EO.Trade Promised 20 Cryptos in its Ecosystem But Has Already Integrated 30 Within the First Month of Presale

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EO the four-platform-ecosystem by leading broker ExpertOption has announced the integration of 30 cryptos to be used for payments and within the platforms once they are launched. The whitepaper had promised 20 cryptos at the launch of its financial wallet EO.Finance, but has already delivered more than 30 crypto integrations within the first month of public presale.

EO is the brainchild of ExpertOption CEO Ivan Opria, and it has taken the crypto world by storm with its plan to launch four different platforms which will merge fiat and crypto trading. EO promises the best, biggest and fastest crypto exchange on the market EO.Trade, a crypto – fiat financial hub EO.Finance, token based accounts on ExpertOption.com and a brand new news portal for blockchain and trading updates, EO.News. The development of the project has been fast-moving which increases our confidence that EO will truly deliver its promises.

“Fulfilling our promises is a given, we plan to exceed expectations” CEO Ivan Opria said “after our success with ExpertOption, EO is about expanding options for investors and bringing blockchain and traditional online trading closer in a convenient and practical manner”.

Since the launch of the EO project, the company has opened up to the public about its operations and team members, maintaining a high level of transparency, in its series of videos EO invited viewers to discover the core departments who led ExpertOption to success and will do the same with EO.

The project’s smart contract has been verified by SmartDec ensuring it’s security, it received a 100/100 ranking from ICO Ranker and announced two major advisors; marketing guru and blockchain expert Heinz Grunwald and crypto investment advisor who specializes in the Asian market Kenji Cheung.

ExpertOption was founded and managed by the same team which developed its own award winning platform. The broker has more than 8 million registrations so far, more than 100 employees and offices in six different countries. As far as blockchain projects go, EO is a rare case where the project is backed by an already developed and successful company with an established team.

The launch of EO has not overshadowed ExpertOption which continues to offer online trading services to traders from more than 150 countries. “ExpertOption was and continues to be the preferred broker for millions of traders.” Head of Customer Support Dmitrij Nikitin said, “we will continue to offer excellent trading conditions and support our clients who are not ready to make the leap into blockchain, however we are also ready to help those who are”.

The EO coin will offer discounted payments for transaction fees on EO.Trade and EO.Finance and higher profit percentages for token-based trades on ExpertOption.

The EO coin sale is now live.

This is a sponsored press release and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views held by any employees of The Merkle. This is not investment, trading, or gambling advice. Always conduct your own independent research.

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Blockchain Mobile Operator that Wants to Set New Standard and Tokenize Telecom Industry

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Founders of Miracle Tele—a Prague based mobile virtual network operator powered by Ethereum blockchain—believe that the conventional telecom service providers have long outlived themselves.

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Article

Andrew Burchik, the company’s founder, explains that currently fewer and fewer people look at their mobile phones simply as at a means of communications and claims that the new era of telecom services is coming where mobile operators will have to provide their customers an ultimate solution that would include free telco features, financial tools, and other services based on the use of emerging technologies.

Miracle Tele launched in late April and offers its members high-quality worldwide calls at only €0.2 per minute and traffic from €0.01 per MB, biweekly token holder rewards thanks to its proprietary ERC20 token named TELE, and a range of distinctive telecom features which, as Andrew told us, ‘every other mobile operator will offer to its customers in as early as five years from now on’.

Quality telecom services and token holder rewards

The company’s telecom services are available in 213 countries all over the world where Miracle Tele has signed contracts and agreements with local mobile operators that provide it with surplus calltime and traffic, ensuring low rates and high quality of services.

As a rule, MVN operators have no additional costs like infrastructure development or branding—therefore making their operations cost-efficient and sustainable—and in case of Miracle Tele fusing their telecom services with blockchain technology and tokenizing the assets through a token sale seemed more than logical.

All holders of TELE, an ERC20 utility token, receive biweekly rewards that equal to 40% of the net profit of Miracle Tele divided between all token owners. Apart from adding a community element to the system, TELE token serves as a foundation for blockchain based solutions and tools that Miracle Tele plans to launch in the near future.

