ING Bank: Bitcoin remains a niche product

The chief analyst of the Dutch ING Bank, Teunis Brosens, assumes that in the long run Bitcoin has ‚little to offer‘ to the general public. Brosens also considers its value to be too high. Open source projects could also easily be copied by third parties or published in modified form.

The chief analyst of the Dutch ING Bank yesterday published his Reality Check des Bitcoin on his LinkedIn profile.

In the long term, Bitcoin has little to offer the general crypto trader public

Teunis Brosens believes that this will remain a niche currency for a few technology-crazy first-time crypto trader users in the long run: Brosens also has little to do with the open source idea. Since the Bitcoin platform is open source, anyone can copy it or create their own forks (i.e. modifications or enhancements). If the Bitcoin is a „digital gold“ as assumed, then all forks and copies would be successful forms of „digital alchemy“. The Bitcoin itself can become scarce on the basis of its own blockchain, which of course increases the value. But this blockchain can be copied indefinitely.

Similar to social networks, the dominance of the leading crypto currency can constantly change. Anyone who remembers SchülerVZ or MySpace in addition to the older readers is now all talking about Facebook or WhatsApp. The current value estimation of many adjoining owners consists in the conviction that the present Dominanz of the Bitcoin will remain eternally in such a way. But what is in 12 or 24 months? The market can change quickly.

A fall in prices could be followed by repressive surveillance measures.
The positive effects of the (decentralised) network would have a certain value, but these could be „much smaller than expected“. Governments, regulators or central banks will probably never really appreciate decentralized financial networks, says the economist Brosens. A negative event, such as a fall in prices followed by great public outrage, could trigger repressive „surveillance reactions“ from government agencies.

Bitcoin unsuitable as a means of payment

The realistic value of this virtual currency depends solely on its future use. You can only buy it as a currency and keep it as an investment in the hope that third parties will be willing to pay even more money for it in the future. It is unlikely that the Bitcoin will play a greater role as a global means of payment. As a means of payment it is simply unattractive for small payments due to its full network and the high transaction costs (in November it was on average 8 US dollars). In addition, there was the comparatively high power consumption generated worldwide by the nodes in the BTC network.

Value too unstable, open source as a brake on innovation?
Volatility: In contrast to fiat money (state money coins and notes), the value of the Bitcoin is not significantly influenced by the central bank of a state. In the case of Bitcoin, supply and demand fluctuate, which by nature makes the value volatile (changeable). Since there is no central control, the implementation of innovative measures would take place in a very slow and painful process. The analyst also fears that power lies in the hands of a few parties, which would result in an enormous power potential. Remember the current reports of about one thousand Bitcoin whales, who own about 40% of this crypto currency and who could theoretically do whatever they wanted with it, if they would coordinate among themselves.

Blockchain Wallets are (soon maybe) stuck in our cars

It is no secret that cars are becoming better and better networked. A new concept has now been presented by a trio of three big players. The institutions continue to drive today’s futuristic ideas with a new Blokchain prototype. Our means of transport are to be brought to a completely new level by automatic payment systems.

Bitcoin secret: An Ethereum Wallet for every car?

This vision is brought to life by a new Bitcoin secret blockchain project called Car eWallet. The project is a merger of the German automotive parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen, the innogy Innovation Hub (a subsidiary of the RWE Group) and the Swiss bank UBS according to onlinebetrug.

Car eWallet was announced at the beginning of the month and provides an advanced network for electric cars. In this network, cars pay by machine-to-machine transactions for tolls, parking spaces and electric charging – all with a blockchain network as the basic structure.

As already announced by Decentralized Technology Lead Carsten Stocker at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month, the idea is an association of several ideas to facilitate the development of vehicle networks.

It begins, Stocker said, with the vehicle itself.

He explained CoinDesk:

„It is an autonomous vehicle. The vehicles can make their own decisions about where they charge, what kind of leasing and what kind of service is used. The idea is that they interact independently with the services.“

The Car eWallet would be embedded in the vehicle’s electrical control unit and linked to a private blockchain. The wallet would then be charged by computer or smartphone app. This would then make transactions between different users possible.

Nodes would be used in charging stations. They set up the network and secure it.

