Blockchain & IT Infrastructure
Advancements in blockchain technology have certainly had a major impact on the cryptocurrency market. As new tokens present alternatives to old financial systems, many people are perhaps overlooking the power of blockchain technology behind the projects themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest blockchain projects on the market today and how they can potentially influence the future of IT infrastructure.
When most people think of file storage from a traditional standpoint, it seems like a binary system. Either you have enough storage or you don’t. Just a few decades ago, people had to rely upon CDs and floppy disks, which were slow and added very minimal amounts of memory. Of course, external hard drives improved this. Finally, today there are cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, and others that offer some degree of improvement. While these solutions are better, they are still far from optimal.
Blockchain projects like Filecoin (FIL) and Storj (STORJ) could be the solutions that change the future of file storage. First of all, these solutions are considered to be much better than today’s most popular cloud storage products because they promise to have higher bandwidth and fewer unexpected outages. In addition, decentralized file storage applications also address the issue of privacy. Because traditional cloud storage products hold data in centralized databases, every user’s files are at risk of being hacked. In fact, this happened to Dropbox back in 2012 when 68 million users were hacked. The most alarming thing is that the company didn’t even report this issue until 2016. With decentralized file storage solutions, hacks are extremely more difficult to execute, and any data breach wouldn’t affect nearly as many users.
Another vital component driving the adoption of decentralized file storage is the fact that prices will be much lower than current solutions. That’s because files will be stored across a P2P network instead of via expensive database centers. This will likely be done by using cryptocurrency payments as incentives for individual users to join the network.
Check out our complete guide to decentralized file storage solutions.
Mesh networking has grown from a commercially-used technology to a consumer-level technology in just a few short years. Today’s products like Eero, Luma, and Google Wi-Fi all help to decrease wireless internet connection dead spots and boost connectivity levels for devices. Mesh networks work by adding nodes to Wi-FI network so that devices have multiple possible connection points, not just the single connection point offered by traditional routers and existing IT infrastructure.
Projects like Althea and SmartMesh (SMT) can be applied to solve internet connectivity problems in previously unconnected, remote places as well as those with high network congestion (i.e. sport stadiums and concert venues). Because data with SmartMesh, for example, doesn’t have to go through centralized networks and can instead remain within the mesh network, connection speeds are faster and electricity consumption is lower. Althea goes beyond just offering wireless internet to coffee shops and airports. It offers the ability for communities to create their own decentralized ISPs, which also make browsing private and neutral by default. Decentralized mesh network projects won’t just make the internet itself faster and more widely available but will also advance the capabilities of newer technologies like IoT and IoE.
While the computing power of regular computers is increasing every year, the capabilities of one machine are still no match for that of a supercomputer. That’s why projects like Golem (GNT) and iExec RLC (RLC) have become popular.
Allowing people to buy and sell computing power necessary to complete more complex tasks essentially allows anyone to create a supercomputer from using the power of multiple computers across the network. For now, Golem is focusing on a single use case: CGI rendering. However, as the projects like these continue to develop their technologies, it’s easy to see how this concept could also be applied to solve current computation limitations. For example, scientific modeling, data science, machine learning, and many more potential applications could all benefit from decentralized computation.
Decentralized computation will allow businesses to scale their IT infrastructure by giving them more computing power at lower costs. Instead of having to buy a supercomputer which could run in the millions or even billions of dollars, businesses could one day have access to a similar level of computing power at a fraction of the cost. The best part about this model is the flexibility it can offer for those needing extra computing power. Instead of having to buy a large amount of dedicated equipment, users would simply pay the network only when extra amounts of computation are required.
File storage, mesh networks, and computation will all see the benefits of advancements in blockchain technology. Even though the above-mentioned projects have already produced some promising results, there could very well be even more projects that will change these and other important sectors of IT. In the coming years for IT infrastructure, we will likely see increased security and privacy as well as decreasing costs.
Examining the Reported Fall in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investments in the Year 2019
Examining the Reported Fall in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investments in the Year 2019
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The year 2019 witnessed a sharp drop in Blockchain and cryptocurrency investments as suggested by a report. This year’s investment data fell short compared to last year’s as enthusiasm wanes on the part of investors. 2019 may have been an eventful year for bitcoin as it shot into prominence both with investors and multi corporations; however, it lacked the propensity to increase enthusiasm amongst investors to strike a deal. A recent report indicates a sharp drop in private funding including initial coin offerings (ICOs) and venture capitals in the year 2019.
Comparing the last year 2018 investments with this year 2019, only a quarter of last year’s investment has only been recorded this year 2019 on investments through ICO and venture capital.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investments
The eventuality began in December 2018 with a nose-diving crash of cryptocurrency price points, the worst ever to be recorded in the last two years. The year 2018 had started on a very good note with an impressive market cap which went down right as the year ended. Though there was a slight improvement to this, investments still went below the mark. This could be attributed to other currencies not carrying so much weight as bitcoin. So the impact was minimal. Other currencies have failed to arouse the interest of the investors like bitcoin which accounts for a whopping 70% of valuation recorded so far. Years 2017 and 2018 were historic in the record of blockchain and cryptocurrency investments as there was a push up in this regard, however, this could only be attributed to bitcoin’s impressive market cap.
