Geekyrj | Tech That Matters

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

New iOS 13 Concept: Here’s What It Got Right (and Wrong)

We’re still several months away from the announcement of iOS 13, which will likely be unveiled at WWDC ’19. But Apple fans are already getting creative with how they think the new software update will look.
AppleiDesigner recently published an iOS 13 concept “trailer” that manages to pack more than 40 new features and ideas into its 2-minute span. (See below.)
While the features in the video are just creative concepts, some of them are undoubtedly great ideas. Similarly, many of the ideas in the trailer have been backed up by past iOS 13 reports and rumors.
Here are all the features, broken down by how likely they are to be in the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

What It Got Right

Like basically every iOS concept art released over the last few years, the new trailer imagines a systemwide Dark Mode for iOS 13. But unlike past years, it seems like Dark Mode is actually on the table for the next software update.
Some of the app refreshes seem to be on point, too. Even the oldest rumors relating to iOS 13 suggest that Apple is mulling revamps of its core applications.
In the trailer itself, you can see a refreshed interface for both Apple Music and the Camera app. The latter concept app features additional camera settings, video pausing features, and more. The app split-view for larger iPhones also seems probable, since there’s a precedent in Apple’s native applications already.

Multiple users account for iPad is also something we’ve heard rumors about. At the very least, it’s a long-requested feature that frequently shows up on iOS 13 wish lists.
Object smart detection in the Camera app is also something Apple could very well add in iOS 13 since it’s been working hard to improve AI overall and a similar feature is already available on some Android devices.
Lastly, the trailer shows off a Siri suggestion ability in the Messages app. Essentially, it would be a feature that would let users “text” Siri their inquiries. That’s something that Apple has considered itself, per a patent application.

What It Got Wrong

It’s hard to say what the iOS 13 concept trailer “got wrong” because the software update isn’t out yet. But there are still some things to point out.
First and foremost, Apple is expected to refresh the app grid in the next version of its mobile operating system. We’re not sure what that could look like at this point, but the app grid in the trailer looks identical to past versions of iOS.
The trailer also contends that Apple could let users customize their Lock screen components, similar to how complications work on an Apple Watch. 
That’s not too far-fetched, but Apple’s iOS design philosophy doesn’t really translate to much customization.

Finally, the “always-on” display wouldn’t exactly add much functionality to the iPhone, since waking an iPhone to view the clock is pretty simple as it is.
As far as iPad capabilities, the trailer suggests that iOS 13 could add support for a mouse. Based on how Apple views its iOS and macOS platforms as two wholly separate entities, we’re not sure that it would go that far to merge the platforms. At least, not this year.

Unsure Bets

Of course, there are several concept features teased in the trailer that may or may not hit iOS 13. Similarly, the trailer also missed several features that have been rumored.
For example, previous reports suggest that Apple will include improved file management. That may mean additional support for external media devices or file types in the Files app.
Apple is also rumored to be adding tab support for apps, as well as the ability to open two instances of an app side-by-side. Those are both features that didn’t make it into the trailer.
On the other end of the spectrum, while we haven’t heard anything about some of the other ideas shown off in the trailer, they are still great ideas nonetheless.

The less-intrusive designs for incoming calls, Siri, and the volume HUD are arguably long overdue. Other minor abilities, like a feature to close all apps at once, a lock mechanism for apps, and picture-in-picture for iPhones, seem simple enough to add.
Finally, a calculator app for the iPad seems like a no-brainer. There doesn’t appear to any valid reason Apple wouldn’t add one in the next version of iOS.

Report: AirPods 2 with New Black Color, Grippier Texture Coming Soon

Apple’s manufacturing partners may already be mass producing AirPods 2 and AirPower for a rapidly approaching release, according to a new report out of the Far East supply chain.
Supplier Inventec is reportedly producing a new version of AirPods and charging the case with a new surface coating, the Economic Daily News reported. Additionally, the report suggests that the AirPods are also being produced in a new black color variant.
The report also goes on to claim that the new AirPods, as well as Apple’s long-awaited AirPower wireless charging mat, will become available in the spring. Because of EDN’s supply chain focus, it notes that orders for the new products will boost Inventec’s first quarter revenues.
It’s worth noting that it appears that EDN is independently reporting this information from its own sources, rather than rehashing past rumors. Because of that, the Chinese-language report may be further corroboration that AirPods 2 are on their way with a new texture and color option.