Ensuring privacy and getting rid of bureaucracy

One of the biggest bets that Miracle Tele made is on complete privacy and lack of bureaucracy for its users. Unlike most conventional mobile operators who ask for your ID upon purchase of a mobile plan, Miracle Tele does not require its members to verify their identity in order to purchase, activate, and use a SIM card.

Customers can sign up at Miracle Tele using only their email address and the whole registration procedure is very quick, taking just a couple of seconds.

The same way, ID verification is not necessary if a user wants to participate in the company’s token sale and purchase TELE tokens.

The future of the telecom industry

The idea behind the future of the telecom industry that Miracle Tele founder cherishes is about offering the customer complete privacy as well as freedom of access to information over the Internet and to financial tools via cryptocurrency.

Although currently such claim may sound too ambitious as there are still no similar offers on the telecom market, in the near future Miracle Tele promises to launch its proprietary wallet with integrated prepaid debit cards, VPN services that will come together with all SIM card plans, and smaller features like free messengers, one free website/service a month, free virtual numbers from any country, voice change, and so on.

And if we look a bit further into the future, the technology that Miracle Tele’s development team is particularly interested in is the Internet of Things (IoT), which can be used together with AI algorithms in order to extend the range of use cases of the company’s services by incorporating them into home automation systems.

Ongoing token sale

Miracle Tele began its token sale last month, during which the company plans to distribute 150,000,000 TELE at €0.1 per token. The duration of the token sale, which is not limited in time and will end when all available tokens are sold out, becomes yet another important conceptual distinction between the start-up and other crypto-related projects on the market.

Such format of the token sale has been adopted because Miracle Tele lets users choose either to use its telecom services as if it was a common mobile operator or tokenize their assets and purchase mobile plans using TELE tokens.

This way Miracle Tele protects itself from risks of closure as it usually happens with 90% of crypto projects who go for ICO but then disappear in less than a year because of technical inefficiency, misappropriation of funds, or lack of interest to their projects.

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Smart Contracts Are Not as Smart as You Think

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Lauded as the future of blockchain, business, and banking (among many other things), smart contracts are undeniably a game changer. They allow efficient supply chain management, financial transactions, and automated payments to take place without intermediaries. But smart contracts, contrary to popular opinion, are not infallible.

In fact, according to Amy Wan, the CEO and co-founder of Sagewise, smart contracts are not as smart as you think they are. While it’s true that such agreements provide a certain amount of security by virtue of existing on a blockchain network, Wan believes that “the term ‘smart contract’ may be a misnomer.”

Amy Wan

Amy Wan

As a former securities attorney and general counsel of a crowdfunding startup who learned to code on Coursera, Wan straddles the legal and tech worlds with expertise and dexterity. She’s also a woman in a male-dominated industry, meaning she has to “work harder to be taken seriously” (and never has to wait in line for the restroom).

Here’s what she had to say.

Plenty Can (And Has) Gone Wrong With Smart Contracts

Wan is on a mission to provide transactional confidence and certainty, which she points out “are necessary for the long-term success of the blockchain industry.” As it happens, a lot can go wrong (and has gone wrong) due to smart contract errors.

“In 2016,” she says, “at least $60 million was lost in the blockchain space as the result of hacks. In 2017, that amount was estimated to be [anywhere from] $500 million to $1 billion. The DAO hack of 2016 alone resulted in the loss of $50 million. The Parity Wallet hacks of 2017 resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of value. Both of these were based on coding errors and alterations of important code.”

Smart contracts, Wan believes, are “full of vulnerabilities.” While you can argue that the technology is new and still striving for perfection with the use of bug bounties, formal verification, and code audits, Wan poses the question – what happens when those measures fail, as in Parity’s case?

“In the spring of 2017, I was watching the ICO industry very closely because it was taking off much more than the regulated crowdfunding industry. However, it seemed that every other day I would see a news story of an ICO being hacked for millions of dollars, and the founders often seemed powerless to do anything… As I looked into these hacks, I learned that smart contracts are only as good as the developer who coded it.”

