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  1. Before starting I want to state that, as per Marble’s official announcement on Humanity DAO, the project’s current smart contracts are in a “pre-alpha”state. This means that they “may contain bugs” which result in a “loss of funds”. You should also be aware of the fact that this is not an investment opportunity. Please do not enter with the hope of making a profit. Now that we have warnings covered, let’s continue. As mentioned, the Humanity DAO project is one which seeks to solve the issue of unique identity on the Ethereum blockchain. It was created by Ethereum based lending platform Marble. The current situation with Ethereum addresses means that any one person can create an unlimited number of wallets. This is not an issue within itself. However, this mechanism provides quite the issue for applications which require each participant is unique, for example a voting app. If people are not proven to be unique when voting on proposals, the application utilising the vote is susceptible to a sybil attack. A sybil attack is an attack in which one person games a voting system by using multiple votes. It is one of the most common types of attack in the crypto-space. Marble’s Solution: Humanity DAO The solution offered by the team behind Humanity DAO utilises a so called Web of Trust (WoT). A WoT is essentially a system by which a pool of people, confirmed to be unique, vote on the legitimacy of new applicants. When someone is deemed to be unique they are added to the pool of voters. Generally speaking, WoT systems implement an approach which rewards people for honesty when voting, while penalising dishonesty. However, as far as I am aware, the Humanity DAO only penalises applicants, not voters. The idea of a WoT is not unique to Humanity DAO, other blockchain solutions (such as Enumivo) are also attempting to implement it. Incentivised Uptake Humanity DAO’s introduction states that their system uses their own Ethereum based token. The token is called HUM and has a total supply of 100m tokens. The token is distributed in a way which sees 75m issued as an incentive to join the platform. This reward is only applicable to the first 10k people who are successfully voted into the platform. There is no information regarding whether tokens are issued equally or staged. As the tokens will have weight on the outcome of future votes I would expect them to be equally distributed. But this is just speculation. The Rest of Their Tokens The remainder of the HUM tokens are allocated in a way which gives 20m to the development wallet and 5m to be ‘mined’. Said development funds are also to be used in a way which will give the dev team a “small portion”in order to allow them to “participate in voting”, although exact amounts are not disclosed. The method by which the 5m ‘mined’ tokens are to be distributed is somewhat unclear. While the official introduction states they will be “mined directly into Uniswap… at a rate of 1 per block (for ~2 years)” it does not clearly state howthey will be mined. Teething Issues or a Lack of Transparency? With so much still to be cleared up it is expected Marble’s Humanity DAO project would have teething issues. However, Reddit user fuckhumanitydao noticed an issue with the project’s admission rate and found something odd. According to his research (backed up with blockchain data), the team behind the Humanity DAO project purposefully manipulated their own system in order to allow Vitalik Buterin (a co-founder of the Ethereum network) to slide into the first 100 members. The relevance of being within the first 100? A large percentage of the tokens which are used for governance of the system. How Did They Do It? Fuckhumanitydao’s post states that Vitalik was applicant number 136 and the Humanity DAO dev team used their voting power to veto applications ahead of him. As a result Vitalik Buterin made it into the first 100 applicants. He then continues to prove his accusations with the address of a member from the team and matching transactions which ‘kick’ members ahead of Vitalik. Vitalik Buterin commented on the situation and stated he would no longer support Humanity DAO if the accusations were true. He went on further to state that it appeared Humanity DAO have retroactively sought to prioritise “some subjective class of people”, continuing to state he believed that a “maximally simple and neutral project” was what the community needed. Their Reply A member of the Humanity DAO team, Rich Mcateer, attempted to calm the storm by commenting in the thread. He promised that the firm had “good intentions” and that they tried their best. Rich continued to argue that the team saw their actions as the “best path forward”. Judging by the response of their representative, and in consideration of the proof provided, it would appear that Fuckhumanitydao’s accusations are, in fact, true. The reasoning behind the actions of the Humanity DAO team are understandable, however, they do go completely against the transparent nature for which blockchain was intended. Since the incident Humanity DAO have released a statement on their blog which explains they will compensate those who were kicked with: 12 DAI, 500 HUM and their ETH gas fees. You can read it here: https://medium.com/@mcateer/humanitydao-community-update-7390c58d7d47 Peace, love and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/humanity-dao-seeks-to-solve-the-issue-of-unique-addresses-on-ethereum/
  2. Yesterday, May 21st 2019, the British FCA released a statement containing figures related to currency and ‘crypto asset’ scams. It states the total amount of money lost through said scams tops £27 million and represents an average loss of over £14,000 per person affected. The report highlights online trading platforms which have a “get rich quick”theme as the main culprit. It also states that said schemes often use fake celebrity endorsements to legitimise their brand in the eyes of consumers. “Fraudsters often use social media to promote their ‘get rich quick’ online trading platforms. Posts often use fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars. These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.” It goes on to state when people invest they’ll tricked into thinking they have “made a profit” then be convinced to reinvest and/or introduce friends/family. Eventually the victim’s account on the platform is closed and the scammer moves on. Some Safety Advice Nobody wants to get scammed, so I thought I would give some safety tips for any newcomers in the crypto-space. A lot of this will be ingrained in most of your minds with other basic information like “the sky is blue”. However, if you