The EDN report didn’t elaborate on what the new surface material would be, but past rumors have suggested that the next-generation wireless earbuds could sport a “grippier” texture.
As far as other rumors, the so-called AirPods 2 is expected to feature an updated wireless chip that will allow for always-on Hey Siri and a higher degree of water resistance. Rumors of other additions, like noise cancellation and health monitoring features, have also been circling the blogosphere.
Apple has also essentially confirmed that an upcoming version of AirPods will come with a new case that will be Qi wireless charging (and AirPower) compatible. Presumably, that case will be included with AirPods 2.
It isn’t clear how or when Apple will unveil the new products, however. An upcoming special event on March 25 is rumored to be focused solely on services. While WWDC ’19 is another possible candidate, that event falls in the second quarter of 2019 and doesn’t always feature new hardware.
Apple could always surprise us by debuting new hardware at either event (and WWDC is still technically in the spring). Or it could simply release the updated AirPods and AirPower via press release, as it has done with other products in the past.

New Crypto Fever! Everyone is Checking their iPhones for ₿

In the crypto verse, where we’re all looking for signs of increased adoption with bated breath, even the smallest things can bring hype. Today we have a new one - it seems that almost everyone in the cryptoland is checking their iPhones for the Bitcoin symbol.

It looks like the Google keyboard on iPhones now has a Bitcoin sign when you long press the dollar sign, among all the other currencies. However, no one knows when exactly it was added and why Google's product is not available on Android phones.
To access it, make sure you’re using the Google keyboard, not just the default Apple one, and hold down the dollar symbol to see a pop up of several of the world’s major currency symbols. The Bitcoin symbol is located on the far left. Although the symbol shares some similarities with the Thai Baht currency, the Baht has a single line all the way through - as opposed to Bitcoin’s two lines at the top and bottom of the capital B.
Some enthusiasts have taken this to mean that adoption is coming - while more extreme ones already see a bull run in the future. Although this may not mean anything, a small sign of endorsement is certainly good, especially with the recent rally.
However, this feature is not available on Android phones yet, and there is no indication that it could become available any time soon. Also, not every Google keyboard on the iPhone offers this possibility, as users from Scandinavian countries as well as France claimed on Twitter that they could not find the option. Additionally, some users complain that when they click the symbol, it turns into ₱, the symbol for the Philippine Peso - but it is possible that this is just a temporary glitch.
Meanwhile, PC users may not know that they can type the Bitcoin symbol since June 2017, as it is part of the Unicode 10.0, with code point U+20BF (₿). Since only a few fonts contain the Bitcoin symbol, a special font was created by user Theymos, head administrator of the BitcoinTalk forum. The font consists of only the Bitcoin symbol (BTC) used in the glyph for the capital letter B. The text “BTC” can be entered and styled with this font, causing it to be replaced entirely with just the symbol on those systems that support this font, while on other systems the text “BTC” is retained. Similarly, copying and pasting text will still retain “BTC.” This method is used on BitcoinTalk and the Bitcoin Wiki.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Why Is Edge Computing Gaining Popularity Today?

