This site provides some great resources and tutorials in the blockchain cryptocurrency space:
This article from Bitcoin.com is a year old, but most people are unaware of these new innovations that define Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is basically the decentralization of Web 2.0 that was/is dominated by central distribution servers like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix, etc. Web 3.0 will put the users in control of their own personal data and information networks. This means the value will be distributed according to the ownership and control of information data. These central distribution servers are the richest companies in the world today – just imagine if they had to start paying you for all the information you upload to their servers. The new services, such as tuka, will share that value.
Is Facebook About to Get ‘Myspaced’ by Next-Gen Social Media?
August 26, 2016 |
By Jamie Redman
Social media is a major component of the Internet and has already transformed how humans communicate and interact. Looking to take things to the next level, a few projects are trying to combine social media with the blockchain.
Blockchain-based social media platform Steemit has gained quite a following in the past few months. The project was built by Daniel Larimer, the founder of Bitshares, using graphene architecture. The company is also led by Ned Scott, who is a technical analyst with a background in financial data.
Steemit launched in March 2016 with moderate enthusiasm from the community and a small following. It has since been a hot topic in cryptocurrency circles and social media.
During the summer, Steemit attracted a lot of artists, writers, and vloggers to the platform because it pays people for sharing content. People have been paid thousands of dollars per post in some instances, with the most popular articles netting close to $15,000 USD.
The platform, which combines the concepts of Facebook, WordPress, and Reddit, operates on the Steemit blockchain and uses three types of crypto-tokens:
Steem Power gives users the ability to throw their weight around on the platform. The more power you have, the more significant your vote will be when you upvote a post or even a comment. Comments have been seen to be upwards of $20-40, so all interaction is rewarded.
Steem is a token that powers two smart contract protocols similar to Ether’s gas, and is tradable on cryptocurrency markets. The token is supported on exchanges like Bittrex or Poloniex. However, holders also have the option to use their coins to boost their Steem Power..
Steem Dollars are designed to be pegged to $1 USD and be the equivalent of one dollar’s worth of Steem for conversion over the platform. On cryptocurrency exchanges, SBD’s can be seen trading for a dollar or less depending on the current market value. So, in essence, it makes more sense to use the system’s seven-day conversion over a third-party exchange, though lots of people cash out their content earnings elsewhere.
Steem Adds New Features
Steemit developers has just announced the addition of highly-requested features to the site. The services will enhance the social media experience by adding private messaging, notifications, and follow buttons. The team believes implementing these new features will facilitate interaction between community members and attract new people currently using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Steemit CEO Ned Scott explains:
Enhancing the diversity of our application-specific blockchain is a natural progression for Steemit. Private messaging is perfectly suited for a decentralized system and will empower users in a similar way to how direct messages empower users on Twitter. The ‘follow’ feature will enable community members to receive notifications as soon as their favorite authors post, and the notifications will work just like Facebook in that users will be alerted immediately upon a new post or upvote from their favorite contributors. These features are the pillars of current social media giants and we look forward to integrating them into Steemit over the coming weeks.
Big Names & Skepticism
Steemit’s popularity has attracted quite a few well-known people to share content over the platform, including personalities like Trace Mayer, Larken Rose, Charlie Shrem, Roger Ver, Tatiana Moroz and Rick Falkvinge. Some of these famous users regularly take in four figures for introducing themselves, writing stories, and posting video and podcast content.
However, there have been some naysayers who believe the project is a scam, or resembles somewhat of a ponzi. Brave New Coincontributor and bitcoin technical analyst Tone Vays says Steemit appears to be a ponzi scheme. Vays highlighted many points on why he believes the platform is set up like a pyramid scam. He even debated the issue on the Dollar Vigilante’s podcast, Anarchast. Many people are waiting to see if the project can continue to hold its own, keep up its significantly large payouts, and ultimately survive as a social media platform with perks.
Competition Is Coming
Soon Steemit won’t be the only blockchain-based social media platform on the market. Tel-Aviv-based Synereo, founded by Dor Konforty and Greg Meredith, also aims to create a decentralized social media protocol.
The team has recently announced a prototype of the Synereo platform, which is in its alpha phase and works on top of the software’s distributed stack.
With Synereo’s blockchain-based social network, the protocol puts content creators in charge of the media they produce — just like Steemit. Users control their personal information and produce content that can be monetized within the Synereo community.