don’t know your hot wallet from your hot pocket this is for you. Rule #1: Never Share Your Keys! The first rule of crypto is a very simple one but it is the most important. Do not share your private key with anyone. Your private key is your metaphorical key to your existence in the crypto-verse. No legitimate website will ever ask for your private key as a result of this. A solid rule to go by is this: if a site asks for your private key it is not a site you want to be visiting. The only people you should ever share your key with, are people you would give access to your bank account. Rule #2: Invest What You’re Comfortable Losing Although this rule might well be a cliche, it is an important one. Never invest more money than you are able to lose. If your investment is using money which you need for the rent, pay the rent. The volatile nature of the cryptocurrency industry means even legitimate projects have a high chance of losing you money. While the industry is still finding its feet it is hard to accurately predict what tomorrow’s price will be. If you look at the bitcoin charts you will see that the price can change hundreds of dollars in a matter of hours. This type of swing has the ability to cripple new investors. This brings me to my next point… Rule #3: No One Can Guarantee a Profit If a project is guaranteeing that you will earn a profit, avoid it. It is more than likely a scam and will take your money. We have all had bad experiences in the crypto-space and let our greed cloud the judgement of our mind. It’s a hard lesson to learn but an important one. You’ve heard the saying about things which are too good to be true. Well, the same rule applies here. If something is guaranteeing you a profit on your investment run for the hills. Rule #4: Do Your Own Research Again, a pretty basic rule but important none-the-less. People take random internet personalities all too seriously in all walks of life. Don’t do the same with your investments. Just because Bob, the famous internet blogger with a million fans, says something is a good project to invest in doesn’t mean it is. A lot of the time famous internet bloggers/vloggers are being paid to push a product. Again, crypto is no different. On top of this you also need to factor in the possibility of the online personality trying to get a bit of attention to a coin they wish to dump. Rule #5: If You’re on the Ropes, Bail This is a rule I try to employ in all walks of life. If you are not 100% sure in the prospect of investing in a project, don’t. As humans, when we are on the metaphorical ropes about something we tend to make brash decisions which we may regret. This is why I would advise to always lean on the side of caution when you are unsure. Better safe than sorry. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/british-fca-warn-of-27m-scams-in-currencies-and-crypto-assets-last-year/
  3. I want to start this article by warning all who use this service that it is a custodial one. I am in no way vouching for the legitimacy of it, or its owners. Simply that I have used it and it worked. As always, you should practice caution and do your own research when your BTC is concerned. Sat2.io is a website which provides the ability to connect to the BlueWallet app and let you send BTC to anybody with no more than their phone number. I first saw this service pop up in a Reddit thread about another BTC app and thought it sounded interesting. Having recently discovered the BlueWallet app I wanted to explore some of its features and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I decided the best way for me to test the Sat2.io service was to simply send myself a few satoshis. So that is what I did. The entire experience is extremely easy to understand and the user interface is seamless. When you enter the site you will be presented with two input bars. One is for the amount you wish to send, and one for the phone number of the recipient. Once you have done that you will be presented with a Lightning invoice in the form of a QR code. You will then need to log into your Lightning wallet and pay the invoice. Once the digital bill has been settled you will see instant confirmation on the Sat2.io page which previously held the invoice. If everything went correctly the number you entered should now get a text message with a link inside it. When they click the link they will be directed to a page on sat2.io which contains information about the transaction. The page will automatically seek to open or download BlueWallet. Once BlueWallet is downloaded clicking the link will request the user opens the app. After opening the app they will see a notice which informs them they have received a some satoshis and asks whether they wish to claim them. When the user agrees to receive the satoshis the process is complete. You successfully sent someone some BTC with their phone number. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/sat2-io-lets-you-send-btc-to-a-friend-via-their-phone-number/
  4. On Tuesday 14th May 2019 the law makers of the Alabama State passed a bill which would outright ban abortion. The recently passed legislation would also place doctors who perform ‘illegal’ abortions within the state, in prison for ‘up to 99 years’. This new law would become enforceable within six months, although CNN believe it never will. According to an article published on May 17th 2019, the newly passed law is “likely to face” a number of legal challenges. Said legal challenges would “probably” be “tied up in court for years”, which would delay enforcement. Elisabeth Smith, chief counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told CNN that the law is “unconstitutional” and it is unlikely that any district judge would declare this law as constitutional. CNN also report that the US district judges generally “routinely block” anti-abortion laws while they are going through court. A Huge Step Back for Humanity Regardless of whether or not this law ever actually becomes enforceable, the fact that it managed to gain approval, in the USA, is nothing short of terrifying. It is a massive sign of the strange time period which the world finds itself in. It also represents the unfathomably huge step backwards which humanity is taking. We are in a situation where the disillusionment towards democratic mechanisms is rife and this judgement is only going to make it worse. The disparity we all experience in society is scandalously unjustifiable but, I am sad to say, women have it much worse than men. Gender pay gap aside, there are multiple cultures around the globe in which females are required, by law, to indulge the insecurity of their male counter-part by either covering up, staying home