In this modern era, where things are moving towards digitization, Edge Computing has left no stone unturned to make its way into the business.  Its popularity is growing due to the huge computing demands of cloud users and massive data explosion through IOT. The business associates are finding it the best way to streamline the IOT traffic and facilitate the real-time local data analysis. IIOT i.e. Industrial Internet of Things has paved way to move the data processing close to its source which is its actual industrial machines. A survey says Edge Computing will reach the peak of productivity in the near future.
The growing innovations in Artificial Intelligence and IOT indicate that Edge Computing is likely to gain maturity very soon. The growing popularity of Edge Computing doesn’t mean Cloud Computing is a history. Both, are equally important for the IT infrastructure. They don’t compete with each other because they are here to live forever. The CEO Michael Dell gave a statement recently on Edge Computing “it will be everything and everywhere i.e. Internet of Things which means ultimately it will be the internet of everything.” A recent report predicted, by 2025 the Edge Computing will capture $3.24 billion of the market globally.  Industries like oil and gas, power utilities, aerospace, automotive benefit from Edge Computing to optimize the operations.
Here, are a few benefits of Edge Computing that may prove helpful to the industries:
  • Security: 
With the rise of IoT devices, the threats to the network also increased.  But, Edge Computing provides a high level of security from these vulnerable attacks. The distribution of storage, applications, and processing is carried across a wide range of data centers and devices. This results in securing the network by making it difficult for a single disruption to intrude the network.  IOT devices are vulnerable to cyber attacks but, the distributed architecture of Edge Computing makes it easier to seal the compromised portions instead of shutting down the network.
  • Speed
Speed is one of the important reasons for industries to move towards Edge Computing as it increases network performance by combating latency.  Since the data is processed at a local edge data center, the collected information doesn’t travel too far distances. An expert says, with the help of Edge Computing digital traffic jams are almost guaranteed by 2020.
Edge Computing is capable of reducing Latency which results in a speed increase at the customer’s end. Latency is measured in microseconds rather than milliseconds.  This is the main reason why the speed benefit of Edge Computing can’t be overlooked.
  • Scalability
The companies looking forward to expanding their computing capabilities build a dedicated data center which is an expensive proposition. Also, increasing computing needs and insufficient computing resources were the main reason for the rise of Edge Computing.  It offers scalability to the companies at an affordable cost. The combination of IoT devices and Edge devices allows organizations to flexibly expand their computing capabilities at a low price.
Also, it eases the growth cost since the addition of new devices doesn’t impose the bandwidth demands on the network.
  • Versatility
The Edge computing offers incredible versatile capabilities to the enterprises. Companies are able to target the desired markets using the local edge data centers without expensive investment infrastructure. The organizations are able to offer efficient services with latency. Integration of new IoT devices into the Edge network architecture helps to offer better facilities to the end users without a change in IT infrastructure.  These IOT devices compel the organizations to be a part of the computing world and value the innovations thus, driving its growth.
  • Reliability
Along, with huge security support, it also offers better reliability.  Since the data centers and the IoT devices are placed in the end user’s locality there are fewer possibilities of the network getting affected. Managing vital processing functions natively helps in effective operations of IOT devices. The massive number of Edge data centers makes it very difficult for any disruption to shut the service entirely.  To ensure that there is no breakdown of service, the required data is routed using multiple paths. This helps to offer unparalleled reliability. 
The advantages of Edge Computing are a sure short way for companies to progress in the future.

Here are the few Industries that can leverage Edge Computing in Future:
  • Autonomous Vehicles
It is very important for vehicles to read in real time for all the occurring incidents if, human drivers need to be replaced. The vehicle sensors and backend data centers may take 100 milliseconds for the action which might put the passenger’s life at risk. The 5G network capability and Artificial Intelligence are extremely important for self-driving cars which paved the way to Edge Computing.
The 5G network has an ability to deploy the computing capabilities near to the logical edge of the network thus, forming distributed cellular towers. This may result in high-speed data transmission between the communication towers and vehicles. This will facilitate cars to react faster than humans.
  • Voice Assistance
The AI has extended its limit because of the voice assistant technologies of Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Siri. It is highly predicted that the year 2020 will see 30% of the consumer interactions using voice assistant technology. The increasing consumer needs require advanced AI processing and low latency response time for the effective delivery of end-user interactions. Edge computing can enable the technology to extend its limits beyond the AI’s computational power and data transmission speed. 
To reduce the security risk with voice assistant technology, vendors like Amazon are enhancing their AI capabilities by deploying technology close to the edge. This leads to reducing vulnerabilities as the data doesn’t move across the network.

Edge Computing is likely to cover the entire market due to its increasing demand.  Very soon, Edge Computing will be the reason for technological innovations in the industry. Edge computing is likely to gain popularity in the near future. Very soon the world will be automated using IOT and Edge Computing will be a boon to these IOT automated cities.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

10 Reasons on Why Cloud Computing Makes Your Employees Efficient

Migrating to the cloud is a huge decision and therefore you need to weigh several pros and cons of before making any sort of changes in your infrastructure and the way of working. The ultimate goal of doing any new change in an organization is increasing ROI (Return On Investment); which also directly proportional to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of the employees.
As per the surveys were done in the last decade, the organizations have voted in the favor of adopting cloud computing and said that they are benefitted from this change. Employee productivity has increased in multiple ways like reducing downtime, increasing communication efficiency and collaboration.

Here are 10 reasons on why cloud computing makes your employees efficient –
  •  Reduction in Downtime
Seeing a downtime is a nightmare for the organizations and everyone wants an efficient service so that they hardly ever see this nightmare. Cloud service providers dedicate a special team to look after the smooth running of services for their clients. The technical support team ensures that the issues are responded at a faster rate. These steps help in reduction of the downtime and hence contributes in increasing employee productivity.

