Canadian public art exhibition organization Vancouver Biennale is preparing to unveil an art installation that combines physical and digital realities withblockchain technology.
Located on the south side of the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver, the new Voxel Bridge installation is a blockchain-based augmented reality (AR) experience that can be viewed with iOS or Android devices. According to local enthusiasts, the installation is getting ready for the public launch this Tuesday and will run until spring 2023.
The art object is a 1,800 square meter installation by New York-based artist Jessica Angel that explores how public space can be constructed and utilized in both digital and physical realities. Shaped in the real world in the form of a massive two-dimensional vinyl mural, the piece also simultaneously exists in augmented reality through the app and resides on a blockchain network.
“Art is a mobilizing force with the power to bridge seemingly dissimilar worlds, and Voxel Bridge exhibits this capacity,” Angel said. “This installation transcends the enjoyment of art into a unifying and experimenting effort that enables blockchain technology, AR, and public art to examine new ways of interaction,” the artist noted.
Viewers can specifically see, touch, and hear the history of the Kusama Network via twenty different interactive animations, with each of those being represented in the form of a unique nonfungible token (NFT) existing on the blockchain. The NFTs will be sold on the Kusama art marketplace RMRK, with funds directed to offset the cost of producing the project, which reportedly went over-budget at more than $300,000.
The Kusama Council initially proposed the project in October, describing the project as a multidisciplinary piece and a “high impact art installation.” “Voxel Bridge will provide an experiential perspective of the Kusama Network, rather than a technical one,” a council member stated.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts were waiting for such a fantastic rally for quite some time. It was a fabulous week, where we saw Bitcoin finally managing to break out from a prolonged consolidation phase. However, despite Bitcoin’s stellar performance, it was Ethereum that was the talk of the town.
One of the most significant upgrades to the Ethereum network happened this week. The ‘London Hard Fork’ went live as block number 12,965,000 got added to the blockchain network.
This upgrade is a major step towards making Ethereum deflationary. It promises to make the network more scalable. The London Hard Fork also acts as a prelude to ‘Serenity’ or ETH 2.0, which will likely be live by the end of the year.
The anticipation of the upgrade kept ETH investors on their toes. However, a rally that lasted twelve successive days indicated that the upgrade was well received by the Ethereum community.
The crypto market cap stood at a massive $1.8 trillion as of August 7, 2021, translating into a more than $400 billion jump for the week. The massive rise in trading volumes signaled that the momentum is bullish. Markets have finally managed to reach the highs touched in June.
Crypto adoption into mainstream finance has picked up pace. Even the bearish markets during the past month did not hinder this. Germany has been progressing towards crypto adoption for some time now. They are coming up with ‘Spezialfonds’ that are accessible to institutional investors.
German regulations have allowed these hedge funds to hold 20 per cent of their assets in cryptos. Spezialfonds manage €1.8 trillion worth of assets. If these funds flow into the crypto markets, there is a much larger bull run to come.
The company Ripple, which issues the token XRP, has been engaged in a lawsuit with SEC. This has been taking a toll on the price of XRP for a prolonged time. However, some recent developments indicate that the judgment might be in favor of Ripple. The price of XRP also shot up after investors’ sensed victory.
The crypto markets rose almost linearly over the past week. This will halt at some point. The next week could likely be a period of consolidation for the markets. However, the markets have managed to come out of the grip of the bears and that is a good sign for both the short and long-term investors.
Among the top 10 cryptocurrencies, the best performer for the week has been Uniswap, followed by Polkadot and Ethereum.
PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — HashCash Consultants, a global blockchain development company, proposes the activation of the Digital Identity feature on blockchain to facilitate authentication and traceability of the COVID vaccine supply chain.
Ever since the launch of the COVID vaccine, multiple concerns of fraudulence, counterfeiting, and unauthorized vaccine drives have surfaced in multiple instances. This effort is directed to smoothen the still-persistent wrinkles in the system.
Blockchain Digital Identity (DI), designed by HashCash, digitally authenticates the personnel and thereby grants access rights. This serves to ensure, only designated persons are authorized to access specific containers of the vaccine. This also helps chart the hierarchy for vaccine distribution wherein, again, designated persons in charge may distribute vials to localities.
“The blockchain Digital Identity serves to discipline a whole supply chain of COVID vaccines, where strictly designated individuals may be authorized to distribute a specific number of vials across residential blocks,” explains HashCash Chief and Blockchain pioneer, Raj Chowdhury.