unless escorted by a man or, in some countries, not being able to pass their nationality to a child. With USA electing a certain outspoken right wing bloke with a dodgy haircut and the UK electing a certain right winged coalition, which includes a party also against abortion, we have to ask ourselves whether our world is as progressive as we like to believe. Politically Motivated Religious Morality Vs Human Rights and Common Sense Faith and religion have the ability to be concepts which influence the human race to achieve the most beautifully compassionate milestones. Politicians and business owners have the power to brainwash anybody into believing their skewed version of morality, in order to feed their own vanity and greed. A sad fact of the matter is that females, around the globe, are being thrown under the bus so that a few careless blokes with insecurities can continue to reign supreme. And how are they doing it? By brainwashing people into believing their extreme views are morally justified by their interpretation of a book written thousands of years ago. The Alabama vote was one which saw a male to female ratio of 25:3 (in favour of men) vote on a matter which, let’s be frank, only affects women. The only time a man should ever have a say in what a women does with regards to her pregnancy is when said pregnancy is a result of his actions. Even then the only real say the man should have is whether, or not, he wants to be a part of raising the resulting child. Personally, I thought we already moved on from this topic of debate but it keeps rearing its head. At a time where women’s rights are becoming a huge topic of debate (rightfully so) a few misogynistic men are doing all they can to turn the clock back to the days of ‘seen and not heard’. I want to finish this piece by stating that the women of our species are the life of it and, without them, we are doomed to follow the path of the dinosaurs. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/opinions-blogs/politics/alabamas-anti-abortion-ruling-is-a-huge-step-backwards-for-the-human-race/
  5. Following the release of the Java software development kit (SDK) on May 14th 2019, blockchain based gaming platform, Enjin, have announced their plans for a plugin that integrates blockchain to the hugely popular Minecraft game. The focus of their plugin is to allow Minecraft gamers to easily add the Enjin Network to their Minecraft server. By doing so they will be able to use the tokenised system offered by Enjin. Said tokenised system uses the Ethereum blockchain to transfer, create and withdraw in game items using the non fungible token (NFT) ERC721 standard. Enjin’s Minecraft plugin will also enable users to take advantage of the new token standard ERC1155. The ERC1155 standard was created by Enjin and allows users to send multiple tokens, with different standards, in one transaction. For example, you would be able to send multiple ERC20 and ERC721 tokens to another account at the same time. Enjin are also planning on releasing their own server, or universe, in the Minecraft multiverse. Co-founder and CTO of Enjin, Witek Radomski, told Coin Rivet the following: “One thing we’re working on now is actually the Minecraft launch. The Minecraft anniversary is coming up here in just a few days, and we are going to be launching a public server that uses our Enjin Coin platform.” He also added: “We’re going to release our Minecraft plugin to the public, and that means any Minecraft server can now integrate blockchain” Release of The Enjin Minecraft Server The Minecraft game is one which allows its users to create their own universes by spinning up servers. It also allows users to begin their own world within a preexisting universe. It requires gamers to use their imagination in order to build items, buildings and pretty much anything else by following the rules of the universe they are in. The Enjin team plans on releasing their own server which will be the beginning of their universe. Within their universe players will be able to take on quests, enter competitions and discover hidden items. The main point of focus which differentiates the Enjin universe from others is the implementation of the Enjin network. By implementing the Enjin network they plan for their universe to allow users to acquire rewards which are transferrable for real crypto tokens. This unique system means gamers in the Enjin universe may well be able to receive real world rewards for playing games. When asked about the Enjin universe Witek went on record to say the following: “There’s going to be some Multiverse items hidden in the world as well, so players can discover some chests and figure out how to unlock them…. We’re building out this Minecraft server with a cool little medieval world. It’s really exciting, and it’s going to be the first example of Minecraft that we’re going to put out there.” As you can imagine, this release has huge potential. Minecraft is currently one of the leading online gaming communities with a user base measured significantly in the millions. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/enjin-to-release-minecraft-plugin-to-integrate-blockchain/
  6. A recent news article published by The Independent, UK, claims that you are not able to pay in crypto with the likes of Amazon and Starbucks (source). You can not. The article in question states that the world’s “biggest retailers”are accepting “bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash and the Gemini dollar”. But that is not really the truth. While the headline implies that you can walk into your local Starbucks and buy a latte with a few satoshis, the actual article proves it to be no more than clickbait. The truth is that blockchain startup, Flexa, have released an app which allows USA based cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, to act as a middleman in transactions using said app. The app in question is the ‘Spedn’, and it is Flexa’s first. The Spedn App The official press release from the Flexa team classes the Spedn app as a “securely custodied”crypto wallet. For those who may not know, a “securely custodied” wallet is one which you will not own the private keys for. This means that, technically speaking, you will not own any crypto which is stored within it. It also means that, the owner of the wallet’s key could disappear at any point leaving your crypto inaccessible. This is the first point which is contrary to the headline from The Independent. If the likes of Starbucks and Amazon were flat-out accepting crypto as a payment method you would be able to use your own crypto, with your own wallet which you control. As with fiat money. About ‘Accepting Crypto’… As mentioned above