Unlike Twitter or Facebook, the Synereo application doesn’t store data on its users and cannot sell the information to third-parties. Instead, the platform works through transactions on the Synereo blockchain and is only available to network participants.
The Synereo social media network will operate without any central server, and will compensate its user base for their content and shared computational power. The team also says that the project “adheres to principles of the attention economy” that in essence rewards network users for creation and curation.
The platform includes text posting, image posting, content labeling, taggable posts and hashtags, decentralized searching and content amplification. Users will also be able to promote content by charging with the Synereo blockchain’s native currency, AMP. Users viewing content loaded with AMP will be compensated, encouraging people to interact with amplified content.
The developers’ news update states:
The wewowwe.com project has now API functionality and is able to work with outside networks, so that users can now be compensated automatically with AMPs for their contributions to their social network.—Also the components of the Synereo ecosystem are starting to converge and reveal a detailed picture of its capability.
Will Centralized Social Media Fall to the Wayside?
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are still the prominent social media applications everyone uses. The mechanics of these websites are very much centralized, as third-parties benefit from users’ content, targeted ads, and personal information.
Given the rising popularity of Steemit, the next generation of social media will make it easier to monetize content, resist censorship and provide users with a true peer-to-peer experience. It may be a few years until Facebook loses its supremacy the way MySpace did, but the trend towards decentralization and better security will ensure that users do not only retain their privacy, but also share in the spoils of their online community.
More info on Blockchain basics:
tuka aligns the primary needs of a creative market–to promote, transact and connect–through three integrated digital technologies. These are an online social network (OSN) that is more accurately termed a online media network; a peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing protocol to exchange digital media; and a blockchain transaction ledger to keep track of information data flows and transactions.We might put it more simply in these terms:
OSN + P2P + BC = tuka.
The purpose of the OSN platform is to share and promote content. It’s different from Facebook because postings are limited to sample files of creative content. In other words, good-bye to white noise and push ads. Through a timeline feed, users curate their feeds so creators can discover their audiences and vice-versa.
Resulting transactions among users are enabled over a peer-to-peer [P2P] file-sharing distribution and payments network.
The flow of transactions data and shared information is recorded by the Blockchain (BC). Peer networks are managed through a dedicated user dashboard.
Control Your Peer Network.
Blockchain is a distributed public ledger that records all transaction/data flows between users, whether monetary or non-monetary (read more here and here). Smart contracts can be programmed into the metadata of digital content so the Blockchain can distribute value to every user who contributes to the final transaction, meaning promotional efforts by fans can be rewarded by content owners, contingent upon sales. Successful promotion and marketing receive remuneration after the sale; while unsuccessful or free promo incurs no costs.
A Blockchain ledger system also means users have the power to build out and control their own peer networks on the platform. Users can reap the value of their data networks rather than surrendering that value to network servers.
Interesting article on uses of Blockchain technology.
Why it’s disruptive: Blockchain promises to make firms’ back-end operations more efficient and cheaper. Eventually, it could replace companies altogether.
Interesting article on the broad business/economic implications of blockchain technology with a wealth of relevant links to additional resources:
Executive’s guide to implementing blockchain technology
The technology behind bitcoin is one of the internet’s most promising new developments. Here’s how businesses can use it to streamline operations and create new opportunities.
Blockchains are one of the most important technologies to emerge in recent years, with many experts believing they will change our world in the next two decades as much as the internet has over the last two.
Although it is early in its development, firms pursuing blockchain technology include IBM, Microsoft, Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, Nasdaq, Foxconn, Visa, and shipping giant Maersk. Venture capitalists have so far poured $1.5 billion into the space, with storied firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and Khosla Ventures making bets on startups.
A blockchain is a golden record of the truth that creates trust among multiple parties.
The applications for blockchain technology seem endless. While the first obvious ones are financial — international payments, remittances, complex financial products — it can also solve problems and create new opportunities in healthcare, defense, supply chain management, luxury goods, government, and other industries. In more advanced stages, the technology could give rise to what Gartner calls “the programmable economy,” powered by entirely new business models that eliminate all kinds of middlemen, machine networks in which devices engage in economic activity, and “smart assets” in which some form of property such as shares in a company can be traded according to programmable or artificial intelligence-based rules rather than the control of a centralized entity.
What is blockchain: A blockchain is a single version of the truth made possible by an immutable and secure time-stamped ledger, copies of which are held by multiple parties.