Humans Can Fix Human Errors

Curiously, while the biggest flaw in smart contracts may be caused by human error or misintention, the best way to fix it may be to humanize the dispute resolution process. “At Sagewise,” Wan explains, “we are building a safety net for smart contracts. It is the toolbox that allows people to achieve their true transactional intent, and it includes a robust dispute resolution marketplace.”

But doesn’t adding another layer of humanity to a human-free technology seem counter-intuitive, to say the least? “We certainly are not proponents of unnecessary human intervention,” she explains. “However, there are certain instances in which code fails, whether that is because of a coding error, a securities vulnerability, [or] the failure of parties to truly put into code their intents. Code is static, but human situations are not.”

Bots Can Also Fix Human Errors

“In those (hopefully rare) instances where a smart contract fails to achieve the intent of the parties, we believe there needs to be some sort of infrastructure that attempts to ameliorate the situation,” Wan explains.

However, it may not always take the shape of a living being with a beating heart and blood coursing through its veins. A dispute could also be fixed without human intervention. “In certain instances, it might be best for the dispute to be resolved by a bot,” she confirms.

Essentially, the mission of Sagewise is to ensure that problems are resolved and that people and businesses can transact safely. “At the end of the day, there needs to be some sort of a safety net,” Wan concludes. And as more and more businesses get on board with blockchain technology, it will be comforting to know that in such situations, someone has their back.

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Delayed Binance Listing Quickly Spoils the ZenCash Price Pump

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TheMerkle Zencash

Today has been a rather interesting day for the Zencash altcoin. Although its use cases are still somewhat limited in nature these days, the ZenCash price got a nice pump – and subsequent dump – over the past few hours. The delayed listing on Binance quickly made people turn sour on this altcoin, even though it is still up by 8.7%.

The ZenCash Pump Failed

It is evident there is no real reason why one ZenCash should be worth $40, let alone $50 like it was earlier today. News regarding Binance listing ZEN effectively pushed the ZenCash price from $32 all the way to just over $50 in a matter of three hours. Such a massive pump is usually followed by a steady decline, which is exactly what happened in the past few hours.

To put this into perspective, the current ZenCash price sits at $36.84. That is still an 8.7% increase compared to 24 hours ago, which is impressive in its own regarding .Especially with Bitcoin and all other main currencies losing so much value this week, there is little room for high expectations. Even so, the ZenCash price momentum ran out of steam pretty quickly.

This is mainly because Binance has confirmed they are delaying the launch of this altcoin. Mainly because of the speculative nature and sudden pump, the exchange is waiting until things quiet down once again. It quickly made the ZenCash value drop from $50 to $36.84, and that may not be the bottom for today.

With just $41.116m in 24-hour trading volume, the interest in ZenCash is not all that spectacular by any means. That is not entirely surprising either, as ZenCash has no specific use cases that make it unique compared to other prominent altcoins. Even so, there’s still a market for this currency, but it seems the majority of trading volume is due to the pump which took place earlier today.

As of right now, Bittrex is the main exchange for ZEN trading volume. Upbit is in second place – although not with a fiat currency pair – and OKEx closes out the top three. With no other exchange generating over $1m in 24-hour trading volume, it remains a bit unclear why Binance would list ZenCash over some of the other alternative currencies with a higher trading volume.

For the time being, the ZenCash price is still in a good place, although people hoping for more will be sorely disappointed with how things are going right now. Even so, there’s a good chance the ZenCash price will remain above $30 all day, which wouldn’t be a bad thing either. Whether or not things will improve from here on out, is everybody’s guess right now.

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Bitcoin Cash Price Continues to Plummet as $1,000 is in Sight

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TheMerkle Bitcoin Cash Price

It is evident things are quickly going from bad to worse for all of the major cryptocurrencies these days. All major markets are still down, a trend which began forming yesterday morning. Things have not improved in the past 24 hours by any means. The Bitcoin Cash price illustrates that problem perfectly, as it is slowly dropping to $1,000.