  •  Optimum Usage of In-House Resources
To enhance the efficiency of the company for an increased time, the cloud computing team makes sure that the team doesn’t get stressed due to the day-to-day tasks. Instead, the service provider sees to it that the team focuses on the new strategies and customer-specific problems. So, the organization utilizes the IT resources more efficiently and divides the tasks according to the team’s expertise.
  •  Enhancement in the Collaboration
The most known benefit of cloud computing is the ease of access. Employees are having the ease of accessibility by which they can fetch whatever they want from the cloud at anytime and anywhere. The feature of reaching out to the colleagues in real-time irrespective of location and time has given employees a liberty of work. Due to an increase in effective collaboration, companies have reported that productivity is increased by 400%! So, that is quite a big number!

  • Adaption with the Market
The clients after shifting to the cloud, get the ability to use the latest tools and features. The feature of scalability, especially the vertical auto-scaling feature caused a big revolution in the cloud industry. This rise in flexibility gives organizations the power to serve to the heavy load requirements of clients on demand. Having the right and time-saving tools can make the employees more productive.

  •  Integration with Current Systems
Generally, the major amount of cloud computing platforms easily integrates into different software applications. This seamless integration offers various benefits to the employees like switching between the tools instead of the manual passing of the information. Automatic switching between the tools consumes less time and is very likely to be error-free.

  •  Disaster Recovery and Prevention
There are situations where some sort of disaster can occur and wreak havoc on your organization. It may be due to online threats, malware or, ransomware attacks. The disaster recovery services provided by the cloud service providers can help you in dealing with such crisis situations. Due to virtualization, it is now possible to have multiple clones of your data easily available at the data centers.
  •  Increase in the use of own devices
Any internet-connected device has the potential to turn into a work machine depending on the load that device can take and the functions which need to be operated. Employees can now become more responsive on-the-go and hence this increases the productivity.
  • Increased Competitiveness
After the research, many business owners say that they have gained a competitive position in the business race. Implementing cloud computing made them unable to capitalize the opportunities rapidly than other competitors. The technology gives organizations the power of speed and agility. Due to this power, the SMBs can easily come in the competition with bigger companies.
  • Security Services Virtualized Too
With an increasing number of security breaches, ransomware attacks, and online frauds, there is even more necessity of a top-notch security service. Such attacks restrict the employees from getting access to data files, and the downtime can affect the productivity. Reputed cloud service providers have specialized security services which can prevent such threats, and even if they happen, they can make you recover quickly. Thus, this security-as-a-service also increases the productivity of your organization.
  • Efficient Handling of Huge Chunks of Data
Due to cloud computing, handling the enormously increasing data is getting very smooth. Employees can sort, analyze, structure, design, and organize big data in a matter of minutes. Moreover, the data, statistics, and analytics can be easily shared and accessed across the organization, or even several branches of the organization swiftly in real-time. This makes decision-making super easy due to reducing the errors and repetitive efforts on the same tasks which lead to wastage of time.

All in all, cloud computing provides lots of ways which helps in increasing the productivity and efficiency of your organization and obviously in turn, of the employees.

Cloud Hosting: The true successor of digital age

The concept of Cloud Hosting was established in the year 1996 and was brought into existence in the year 2006 by Amazon.  The technology experts predicted that Cloud Hosting would revolutionize all the industries starting from huge gaming industries to small enterprises. Also, the statistics say that it will bring the digital cities into life thus ensuring the availability of digital infrastructures like smart elevators, automated parking lots, driverless vehicles and AI managed farms and power plants.  The internet survey says, by 2020 most of the enterprises and people will recognize the importance of Cloud Hosting and will start effectively using it for accessing the information and applications online. It was poised to bring in the significant transformation in the IT sector by enabling online sharing of computer system resources and high-level services over the internet. The cloud capabilities have improved storing, managing and processing of data over the internet.

A survey predicted that more than 50% of the global enterprises would rely on the clouds by 2020 to contribute their share in the digital transformation of the industries.  Also, 6 billion of the world population will enjoy the luxury of digital cities and will live by 2045. There is an enormous possibility of Cloud Hosting dominating the market in the next decade. Also, SaaS (Software as a Service) will lead to progressive transformations in the era of Cloud Hosting also, sharing half of its market revenue. Social networking sites are the best examples of SaaS as a Cloud Service used today.  Facebook is one of the popular Cloud application where more than 500 million people share and store their data. In 2006 Facebook made a drastic shift from heavy load servers to distributed cloud architecture due to its improved capabilities. Similarly, blogging services like Twitter and WordPress have also started taking advantage of Cloud Computing. Small mid-sized businesses have even started shifting to Cloud usage thus, joining hands with the digital era.

