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Dapp Platform Near Raises $12.1 Million From Metastable, Accomplice

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Near Protocol, a San Francisco-based platform for developing decentralized applications, has raised $12.1 million in venture capital.

Hedge Fund Metastable Capital and venture firm Accomplice led the oversubscribed round.

Near is developing, but hasn’t yet launched, the NEAR Protocol, a “sharded,” proof-of-stake blockchain. The protocol differentiates itself from competitors like EOS or Tron by running parallel computations on sharded sections of the network to boost throughput.

Additionally, “parallelism” could allow the network to linearly scale as more nodes join, eliminating network capacity limits. Meta transactions, contract-based accounts and gas fee rebates are also available at the protocol level.

“We believe that Near’s developer-friendly proof-of-stake protocol will usher in a new wave of decentralized applications and give power back to end users,” said Ash Egan, who directs crypto investments at Accomplice.

Near intends to use the funds to recruit more developers and build-out a mainnet of its platform, which is currently operating in beta. The beta protocol currently has fewer than 10 users, though, “we are in contact overall with 75 projects at the moment,” said CEO Alex Skidanov.

Long term, Near’s aspirations run much deeper. Said Skidanov:

“Assembling a world-class development team and creating the technology is really just the first step – the next is launching a global movement that puts blockchain technology in the hands of the developers and entrepreneurs who will carry it to consumers everywhere via the apps and businesses they create.”

To get there, Near will focus on a fair token distribution, adoption by both validators and companies, and capturing a significant portion of the existing blockchain market.

Other round participants include Electric Capital, Pantera Capital and Amplify Partners, as well as contributions from Coinbase Ventures and Ripple’s Xpring, among others.

Said Pantera partner Paul Veradittakit:

“The Near team is focused on building developer tools and creating an ecosystem that is inclusive of developers, designers, and business development backgrounds, which differentiates them from most other projects in the space.”

source:coindesk.

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WATCH: A FinTech Lawyer Breaks Down Libra’s Legality

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Joel Telpner, Chair of Fintech and Blockchain Practice Group at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, isn’t surprised that Facebook is getting a grilling on Capitol Hill. In fact, he’s pleased.

“These are attacks on Facebook itself that really has nothing to do with crypto has nothing to with Libra it’s just Facebook being bad boys you know [they’re] concerned about [their] privacy policies,” he said.

His point, quite simply, is that any scrutiny of crypto in DC is vital.

“Parts of the hearing so far where they’ve actually been able to get into conversations about Libra and about crypto have been interesting because on that side of it you’ve seen some Senators that have been skeptical,” he said. “But overall it’s kind of it’s been encouraging to hear some of the senators talking about ‘Hey, this is a good thing.’”

Telpner joined CoinDesk editor Pete Rizzo in a wide-ranging conversation about the legality of Libra and, in the end, what Facebook and the Government will have to do to come to terms with the future of crypto.

You can read our complete Libra coverage here and watch our CoinDesk LIVE interviews here.

source:.coindesk.

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Freedom over Facebook: How the social media giant could wield the most powerful censorship tool in history

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Blockchain has been the buzzword in the tech industry for the past few years since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have surpassed other assets in terms of value. Bitcoin seems to satisfy one use case and sticks to it while other projects have forked, built and innovated on Bitcoin’s core promise of a decentralized, trust-less environment of immutable transactions. Notably, Ethereum opened up a world of decentralized applications or DApps that are being customized, designed and implemented to suit various use cases in different industries.

These distributed apps have one thing in common, they enable industry collaboration through transparency and security. One of the sectors that have been the focus of tech startups for a long time is the healthcare sector. Not only is it a critical sector but it also involves numerous stakeholders and actors coming together for the well-being of patients. Hospitals, different doctors, specialists, healthcare professionals, insurance companies, medical record maintainers, pathology labs and numerous other specialized service providers need to work in tandem for a seamless experience for a patient.

The Challenge

This creates a challenge for every service provider since they need to deal with data at a micro level but still need to have an overview of patient’s data that may be stored with some other entity. For example, an insurance provider will provide one specific service but they might need data about the patient’s health from the pathology lab, an opinion from the patient’s doctor, their expense report from the hospital, etc.