Flexa are now in a partnership with the Gemini crypto exchange. This partnership is what is powering the Spedn app by allowing instant crypto conversions to the Gemini USD — the native stable coin on the Gemini exchange. If you are new to the industry you may want to know a stable coin is a cryptocurrency with a value pegged to a fiat currency. The Gemini USD is, as you probably guessed, pegged to the USD so 1 GUSD will always be worth 1 USD. It is this Gemini USD which allows the payment to occur. When a user attempts to ‘pay with crypto’ using the Spedn app it will essentially market sell whichever crypto it is that the user wishes to use, and buy Gemini USD. The Gemini USD is then converted to fiat USD by Gemini exchange, who then release a payment of fiat USD to the retailer. As you can see, Amazon, Starbucks or whoever else will never see a single satoshi and the user has just sold their crypto at a ridiculous price, while paying a load of fees on top. It Isn’t Even Public Yet According to Spedn’s official press release from the Flexa blog, the ability to use Spedn to pay for goods isn’t even publicly available yet. The official press release clearly states that the current app was released exclusively to Consensus attendees on the 13th May 2019 and the team plans on sending out more invites in the coming weeks: “SPEDN is being made available exclusively to Consensus attendees today, and we’ll be releasing more invites in the coming weeks through the app itself.”(source) I would like to just finish on this by stating that the Spedn app by Flexa may well be a great app and a solid step forward for crypto in general. There is just a lot of misinformation being posted (not to the fault of Flexa) regarding it and I do not want people to be wrongly informed. So there you have it, Amazon are not accepting Bitcoin, nor are Starbucks etc. However, you can pay a custodied wallet provider to market sell your crypto on the Gemini exchange, who will then pay for your items in fiat money and pocket your trading fees. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/contrary-to-recent-news-crypto-is-not-accepted-at-starbucks-amazon-etc/
  7. On Saturday 11th May 2019, Phil Chen, head of decentralisation at HTC, told the Magical Crypto Conference that the smartphone manufacturer, will be releasing a smartphone with the ability to run a ‘full Bitcoin node’ out the box. The phone in question is the impending Exodus 1s — the follow up to last year’s Exodus 1. It is said to cost in the region of $300. To accompany the ability to host a full Bitcoin node, HTC have stated their Exodus 1s phone will also come equipped with a software development kit (SDK). Said SDK will be able to tap into the HTC Zion Vault crypto wallet. Another interesting announcement from HTC is the fact that they also intend to open source the code to their social key recovery system. Phil Chen, also told the Magical Crypto Conference that the company is looking to release the device by the end of Q3 2019. Why Run a Bitcoin Node From Your Phone? This is a question I can imagine people to be asking themselves so I will try to shed some light. The obvious point is the fact that more nodes on the Bitcoin network means an increased resiliency for the Bitcoin blockchain. On this subject Phil Chen told the Magical Crypto conference that running a node could be the “most important” of the Bitcoin blockchain as each node helps to “secure the network”. He also states that each node acts as a “verifier of every single transaction” within a block. A block being a batch of transactions occurring on the Bitcoin blockchain. HTC seem to be dedicated to enhancing the adoption of the decentralised world and their latest smartphone proves this. On the topic of decentralisation, Phil Chen had the following to say: “…we’re building technology for the open, neutral, borderless, decentralised and censorship-resistant world.” Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/htcs-300-phone-will-have-full-bitcoin-node/
  8. On May 8th 2019, we announced the news of the worlds largest crypto exchange, Binance, being hacked. The hack occurred on May 7th 2019 and resulted in 7,000 BTC being stolen from the Binance hot wallet. While the hack was suspected to have been carried out by multiple individuals the BTC was taken in one transaction. Since the occurrence of the security breach CZ, CEO of Binance, has been vocally active within the community. He has been openly discussing the event when possible, even entering an AMA (ask me anything) on the day of the breach. Withdrawals Open Tuesday In the most recent update regarding the breach, CZ states that his team have been working through the weekend and have made “significant overhauls” to their system. He also states that the team have added “a large number” of security features being either added or completely remade. Information on said changes will be made available at a later date. Finally, the most recent update states that withdrawals on the Binance exchange will be reopened on Tuesday 14th May 2019. This comes after they were closed as a result of the hack. Making Significant Changes The attack appears to have given the Binance engineering time to give their current security checks a look under fresh eyes. In a previous update on the hack CZ states that they are making changes to the “API, 2FA, and withdrawal” areas. In the same update CZ mentions that the exchange will also be improving the exchange's “risk management, user behavior analysis, and KYC procedures”. This all comes as a part of their plan to find ways to fight phishing attempts. There is also talk of further security measures being added to the exchange’s arsenal. This, however, is not explained in much detail at all. Although it is confirmed the changes made will not be visible on the front-end. YubiKey Giveaway & External Help A very briefly mentioned topic within the update is that of hardware device support. As a result of the hack the Binance team will be seeking to implement hardware device support. When mentioning the hardware devices CZ specifically mentions YubiKey and states that they will do a giveaway of 1,000 devices. Finally, the report indicates that the Binance team have been working with numerous external security and analytical blockchain firms. The mention of said firms identifies the fact that they are assisting with finding the lost funds. CZ also mentions he is working with other exchanges in order to freeze stolen funds, calling it a “sort of alliance”. Rest assured, the Binance team are working hard to ensure this doesn’t happen again and are leaving “no stone unturned”. Love peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/binance-to-make-significant-changes-and-enable-withdrawals-on-tuesday/