Here are a few lessons how Cloud Hosting will be the foundation of the digital age:

•    Cloud Hosting: Stepping Stone of the Internet

The birth of the internet in the year 1990, took the industry by storm and lead to the dawn of a new era. Cloud Hosting revolutionized internet technology with hardware virtualization and Service-oriented architecture.  Since 1994, the increased capabilities of Clouds have encouraged the small and large scale companies to end spending on the storage of internal digital data. Over the last 20 years, Cloud has become the vital and significant component of the Internet Infrastructure. The data transfer over the internet has become an easy and quick task with Cloud architecture. Every Single person on this earth who uses the internet is taking advantage of the cloud. The next decade will find Cloud computing becoming an integral part of every business entity thus ensuring custom infrastructure with complete data security to flourish in the market.  Cloud facility is enjoyed even by the desk workers who make use of the internet on their computers.

•    Artificial Intelligence

Cloud hosting has given wings to Artificial Intelligence by enabling them to adapt to the upcoming platforms including smartphones.  The industries claim that cloud technology will play a vital role in their AI projects. Flexibility is one of the major reason behind the success of Ai enabled Cloud Computing.  The fusion of Artificial Intelligence and Cloud has transformed the world of Information Technology positively and hence, is believed to be the future of the corporate world.  A survey says, both Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Hosting together will be the core pillars for digital innovation.

Enterprises using a fusion of AI with Cloud are capable of driving the digital innovations using the resources they possess.  Cloud environments store vast volumes of data, and AI feeds on it. More and more access to data enables the AI to behave smarter than humans. 

•    Information Technology Infrastructure: 

Cloud Computing has proved to be a boon to the IT industry. The reason for the significant shift of IT sector from hardware services to Cloud services is virtualized It systems to access the software applications on the internet.  Now a day, most of the software applications are moved to on Public or Private clouds instead of storing it on the hardware thus, reducing the cost. Since managing data is one of the most significant aspects of IT industry they have started moving towards the cloud technology as it minimizes the efforts required to handle and process the data as it becomes the vendor’s responsibility.
The shift of IT industries shows that they believe to focus on the areas they are best at instead of just spending on the IT processes.  

•    Online Streaming:

Initially, movies and songs had to be consumed at theatres. Later, movies could be downloaded once; the user pays for it. But, Cloud technology changed the media industry in such a way that the movies, songs or web series can be consumed online. Netflix, Amazon,, etc. are the best examples of online streaming applications leveraging cloud technology effectively. These applications enable offline availability of data which means, videos and songs can be viewed even without the internet connectivity. The songs and videos can be consumed from anywhere and at any time wit in the application. In other words, once the user logins to his account he can consume the data from any corner of the world.

This positive transformation has led the media Industry to contribute to the digital era.

Conclusion: -

Cloud Hosting offers immense benefits to this digitally connected world.  The coming year will mark the era of digital innovations with Cloud hosting being its successor. In 2019, Cloud Computing will be able to establish itself as the foundation of tomorrows digital city. It will be the key pillar for the digital evolution of the technology environment.

Article Keywords:

Cloud Computing, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Technology, Cloud Services, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Application

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Crypto in 2019: Security Tokens, 'Big Finance' and Project Launches