The companies explained that in addition to parking and recharging, such wallets could be used for carsharing companies in the future.

Verge (XVG): Price sag after Bitcoin loophole partnership

The crypto currency Verge (XVG) announced a partnership with the pornography website Pornhub on April 17. In response to the announcement, the Verge course made a head jump. Here are some thoughts.

At the end of March, the Verge project launched a crowdfunding round for a secret partnership. As a result, a good 75 million XVGs were donated by the community. At the time, this corresponded to a value of over one million US dollars. Two weeks later, after several announcements of the announcement, the official statement: Pornhub now accepts Verge as a means of payment for merchandise, video-on-demand and streaming services.

The Foreplay of the Bitcoin loophole

Verge has already attracted attention in the past through its marketing efforts. John McAfee first put Verge on the radar of the Bitcoin loophole community. The advantage of Verge is the privacy offered in combination with a low market capital – that’s what the profits call! Nevertheless Verge had to defy attacks from different sides again and again. Screenshots of McAfee showing up, trying to blackmail a prominent Verge whale with slander. Then the Bitcoin loophole protocol update came late. Last but not least, voices were raised that Verge could not keep his promise of privacy.

In Verge’s well-known manner, the community hyped the announcement so much that on April 17th, everyone looked spellbound at their computers as Verge lifted the curtain. The telegram groups didn’t have a second’s rest – images of lambos and moons as far as the finger can scroll. Then the news: A partnership with Pornhub.

The Verge course makes you tired

The anticipation, which was also reflected in the share price, could not be maintained. As soon as the news was spread throughout the world, the Verge course began to fall. The Verge exchange rate fell from almost 12 US dollar cents to just under 8 US dollar cents. Just 4 cents difference – is that serious? Well, because there is a good 14 billion XVG in circulation, these 4 cents mean a value of a good 700 million dollars.

This reaction seems as if the market would not approve of the partnership. Many would have preferred PayPal as a partner. But the speculations before the announcement were so wild that a disappointment was inevitable.

Full body analysis: Verge
The crypto currency looks dubious: Copying code from another project, not keeping to deadlines, begging the community for money, a 51% attack, internal pump & dump agreements. But worst of all is the promise of privacy that Verge doesn’t keep. Transactions in Verge are not anonymous, and if you really want to hide your porn expenses from your partner (or government), you should look for alternatives.

If you deal with the community, you will notice that little value is placed on a technological basis. The focus is on the potential profit from the rise in the share price. Any stirrup holder is right for this increase. It should not be forgotten that Verge PornHub ultimately paid money for this partnership.

Time will tell whether the partnership between Verge and Pornhub will bear lasting fruit.

Status: Ethereum goes mobile – Wallets with cryptosoft

Ethereum will soon have Status, the first wallet for mobile devices with an interface reminiscent of WeChat.

The Alpha version of Status will be released in the next few weeks. This program will provide a new, contemporary interface for the Ethereum wallet.

With Status, users can start and control remote applications or DApps via instant messages from a mobile wallet.

First Step Alpha Version of cryptosoft

The Light Client, which will be available for Android and iOS, was inspired by the app WeChat. WeChat is less known in this country, but even before Facebook Chat it was a cryptosoft chat app that could do much more than simple messaging via bots. So you could also browse through your social media updates or initiate payment transactions with cryptosoft.

According to Carl Bennets, co-founder of Status, the idea was to create an interface that people without an affinity to blockchain would understand. This would build a bridge to the world of crypto technologies for those non-techies.

„With this goal in mind, we came up with a solution between a messenger and a browser. According to our vision, you can talk to decentralized applications like you would with friends“.

Ultimately, the Mist Wallet had a similar goal. This well-known Ethereum Wallet was sponsored by the Ethereum Foundation and wanted to make the operation of DApps similar to the user experience in a browser.

Status takes this a step further by adapting the interaction with distributed applications to instant messaging.

However, it should be stressed that there may be still a long way to go before the finished product is ready.

The alpha version will be a slimmed down version of the program, with the status to show what it’s up to. Target audiences are primarily developers – ultimately the same target audience as Ethereum.