“Maintaining a hierarchy in distribution channels is vital for an organized issuance of vaccine and minimize chaos and panic among the people. The algorithm may be enhanced to deliver a prioritized issuance of vaccines based on population data of a particular region.”
HashCash has previously theorized a blockchain-based Vaccine passport prototype that could be most beneficial at international airports or ports of entry. HashCash has also designed Health passports to maintain a national record of Health and Immunization for citizens from birth to death. This was aimed to revolutionize the health sectors of developing economies.
The HashCash product is aimed at streamlining the performance of the vaccine distribution system in a region. The capacity of the basic structure can be extended to varying lengths based on necessity as emphasized by Chowdhury.
HashCash is a global software company. HashCash Blockchain products enable enterprises to move assets and settle payments across borders in real-time for Remittances, Trade Finance, Payment Processing, and more. HashCash runs a US-based digital asset exchange, PayBito & digital asset payment processor, BillBitcoins. HashCash offers custom exchange and payment processor software solutions, ICO services, and customized use cases. HashCash propels advancement in technology through Blockchain1o1 programs and its investment arm, Satoshi Angels. HashCash offers solutions in AI, Big Data, and IoT through its platforms, products & services. HashCash solves the toughest challenges by executing innovative digital transformation strategies for clients around the world.
We’re living in a time where digital assets are moving towards mainstream adoption. From retail customers to traditional banks and financial service providers, digital assets are on the rise. Many of these assets promised to disrupt financial markets and large incumbents, and while they have received widespread attention, they haven’t quite achieved their potential. That said, large institutions are taking notice — 86% of the world’s central banks are exploring digital currencies, according to a report by the Bank for International Settlements.
They recognize that despite being in a golden age of innovation, payment systems remain somewhat archaic. And so, in my view, there is no reason why current payment systems won’t follow a similar trajectory to industries that have been transformed by new technology in the past decade.
After all, the world we live in is now digital, so it makes sense that money and assets should follow suit. But how realistic is this in the next five years? And will the technology and type of digital assets look the same?
And then there are central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Infrastructure providers are trying to position themselves as ready for CBDCs. SWIFT and Accenture recently published a joint report which outlined how it could work as a potential carrier of CBDCs, should they become a reality. Furthermore, central banks worldwide are exploring CBDCs and working to safeguard public trust in money and payments. These retail and wholesale CBDCs can do this by offering the unique features of finality, liquidity and integrity, while also providing security. For example, the most promising CBDC design would be tied to a digital identity, requiring users to identify themselves to access funds. This new venture fosters innovation that serves the public interest.
However, it is still the early days of the development of cryptocurrencies, CBDCs and other forms of digital assets. There is a near-unanimous view that these assets need to become more standardized, secure and robust before entering the mainstream.
Regulators taking notice of the change
Over the coming years, digital assets are likely to face intense scrutiny from financial regulators and central banks before they are permitted as a form of secure payment. This is to be expected. Anything that may affect the smooth functioning of the international monetary and financial system will rightly face hurdles by its gatekeepers and those responsible for its operations and security.
For example, the primary global banking standards-setter, Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, has increased capital requirements for banks with exposure to volatile cryptocurrencies to reflect higher risks and financial stability concerns. Under the proposals, banks would be required to hold capital equal to the exposure they face. Therefore, a $100 exposure to Bitcoin would require a minimum capital requirement of $100.
This could put regulated financial institutions off from getting involved or extending their existing cryptocurrency services. For example, while BBVA has launched trading services into Switzerland, they have held off from other markets as regulations are unclear and not standardized.
That said, not all digital assets would be treated as sternly as cryptocurrencies under these proposals. Stock tokens and stablecoins would fit into modified existing rules on the minimum capital standard for banks, potentially making them a more viable option.
For now, cryptocurrencies remain volatile, and stablecoins, on the other hand, offer a more secure, transparent and stable option and I am a firm believer in their potential, especially due to their quick settlement speeds. By including data into the coin, money becomes linked to what it pays. This offers a lot of automation possibilities, making it a strong contender.
Perhaps the most likely form of digital assets we will adopt, however, are CBDCs, controlled and issued by central banks. Significant testing has taken place already, and this type of digital asset would ensure strong supply, governance and regulation similar to what we see with fiat currencies today.