Bitcoin Cash Price Woes Worsen

There is very little to be excited about when it comes to cryptocurrency prices as of right now. With all markets down in the dirt, it is evident there is a fair amount of panic setting in. Traders and speculators are more than willing to part with their cryptocurrency holdings right now, which will only push the prices down even further.  This is quite visible when looking at the Bitcoin Cash price as of right now.

To be more specific, the Bitcoin Cash price has dropped from nearly $1,300 to $1,056 in the past few days. It is evident this is not the development most people are looking for these days, but there is very little to be done about it at this point in time. With the Bitcoin Cash price dropping 11.5% over the past 24 hours, the bigger question is whether or not the value can remain above $1,000 for much longer.

Additionally, the Bitcoin Cash price is also losing ground thanks to further declines in the BCH/BTC ratio. With another 6.61% decline in the past 24 hours, it is evident speculators are mainly interested in getting rid of BCH in favor of Bitcoin right now. This also applies to other cryptocurrencies as of right now, and it remains to be seen when the momentum turns in favor of the cryptocurrency industry.

With $696.16m in 24-hour trading volume, things are not looking all that bad for Bitcoin Cash. Although this volume isn’t the most impressive by any means, it is still pretty significant when looking at some of the other altcoins on the market. It also appears the total cryptocurrency trading volume is rising again, albeit this is mainly due to more people selling their holdings right now.

Looking over the exchanges ranked by trading volume, Bitcoin Cash is extremely popular on OKex, Bitfinex, and HitBTC. LBank is also in the top five, and OKEx’s BTC pair closes out the top five. It is interesting to see so many markets generate over $30m in trading volume these past 24 hours. Unfortunately, there are only two fiat currency pairs in the entire top 10, which means less fresh capital is entering the BCH ecosystem as of right now.

For the time being, it remains to be seen how things will unfold for the Bitcoin Cash price. It is evident the current momentum is not looking all that hot, but there is no reason to wallow in despair either. Cryptocurrencies are volatile by nature, and there are a lot of reasons as to why the Bitcoin Cash price is suffering from major setbacks right now. Whether or not it will remain above $1,000, is the big question for today, as that seems very difficult right now.

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X Genomics Unlocks Life Sciences Putting Big Human Genetic Data on the Blockchain

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Singapore, 22 May 2018 — X Genomics, a startup bringing some of the world’s most experienced genome specialists to build the world’s largest genetic data chain powered by the blockchain, announces the X Genomics Human Variant Genome Project. The project will enable human genome data to be publicly accessible and ready for sharing while protecting the security and privacy of the data owner by using a blockchain-based decentralized genome data storage.

Human genome sequencing is a key element in our understanding of the evolution of and humanity and the human body composition, allowing researchers to understand diseases including viruses, mutations and various forms of cancer better, and design medication with more accurate prediction of their effects.

As the gene industry is developing, X Genomics aims to solve many of its pain points through efficient and secure blockchain services, under the premise of secure and reliable transaction interconnection through visualized data management tools. With this focus, the comprehensive cost of the gene technology industry can be effectively reduced, operational efficiency can be improved, and the application of traditional gene technologies can be solved.

X Genomics is breaking the silos of industry information and integrates the human genome data on a blockchain by building a global genetic data hub and opening a transparent service platform for anyone to share human genome data, while not relinquishing ownership of the data. The X Genomics blockchain is designed to provide genetic research industry partners with enterprise-level blockchain infrastructure, industry solutions, and secure, reliable, and flexible blockchain services.

X Genomics plans to integrate and attract various gene technologies and scientific research institutions to participate in genetic data analysis and mining, while maximizing the value of genetic data, and providing comprehensive, customized health management and life guidance for gene donors. The project will also focus efforts and resources on developing application scenarios for analyzing and using the genetic data collected, enabling the data to be used by parties for the open advancement of Life Sciences for Humanity.