Why it matters: It shifts trust in business from an institution or entity to software and could someday spell the demise of many traditional companies. It also promises to make trade-able many assets that are illiquid today, enable our devices and gadgets to become consumers, and bring trust to many areas of business, eliminating fraud and counterfeiting.
How it works: Cryptography secures the data and new transactions are linked to previous ones, making it near-impossible to change older records without having to change subsequent ones. And because multiple “nodes” (computers) run the network, one would need to gain control of more than half of them in order to make changes.
Why it’s disruptive: At the least it promises to make firms’ back-end operations more efficient and cheaper, but down the line, it could replace companies altogether.
Business opportunities: New services and products will pop up in areas such as creating and trading assets, tracking provenance, managing supply chain, managing identity, and in providing ancillary services to the software itself.
Main vendors: More than a dozen platform vendors have sprung up, and several dozen consulting and implementation providers assist in adopting blockchain projects.
Career options: The main blockchain specialists include developers and business and technical architects. But roles are also needed in risk management, security, cryptography, business process management, product strategy, and analytics.
WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN
A blockchain is a golden record of the truth that creates trust among multiple parties. Specifically, it’s a secure, tamper-proof ledger with time-stamped transactions, distributed amongst a number of entities.
This means a blockchain — a piece of technology — can replace an intermediary in situations where a trusted third party is required. So, for instance, while we now need a bank (or several) in order to make a payment to a foreign country, a piece of software — the program running bitcoin — can now send money to someone across the world for us. And the latter is much cheaper and faster — and, in the case of bitcoin, transparent so you can see when the money arrives, whereas with a bank wire, you have to find out from the recipient. (Blockchains can be made private as well, to protect data.) Overall, blockchain technology promises greater security and lower costs than traditional databases.
“The problem in the market is that blockchain is being used as a collective noun for the bitcoin blockchain and everything else in between, and that’s not exactly true,” says David Furlonger, Gartner vice president and fellow. Blockchain has become the catch-all phrase for a larger group of technologies called “distributed ledger technology” or DLT. Technically speaking, it is possible to have a distributed ledger that is not constructed as a blockchain (as described below), however, when people refer to blockchain technology, they are often speaking about DLT.
And if you want to get really technical, “DLT falls short because it assumes information gets distributed when in many cases it doesn’t,” says Javier Paz, senior analyst at financial services research firm Aite Group. But “blockchain,” “distributed ledger,” or “DLT” should suffice for all but the most technical discussions.
- Video: The top 5 things to know about the blockchain (TechRepublic)
- Blockchain standards need definition agreement first: Standards Australia (ZDNet)
- Can IBM bring Bitcoin’s blockchain technology to mainstream business? (TechRepublic)
WHY IT MATTERS
“The key differentiator between a database and blockchain is that a database is managed and controlled by someone,” says Eric Piscini, principal of financial services technology at Deloitte. “A blockchain doesn’t need to be managed by someone, so you don’t have to trust someone to run the platform. It’s run by everyone at the same time. That’s a shift in business models.”
Eventually, blockchains could give rise to a number of peer-to-peer networks not run by any centralized parties that enable the creation and transfer of money or other assets. For instance, the technology could be used to create an Airbnb-like network without the company Airbnb. When combined with the Internet of Things (IoT), it could create an Uber-like program without Uber. Such peer-to-peer networks are often referred to as distributed autonomous organizations (DAOs), and someday, they could transform our whole conception of companies.
Gartner projects that blockchain will result in $176 billion in added business value by 2025, and $3.1 trillion by 2030.
- IT leader’s guide to the blockchain (TechProResearch)
- Video: What blockchain means to the enterprise (TechRepublic)
- Five big myths about the Bitcoin blockchain (TechRepublic)
HOW IT WORKS
Not every blockchain works the same way. For example, they can differ in their consensus mechanisms, which are the rules by which the technology will update the ledger. But broadly, a blockchain is a ledger on which new transactions are recorded in blocks, with each block identified by a cryptographic hash of that data. The same hash will always result from that data, but it is impossible to re-create the data from the hash. Similarly, if even the smallest detail of that transaction data is changed, it will create a wildly different hash, and since the hash of each block is included as a data point in the next block, subsequent blocks would also end up with different hashes. This is what makes the ledger tamper-proof. Finally, security also comes from the fact that multiple computers called nodes store the blockchain, and so to change the ledger, one would need to gain control of at least 50 percent of the computing power in order to change the record — a difficult feat especially for a public blockchain such as bitcoin’s.