  9. According to a press release originally posted on CoinRivet.com, Travala.com have teamed up with the Litecoin Foundation. The nature of the blockchain based hotel booking service’s partnership with the Litecoin Foundation is one which will enable LTC holders to spend their crypto on holidays. To celebrate the new marriage of services, Travala.com have made a discount package which will allow users of their website and Litecoin’s Loafwallet to save up to 40% on hotel bookings. While any discount is always a welcome one, I always feel the “up to X%”‘sales’ are a bit like a financial honey-dick trick where the true discount is closer to the 5% — 10% mark. I could well be wrong on this discount though. The press release on CoinRivet stated that the partnership with Travala.com and the Litecoin Foundation didn’t stop at currency implementation. They also announced that the London based purveyors of holiday homes will be the “official travel partner” to the Litecoin Summit (due end of October 2019). Matthew Luczynski, CEO and Founder of Travala.com said that the partnership pleased him and that the two companies shared a vision of bringing “the mainstream use of cryptocurrencies into everyday life”. Charlie Lee, Creator of Litecoin and Managing Director of the Litecoin Foundation, stated that he was “excited” by the partnership. He also added that the ability to allow LTC holders to travel the world using their Litecoin is a “powerful” opportunity. I have never used the Travala.com platform so I cannot give any opinion on the service they provide. However, I do believe this partnership to be another step in the right direction for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As our industry keeps on expanding I would hope we will see more news of partnerships. Over the past couple of weeks we have seen Jaguar Land Rover partner with IOTA and Starbucks with Microsoft Azure. What will be next? If you wish to explore Travala.com’s platform I invite you to signup via our referral link below. If you would prefer to not user our referral link please click here. Love, peace and happiness. Visit Travala.com Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/travala-com-partners-with-litecoin-foundation-for-crypto-payments/
  10. On May 6th 2019 reputable news source, GeekWire, broke the news that the global coffee merchant, Starbucks, is entering a partnership with the equally as global tech giant, Microsoft. The reason of this unexpected marriage is one which involves using Microsoft’s Azure blockchain to streamline and enhance many of Starbucks’ services. While at the Microsoft Build developers conference on May 6th, the two companies outlined a list of initiatives they were working together on. These initiatives included systems which tracked the journey of a coffee bean and secured it with blockchain technology, as well as systems which used AI to ‘learn’ the preferences of Starbuck’s customers. GeekWired reports that the following is a rundown of the initiatives being worked on as a result of this partnership: Predictive Drive Through Orders By using the Azure cloud the Starbucks team aim to update their mobile app, which uses a customer’s order history to suggest a beverage. The wish to extend their ability to recommend drinks to the drive through, possibly with digital boards. This system will work by, instead of using the app’s order history, focusing on store transaction histories and “more than 400 other store-level criteria”which include weather, inventory and time of day. During the conference Microsoft did mention that customers can ‘opt in’ to personalised drive through recommendations. Hopefully this means that you wont be getting your licence plate or face scanned anytime soon. Connected Coffee Makers Starbucks is essentially planning to use the Azure cloud to monitor all of their equipment, in every store. By connecting all their coffeemakers, grinders and blenders to an AI system they will be able to get a better insight to the health of any given machine. By pulling over 12 data points for every shot of espresso which is poured the coffee giant is hoping to become more proactive in maintenance of their equipment. The current lack of such information means that Starbucks have to wait until a machine breaks before they can repair it. By using the Azure cloud it is hoped they will be able to fix machines before they break in order to limit downtime. Another benefit will be the ability to update all machines connected to the cloud at once. Presently Starbucks are required to send thousands of USB drives in order to update all their fleet of coffee makers. With the IoT cloud system they are working on this will be a thing of the past. Bean to cup blockchain Microsoft intend to implement their Azure Blockchain Service in their partnership with Starbucks by using it to track the beans used in their coffee. Basically put, the aim with the bean to cup blockchain is as it probably sounds: to track the journey of each coffee bean. Due to the immutable nature of data stored on publicly verifiable distributed ledger systems, data stored within a blockchain is incorruptible. It provides ability for manufacturers, farmers, distributors and customers to connect with each other. There you have it, last week was pizza this week it’s coffee. I wonder what will be next week. Burgers? Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/starbucks-and-microsoft-aim-to-achieve-predictive-ordering-bean-to-cup-tracking-with-blockchain-tech/
  11. Secure Bitcoin wallet developers, BlueWallet, have announced the release of an exciting new wallet app for the Apple Watch. The app, as you might expect, is a BTC wallet, and more. The wallet app which they have released allows users to pay with BTC using nothing more than their Apple Watch. As an additional feature the wallet app, which has been released by BlueWallet, will allow users to tap into the Bitcoin Lightning Network in order to receive instant confirmation for their transactions. Another additional feature of the wallet app is the ability to create Lightning invoices and receive a direct confirmation when it has been paid. This news will, no doubt, come as an exciting advancement for holders of Bitcoin that also own a smart watch from Apple. It further advances the use cases of BTC and, according to the wallet’s developers, keeps their crypto safe. According to CoinRivet the process of using the wallet simple enough. It requires a user set’s up a lightning wallet within the app. Once that has been completed you can create invoices with a name and amount, in satoshis. After creating an invoice the app will present a QR code that will receive, and confirm, the transaction over the Lightning Network. This release comes after a long list of improvements to the Bitcoin protocol. This is includes the Lapp directory (which lists active Lightning apps) and the sat2.io service (which allows users to send BTC to any mobile number). As the world’s first Lightning enabled smart watch app/wallet this release marks a huge milestone for the BlueWallet team. I would expect it to further propel their product. If you would like to read more information from the BlueWallet team you can find everything you need on their homepage, on the link below. Go to the BlueWallet homepage Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/bitcoin-lightning-network-is-now-on-your-apple-watch/