An already interesting component is that users can encrypt their chats using Ethereum’s Whisper protocol.

According to Bennets, this is a necessary step away from the current client-server model used by most encrypted messaging apps. He emphasized that Status is one of the first apps to use Ethereum’s decentralized chat protocol.

In addition to the chat, there are other features available. Developers can already play around with the app.

For example, users can save their ether or send it locally – even if Bennets doesn’t recommend doing this with a larger amount of ether, as the function is still being tested. In addition, existing DApps should be able to be thinned, similar to the Mist browser.

The vision behind Status

The Mobile Wallet also shows a new focus of the developers: One wonders not only what users can do with the technology, but how they can use it.

Even though there are already a lot of wallets, even in the mobile sector, most interfaces are not exactly made for the Otto normal consumer.

A distant goal of Status is to be able to order a self-propelled car via an instant message and a transaction from Ether.
„Between a friend and a Dapp there should be no difference on the level of status“, so a presentation of the app on the Devcon.

When asked if it wouldn’t be dangerous to make Smart Contracts easier to use – after all, there have been some bugs and security issues with Ethereum – Bennet agreed.

The DAO exploit shows what can happen if developers use Ethereum as if it were already fully developed – which it is not yet. However, he is convinced that security will improve in Ethereum Smart Contracts.

„Security is being taken more and more seriously. Once we have a security standard that DApps submit to before they are made available to users, Ethereum will be a very good, secure and forward-looking system.“

Security is not one of the main development goals of Status in this respect – it is hoped that Ethereum will make changes itself. Despite the current problems of the Ethereum infrastructure, developers are working on innovative projects that improve the Ethereum ecosystem.

Comment by the author (Philipp Giese):

I think that a dung-capable mobile wallet is an important first step. For DApps and their control on mobile phones, the approach of doing this via an instant messaging-like service makes sense – apps like WeChat but also Quartz, Slack or Facebook Messenger show that this concept works. In this respect, I’m really excited about status. Whether it will be a „killer app“ can’t be said and is probably exaggerated, but status will definitely be the interaction with DApps

The potential of medical drugs

Accelerating the regulatory processes of health insurance companies or the transfer of EHRs is a challenge that will take ten to fifteen years to come, according to Michael Gucci, an emergency physician and founder of Bitcoin Fortress Ventures.

„We have to think in small steps, hospitals will never implement huge changes.“

Instead of focusing on EHR and insurance, Gucci believes that blockchain entrepreneurs should first focus on the medical device market, which has disruptive potential.

Companies like Block Verify from Great Britain are working on the news spy

Even if counterfeit drugs are less of a problem in the United States, the situation is completely different in developing countries. This problem costs the drug industry billions of dollars a year. Worse still, the news spy trade in counterfeit medicines claims thousands of lives, as the American Health and Drug Benefits Report showed in 2014.

The company has carried out several tests to enable medical workers and customers to verify the integrity of the drug via the blockchain using QR codes on pill vials.

Rome was not built in one day

This is consistent with Holt’s idea that the role of blockchain entrepreneurs is to find solutions to simpler problems in the areas of data integrity and data origin.

An example of this is Saavha. This blockchain startup has one task: to confirm the integrity of health plans. With the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal of 2014 and other still existing problems in this context, this service is particularly interesting as it deals with big problems of poorly managed waiting lists.

According to a proposal by a member of the US Congress, this problem is something that could be solved with blockchain technology.

According to Holt, the VA has much stricter regulations than many hospitals. The data used must be encrypted on a hard disk that is under constant surveillance in a locked room. And yet – the data could be manipulated.

Saavha’s assistant physician and co-founder, Matthew Rose, is convinced that while it is appealing to solve a big problem, it is more practical to solve the small problems within the big one.

One example of this is the history of medicine: according to Rose, one reason for the great progress in this area is that each scientist has only worked on a small part of the problem. In cancer research, for example, some doctors focus on tumor removal practices, others on how to safely separate tumors from the blood supply, and still others on the role of proteins.

Under the hood, Saavha works as follows: A hash of all data relevant to the doctor’s appointment is stored in the blockchain, proving that the data was not changed later.