- How it works: Blockchain explained in 500 words (ZDNet)
- Video: Blockchain … in less than two minutes (TechRepublic)
- Accenture announces creation of an editable blockchain but Bitcoin users need not worry (TechRepublic)
WHY IT’S DISRUPTIVE
A common saying is that blockchain technology will do what the internet did to media — disrupt — but to sectors such as financial services, law, and other industries offering trust as a service.
“The industry has lived and breathed off the back of intermediation,” Furlonger says. Noting that banks typically control financial activity and governments usually control the economic assets we use, he adds, “If you think about the way authentication and identification is done, the way you onboard customers, the way you share records, all of this is done through siloed, decades-old channels and processes. And here you have a technology that basically says you no longer need a middleman, you have one golden copy of a record that no one can change … anyone can join any time because it’s open source … it’s kind of free, anyone can create any asset and distribute it to anyone else on the planet. You’re basically saying, we’re going to change the way the economic models that have grown up for the last several centuries operate. As a result, we’re going to change the way society operates as well.”
He believes the outcome will be what Gartner calls “the programmable economy,” which it defines as a global market powered by algorithmic businesses and DAOs running on blockchain-based networks whose assets engage in economic activity by rules coded in software or artificial intelligence. The two most commonly used public networks so far are bitcoin and Ethereum, a public blockchain like bitcoin’s that is focused on smart contracts, which are software programs that execute transactions when certain conditions are met.
But that’s at least a decade off. To start, the technology will make the back-end operations of many companies more efficient because, now, firms that work with each other and even different departments within one organization often maintain their own ledgers, duplicating work. “At least we will see it impacting the back and middle office, eradicating the problems and cost associated with sustaining multiple versions of the truth,” Paz says.
A recent report by Bain and Company estimated that the savings from implementation of blockchain technology would amount to $15 to $35 billion annually. As services at certain companies become more efficient and cheaper, marketshare among incumbents is likely to change. And because the technology is open source, “You can build that platform for a fraction of what it would cost you with traditional technologies,” Piscini says. That gives both startups as well as the software itself an opening. For instance, people could use the bitcoin network, which is not run by any one company, to make payments cheaply, quickly, and efficiently. “If you just enable transactions for others, you’re in big trouble,” he says, “because the blockchain can replace you as an entity without the need for a legal entity to run it.”
- Is blockchain revolutionary or just another infrastructure support technology? (ZDNet)
- Why your next storage solution may depend on blockchain (TechRepublic)
- Blockchain, unblocked: Its implications for enterprise computing (ZDNet)
- Blockchain: Over-hyped bandwagon or truly revolutionary technology? (ZDnet)
Though some executives might fear software replacing their role or their company’s, even email hasn’t killed snail mail. Though the technology does promise to change existing marketshare, Piscini says companies can avoid becoming obsolete by seizing upon new opportunities. “If companies provide incremental services, if they provide you the ability to dispute transactions, to do some analytics on top of that platform — incremental value that you don’t have today — that’s how they’re going to survive.” In fact, blockchain technology will enable companies to offer services that previously were impossible without it. Gartner predicts that by 2022, at least one new business based on blockchain technology will be worth $10 billion.
Blockchain technology makes possible new offerings in industries as diverse as financial services, healthcare, supply chain, oil and gas, retail, music, advertising, publishing, media, energy, government, and many others. In finance alone, it can be used for making international payments, trading stocks, bonds, and commodities, and providing an audit trail for regulators. It can create new forms of assets and make it possible to trade existing illiquid ones, such as mobile minutes, energy credits and frequent flyer miles. It can be used to track provenance, stamping out fraud and counterfeiting in areas such as luxury goods, fine art, pharmaceuticals, food, and government documents. It makes it possible for musicians, writers, and other artists to embed royalty payments into their MP3s, ebooks, and other creations to pay themselves every time their work is bought or resold. It can be used by publishers to run publications funded not by ads but by micropayments issued by readers’ browsers. It can enable people to manage their identity and the privacy of their data instead of having to rely on centralized entities such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter. It can show an individual voter that their vote was counted correctly and the entire electorate that no votes were fraudulent or counted more than once. And those are just some examples.