“Our mission is to create a global human genome data hub, mine the huge genetic data base and maximize the value of genetic data.” said Shine Lam, CEO of X Genomics “By enabling decentralized genome data storage, X Genomics will enable human genome data to be publicly accessible and ready for sharing while protecting the security and privacy of the data owner.”

The team of researchers and genome experts supporting the program is based in Singapore, Canada and China, and include two Nobel prize winners, Professor Randy Schekman 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and Eric Maskin, Harvard Professor and 2007 Nobel Prize in Economy. This makes X Genomics the first of its kind to be supported by Nobel Prize laureates.

The original focus of the Human Variant Genome Project, or X Genomics, is not on the 99.9% similarity in the genome of each human, but on the 0.1% difference, with a long term approach that we aim to continue forever, or until humanity is extinct.

To power its blockchain, The X Genomics project will issue an ERC-20 token, the X Genomics Chain Token, (symbol: GSX) under the Human Genomic Research Foundation LTD, founded in Singapore.

The GSX token’s main role is to provide liquidity for digital asset transactions on applications built on the X Genomics platform, and to serve as a payment mechanism for transactions on the X Genomics ecosystem. Users uploading their genome data to the X Genomics blockchain will be compensated with tokens when their data is used. Similarly, researchers will be able to value their research using big genetic data and sharing it on the platform against tokens with medical institutions or individuals wanting to use the research.

About X Genomics

X Genomics is a project combining gene technology with blockchain technology. It will break the silos of industry information and integrate the human genome data on a blockchain by building a global genetic data hub and opening a transparent service platform for sharing human genome data. The project will integrate and attract various gene technologies and scientific research institutions to participate in genetic data analysis and mining. X Genomics will maximize the value of genetic data, and provide comprehensive, customized health management and life guidance for gene donors. Meanwhile, it will develop various application scenarios for genetic data, enabling the genetic data to be widely used in human economic and social activities.

Official Website: https://www.xgenomics.org

Join our Telegram: https://t.me/xgenomics

Connect with us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/xgenomics

Follow us on Facebook: https://facebook.com/xgenomics

Read more on Medium: https://medium.com/xgenomics

Contact:

info@xgenomics.org

This is a sponsored press release and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views held by any employees of The Merkle. This is not investment, trading, or gambling advice. Always conduct your own independent research.

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ICO of DateCoin: why the blockchain and AI will change the dating industry and how the creators of the project want to breathe new life into the crypto world

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Less than ten days left until the end of DateCoin ICO. It’s team has already raised SoftCap.

DTC is a highly liquid utility token of the ERC-20 standard designed on the basis of the proven business model for dating around the world with the inherent mechanism of cost growth due to the support of a large number of users.

The project team prepared to the ICO more than seven months, developing the concept of maintaining the course of the tokens and creating an innovative online dating service based on the use of advanced technologies. They include artificial intelligence, blockchain, neural networks, big data processing, etc.

The basis for the creation of the service will be the application Denim, which has been successfully working since 2015. Its audience exceeded 800 000 people, the profit in 2017 amounted to more than 2.5 million dollars (compared to previous year, the yield increased 15 times). Today, every potential investor of the project can download the application and get acquainted with its functionality (https://datecoin.io/mvp).

It is assumed that at the initial stage Denim users will provide demand for DTC tokens. By the way, each of hundreds of thousands of Denim users already have one token . They got them during the campaign that the team DateCoin held in honor of Valentine’s Day within the frameworks of the promotion of the blockchain and cryptoeconomy.

Users of the service will benefit from buying the tokens, since the system of payment for services within the application will be designed so that paying them with coins will be significantly more profitable. In addition, DTC holders will be offered a number of unique services available only for tokens. So, for example, if a user wants to watch a video of a girl, he will need to buy tokens in order to do this.

According to the forecasts of DateCoin team, by 2020 the service will have more than 20 million users. Most of them will buy the token on the exchange (as stated above) to pay for additional functionality and get a discount, which means that the coin will be in constant demand even after the ICO, which will have a positive impact on its exchange rate.