This use case cleverly avoids a frequently repeated accusation against the blockchain: One often accuses the blockchain of being slow by nature and therefore not being the best solution for large amounts of data.

Since the focus here is on data integrity, EHRs can simply store a short hash on the blockchain and thus prove the validity of information stored elsewhere. This information is often stored in centralized databases.

The best of two worlds
These centralized databases could in turn benefit from somewhat more exotic blockchain applications.

Andrian Gropper, CTO of the non-profit group Patient Privacy Rights, believes that these centralized databases should be scaled down significantly. After all, these databases contain the patient records of up to ten million patients.

„We have thus created an El Dorado for data thieves. Tens of thousands of people in hospital staff have access to this data. And for the user, these systems are completely inscrutable.“

This is a well-known problem in the industry. Only last year, data thieves performed the largest health hack ever in the industry. The data of more than 78 million patients were disclosed. In March, the MedStar Systems clinical information system was hacked and had to be taken offline.

This misery will continue – Healthcare data is almost a hundred times more valuable than stolen credit card data.

„The only hope of securely managing this type of personal information is to put it back in the hands of a decentralized group. The blockchain will play a central role in this.“

This is exactly what motivates Gropper to create a patient-centered health platform.

#BTCM2017: Impressions from the Bitcoin and Blockchain Conference at the Blockchain-Hotel Essen

BTC-ECHO was last weekend (15.09 and 16.09) at the Blockchain Tech Crypto Meetup #BTCM2017 at the Blockchain-Hotel Essen. During the two-day event we were able to gather many interesting impressions and talk to top speakers from the Blockchain sector – we don’t want to deny you that. A video report with many interesting interviews follows. A review of the #BTCM2017.

Friday morning started after a delicious breakfast in an unbiased atmosphere with some top speakers, including Oliver Flasskämper: Oliver Flasskämper from, Andrei Martchouk from KI Dezentralized (both in interview with BTC-ECHO), Friedemann Brenneis (Coinspondent) and Jason King from Unsung.

Unsung – Decentralization Fights Hunger

Unsung has made it his business to actively fight hunger. The operator Jason King introduced the situation in the USA, which does not differ so much from our European situation: There is enough food, tons of food are disposed of every day and yet there are still people who cannot regularly buy healthy food due to their low income or other reasons.

Instead of storing donated food in large warehouses, King came up with the idea of picking it up directly from the donor and bringing it to the next person in need. Decentralization saves time and money. Monetary donations can also be accepted. Of course, we don’t need a donation account for this anymore: King accepts donations in the form of Bitcoin or Ether!

TYKN – Secure the birth cure on the Blockchain

It is the most important document in life: the birth certificate. It connects an identity with a person, provides information about age, origin and ancestry. According to TYKN’s Tey ElRjula, terrorist groups always aim to destroy such documents when taking over cities. As soon as the documents are extinguished, the victims are practically stateless and at the mercy of a gauntlet for new documents.

ElRjula himself has come a long way: the Syrian had to flee through several North African states before finally arriving in the Netherlands. Today he is fully integrated, speaks Dutch, has a job, a home and a dog. On his driver’s license it says under place of birth: obekend – Dutch for: unknown.

Even today, a person’s most vulnerable document is still issued manually. TYKN wants to change that: With the connection to the Ethereum or Hyperledger blockchain, identities are to be secured once and for all, so that nobody has to be considered homeless anymore.

Liberland – a new country in freedom
Vít Jedlicka is actually Czech. His idea was to change the world for the better from an early age. He was active in Czech politics and even reached the European level. But in the end, according to his own statements, he remarked that he would never change the basic structures. In response to this realization, he joined forces with a few to found Liberland.

Liberland is a young country between Croatia and Serbia that has existed since 2015. It is not internationally recognized, but high politicians from the USA and other states want to support Liberland. The small country could only be founded by Croatia and Serbia not claiming this small island in the Danube for themselves and assigning the property to the other.

Liberland is to become a tax haven. Through a very liberal approach, President Jedlicka wants to privatize all parts of the state of Liberland: Police, administration, health care, trade and much more.

With a digital administration inspired by Estonia, the state should give its citizens absolute freedom. According to the Liberland motto: „Live and let live“.