growing liquidity, expanding to new markets and finally integrating SegWit.” Lightning Network integration is a bit further off, though, as it doesn’t fit well into Bisq’s complex architecture.

Even as the DAO is launched and Bisq has achieved a greater degree of decentralization than before, Jain said that Bisq’s community is “focused on further decentralizing the network.” This means a new trading scheme which removes arbitrators from the multisignature process and replaces them with mediators “for a more private, quick and decentralized trading experience where less trust is required.”

Ultimately, he concluded, the idea and final goal is that “users shouldn’t have to trust Bisq for anything.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Five Years in the Making, Bisq Exchange Launches Its Bitcoin DAO

Bisq

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are one of crypto’s more novel and ambitious applications — one that Bitcoin, until recently, has had nothing to do with.

In practice, they’re a bit younger than Bitcoin forks and older than smart contract-focused blockchains. The idea is that you can devise a decentralized governance system using the blockchain’s cryptographic controls — rule of code, so to speak. Using tokenomics and technical schemes, the DAO affects certain laws over its participants, incentivizes them to play by the rules and encourages the community to hold itself accountable.

Dan Larimer’s BitShares, with its delegated proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, was the first DAO, followed by Dash. Since these trailblazers went live, DAO endeavors have become dominated by the Ethereum ecosystem, including, most notably, the eponymous and disastrous The DAO — best known for forfeiting millions in ether to the void after an incompetent coder unwittingly deleted a wallet library — and Maker, among others.

Perhaps because of Bitcoin’s limited scripting language and, conversely, Ethereum’s rich scripting language, Ethereum has been the frontrunner for popular DAOs in recent memory, while one has never launched on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Until now, that is.

Bisq Gets an Upgrade

Bisq, one of the Bitcoin community’s only truly decentralized exchanges, introduced version 1.0 of its software this week. Along with other ancillary upgrades, the release dropped a bombshell by furnishing Bitcoin with its first DAO.

“Bisq’s DAO, launched on Monday, April 15, is (to my knowledge) the only attempt of its kind to decentralize a project’s management and funding to the extent it does,” Steve Jain, a Bisq contributor, told Bitcoin Magazine.

With its intention to migrate toward distributed governance, Bisq will strive for an even greater degree of decentralization than it already features. Its software operates on Tor, and each user must run their own separate instance of the program (akin to running a node on a much smaller scale) to access the exchange, making it completely peer-to-peer.

The privacy-minded exchange offers a rare, KYC-resistant fiat ramp for bitcoin trading, allowing users to facilitate fiat exchange with payment apps, bank wires and even hard cash swaps, like LocalBitcoins offers. With each trade, bitcoin is locked away in multi-signature contracts, requiring arbitrators to resolve any conflicts should a dispute arise in a trade.

Jain said that this version upgrade was a long time coming.

“The DAO was intended to be a part of Bisq from the day it was first conceived in 2014,” he revealed, adding that this launch has been in the works for five years — meaning that its development predates even the infamous Ethereum DAO. Now that it’s live, he believes that the program has realized an even truer version of itself, one that separates it from the pack.

“From this standpoint, Bisq is a totally different beast —in terms of software and governance — than any other exchange,” he claimed.

How the DAO Works

Bisq’s governance will revolve around a token, but speculators need not apply — the project isn’t launching an ICO. Instead, each BSQ token will be minted through a process known as coloring.

Colored coins, so-called because they are distinguished from regular coins on the blockchain, are simply satoshis marked for a specific use case. To create tokens for Bisq, for example, users submit satoshis to the DAO, which are then “painted over” to represent BSQ. These tokens give users the ability to participate in the Bisq DAO.

This participation can take many forms. For traders on the platform, BSQ will give them trading discounts, not unlike BNB coin for Binance users, but this token’s use case is more dynamic than that. Contributors, for instance, can submit a compensation request to the network for payment in BSQ after finishing a project for the DAO. The community then votes on whether or not compensation should be awarded, and the developer submits satoshis to mint the colored BSQ tokens.

More than just developers, DAO contributors could be designers, support staff, social media managers or writers. These contributors can also stake BSQ in a bond to fill a high-trust position in the DAO, like a back end engineer, copywriter or social media representative. If these de facto employees are caught slacking off or acting up, the community can confiscate their stakes as punishment.

“It’s a dynamic system of stakeholders acting in their own best interests … And notably, there are no gatekeepers to manage it all,” Jain said. “BSQ is bought on the open market, and it’s issued by collective stakeholder voting. Personal vendettas, bank tantrums, government policies, company rules … none of these things can get in the way of someone doing work and getting paid for it.”