Today DateCoin is preparing to make this resolution in the field of online dating. The use of advanced technologies will solve many existing problems of the industry and improve the efficiency of the dating – will create a product that has no competitive analogues. It is artificial intelligence in DateCoin project that will perform all the rough work for users: analyze user preferences, the history of previous contacts and on the basis of a huge amount of information select potential partners, acquaintance with whom can most likely turn into something more than just dull correspondence.

Thus, the users of DateCoin will be relieved of the need to spend a huge amount of time to view profiles not interesting to them, as well as fake photos and accounts. The problem of user identification will be solved with the help of blockchain, which will create an atmosphere of trust in the service. Thanks to the technology of distributed data – a record of each confirmed account will ensure its authenticity, therefore, the problem of “fake accounts” and bots will go away forever. Special attention will be paid to the cyber security of the service.

The global online dating market is growing every year. According to experts, currently its total volume is more than $ 5 billion, next year it will exceed $ 6 billion. Every fourth inhabitant of our planet used operating services at least once in their life, and 7 percent of the world’s population uses them constantly-as they digitalize, people become more familiar with online and this trend will only increase with the advent of new technical opportunities.

All this testifies to the demand for this kind of service and gives grounds to assert the demand for DateCoin token.

Details of the project can be found here: https://datecoin.io.

This is a sponsored press release and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views held by any employees of The Merkle. This is not investment, trading, or gambling advice. Always conduct your own independent research.

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Bitfinex Aims to Eliminate Tax Evasion by Cooperating with the British Virgin Islands

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In the world of cryptocurrency, controversy is not all that difficult to come by. This is especially true when it comes to exchanges and trading platforms which share client information with the government. After the recent Coinbase-IRS debacle, it now seems Bitfinex is handing over a lot of customer information to the authorities as well.

Bitfinex Stirs the pot

While there are good reasons for a cryptocurrency exchange to be in active talks with a government, developments like these usually cause some negative backlash. In the case of Bitfinex, it seems the company is actively cooperating with the government of the British Virgin Islands. This move is the direct result of allegations that cryptocurrency had been used for tax evasion purposes, among other nefarious activities.

In a way, this is a commendable course of action by the Bitfinex exchange. Criminals who obtain cryptocurrency in any shape or form will often rely on exchanges to convert their balances to fiat currencies. However, exchanges perform thorough KYC and AML checks, which makes them far less appealing for criminals.

Even so, users of the Bitfinex exchange may not be all that transparent about why they use this particular trading platform. It appears that tax evasion is a very big concern for the exchange right now, which is why working with the British Virgin Islands government simply makes sense. Customers of the exchange have already received a request for their tax information.

The company explained its decision as follows:

Under the laws of the British Virgin Islands (which are applicable to entities organized in the British Virgin Islands, including us), we are required to report certain account information to the [British Virgin Islands] government. The government of the [British Virgin Islands] may then exchange that information with the tax authorities of the customer’s country of residence.

While some people may oppose this decision by Bitfinex, the company is taking this action for the right reasons. Protecting cryptocurrency users at all times is the number one priority for every exchange and trading platform in the world. This also means thwarting any tax evasion effort taking place through these centralized trading platforms. It will not be easy to do so, but cooperating with the local authorities can make big things happen fairly quickly.

In the long run, developments like these will make a positive impact on the cryptocurrency industry. Bringing more legitimacy to Bitcoin and altcoins is an ongoing struggle, yet the situation is fast improving. The latest effort by Bitfinex will help legitimize this industry even further, even though the company may lose a few trades in the process.

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Quantifiable Knowledge Exchange Made Possible by Emerging Tech

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In an increasingly networked world, many industries are turning to blockchain, crypto, or distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions to enable a whole new class of use cases. They involve the two most basic mechanisms of this new wave of technology: sensitive information sharing and networked interaction without the need for a central intermediary.

This is set to have a big impact on business soon. For example, when driving economies forward, knowledge and research are sometimes overlooked. In fact, scientific breakthroughs have been one of the core drivers of increased productivity and better outcomes over the past 50 years. Which products are around you, which medicines you take, and the way you travel are the direct results of the worldwide scientific research community, often requiring several institutions to work collaboratively.