The market, however, took a downturn resulting in the reduction of venture funding of upcoming crypto-based companies. Private funding reduced by close to 50% in the year 2019 as when compared to the year 2018. This may depict that interest may be waning in Blockchain and cryptocurrencies ultimately force dropping the investment as well.
There is however light at the end of the tunnel as all hopes are not lost. Two leading cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, and a South Korean exchange have raised three hundred million dollars ($300 million) all together in rounds of funding.
Chinese Blockchain Firm GXChain Raided by Police
Chinese authorities cracked down on a high-profile blockchain company that provides data services to online peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders.
The police in the eastern city of Hangzhou on Wednesday raided and sealed the office of Hangzhou Cunxin Data Technology Co., the operator of blockchain project GXChain. The police told Caixin that further information will be disclosed later.
Phone calls to the company’s founder and Chief Executive Huang Minqiang and another employee by a Caixin reporter wouldn’t go through. Chinese bitcoin tycoon Li Xiaolai, a major investor with a 7.5% stake in the company, declined to comment.
The reason for the crackdown was unknown, but some said they suspected it may be related to the company’s personal credit data business.
“I have no idea why the police took action against GXChain,” said Dovey Wan, founding partner of blockchain-based investment company Primitive Ventures, on Twitter Wednesday. “The trigger might be their data business—they sell processed personal credit data, which is a highly sensitive area now in China.”
Wan also posted a video on Twitter showing GXChain’s office gate being sealed by police and saying “all executives of the company are now with the police for interrogation,” citing a source close to Hangzhou local police.
Founded in 2016, GXChain is a blockchain company that offers data uploading, storage and exchange to enterprises in industries including internet finance.
Among the clients listed on GXChain’s website are Alibaba-backed ZhongAn Technology, online loan search platform Rong360.com and New York-listed P2P lending platform PPDAI Group.
GXChain is known for using data scraping and data crawling to obtain personal credit data from online marketplace Taobao and digital payment platform Alipay. GXChain is one of a few companies that can extract a Zhima Credit score, a private personal credit-scoring program run by Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group. Zhima Credit doesn’t share the scores with any third party, and there are some technical difficulties to extract the data, an industry participant told Caixin.
Data crawlers sometimes could cross the line because clients that buy the data are not authorized to use it, the industry participant said.
GXChain CEO Huang once told Caixin that GXChain’s vision is to return the ownership of data to users, and he expressed outrage over the misuse of personal data by the industry.
Even though GXChain is high-profile in the blockchain industry, it was not included in the first batch of 197 blockchain-based information service providers that were granted registration in March by China’s cyberspace information regulator.
Santander Issues $20 Million End-To-End Blockchain Bond on Ethereum
Major Spanish bank Banco Santander has issued what it claims is the first end-to-end blockchain bond.
In a Sept. 12 news release, the bank revealed that it had issued a $20 million bond directly onto the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, where it will remain until the end of its one-year maturity.
Faster, cheaper and simpler than legacy systems
Santander has claimed that its use of blockchain technology for end-to-end bond issuance represents a first step towards a potential secondary market for mainstream security tokens.
As the news release outlines, Santander issued the $20 million bond — which carries a quarterly coupon of 1,98 — while one of the Santander Group’s units purchased the bond at market price.
Santander Securities Services operated as tokenization agents and custodian of the cryptographic keys used for the issuance, with Santander Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) acting as a dealer.
The transaction was conducted on the public Ethereum blockchain, with Santander securely tokenizing the bond in a permissioned manner. Both the cash used to complete the investment and the quarterly tokens were tokenized, with the bank noting that the high degree of automation involved dramatically reduced the number of intermediaries required for the process.
Noting that the blockchain bond transaction was faster, more efficient and simpler than legacy systems, Santander CIB says it will now engage with its clients to move the initiative from the project stage through to development.
The blockchain bond initiative continues the work begun by Santander’s blockchain lab in 2016, with additional support from London-based fintech Nivaura — backed by Santander InnoVentures — and legal advice from global law firm Allen & Overy.
Last month, Cointelegraph reported that Santander now plans to expand its implementation of Ripple’s xCurrent payments technology to a number of Latin American countries. The bank had first introduced the technology in Spain, Brazil, Poland and the United Kingdom back in April 2018.
Also last month, the World Bank revealed it had raised an additional ~$33 million for its Kangaroo bond due August 2020 using blockchain technology.
The World Bank likewise claimed a first in stating that the initiative represented the first bond that has been created, allocated, transferred and managed through its life cycle using distributed ledger technology.