  12. On the 7th May 2019, John Rainey, Chief Financial Officer of PayPal, took part in an interview with Yahoo Finance. During the interview he took the time to briefly discuss, among other things, cryptocurrencies and blockchain. He takes the time to state that the payments giant are interested in the field, but he thinks it is a little bit too early for PayPal to get involved. During the interview he does also mention that PayPal do have a team “obviously”working on blockchain and cryptocurrency. “We have teams clearly working on blockchain and cryptocurrency as well, and we want to take part in that in whatever form that takes in the future — I just think it’s a little early on right now” — John Rainey, Chief Financial Officer of PayPal The news from John Rainey comes after a bullish couple of weeks for the price of Bitcoin (BTC). After a load of positive news stories regarding everything from Facebook making a cryptocurrency, to new trading platforms, the price of BTC has breached the $6,300 mark for the first time this year. PayPal are currently on a spree to free up a significant supply of free cash this year and have just reportedly invested $500 million in the car hire platform, Uber. Rainey stated that this investment was decided upon to allow the two companies to develop a payments platform together. He also states that Facebook’s Instagram have also partnered with PayPal in order to make them the payment provide of choice for those shopping on the platform. With all the positive news surrounding the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and the return of the enigmatic bulls, it isn’t surprising that the original crypto is back in the mainstream press, and receiving positive attention. Long may it continue. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/paypal-keeping-one-eye-on-cryptocurrencies-and-blockchain/
  13. I’m sure anyone who has already been to the all encompassing sub-continent of India will agree to its uniqueness. While it is a place which has unimaginable beauty, it is also a place with mass poverty and poor sanitation. If you grew up in a ‘developed’ country, like myself, India is a country which may catch you off guard. When I first backpacked around India I was not prepared for what I experienced and wished someone had warned me. Many people had taken a great deal of time to describe, in oceanic depth, the peacefully desolate landscapes offered by Hampi. But nobody bothered to mention a thing about the squat toilet which was covered in human excrement. Nor did they mention the dodgy bloke unofficially taking payment from tourists for using it. Situations like these are exactly why I am making this post. I wish to give people a few tips which I feel would have benefitted me on my first trip. A lot of the tips in this post will probably seem like standard protocol to some, if so I apologise. This is targeted towards people who have never been to a country where the air is so polluted that it will literally leave you blowing blood from your nose. It’s for the unseasoned traveller who hasn’t experienced having their eyes forever scarred with the memories of inexplicable animal cruelty. It’s for the people who are yet to have their hearing range destroyed as a result of the relentless noise of the street. I feel a need to point out the fact that, since that initial baptism of fire, I have returned to India, and am planning to return again. A lot about my introduction to the country caught me off guard. A Little Background I need to give a little background regarding my first trip to India. I went with my partner and, before we headed out, we did the usual: read blogs, watch travel videos, check Lonely Planet etc. then decided that we should make a plan for our trip. My dad, who was meeting us out there in order to take us to his hometown in Punjab, was one of the leading campaigners for the making of the plan. So we did. We made the most detailed plan you had ever seen. And what happened? At the first hurdle, the plan failed us. As mentioned, my dad met us in India so, while we were with him, everything was plain sailing. His driver was taking us everywhere and he was navigating crowds. We ate at either my family home or the home of one of my close relatives. We slept in spotlessly clean beds and our belongings were safe. It wasn’t until the morning of our departure from Punjab that the issues with having a plan were exposed. We left the house at 5am and drove through fog so thick it was like driving in Snoop Dogg’s bong. Our train was due to leave at 7:30am and we managed to arrive at the station at roughly 6:30am. Upon arrival my dad went to the counter to collect tickets and, when he returned, he told us the train was delayed. I asked how long and his exact words were “maybe one hour, maybe one day, maybe it never comes”. This was a huge problem. We were due to begin a hike the following morning. We had already paid for it and it was due to start in Haridwar. Not only was it a hike but it was also a full week of food and accommodation. Not only that but we were still yet to buy gear for the hike. Anyway, to cut a long story short, this all resulted in an 18 hour drive from Amritsar to Haridwar, via Chandigarh and Ludhiana. Half of which was with a stranger who was an absolute nutter. When finally in Haridwar we were subjected to what is the filthiest room I have ever seen, to date. After this we had the most travel sickness-inducing 7 hour drive up the Himalayas, ever. This was followed by a disagreement with the hike operator and a 7 hour drive back down to Rishikesh. There we were, 32 hours of driving and about 3 hours sleep in two days; About £340 down with 7 days un-budgeted for and no accommodation booked. In short, our entire plan had to be rearranged and, had we not have had the plan we would have just stayed in Punjab when the train was delayed. This brings me to my first tip. Tip #1: Don’t Make Strict Plans For me this