Since the goal of the research industry is to generate useful and accurate information for society, the previously mentioned strengths of DLT (information sharing and decentralization) are particularly relevant. DLT quantifies and manages the legal tender of this domain – raw information.

Supply chains suffer from the same issues as research does: slowness of centrally planned transaction facilitation (think cargo insurers and government inspections) and information asymmetries (consider the buyer who doesn’t know if a grain shipment is actually in good condition or not).

Between the research and supply chain industries, the “killer app” for DLT might be one of these domains. Let’s look at how this technology might address shortcomings in these industries, and what technology will be needed to do so.

Research and academia

University research generates a very intangible and complex product as the fruits of its labor. Research consortia and university alliances often involve millions or billions of dollars. There are incredibly complex issues relating to profit sharing, insurance, copyright, and research integrity itself when multiple actors collaborate to further the goals of science.

So, we are left with a situation wherein mountains of paperwork are needed in order to agree on the terms of collaborative research. Once the data for research is collected, there is then the issue of security and integrity – much data generated in medical research, for example, could be of immense value to other researchers, but it is hard to sell this data securely and ethically.

The solution is to store and log data on a decentralized ledger that makes all of that data traceable, immutable, easy to share with other organizations, and secure. In a complex consortium of researchers, this means more money and better research.

Supply chain and logistics

Moving goods from point A to point B always involves trust and uncertainty. At the point of physical handover in a transaction, there’s always the possibility of failed or opportunistic behavior on the part of one or more actors, and it is when goods are transported that damages can occur.

Ledgers can address both those issues. In a smart contract and IoT-leveraged world, there could be a record and an automation agreement at every step of the business transaction.

QR and RFID sensors, tokenized smart assets – the shipping container of the future will have more code and IoT linked to it than paperwork.

But this last example raises a big question – how? Anyone familiar with Bitcoin’s (at times) exorbitant transaction fees and confirmation times will raise their eyebrows at the thought of all these transactions and the collaborative ledger design that would be involved in academic and supply chain systems.

Luckily, ledger technology is not monolithic, and a whole section of the crypto industry is working on making DLT better. Among the more relevant ways in which this is happening, some projects are looking at changing the very design of blockchains to make them more powerful and better at processing the thousands of transactions per second needed to support large datasets or supply chains.

A promising development involves the rethinking of the data architecture of the ledger itself. A new format called tangles, or Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs), uses a mesh instead of a chain-type setup that requires much less computational power and resources to run.

Ledgers of the future

Research and supply chains are about managing information in a decentralized way. This is the main purview of crypto technology, so it is no surprise that crypto is having a significant impact. It is also interesting to watch companies like IOTA (which provides a DAG for sensors) and CyberVein (which uses a redesign of the DAG to make data transfer possible peer-to-peer and at scale).

Whether DAGs replace blockchain technology entirely over the coming years is anyone’s guess. It could be that blockchains become outmoded, or that DAGs settle into a niche that blockchains were simply never designed to handle.

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Open Banking and Real-Time Payments Are Changing Banks for the Better

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Banks continue to flex their muscles and engage in fintech innovation, opening themselves up in a way previously never thought possible. They were once staunchly resistant to outside intervention, but a recent report from ACI Worldwide and Ovum has revealed that this trend is changing. Almost 90 percent of banks are forging a path toward open banking and real-time initiatives.

What is Open Banking?

The term “open banking” may sound a little scary at first. But open banking doesn’t mean that your financial statements will be on the web for anyone to review. What it does mean for you as a financial services customer is that your bank will become (or already is) part of a network of financial institutions.

This network shares data securely through APIs so that users can interact with other financial institutions. They can transfer funds more easily, compare product offerings, and tailor their banking experience to better suit their needs.

Open banking relies on networks, rather than centralization (sound familiar?). This allows customers to free themselves from the shackles of antiquated financial institutions that fail to act in their interests.