Gartner projects that devices or things using blockchains to transact will comprise 30 percent of the global customer base by 2030. One of the more popular futuristic scenarios is that we may someday tell our self-driving car that we’re in a rush and to send a micropayment to any car that is willing to be passed on the highway. The money will be transmitted via a combination of blockchain and IoT technologies.
- Webcast: Revolutionizing IT with blockchain and cloud computing (TechRepublic)
- IBM, Northern Trust partner on financial security blockchain tech (ZDNet)
- IBM Watson, FDA to use blockchain tech to build secure exchange for health data (TechRepublic)
- Chronicled releases open registry for IoT built on blockchain (TechRepublic)
- Commonwealth Bank and Wells Fargo claim first interbank blockchain trade (ZDNet)
- Microsoft collaborates on blockchain-based ID system (ZDNet)
A host of platform vendors to enterprise have already cropped up. Although the space has more than a dozen players, the most active groups (two are not companies), in alphabetical order, are:
- Chain, which, together with Nasdaq, created the first private blockchain in production (though on a small scale) — Nasdaq Linq, which is used in managing shares in private companies. It also has partnerships with Visa, Citi, and Capital One.
- Ethereum, a P2P network that’s public like bitcoin but focused on smart contracts, not payments, and that has an enterprise initiative, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA).
- Hyperledger, the open-source effort run by the Linux Foundation and closely affiliated with IBM which counts companies as diverse as Airbus, American Express, Daimler, and Intel as members.
- R3, a consortium of financial institutions whose distributed ledger offering, Corda, is not structured as a blockchain, meaning that transaction data is not published to the ledger of every participant in the network. Instead transactions are published only on the ledgers of the relevant parties.
Others include Axoni, Digital Asset Holdings, Monax, Ripple, SETL, Symbiont, and T0 (T-zero, as in settlement in zero days).
Businesses helping firms implement blockchain solutions include Accenture, CapGemini, Chainsmiths, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, IBM Global Services, Infosys, KMPG, PwC, Polaris, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, and others. IBM and Microsoft are leaders in cloud blockchain services.
- The Hyperledger Project is growing like gangbusters (ZDNet)
- Photos: 10 innovative blockchain startups poised to revolutionize business (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft delivers version 1 of ‘Bletchley’ Azure blockchain as a service middleware (ZDNet)
- Microsoft blockchain-as-a-service gains more momentum with banking partnership (TechRepublic)
READ MORE ABOUT BLOCKCHAIN
- What Blockchain means to the enterprise [TechRepublic]
- Blockchain: The smart person’s guide [TechRepublic]
- Why your next storage solution may depend on blockchain [TechRepublic]
- Why the blockchain belongs on the CXO roadmap [Tech Pro Research]
- IT leader’s guide to the blockchain [Tech Pro Research]
- Bitcoin’s technology has a surprising fan: IBM [CNET]
Blockchain is a new buzzword in technology. It’s the basis of all the excitement about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and Fintech. If you’re unfamiliar with blockchain technology, think of it is as a trustless decentralized general ledger. What that means is – everything written to this ledger is considered the “truth” only after consensus is supplied by a significant majority of participants hosting the blockchain. This makes the blockchain “trustless” because no party can manipulate the results without conspiring with that large majority. Imagine a card game where everybody had to show their hands. There would be no bluffing (though it wouldn’t be a very interesting card game).
Participants of the blockchain are often “anonymous” so understanding who you would potentially conspire with is also challenging and quite impractical. (On tuka the parties to an exchange would not be anonymous, so you would know exactly who you were dealing with.) Furthermore, the blockchain leaves an audit trail of all previous transactions for transparent traceability and the continual lengthening of the block structure makes it difficulty to create a forgery. On tuka this means a user can trace his or her own peer network that can yield significant value.
The blockchain is physically decentralized like a large distributed peer-to-peer database. The single source of truth information it holds is virtually centralized and all data is publicly accessible. Information written to that blockchain can be verified without understanding what the contents are because of how blockchain works in trustless mode.
In plain English, blockchain technology eliminates the need for a 3rd party middleman to insure trust in the system. This applies to banks and insurance companies as financial intermediaries, lawyers and politicians as legal intermediaries, and, in the creative industries, online middlemen like centralized retailers and distributors (Apple, Amazon, Google). This has broad and deep implications for the business models of these industries. Such 3rd parties are quite costly to transactions and in the case of digital content, often take the lion’s share of the value.
We’re learning here as we go, but this should provide some food for thought…(to be continued)