For any of these digital assets, buy-in among end-users — large corporations, SMEs and individual consumers — will be crucial to determining success. And success will ultimately be measured in decades, not years.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Laurent Descout is the co-founder and CEO of Neo, a European B2B neobank headquartered in Barcelona. He is a serial fintech entrepreneur and investor and has been a financial advisor in asset finance for more than 10 years. He holds a master’s degree in banking, finance and insurance from Paris Dauphine and the Investment Advice Diploma in Derivatives from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.
On June 2, 2021, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tweeted that “MiamiCoin” will be the first “CityCoin” ever to be launched, representing Miami’s very own cryptocurrency. Fast forward about two months later and the anticipation surrounding the release of MiamiCoin has been on the rise.
Initially, it may appear as if the Magic City’s digital currency will function just like other cryptocurrencies that can be bought, sold and traded to profit both investors and the city of Miami. Yet, “MiamiCoin” is quite unique from other digital currencies.
A developer platform for cities
Patrick Stanley, founder and CEO of CityCoins — the project behind MiamiCoin — told Cointelegraph that MiamiCoin (MIA) can actually be considered as a developer platform for cities. “MiamiCoin, being the first-ever CityCoin, is entirely programmable. Therefore, applications can easily be built on top of it,” said Stanley.
Specifically speaking, CityCoins is a project built on Stacks, which is an open-source network of decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts built adjacent to the Bitcoin blockchain. This means that MiamiCoin, which was officially activated on August 3, could be considered as a DApp powered by the Stacks network — a smart contract platform built on the Bitcoin network. As such, Stanley explained that MiamiCoin cannot be pre-mined or bought at the moment:
“The community launched MiamiCoin, so everyone has to mine $MIA fairly and equally. This represents open membership mining, which is the same concept as when Satoshi launched Bitcoin. Mining officially began on August 4.”
Regarding the tokenomics behind MiamiCoin, Stanley mentioned that during the first two weeks of mining MIA, the base currency being used to mine CityCoin — which is Stacks’ STX token — will go directly into a reserved wallet claimed by the city of Miami. After two weeks, 30% of all those funds will remain in the reserved wallet, while 70% will be allocated to the miners.
Stanley further shared that because CityCoins is powered by Stacks, users will be able to swap between MIA and Bitcoin (BTC) when performing a Bitcoin transaction. “We consider Bitcoin as something that can power many other applications, though it’s currently underutilized,” commented Stanley. To his point, most DApps are currently built on Ethereum, which saw a number of increased activity last year.
“Community money” enabled by crypto
An important point to note here is that 30% of the mined MIA will be allocated to the city of Miami. According to an article published by The Miami Heraldlast month, city officials mentioned that MiamiCoin could be used to build roads, parks and other public infrastructures.
Stanley noted that the city of Miami leveraging MIA for civic engagement is extremely important, given the community aspect behind CityCoins. According to Stanley, CityCoins are in a small part a coin for geographies, meaning those who value certain regions can show their support by holding digital currencies created for different cities. Stanley further remarked that over time, CityCoins will overflow to other communities across various regions.
While futuristic, this concept was part of the reason why the cryptocurrency exchange Okcoin pledged to list MIA on its platform. Haider Rafique, chief marketing officer at Okcoin, told Cointelegraph that there have been a few historically compelling projects and teams that have taken a long time to arrive in the United States. Rafique believes that CityCoins could potentially put together an ecosystem for different applications:
“By opening these markets, we bring investors in who can buy these assets and then further explore these ecosystems. For example, Stacks has various decentralized finance applications to interact with. We see CityCoins as having that same type of utility.”
Moreover, Rafique considers MiamiCoin to demonstrate a new way for people to leverage cryptocurrency to participate in civic engagement: “CityCoins is not just an incentive for retail investors, but also for governing bodies. Cryptocurrency shouldn’t just be about speculation, but also about real-world usage.” Rafique added that MIA will become tradable on Okcoin later on, once liquidity is created from mining.
Will the concept be widely adopted?
Although it’s notable that Miami is the first city to launch a CityCoins token, concerns around adoption and regulations remain. Tim Shields, a partner at Kelley Kronenberg’s Fort Lauderdale law office, told Cointelegraph that he doesn’t think MiamiCoin will result in widespread adoption: “The technological scheme of how MiamiCoin works is fairly complex and it will go beyond the scope of most people who already hold cryptocurrency.”
While this may be, Shields does believe that MIA will help further develop Miami’s growing tech ecosystem. According to Shields, MiamiCoin is yet another effort that highlights Miami’s openness and friendly stance toward cryptocurrency. Shields further remarked that Mayor Suarez has clearly been working on his goal of making Miami the Bitcoin capital of the world, and if nothing else, MiamiCoin shows that a city mayor can attract innovation in the blockchain space.