Sandeep Todi, the co-founder and CMO of Remitr, explains, “Open banking will accelerate the pace of innovation and [give] access to new services. This is achieved while retaining the dependability of banks and the security of money they provide, along with the agility of new service providers who are free to innovate in pockets and in specific niche areas.”

According to the ACI Worldwide and Ovum survey, more than 70 percent of banks are now willing to open up their APIs to third-party developers. European banks are leading the charge, with those in Asia and the Americas slightly behind.

Democratizing Access to Banks

Jeff Zhou, the co-founder and CEO of Fig Loans, says, “Open banking initiatives democratize access to bank capabilities. This opens a floodgate for fintech innovation because we get direct access to core bank infrastructure. As a financial services provider, Fig is often at the mercy of bank capabilities. For instance, one of our past banks could not change single entries in a file; they had to delete the entire file. The process to change an entry was to call the bank; they would call a back-office department to cancel the entire file (with no written confirmation on our end), and then we would upload an entirely new file, praying the original was actually canceled.

“Imagine being in the grocery store checkout line, needing to swap an item, and being told you first have to speak to the manager, who dumps your cart out, and then says you can now refill it from scratch. From a bank’s perspective, open banking initiatives will be revolutionary because [they turn] banks into platform providers, allowing them to capture new revenue streams from the innovative fintech products built on their platform[s].”

APIs on the Rise

APIs have been removing integration problems and allowing for collaboration between multiple parties for some time now. And they’re finding their place in modernizing the traditional banking system. This will allow banks which embrace the change to do business with greater agility and offer their customers greater choice by turning their competitors into partners.

Up until recently, banks have built and controlled their own applications for customers, from online banking to cross-border payments. But by using APIs, third-party developers can gain access and build better, more customer-centric applications, offering the innovation and insights that traditional banks may lack.

Real-Time Payments

The report also highlighted an increase in real-time payments, doubling from just 31 percent of payments in 2017 to 62 percent this year. Customers prefer real-time payments and are starting to expect them, with European banks blazing the trail in this direction. As fintech companies continue to push boundaries, offering better, faster, and bolder options, banks will have to make some changes if they want to stay relevant.

Zhou continues, “Real-time payments radically improve our customers’ ability to manage their cash flow and account balances. Today, there is a delay (sometimes up to 3 business days) between making a payment and when it shows up in your account balance. This means customers managing tight budgets jump through a series of mental hoops to reconcile all the places they’ve spent money and if those [payments] are reflected yet in their balance. The result is a significantly tougher time avoiding expensive overdraft and returned payment fees.”

Todi adds, “Real-time payments is fundamental to the always-on economy. If you take a step back and imagine a small manufacturing business raising an invoice on Thursday and getting paid on the same day, they suddenly have the extra liquidity to make wage payments on Friday. That means less working capital requirement, [lower] cost of business, and happier employees. Somewhere down the line, it translates into either more profit (which is good) or cost reductions passed on to customers. Real-time banking thus goes [far] beyond the immediate promise of faster payments. It increases the velocity of money, increases consumption, and directly reduces the cost of household expenses.”

It’s a win for customers, a win for banks, and a win for innovative third-party developers.

Arjun Jayaram, CEO of payments tech startup Baton Systems, comments, “The amount of operational and capital inefficiencies that these institutions are already facing, combined with the increase in global regulatory scrutiny and desire for transparency, should make this a priority. There is a lot of potential in distributed ledger technology applications, and with the amount of testing that is being conducted throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, it’s safe to assume that the current banking landscape for payments is on the verge of a major tipping point.”

The Takeaway

The study confirms a trend that we’re already seeing. But while banks initially trembled at the onslaught of fintech innovators, opening themselves up and allowing for real-time payments is a win-win-win for all. However, as always, those who are slow to adopt APIs and prepare for innovation will be pushed aside by consumers.

Open banking and real-time payments are transforming the competitive landscape. Banks can look forward to potential new revenue streams, while consumers can enjoy improved services, wider choice, lower costs, and the freedom that decentralization brings.

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