To start, 3,657,480 BSQ has been minted to compensate a team of more than 200 contributors for their five years of labor to get Bisq and its nascent DAO up and running. Going forward, Jain told us that new BSQ will be put into circulation every month to fulfill compensation requests. Any BSQ used for trading fees, on the other hand, will be burned and taken out of supply entirely.

Should I Trust the Government?

For some, the DAO’s attempt to realize cohesive-yet-anarchic governance is utopian at best and foolhardy at worst. Critics point to Ethereum’s DAO and the ensuing hard fork as a bailout of sorts — the crypto equivalent of the windfalls Washington bestowed on Wall Street during the Great Recession.

Other criticisms point to the notion that incentives aren’t powerful enough to keep bad actors in line, or that governance systems, depending on structure, give these bad actors mechanisms to game the system and circumvent checks and balances.

Bisq’s own governance is twofold. Voter clout is determined on a weighted basis (how many BSQ tokens you own) and on merit (your reputation on the network). Voting based on token count is a red flag for many — it’s one of the reasons people look at EOS’ block producer elections as a pay-for-play playground, for instance. When asked if he felt that a stake-based voting model might enable vote buying and give the 1 percent an opportunity to out-influence the other 99, Jain noted optimism around the intentions of stakeholders.

“[To vote you must] allot a certain amount of the BSQ you own for your voting weight,” he said. “You must own this BSQ, and yes, you can buy as much of it as you want on the open market. We think that’s fair. Presumably, assuming no bad intentions, someone with a lot of money who really believes in the Bisq network may want to buy a lot of BSQ to have a big influence in its decisions.”

He continued to qualify that merit “is worth more than pure stake weight.” Basically, someone who contributes to the network has more of a say in voting than someone who bought their tokens; if I earn 10,000 BSQ tokens, for example, even if I sell them, my vote holds more clout than someone who bought 10,000 BSQ on the market. Merit will decay on an annual basis, as well, meaning contributors have to keep working on the ecosystem to maintain or bolster their reputations.

“Lastly, the merits ‘stack,’ so if I have 10,000 BSQ of merit and 5,000 BSQ in my BSQ wallet, I can stake 5,000 BSQ for a combined voting weight of 15,000 BSQ,” Jain said.

With this governance structure in place, Jain emphasized that one of the most significant — and exciting — differences with this version upgrade is that contributors can finally get paid for their work. This work, he continued, includes “growing liquidity, expanding to new markets and finally integrating SegWit.” Lightning Network integration is a bit further off, though, as it doesn’t fit well into Bisq’s complex architecture.

Even as the DAO is launched and Bisq has achieved a greater degree of decentralization than before, Jain said that Bisq’s community is “focused on further decentralizing the network.” This means a new trading scheme which removes arbitrators from the multisignature process and replaces them with mediators “for a more private, quick and decentralized trading experience where less trust is required.”

Ultimately, he concluded, the idea and final goal is that “users shouldn’t have to trust Bisq for anything.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Microsoft Azure Now Supports RSK Smart Contracts

Microsoft Azure

RIF Labs has announced the integration of its public blockchain, RSK Smart Contracts, on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace. The RSK Smart Contract Network is an open-source platform that seeks to extend the functionality of Bitcoin using smart contracts and the Azure Marketplace is an app store for Microsoft’s cloud computing service.

Prior to the integration, RIF Labs customers had to deploy local servers while manually setting up and maintaining nodes for running the blockchain. With the addition of RSK Smart Contracts on the marketplace, users can have an RSK blockchain network set up in minutes via Azure.

Adrian Eidelman, RSK strategist and RIF Labs CTO, believes the integration with Microsoft’s marketplace allows DApp developers to keep their focus on the product development now that node deployment has been settled.

“DApp developers can now focus on building their product, since they don’t have to worry anymore about spending hours in setting up and maintaining the node,” Eidelman explained in a company statement shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “Microsoft’s support will be key to accelerate adoption of RSK technologies and the Bitcoin ecosystem.”

RSK Smart Contracts is the latest public blockchain to be supported by the Azure Marketplace.

Sajan Parihar, director of Microsoft Azure, explained why the Azure marketplace is so pivotal for developers.

“Through Microsoft Azure Marketplace, customers around the world can easily find, buy, and deploy partner solutions they can trust, all certified and optimized to run on Azure,” Parihar said in the statement. “We’re happy to welcome RSK Smart Contracts to the growing Azure Marketplace ecosystem.”