This data is usually hosted either on paper or on an individual business server. The industry has strict rules about privacy and the sharing of this data. The information held by these professionals is absolutely personal to the patient and hence utmost care is required to protect it.

The HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] provides strict guidelines about managing and protection of this information.

This creates difficulties and bureaucratic procedures for the transfer of patient’s data and has given rise to a host of tech startups aiming to create a repository of centralized Electronic Medical Records [EMR] data. What EMRs would do is store all the information related to a patient’s healthcare in one place and provide specific access to different stakeholders as and when authorized by the patient.

But this creates a challenge in itself because the patient should be able to trust this one entity with all their data. It creates a single point of weakness that can be exploited, thereby rendering all the information vulnerable to attack.

Blockchain Solution

With the advent of blockchain, this problem can be solved. Blockchain provides an encrypted way of storing a patient’s information in a distributed database that can only be accessed by the patient’s authentication. Blockchain enables different stakeholders to write information to this database that runs on various “nodes” and each transaction is validated by a set of miners that solve mathematical algorithmic puzzles to ensure authenticity and trustworthiness of a node.

A hospital could upload the data about the patient’s treatment, the pathology lab could upload their medical records and only the patient could access these with the key. The selected list from these records could be sent to the insurance provider. The insurance provider could write data once their process is done. This creates a safe environment for every service provider to store, read and write data. This would not be possible without Blockchain’s pseudonymous encrypted data storage abilities.

Blockchain companies like Duality Solutions have come up with solutions like Blockchain as a Service [BaaS] where they take care of complete setup and maintenance of a blockchain setup for healthcare providers. Duality has a bouquet of solutions that take care of all back-end tasks such as setting up the servers, node setups, security, configurations, and maintenance.

Conclusion

Blockchain is said to be as revolutionary as the internet. Healthcare has been pegged to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this revolution. EMR is one critical use case. Technology will make it simpler and seamless for all the service professionals and the patient.

Source: ambcrypto

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Pundi X Launches Africa’s First Blockchain Smartphone

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While at the GSMA Mobile 360 Africa event on July 16, 2019, Pundi X, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) startup  launched XPhone, a blockchain-based smartphone in Kigali, Rwanda. XPhone is the first blockchain-powered smartphone to be unveiled in Africa, reportsNewtimes on July 17, 2019.

First Blockchain-based Smartphone to be Launched in Africa

Per the report, Pundi X has released XPhone, the first blockchain-based smartphone launched in Africa. The XPhone can make calls, text, take photos and surf the net amongst other things with the help of the distributed ledger technology.

As a result, it bypasses local service providers in Rwanda such as MTN and it is decentralized in nature without any third parties involved in its transmission, ensuring that the user’s data remains private.

XPhone also differs from other smartphone devices because it is neither powered by Android, iOS, nor Windows Operating systems, but the Function X (FX) OS which is based on blockchain technology. The smartphone allows for a seamless transition between traditional Android to blockchain mode..

Pundi X to Release 5,000 XPhones in Late 2019

Notably, the Pundi X team has revealed its intention to release 5,000 XPhones in late 2019 and that it is looking for telecommunication companies to partner with in order to launch more of these devices.

The blockchain company had recently completed integration support on its XPOS module on Verifone’s X990 in a bid to enable retail outlets to process crypto payments as well as fiat transactions. 

Nonetheless, there are regulatory concerns in the Rwanda which may negatively impact on the adoption of its new blockchain phone. Rwanda citizens may also be adamant about adopting the devices due to the sceptical nature people have about complex technologies.

It is, however, remarkable to see an increasing rise in the launch of blockchain smartphones in 2019, even though they are powered with their respective operating systems.

Electroneum, a blockchain company on February 25, 2019, launched a low-cost blockchain smartphone which features the company’s cloud mining technology and mobile crypto mining app to enable users to earn its ETN native token. 

In the same vein, technology company Sirin Labs which launched its Finney blockchain smartphone in 2018 announced on March 21, 2019, that it will be integrating MyEtherWallet into the phone. BTCManager on April 29, 2019, also informed that the electronics giant HTC is planning the launch of a second-generation blockchain-based smartphone by the second quarter of the year.

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