Cryptocurrency prices are down, yet most other metrics of the activity in Bitcoin and its major rivals suggest that crypto is just as alive as it's ever been. Active Bitcoin address has been steadily increasing since an April low, the number of verified crypto asset users climbed from 18 million to 35 million this year, and the original cryptocurrency recently saw the number of subscribers to its sub-Reddit pass one million for the very first time at the beginning of December.
With such measures suggesting that interest in crypto is actually rising, it’s little wonder that industry experts have told that they expect adoption to increase in 2019. However, most new adoption won't be directed so much at cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, but at new kinds of tokens, and at new blockchain-based platforms and systems, which will be increasingly used by enterprises and institutions
Security tokens and 'big finance'
Even though cryptocurrencies and utility tokens have had a bad year, the expectation among insiders is that security tokens will rise in stature in 2019, driven by a wave of interest from big business and financial institutions.
"With the era of the utility token largely gone, the security token stands to take its place," predicts Brent Jaciow, head of the blockchain at Utopia Music, a blockchain-powered music data tracking platform.
"Backed by established security laws and requiring higher regulatory standards to have a compliant offering, security tokens will likely bring in a new wave of adoption as institutional investors put capital into space and new models are used to 'tokenize' or provide liquidity to just about any asset."
That institutional investors will get increasingly behind security tokens is a prediction also made by Vladislav Dramaliev, the head of digital marketing at æternity, an open source blockchain platform. "2019 will also see big finance emerge as a significant player in crypto markets," he tells "Throughout the global startup ecosystem, as well as with established companies that are willing to go public, security tokens will also gain more traction."
Signs that bigger financial players will step into crypto in 2019 have been increasingly forthcoming in recent months. Towards the end of November, it was reported that Nasdaq, the second-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, would begin allowing Bitcoin futures trading in Q1 2019.
Meanwhile, the Liechtenstein-based Union Bank AG and the Japanese First Bank of Toyama have also announced their own security tokens and/or stablecoins for next year.
The project launches resulting in increased adoption
2017 and 2018 were the years of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO), yet 2019 is estimated to be the year when projects launched on the basis of high-profile token sales will actually begin launching their platforms and products. This can be gleaned from the roadmaps of such notable start-ups as FilecoinSALTKyber Network, and Enigma, which will all have launches, updates or expansions in the New Year.
"In 2019, I expect we will see the first commercial (i.e., consumer-facing) applications of public blockchains go live next year, and the general public will finally experience the benefits that blockchain can bring," says Vladislav Dramaliev.
However, while a number of ICO-funded projects will be maturing in 2019, much of the adoption of blockchain tech and crypto is likely to be driven by established corporations, rather than startups. For instance, payment giant Visa plans to launch its own blockchain-based digital identity system for cross-border payments, and in South Korea, messaging behemoth Kakao plans to launch its proprietary blockchain ecosystem in the first quarter.
Food and supply chains
As perhaps the strongest possible case study of enterprise-led blockchain adoption, one area where blockchains and crypto will make significant inroads next year is the food (and logistics) industry.
For example, the France-based retail giant Auchan recently announced that it will be bringing blockchain-based food tracking systems to its supply chains in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Senegal.
Other organizations – including American restaurant chain Sweetgreen and the South Korean government – are likely to follow Auchan's lead in 2019, not least because food consumers are increasingly hungry (pun intended) for the kind of transparency that blockchain is well-placed to furnish.
Central coins?
2019 could also herald the appearance of a few more central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
Venezuela was (in)famously the first country to issue something similar to a CBDC, Petro in 2018, yet there is growing interesting surrounding them from other nations and institutions, with the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde urging the international community in November to ask itself the question, "should central banks issue a new digital form of money?"
As Lagarde pointed out in her speech, such nations as Sweden, Canada, Uruguay, and China are considering issuing their own CBDCs,
However, it's debatable as to whether this would be a win for the cryptocurrency industry since research suggests that CBDCs don't really need a decentralized blockchain to operate.
A move from speculation to adoption
While centralized coins wouldn't perhaps benefit the core crypto industry, figures within that industry think that 2019 is nonetheless set to be a more successful year for crypto, with the recent market downturn as much of an aid to adoption as a hindrance.
"We are already seeing the positive impacts of the bursting of the speculative bubble," says Muhammad Ali Chaudhary, a co-founder at Inkrypt, an anonymous, decentralized content-hosting solution.
"Blockchain startups are focusing less on huge marketing budgets, and more on core technology development, the days of USD 100 million ICOs with no real product are over traditional venture capital, and with it legitimate scrutiny of startups, have stated to take root in the market.”
“While all these changes might not be apparent to the average crypto/blockchain investor, they will bare fruit in the near future, with launches of real products and marketing that is focused on adoption rather than speculation."

