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Polish Bank Verifies Documents With Ethereum Blockchain

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Alior Bank, one of the 10 largest banks in Poland has adopted a public Ethereum blockchain authentication feature which would allow clients to verify documents. This feature would enable clients to be able to verify the authenticity of the documents by giving them clues on whether the said document was really issued at first, the exact wording of it and when it was issued. The clients only have to follow a website link to its spot on the public Ethereum blockchain.

The reason for this development stems from the changing  regulations in Poland in 2017 where the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ruled that a page on a bank’s website that is prone to change does not qualify as all banks are required to grant customers’ access to documents in the form of a“durable medium.”

According to the report the blockchain solution was developed in response to the above regulatory requirement and thus, Alior established what it calls “the Blockchain Center of Excellence last October to complete the project.”

Tomasz Sienicki, blockchain strategy lead at Alior, commented thus; “our mission is to be disruptive, so we want to provide innovative solutions, and we want other banks to follow us as well. We welcome if somebody copied our solution. We are showing that it’s possible to use public blockchain even if some people think it’s impossible.” He went further to say that “we want people to verify that we did everything right and we don’t conceal anything. If we say the documents are actually verified and authentic, everybody can check it and confirm. That’s not possible using a private blockchain.”

This initiative of harnessing the public ethereum blockchain for authentication of documents was born in Alior’s innovation lab, but later on,” we managed to convince our management that a dedicated team should be set up on just blockchain issues. Everybody can copy this code and use it for his or her purposes. We encourage people to do so, ” Sienicki said.

Since this feature uses a smart contract that stores hashes of documents, clients can browse the documents they have received and search their history to find where those documents are located on the blockchain to ensure that they have not been changed or altered.

Following from this,  Piotr Adamczyk, Alior’s blockchain technology Lead who was in charge of writing the code for the project said; “we know exactly in which block of ethereum the document with a given hash is published. If we know the block number, we also know the timestamp. We know that the document was published some time ago and hasn’t been changed in that time [if the hash stored on the blockchain is identical to the hash calculated from the document], so we can prove it hasn’t been replaced on our servers.”

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Jamie Dimon Claims Libra Will Soon Be Everyone’s Talk

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Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of  JPMorgan Chase, a global financial services firm, has been reported to claim that Facebook’s  Libra project is going to be the talk of many people. Thus, he believes that it does not pose a threat in the near future. Jamie Dimon made this known during a conference call with analysts.

During the speaking, Dimon asserts that talks about Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra, has been going on for seven years yet nothing significant has happened. He then avers that about three years from now, we are going to be talking about the project.

“To put it in perspective, we’ve been talking about blockchain for 7 years and very little has happened. We’re going to be talking about Libra three years from now. I wouldn’t spend too much time on it.” He claims.

Dimon added that there is no need for competition rather a leveled playing ground is better. And that since no one aids terrorism or criminal activities, there will be an insistence from the government on conformance to the the  rigorous anti-money laundering rules.

“We don’t mind competition,” Jamie Dimon said. “The request is always going to be the same: We want a level playing field. And governments are going to insist that people who hold money or move money all live according to rules where they have the right controls in place; no-one wants to aid and abet terrorism or criminal activities.”

Jamie Dimon’s statements, especially as it regards to regulation in order to curb terrorism or criminal activities, can be taken to come on the heels of Donald Trump’s tweets and Steven Mnuchin’s press conference in support of Trump. These two figures have spoken badly about the ability of cryptocurrencies to facilitate illicit activities.

Steven Mnuchin is the United States Treasury Secretary. He  recently echoed Donald Trump’s tweet posts on the negative use of cryptocurrencies.

“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity, like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, randomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking” … “I think to a large extent, these cryptocurrencies have been dominated by illicit activities and speculation.”

Mnuchin then quotes Trump saying: “Bitcoin is highly volatile and based on thin air’”… “Treasury takes very seriously the role of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.”

Let us recall at this juncture that Jamie Dimon as the CEO of JPMorgan firm  is reportedly expecting to project its own digital token known as JPM Coin by the end of 2019.

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The dark side of remittances we don’t see

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Statistically, there are about 164 million migrant workers around the globe, the majority of which are Africans in the diaspora that have left their families back at home in search of greener pastures and these migrant workers send a large chunk of their earnings to support their families.