Regarding regulations, Shields explained that this will likely be challenging, noting that he’s not sure how the city of Miami will hold MIA. “This may be held as property and then converted to cash,” he remarked.
Ben Bartlett, Berkeley City Council member and crypto lawyer, told Cointelegraph that the risks with MiamiCoin appear to be in assessing liquidity for the tokens. Bartlett also mentioned friction when leveraging MiamiCoin: “Ordinary people don’t have the bandwidth to deal with the complexities of wallets and seeing out the right exchange. There may be some regulatory issues that need to be carefully considered.”
Bartlett explained this is especially the case in light of new proposals laid out by the new digital asset infrastructure bill that aims to expand the definition of brokers to include miners and other linchpins of the crypto ecosystem.
Concerns aside, Bartlett remains hopeful that the city of Miami can resolve these issues by adopting an agile approach, ensuring popular participation while avoiding regulatory pitfalls. “I’m very excited and thankful for the mayor of Miami’s bold leadership. MiamiCoin represents the next level of governance and shared prosperity,” said Bartlett.
Many things have morphed beyond the realm of what we originally designed them to do, such as the internet. When Satoshi Nakamoto first invented Bitcoin(CRYPTO:BTC) in 2008, they envisioned it as a peer-to-peer electronic cash payment system free from the grasp of central banks and governments. Today, those two entities are encroaching on that idealistic dream with a strategy of “if you can’t beat them, join them!”
The threat of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) replacing decentralized cryptocurrencies is a real one, and investors are already seeing the signs. For example, the U.S. Federal Reserve is moving forward in developing its own cryptocurrency with a research paper coming out this summer. What’s more, China’s central bank is already on the verge of launching the digital renminbi (eYuan). So just what does this mean for the future of decentralized crypto?
Image source: Getty Images.
The empire strikes back
It’s difficult to see all of the implications at first glance, but CBDCs have the potential to revolutionize our economy, for better or for worse. Let’s say the Federal Reserve goes ahead and launches a digital U.S. dollar (eUSD) cryptocurrency. Like all cryptocurrencies, it will have a public ledger, allowing the Fed to see all consumer transactions on the network. Here’s the kicker — the Fed can then use that information to tabulate real-time economic data such as the consumer price index, manufacturing activity, and key product sales. This would greatly increase the Fed’s ability to accurately adjust the federal funds rate to balance the economy.
In the event of a force majeure (i.e., a financial crisis, deadly pandemic, alien invasion, etc.), the Fed could send stimulus in the form of eUSD to all applicable parties. Afterwards, the entity could monitor blockchain transactions for direct insight into how recipients are spending and determine if more stimulus is needed for the recovery.
The corporate world would greatly benefit from such a system as well. For example, a blockchain analytics company could perform an analysis on all wallets associated with marijuana dispensaries/point-of-sales. It could then tally the transactions, quickly derive the industry’s total addressable market and share this information with sector players to enhance their business strategies for the year.
Lastly, the Fed’s eUSD would synergize well with law enforcement agencies and the IRS. Wallets suspected of engaging in illicit transactions or criminal activities could be suspended until their owners are no longer persons of interest. In addition, tax evasion would be far more difficult as the IRS could simply cross-reference wallet transactions with taxpayers’ fillings to identify any discrepancies.
What this means for Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies)
Ideally, a CBDC network would have little to no transaction fees, be lightning fast, and be environmentally friendly, which goes against everything Bitcoin is right now. In addition, governments could implement recovery services if a coin is sent to the wrong address or simply perform a real-ID check for someone who lost their wallet key. Bitcoin has neither feature.
Moreover, a CBDC network’s revolutionary potential, coupled with the legitimacy of government backing, has the potential to entice many people to flock to its coin, putting it in direct competition with decentralized cryptocurrencies. Since the latter require growing user adoption for sustained price appreciation, many cryptocurrencies could end up struggling in the face of this formidable competition.
Of course, CBDCs arguably give governments a lot of new power too, so the whole thing could turn dystopian. But the fact of the matter is governments want CBDCs to gain legitimacy for better economic planning. Decentralized cryptocurrencies might end up facing increased regulations and crackdowns as they’re simply not part of the government-approved system. For the sake of argument, it’s far more challenging to tabulate economic data if one half of the country uses the eUSD as a medium of exchange and another uses alternatives like Bitcoin. Hence, investors should brace for the possibility that the “golden age” of cryptocurrency investing is coming to an end.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, plans to “step up” its monitoring of digital currencies, according to a report by Reuters. This intent, as published in an IMF paper Thursday, details how the fund plans to “manage this far-reaching and complex transition” toward a digitized economy.