was crucial to my partner and I enjoying our most recent trip so much. Due to so many factors the public transport network in India is hard to predict. In our most recent trip we found that the information you find online regarding local bus routes, and times, is often incorrect. We also found that busses out there break down… a lot. Don’t get me wrong, they often get fixed and, most of the time, in our experience, there is another bus. However, if you have a strict time-frame which you need to stick to it can become an issue and the fact is that some busses do only run once a day, week or fortnight. Don’t take this as me simply suggesting for you to head to India with nothing more than a few night’s clothes and a sprinkle of fairy dust. Before you head off, spend some time highlighting your three most desired activities/sights to do/see. When you have cemented the three things which most tickle your fancy, find the area they are in and take it from there. By taking this approach you will find yourself experiencing more than you would have with a strict plan, and you won’t be aimlessly travelling without at least a rough idea of where you’re heading. Another benefit is you will have the flexibility to stay for longer periods of time in the places you enjoy. Tip #2: Expect Situations Which Make You Uncomfortable This might sound like an off-putting tip but it is one which I feel needs to be emphasised. Even if you simply plan on going around the famed golden triangle you will see, feel, smell or hear a plethora of incidents which leave you feeling mentally disturbed. Within a matter of hours in the country we saw a dead human body on the street. Dead bodies are not something you can expect to see a great deal of but there is the chance. One thing is for sure, if you spend more than a few weeks in India, you will most likely see a dead cat or dog. And you will, definitely, see malnourished animals on a regular basis. You will also see dogs with such severe mange that they have no fur and their skin is like leather. If you are a woman you can also, unfortunately, expect to get a lot of attention from leering men. The sad fact is that the cultural norms in some Indian villages has not changed for some time. This means that men from these areas lack education and treat women with little to no respect. This lack of respect can vary from men refusing to speak directly to you (if you travel with a male partner they will just talk to him), to them literally just groping you when in the street. Dressing down does help but it will not entirely save you. If this is something which concerns you then I advise to stick to places which experience high levels of tourism, such as Goa. Tip #3: Be Confident and Stick to Your Guns When visiting tourist attractions you will often find yourself in a situation which requires getting transport. The main thing we found, time and time again, was that the tuk tuk/taxi drivers which hang around the tourist hot-spots will do anything to get you in their vehicle. All too often we would be calmly waiting for our bus back, knowing that it was a 15–30 minute wait, and a taxi or tuk tuk driver would appear from nowhere. He would then casually begin lying about the lack of busses. Even if you tell them that you are ok and you are waiting for the bus, which you know is arriving in 15–30 minutes, they will lie to you and begin telling you there is no bus for the route you are taking. Literally. We have been in a bus station, next to the station master, while a taxi driver incorrectly tells us there is no bus in existence which goes the route which we were told seconds ago. This is not a rare occurrence and backpackers in India really need to be firm when telling people that they know where they are going. Tip #4: Watch What You Eat & Drink With all the stories of Delhi belly this might seem like a no-brainer but, sadly, it isn’t. Let’s face it, when you go travelling a major part of the fun and excitement comes from tasting the foods which the locals eat. You’ve spent a load of time and money trying to experience the culture and the food is as much a part of that as the local religious buildings. However, food standards within many under-developed countries simply does not exist. For example, within India you will rarely see a street food vendor wearing hygienic gloves to handle your food — they will simply just grab it and stick it in the bag or on the plate. This is obviously a health risk as many contagious illnesses are passed this way. After travelling the sub continent a considerable amount I can give the advice of checking who it is that you’re buying from. Street food is fine if you pay attention to the people in the queue, the location of the stand and the apparent hygiene of the person running the stand. Personally, we found that a quick look at the cleanliness of the serving area was important, as was the ability to see the food going from preparation to cooked. If you cannot see where the, for example, bhaji, is being battered avoid it. It is also wise to see if it looks like the food has been cooked within the past hour. If it has been sitting out longer than an hour it has a much higher chance of becoming contaminated by anything from flying insects to dirt particles in the air. Another suggestion is to avoid meat and fish. I occasionally eat meat at home but I’m completely vegetarian in India unless at my family home. Obviously many people have been there and eaten meat & fish to not have any problem, this is just my opinion. The fact is that dodgy meat & fish is something which can be extremely dangerous makes it a no brainer to be avoided for me. The country is one in which proper food sanitation is rarely witnessed and the use of refrigerators is a luxury which many people cannot afford. To add to that, much of the food is delivered by unrefrigerated vehicles which allows bacteria to grow. For locals this is fine as their bodies have evolved to tolerate these bacterias but if you, like me, are from the west you may find it an issue. On my first trip my partner and I went to a very expensive restaurant in Delhi (I wont name it but it was on Connaught Place and the meal was £60 — a hell of a lot in India) and it ended up giving me the worst food poisoning of my life. I was bed ridden for three days and, as a result, nearly went home. You also need to be strict regarding ice within India. Saying “no ice” should be like a second nature by the time you return. Again, this comes down to the poor sanitation within the country. You’ll find most of the street vendors get their ice delivered in one huge brick by a bloke on a bicycle. The water is not filtered and has been contaminated by god knows what