RIF Labs’ integration with Microsoft will also prove crucial for the blockchain startup in the future, as it gets set to launch new protocol implementations for its RIF OS. The increased ease of setting up nodes will provide an opportunity to expand the RSK network for far less cost and storage space rental on the nodes themselves could provide the opportunity for developers to earn mining rewards.

In 2018, RSK Labs was acquired by RIF Labs, an acquisition that saw the smart contract platform expand beyond Bitcoin’s blockchain.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Nick Spanos: Saudi Arabia Is “Kicking the Tires — and That’s Huge”

Nick Spanos: Saudi Arabia Is "Kicking the Tires — and That's Huge"

In line with its Vision 2030 commitment to become the world leader in blockchain adoption, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco oil company is partnering with Nick Spanos and his company Zap.org to put Saudi oil industry management and accounting on the blockchain.

Second only to the U.S. in world oil production, Saudi Arabia sees an opportunity to pull ahead and become the number one oil producer in the world.

Saudi Arabia’s petroleum sector accounts for 42 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, 87 percent of their budget revenues and 90 percent of export earnings.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Nick Spanos, CEO and co-founder of Zap.org, and founder of Blockchain Technologies Corp and the Bitcoin Centre NYC, talked about the Saudis’ enthusiasm for blockchain technology:

“Saudi Arabia is kicking the tires, and that’s huge. As part of their ambitious Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia as a whole is doing everything it can to modernize and diversify their economy. It means they’re open to doing things differently — and to doing big things with blockchain,” said Spanos.

Everyone we meet is thrilled about the potential of blockchain. It’s not just for oil, and you’ll see a lot come from here very soon.

Eliminating Fraud and Human Error in the Oil Industry with EnergyLedger

Spanos is working with the Aramco company to build a secure supply management chain and smart contracts on the blockchain using a DApp called EnergyLedger. As Spanos explains:

“Since the beginning of oil production, there’s never been a way to truly secure and track the process to prevent fraud, nor any way to automate the chain-of-custody and settlements to virtually eliminate the window for human error. All of this is now possible.

“Zap.org’s next-generation smart contracts are revolutionizing blockchain applications everywhere, and we also realized that the energy sector needed a dedicated, custom solutions provider, so Zap.org is powering EnergyLedger, the killer decentralized application for oil and gas.”

How It Works

The existing oil infrastructure — flow meters, pipelines, barrels, tanks, terminals and trucks — are tied into the Internet of Things and onto the blockchain, via Zap.org’s oracles.  

Each time a barrel is produced, it will be matched with a utility token generated from that particular flow meter, which constantly reports to the smart contract.

At each point in the process, from upstream to downstream, that barrel will be tracked and everyone involved in the process — the contractors, the tax collectors, the truckers — will only be paid at the moment that they’ve verifiably performed what needs to be done for that barrel.

It’s all automated, and overhead costs will be slashed as thousands of accountants, finance professionals and back office traders will no longer be needed.

The U.S. Oil Industry Falls Behind in Blockchain Adoption

According to Investopedia, the world’s top five oil producers in 2016 were the U.S. (14.86 m. b/d), Saudi Arabia (12.39 b/d), Russia (11.24 m. b/d), China (4.87 m. b/d) and Canada (4.59 m. b/d).

While the U.S. oil industry hasn’t embraced blockchain technology, Spanos says that there are many other oil-producing nations looking to use it. He says:

“There’s [blockchain] activity on most continents, notably in Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, UAE, China, Singapore, Nigeria, Russia and more. They’ve reported that they’ve already implemented blockchain or are testing it for wider applications.”

“The U.S. appears to be lagging; we have yet to hear of anyone in the U.S. industry testing blockchain, other than a small drilling firm in Texas that we just began working with.”

Spanos agreed that it was odd that all of the high-profile oil industry blockchain trials are happening outside of the U.S. but suspects that it won’t be the case for much longer.

“One reason is the regulatory climate, in which blockchain industry startups choose instead to create hubs abroad, where there isn’t this cloud of doubt hanging over them from what the regulators will do to the industry,” says Spanos.

“Even as the regulatory environment under the new president has become more favorable, blockchain will still go a long way to helping with regulatory compliance. The cost savings along the line will bring costs — and prices — down for the U.S. consumer and manufacturing.”

Spanos concluded that the U.S. oil industry will likely be converting to a blockchain soon.

“America is heading toward energy independence, and if it wants to remain competitive and continue this trend, then it will seek to match or surpass what the competition is doing — and they won’t be doing it the same way for much longer,” Spanos noted.