“Rapid technological innovation is ushering in a new era of public and private digital money,” the report reads, highlighting the benefits of digital assets. “Payments will become easier, faster, cheaper, and more accessible, and will cross borders swiftly. These improvements could foster efficiency and inclusion, with major benefits for all.”
However, such implementations can only occur if the IMF can “keep pace with policy challenges,” which require a deeper look into digital economies as a prospect. The fund plans to work with institutions “consistent with its mandate,” such as central banks, regulators, and the World Bank while expanding its own digital money research.
As disclosed in an April 2021 paper, the IMF plans to add five sets of experts to properly conduct research. Their skills include lawyers, digital risk experts, financial sector experts, fiscal economists, and data specialists. This set of skills should thoroughly cover research into the digital currency industry, the paper claims.
The fund will target Central Bank Digital Currencies, or CBDCs, stablecoins, cryptoassets, and more. It will examine how these assets represent financial independence, can act as reserve currencies, and how they can replace current payment systems.
Earlier this week, the IMF published a warning regarding El Salvador’s recent Bitcoin law. While it didn’t mention the country directly, the warning noted that “granting cryptoassets legal tender status” could threaten local economies, not to mention the time-consuming process of citizens “choosing which money to hold.” Conversely, the IMF went on record earlier this month claiming that CBDCs could provide the global financial system with a “clean slate.”
This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape and enterprise blockchain integrations.
After months of writing about the relentless actions of the Chinese government, this week we lead with a story from the United States government. On July 19, three U.S. senators signed a letter addressed to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, requesting that U.S. athletes not use the digital yuan in February’s Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The logic was that the digital currency would be traceable after the athletes returned to the U.S., in case China was interested in tracking foreign biathletes and bobsledders in their offseason training regimens.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, snapped back that the senators “should stop making troubles” and “figure out what a digital currency really is.” Zhao apparently believes that the U.S. lawmakers might not be up-to-date on the latest in technology, something the crypto enthusiasts on Twitter have been bemoaning for years.
All sarcasm aside, this points to a growing trend of consumers being caught in geopolitical struggles around technology, which could become a much larger issue as central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, become more prevalent. Users can choose to avoid certain hardware or apps that provide a data security risk, but avoiding the local currency will be a much more difficult choice to make. Cash use has dropped to a negligible amount in China, with the bulk of daily transactions being digital through Alipay and WeChat. Traveling or living in China without touching the digital currency will be a huge inconvenience, and one likely to not go over well with future generations.
Leading the pack
On July 19, Cointelegraph reported that Chinese Bitcoin miners had earned close to $7 billion dollars in the past year, 10 times more than miners in the second-highest country, the United States. This trend might be broken up slightly by the regulatory crackdown this year but still shows the influence China has on the industry, especially if large Chinese companies can continue to set up operations in neighboring countries.
Chinese volumes bounce back
Volumes on Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKEx rebounded slightly compared with the same time last week, including on the derivatives side where the two exchanges made up around 44% of Binance’s volume, compared with only 38.7% at the same time the week before. Gaming token Axie Infinity’s AXS remained a hot token for trading and was the fourth-most traded token on Huobi on Thursday behind BTC, ETH and DOGE. Actual gameplay hasn’t really taken off in China, and even though the site remains unblocked by the Great Firewall thus far, visits to the website are still scarce. Users from the Philippines make up 40% of website visitors, whereas China accounted for less than 3%. China boasts the largest gaming community in the world, but tight restrictions on cryptocurrencies are likely to limit the growth of public blockchain-based gaming for the time being. Speculating on gaming-related tokens, however, will likely remain a strong trend.
It’s worth noting that in the short term, the regulations looming on the horizon make betting on exchanges a risky proposition. Many rumors have swirled about upcoming action to be taken by Chinese regulators, particularly for repeat offenders in the area. Regulators in smaller countries seem to be waiting to see who will throw the first punch.
Hong Kong’s most prominent newspaper South China Morning Post is launching an NFT platform aimed at historical news and items. This platform will let verified issuers mint and trade NFTs in an open marketplace. This should appeal to a broader audience of collectors and non-crypto-native users in Southeast Asia, as well as a government interested in exporting soft power to the world.