while in transit. Obviously there are some exceptions — if the place you’re drinking at clearly has filtered water it will most likely be fine — but it should be a serious consideration at all times. My partner managed to get a strain of E.coli from the water out there and it ended up destroying both of us. Luckily for me I didn’t get ill until back home but it resulted in an ambulance rushing me to hospital and sticking me on the IV before giving me some powerful antibiotics. This was the result of a slip in attention for one second — she didn’t notice the sugar cane juice guy running the juice through a sieve with ice in before serving her. Tip #5: Cross Reference Reviews & Filter for Negative Ones Many people who have been there will instantly know why I have put this as a tip for backpacking in India. When travelling across the tropical sub-continent we found the reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com to be unreliable at best. We had visited places which were rated a 9 for cleanliness on Booking.com and looked like a bomb of dirt, grime, pubes and everything in between had hit them. We have been to hotels where the beds were covered in bed-bugs and the corridors were covered in urine. We have stayed in neighbourhoods where the local children try to physically attack you on a daily basis. All of this was as a result of not cross referencing reviews, and not searching for negative reviews. One thing we found to be the case on a freakishly regular basis is the act of review sites, seemingly, omitting negative reviews on purpose. All too often, when we sorted by worst reviews, we found that the place which had been rated highly was actually a place which had gone downhill, drastically. We also found that, when I posted a negative review of a place, it was never included on my partner’s results when she checked on her phone. By which I mean, I would post a damning review, she would go on her phone the next day (after it had been published) and it would have been buried beneath all the positive reviews the place in question had received. The only way she would ever find my negative review would be by specifically searching for it. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/opinions-blogs/travel/travel-tips-for-backpacking-in-india/
  14. On the 22nd of April 2019, prominent EOS block producer, EOS Nation, made a proposal to burn’over 34 million EOS tokens.The proposal was accepted by the their fellow block producers shortly after. Today, May 8th 2019, the proposed transaction was executed, and the ‘eosio.saving’account sent 34,171,037.4625 EOS tokens, to the ‘eosio account (see transaction). The proposal was the result of a combination of the EOS inflation model being questioned by the current crop of EOS block producers, and the fact that it was initially planned to fund the EOS Worker Proposal System (WPS). Current inflation rates see a total of 5% being split 1% to the block producers and 4% being sent to the WPS. The WPS is an idea which was proposed in the EOS white paper and hints towards a system which uses inflation to pay block producers and developers for their work. However it was overwhelmingly voted down in the most recent referendum (see here) and it often splits opinion. As many members of the EOS community are already aware, Dan Larimer, creator of the EOS blockchain, can often be found in the public EOS chat room having discussion with the community. Regarding the eosio.saving account and EOS inflation, he has personally stated that he agrees with the token burn. He also stated that he believes that the total inflation model should be changed so that the WPS is not in receipt of the current 4%. “I’d strongly recommend disabling 4% and burning savings. Only increase inflation if cost of being a bp increase.” Whether or not you are an EOS token holder this event should be seen as a positive one as it is an example of a blockchain governing itself. While there may be questions regarding the DPOS system and the effects which whales have on them, the fact an idea was proposed, voted on and then implemented should be noted. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/34-million-eos-tokens-burned-as-per-the-proposal-by-eos-nation/
  15. Yesterday, May 7th 2019, Zhao Changpeng, the CEO of the worlds largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, confirmed suspicions that they had experienced a significant hack. The hack was discovered on the 7th May and saw the attackers escape with 7,000 BTC worth a whopping $40m USD. The stolen BTC was withdrawn from the Binance platform in one foul swoop which can be viewed on the blockchain.com Bitcoin block explorer here: https://www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/e8b406091959700dbffcff30a60b190133721e5c39e89bb5fe23c5a554ab05ea. According to the official report of the hack, the above transaction is the only transaction which was affected by the hack. The report also explains that the wallet affected was a hot wallet, which “only held 2%” of the BTC Binance controls. And that their other wallets are secure. How Did it Happen? According to the official report, the hackers used a well orchestrated system which utilised independent accounts at the “most opportune” moment. The report also states that the transaction was executed in a way which “passed” the security checks used by Binance and that, once executed, the withdrawal transaction triggered “many alarms” in their system and caused Binance to stop withdrawals immediately as a result. More specific details of how the attack occurred are not currently available but that is understandable — I would expect their engineers to patch the breach before releasing this information. What Happens Now? For now CZ has stated that the crypto exchange must conduct a “thorough”security review which includes “all parts of” Binance’s “systems and data”. CZ estimates that this review will take roughly one week due to the size of Binance’s systems. He also states that he will post regular and accurate updates regarding the issue. It should also be noted that, during this time, all withdrawals are being suspended on the Binance platform but trading is still enabled on the exchange, so you can continue as you normally would in that respect. This, while frustrating, should be accepted due to the reason behind the suspension. Finally, Binance have stated that accounts which have been affected by the hack will be fully reimbursed to ensure that no customer of Binance is out of pocket as a result. The reimbursement will come out of the Binance secure asset fund for users. Love, peace and happiness? Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/binance-hacked-for-7000-btc/