Monday, December 10, 2018

This Banking Giant Begins to Commercialize Blockchain-powered Services

One of South Korea’s largest banks, Shinhan has claimed it has started adopting blockchain technology “in earnest,” claiming that it has already provided some 400 employees with blockchain “education and consulting” and is already beginning to commercialize blockchain-powered services.
The bank claims that it began blockchain-powered Interest Rate Swap (IRS) transactions late last month – the first commercial service to be developed by the bank’s Blockchain Lab unit. The unit has also conducted talks with government and regulatory bodies with a view to potentially expanding its commercial blockchain operations into the foreign exchange and investment sectors.
Shinhan is thought to be keen on exploring the potential uses of both blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Per media outlet Money Today, the bank has also struck a deal with Korbit, one of the country’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, which will allow new Korbit account holders to use real-name banking services for Korean won withdrawals. The bank had previously only allowed existing Korbit account holders to use such services. The government earlier this year issued guidelines that require banks in the country to only allow withdrawals to be made via real-name and social security number-verified accounts.
Shinhan is also working on blockchain technology projects with KT, the South Korean telecom provider that claims it has developed one of the world’s fastest blockchain platforms. The bank has previously expressed an interest in developing a network of ultra-safe cryptocurrency vaults, and struck deals with the likes of Ripple. Its credit card arm has agreed a deal with OmiseGo, an Ethereum-powered payment platform.
Shinhan's global network:
Elsewhere, market-leading exchange Bithumb has released a Beta version of a voting platform that will allow its users to vote on which cryptocurrencies it should list. The exchange says it will monitor the platform “24 hours a day to ensure fair voting,” will bar fraudulent tokens and will review all nominated coins to ensure they are above-board.
Meanwhile, a South Korean blockchain startup is attempting to reverse the country’s blanket ban on all forms of initial coin offering (ICO) by appealing to the constitutional court, reports Segye Ilbo. The company, named Presto, is attempting to conduct a decentralized autonomous initial coin offering (DAICO), and hopes to convince the court of the ICO ban's nonfeasance.
The government is yet to announce if it has changed its stance on the ICO ban following extensive pressure from business groups – despite promising it would do so by the end of November.

Bitcoin and Ethereum Fundamentals Are Tougher than Prices, Expert Says

The fundamentals of Bitcoin and Ethereum networks have not fallen as much as prices have, author of the popular book Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond, Chris Burniske, writes in a blog post. In his research, he found that the fundamentals are outperforming the prices currently, although all of them are down since December 2017 and January 2018.

Although there are many who do not believe cryptocurrency networks have any fundamentals at all, Burniske believes that this role is filled by the health of the supply-siders and demand-siders. Supply-siders are those who provision the network’s service, in most cases miners, and demand-siders are the ones who consume the service. The research focuses on Bitcoin and Ethereum, comparing how fundamentals and network values have performed since December 17th, 2017, and January 13th, 2018 - the peak network values for both.
What he found is that, although network values (“Network Value” = “Price per Unit” x “Units of the Cryptoasset Outstanding”) were down, the number of daily transactions, as well as demand for their native functionality, is not following suit. Hash rates, or processing power of a cryptocurrency network, of both, are up compared to their peaks; although they are on negative slopes, they are still outperforming the price. Another supply-side component is developers, and Burniske writes that according to the internal analysis of venture firm Placeholder, of which he is a partner, those metrics are also outperforming the market.
“Most asset classes have widely agreed-upon models to value them; analysts just bicker over the inputs to those models. In crypto, we currently bicker over both the models and the inputs, hence the insane whiplash of the markets,” Burniske concludes, adding that the growth of network fundamentals is sure to attract analysts which, in turn, will help stabilize the market.
In reply to Burniske’s tweet featuring his article, the crypto community points out that taking the peak values from the December 17 - January 18 time frame means assuming that the market priced network value correctly back then.

“What if at the peak of the mania (at that seems to have been mania phase) [network value] got ahead of fundamentals by, say, 300%? Wouldn't it mean market still searches for a fair price which may be lower? Even if NV/fundamentals equations does not show that?” asks user @Staska.
Burniske wrote about that in a comment on Medium, “We could solve [the overvalued market problem] by looking at the cycles over time, checking in at troughs and peaks, and looking at the relative change in fundamentals and prices between the two. A more time-intensive analysis, but doable.” However, he did not add whether he intends to do such research in the future.
On this potential overvaluation also hangs the question: is the current market drop a justifiable correction? However, with the lack of data, “it’s clear to me that Mr. (Crypto) Market has only a vague idea of what he’s doing right now,” Burniske adds.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Crypto in 2019: the Most Important Regulatory Trends


In July 2018, the small island nation of Malta became the first country in the world to establish a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. And with the second half of 2018 seeing the likes of Russia and India preparing specific national legislation for cryptocurrencies, 2019 is set to become the year in which crypto-regulation becomes more widespread, more formal, and more international.