Over the years we could see that the remittances inflows that constitute the money transfer business form a reasonable part of GDP income for most countries experiencing economic hardship, countries like the Philippines which have the highest migrant population in the world suffer from this experience the most. Regardless of the constant attention, we see countries like the US give the issue of migrants the global remittance industry keeps flourishing by the day as it keeps increasing in size and level of competitiveness

The dark side we don’t see

Although it may look very simple at first glance the remittance industry is a vast and sprawling network with various intermediaries. We could also easily see that at the most basic level at any time it involves parties which include

  • ‌the sender
  • ‌local agent
  • ‌money transfer operator
  • ‌foreign agent
  • ‌The receiver

Western Union PayPal and MoneyGram judging by their performance over the years have been seen to offer the best global remittance services, western union is renowned for their high commission as their services are costly and even if we could say that it should cost something for these services to be rendered, it does not take away the fact that there is a good measure of exploitation involved in the whole process as good percentage of whatever is to be sent is deducted before it gets to the receiver. PayPal came into the picture after a while a become a major competitor which we could say would have slashed the monopoly that might have existed in the system but for persons familiar with the services you could see that even they too had their dark side as the level of scrutiny involved when using their platform could get so extreme that you experience lockdown on funds which could have urgent need to the receiving party only for PayPal to hide under the pretext of investigating funds, this is not to mention the discrimination that we see clearly take place as IP addresses of countries which are perceived to be “low classed” are prevented from using their services

Light at the end of the tunnel

With the advent of cryptocurrencies we can already see the potential for a lot to change as this not only eliminates all of the problems previously stated but further reduces the gap between sender and receiver through speed of transfer thereby slowly eliminating any possible need for a third party except of course there happens to be a hybrid system to make both parties more efficient. Blockchain has come to change the way we do a lot off things

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Why Trump’s bashing on bitcoin is a milestone achieved to cryptocurrencies

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On the 12th of July the president of the United States of America issued a statement on his tweet stating that he is not a fan of bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, while this could be seen to some as a negative turn of events for cryptocurrencies, so many enthusiasts saw this as a step in the right direction considering the fact that the president before now has decided to remain silent on the subject matter, but as it has been making waves recently he decided to take his opinion out through his tweet

Positive or not, for proponents, this obviously marked a psychological milestone seeing that his need to bash bitcoin further buttresses the fact that it is independent of global powers and also reflects their helplessness to be able to do anything to crush it, Coinbase CEO Brain Armstrong stated in one a response to Donald Trump’s tweet as one of the leading responses.

Armstrong’s reply actually reflected the disposition of other bitcoiners as most are thankful for the free publicity that has been given to cryptocurrencies noting a sudden surge in interest as documented by Google trends. Although judging from an objective standpoint of view it is noteworthy to state that Trump’s point of view was not just antagonistic but reflected some level of ignorance especially considering the fact that he found it difficult to consider the technology behind the birthing of cryptocurrencies as nothing but illegal as it has been proven over the very short existence of blockchain that aside from cryptocurrencies there are applications in other aspects of life, other cryptocurrency enthusiasts who have made remarkable contribution to the space also made some replies as Max Keiser, the RT host and regular Bitcoin bull, considered Trump to have nullified his chances of reelection in 2020(even though this is debatable considering the fact that this depends on many other factors) , while eToro senior analyst, Speculations have already been got about as to whether or not this would lead to a bull run as Mati Greenspan, described the words of the president as an early nomination for the most bullish tweet of the year, even though we could say that this makes a good premise to create a fundamental analysis this event does not guarantee any bull run, however, it is expedient to state that cryptocurrencies are beginning to gain more recognition especially with the introduction of libra into the world of cryptocurrencies. These are exciting times for any crypto enthusiasts and we can only sit back and watch the events as they unfold.

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Africa Blockchain Alliance Calls for Applications to the Second Cohort of the Africa Blockchain Developer Program

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Africa Blockchain Alliance has announced the opening of applications for the second cohort of the Africa Blockchain Developer Program.

The program was launched earlier this year in partnership with ConsenSys Academy, the educational arm of ConsenSys, a market-leading blockchain technology company.

According to Africa Blockchain Alliance, their vision with the program is to train 1000 blockchain developers across Africa and empower them with the tools they need to leverage blockchain to solve some of the pressing problems in Africa and the world.

Through the partnership with ConsenSys Academy, developers in Africa will have access to ConsenSys Academy’s on-demand developer course at a significantly discounted rate.

The developers on the course will have access to dedicated mentors who will have weekly office hours with them for 1 to 2 hours per week and answer their questions daily. Developers will also have unlimited access to an online forum with over 2,000 developers who are all current and past developers trained by Consensys Academy.

 

The program will run for a period of 11 to 12 weeks (approximately 3 months) starting from August 2019. On successful completion of the program, graduates will be issued certificates on the Ethereum blockchain and given the opportunity to work on blockchain projects in Africa and around the world.

The first cohort of the program is graduating this month. The cohort was made up of developers from 7 African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Morocco.

One of the developers from the first cohort had this to say about the program;

“This course is great. It teaches you about the blockchain ecosystem and how they interact with each other. You’ll learn how to use tools such as Truffle, Solidity, Ganache etc. It’s a course that’s for anyone going into blockchain development.” ~ Valentine Ahiwe (Nigeria)

 

Africa Blockchain Alliance will also be sponsoring a number of developers to the program through a $10,000 grant from Consensys Grants for the program. Developers that cannot afford the full cost of the program can apply for the scholarship.

You can find out more about the program and apply from the program website: https://afriblockchain.org/developer/

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