Anyone who does not implement what blockchain has to offer, in some way or another, will fall behind. The benefits are just too immense.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

世界のトップMBAプログラムを提供する大学らは暗号通貨とブロックチェーンに関するクラスを新設

世界のトップMBAプログラムを提供するスタンフォード大学のビジネススクール、ペンシルベニア大学のウォートンスクール、ジョージタウン大学のMcDonough ビジネススクールは、暗号通貨とブロックチェーンに関するクラスを新たに新設する。 ペンシルベニア大学のウォートンスクールの教授であるKevin Werbach教授は、「Blockchain、Cryptocurrency、Distributed L […]

Sierra Leone and the Blockchain Election That Wasn’t

Sierra Leone and the Blockchain Election That Wasn't



The big news on March 8, 2018, was that Sierra Leone had just run the first blockchain-based election. The big news in the days and weeks that followed, however, became that the government of Sierra Leone was denying that it happened.

In a press release from Swiss-based blockchain technology company Agora on March 8, 2018, the company led off with this statement: “Sierra Leone’s 2018 presidential elections, which took place on March 7th, represents the first time in history that blockchain technology has been used in a national government election. West District’s results were registered on Agora’s unforgeable blockchain ledger, and the tally made publicly available days before the usual manual count.”

The press release goes on to mention that the company is an internationally accredited observer and how results were posted within hours of the polls closing and various advantages to using their blockchain-based voting technology.

Soon after, the story started breaking around the web that Agora, as the only company in the world with a fully-functional blockchain voting platform, had just run the first blockchain-based election for Sierra Leone.

The results for this election are still unclear and a runoff election will be held on March 27, 2018; however, controversy over Agora’s claims erupted soon after the mainstream media began to pick up on the story.

On March 19, the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (NEC) sent out the following tweet:

pic.twitter.com/8cLMVvQPkQ

— National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (@NECsalone) March 19, 2018

The NEC also posted the election results online. According to RFI, the NEC confirmed that Agora had only been given observer status for the polls and that the company’s involvement was not official, which partially matches what Agora asserted. The NEC also stated that Agora only performed a vote tally in two of their western districts, which is reflected in the press release, and that their results were different than the official results provided by the NEC, which is not reflected in the press release.

The Sierra Leone Open Election Data Platform (SLOEDP) also sought to set the record straight with this tweet:

Please help the people of Sierra Leone stop @AgoraBlockchain, @Daniel_Finnan @DelRayMan @BrandonWeber_UP @thenextweb @Futurism @RosiePerper @johnbiggs @rjmarvin1 @theYomiKazeem promoting FAKE NEWS HEADLINES about the use of blockchain during Sierra Leone’s Elections.

— OpenElections SL (@OpenElectionssl) March 16, 2018

The SLOEDP further explained its position in this Medium post, focusing both on the misleading statement in the original Agora press release and on the follow-up media reports in dozens of publications from Slate to RFI that echoed the claims. The SLOEDP response details the work they put into the election. SLOEDP is proud of the work they accomplished and were not happy with the minimization of their efforts and credit being attributed to another organization.

Agora responded to the backlash resulting from the conflicting news reports to clarify exactly what happened. They confirmed that they attended the election as an international observer, which was in their official press release, and they showed proof that they were accredited by the NEC as such.

Agora pointed out that their participation in the election was intended as a proof of concept of their technology — a distinction that was clearly stated in their Telegram channel and in various interviews but less clearly in the original press release. They laid out a timeline, the procedures of how votes were counted; a side-by-side comparison of the numbers from their efforts and the NEC; and screenshots of various tweets, Facebook posts, Telegram discussions and website postings to further support their position.

When Bitcoin Magazine reached out to Agora about their statement, Agora COO Jaron Lukasiewicz said, “I take responsibility for any misunderstandings that exist in the media. We have made an official statement that includes hard facts about our accredited role in the election. As a company, we will now turn our focus back onto building technology for our next election.”

Voting on the blockchain is a natural choice for reduced costs and enhanced integrity. These proofs of concept are necessary to prove the technology and establish trust, and while we are likely still years away from a country allowing their entire election to be run on a blockchain, it is something the world could really use. You don’t have to think too hard to come up with a reason that a government would be against visibility in an election.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

世界で6番目の規模を持つ香港証券取引所はブロックチェーンの実装に注力する

香港証券取引所(HKEX)は、コア・プロセスへのブロックチェーン技術の実装に、オーストラリア証券取引所(ASX)の専門知識を活用する。 2年間のテスト後、オーストラリア証券取引所は、ポストトレード決済プロセスにブロックチェーン技術を実装する世界で初めての取引事業者となった。ブロックチェーンプラットフォームは、ニューヨークに本社を置くDigital Assetによって開発され、ASXを投資家および株 […]