This could open up new possibilities for the crypto industry as it becomes more legitimate, yet as the experts below informs, it could also close off some previously lucrative areas of activity.
More anti-money laundering regulation
At the very least, 2019 will be the year when strong AML (anti-money laundering) and CFT (combating the financing of terrorism) regulation will be laid down throughout the globe, reaching many of the nations that haven't already introduced such rules.
To a large extent, this worldwide push towards AML/CFT regulation for crypto will be driven by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which is an G7-founded organization tasked with formulating (internationally adopted) policies related to money laundering.
"By June [2019], we will issue additional instructions on the standards [for cryptocurrencies] and how we expect them to be enforced," said the task force's president, Marshall Billingslea, in October.

As Gary McFarlane – a cryptocurrency analyst at Interactive Investor – explains , this will largely be a positive step for the crypto industry, although it may potentially have negative repercussions for fans of privacy coins.
 "The implementation of internationally agreed regulatory standards in line with the Financial Action Task Force would be an important step towards wider adoption of distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrencies," he says.
"The most professionally operated exchanges already abide those standards, so it is only the less well-resourced and cowboy operations that need to be worried."
"An exception to that would be privacy coins such as Monero and Verge, which may come in for special attention from the financial authorities, perhaps banning them from trading on exchanges in the authorities’ yet-to-be-formulated new regulatory framework."

ICO clampdown?

In August 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs published a proposal that would impose new laws for initial coin offerings (ICOs), so as to protect those "consumers [who] are at risk from fraudulent activity taking place in this market."
Similarly, the US is witnessing a move towards (lighter touch) ICO regulation, as Republican Rep. Warren Davidson unveiled plans this December to send a bill before Congress that would seek to create a separate asset class for tokens issued during ICOs.

While such moves would be beneficial for consumers, some experts suspect that ICO legislation could noticeably restrict the ability of new entrants to launch token offerings.
"[T]here may be a move internationally to regulate initial coin offerings and that could hurt places like Singapore which has become a hotspot for token sales," says Gary McFarlane.

It could also lead to security token offerings displacing ICOs, although that has the downside that it could prevent smaller projects from coming to market if they have to abide by the same stringent rules that apply in equity markets.

No international crypto tax?

The G20 group of counties met in Buenos Aires at the beginning of December, and it was reported that they agreed to work towards the establishment of an 'international cryptocurrency tax.' However, while considerable fuss has been made about this online, it's not certain that the G20's declaration focuses on crypto specifically.
"The G20 final communique doesn’t really add anything new," argues Gary McFarlane. "The statement in paragraph 26 of the communique talks about “the impacts of the digitalization of the economy on the international tax system”, but I think that has been misinterpreted by some as a call to tax cross-border transactions when in fact it is more a reference to finding solutions to global Big Tech corporations declaring their profits in low-tax jurisdictions."
Still, some people in the industry are nonetheless preparing themselves for the possibility of increased efforts to tax crypto, with Utopia Music's head of blockchain, Brent Jaciow, telling that the industry could still see tax regulation at the national level.
"2019 will be the year when governments globally take a serious look at cryptocurrency markets and put in place sensible regulation. Governments will likely focus on two core areas within the cryptocurrency markets; taxation and regulation surrounding offerings/marketing to the public.”

Effects on the industry

Given that governments around the world seem fixated on crypto's worst aspects, it's conceivable to think that the industry might be in for a tough ride in 2019 (and beyond). However, most people within the industry believe that the globe's authorities will stick to cracking down on actual crime perpetrated via crypto, and won't veer into a general crackdown on crypto.
"The focus is on preventing money laundering, terrorist funding, etc.,” David Braut – the chief communication officer of Aqua Intelligence – explains.
In short, they want to know the source of funds and the flow of funds. 2019 can see these crypto-regulations improve especially in this areas. While there is reason to believe future regulations might be restrictive, it is a good thing as there are rules to follow and an actual red line that is not to be crossed - which is lacking as of now.
So while some (bad) actors within the crypto industry will find that they can no longer take an easy ride to riches, most others will ultimately benefit from a clearer and more dependable regulatory regime. And hopefully, having seen that cryptocurrencies are becoming more safely policed, the general public will become more willing to use and adopt them.