The year 2018 ended with the value of Bitcoin going down by a percentage decline of 73%. While the beginning of the year started with high hopes at a price of $14,112.2, many predictions went below the belt and by the end of the year the value dropped to merely $3.742.7. With such drastic changes, it’s hard to predict anything pessimistic early in 2019.
Rather than going ahead with the hype, it makes much more sense to stay updated about the latest happenings of the blockchain and crypto markets and make decisions based on facts. Here are the top highlights from the blockchain and crypto world in January 2019:
NASA Proposes Blockchain Use for Air Traffic
Earlier in January, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) proposed to make use of open source blockchain for air traffic management. The proposed blockchain based framework is intended to introduce more security, better authentication, and system privacy in air traffic services. This platform would be using Hyperledger Fabric technology on private channels. Current system risks that appear in Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) such as DoS and spoofing attacks are expected to be reduced through blockchain technology according to this proposal.
EBA Releases a Report Regarding Current Regulations
Working in the direction of improving monitoring of crypto-finance institutions, the European Banking Authority (EBA) has requested clarification in terms of current regulations by releasing a report. According to the organisation, crypto-assets are not a part of EU financial services law and therefore, it is important to get more clarity on this in order to address the issues caused by cryptocurrencies.
Zero Wins Patent for Merging Traditional Systems with Digital Assets
A security trading platform called Zero has secured a patent on outlining a method for merging digital assets and cryptos with traditional trading platforms. The “Crypto Integration Platform” will be able to determine the most accurate pricing by gathering information through a wide variety of resources. The system will securely keep both, funds for buy order and digital assets for selling before executing any transaction. As per the patent, the system will also cryptographically sign all the transactional items before matching the orders.
China Mobile Develops a Water Purifier Using IoT and Blockchain
A Chinese telecommunication giant, China Mobile, has created a water purifier that uses a built-in computing chip along with a IoT module. Based on user behaviour, it will collect useful information for the manufacturers and suppliers. The unique part of this system is that it’ll provide users with blockchain tokens PWMC as per their product usage and the customers can use these tokens to redeem filters or purchase other goods. The company is aiming to increase the popularity of blockchain among general public.
Thor Makes Lightning Payments Easy
Bitrefill has introduced a new service dubbed Thor which will utilize lightening network for payments. As Bitcoin payments are costly and energy-consuming, the lightning network was created to offer those on off-chain. In order to make payments through lightning currently, a channel needs to be set up between the parties. This channel’s capacity is determined by depositing bitcoins deposited to hold it open. With Thor, users can get a channel directly by outsourcing the technical work for opening a channel and they can pay for it in different cryptos such as bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, dash etc. The channel will remain active for 30 days by Bitrefill.
Gate.io Loses $200K in ETC due to 51% attack
A popular crypto exchange called Gate.io stated in one of their blog posts that the exchange has been exposed to a 51% attack. Due to this, they incurred a loss of around $200,000 worth of ETC– about 40,000 Ethereum Classic. The price of ETC dropped after the news of this attack. According to the exchange’s blog post, there were three addresses that could be tied to the attacker/hacker.
SET Plans to Keep an Eye on Crypto
According to Bangkok post, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) stepping ahead in the crypto space as they are planning to apply for a license for operations of digital assets. Based on the chances of approval of this license by the Finance ministry, the security company members of SET are making advancements to become brokers and dealers. If approved, the SET would be among one of the global stock exchanges that will have a regulated crypto exchange as well.
CBOE Withdraws Their Proposal for Bitcoin ETFs
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) has withdrawn their proposal for the Bitcoin ETF. The proposal was already facing a lot of struggles for approval from the SEC due to the relative effect of market manipulation on Bitcoin pricing. With the consistent delay due to staff absence in discussions, no progress was being made in terms of the decision. As the decision date (27th Feb) was approaching, the organisation decided to place no risk of rushing. As per a representative from CBOE they plan to submit a filing at a later date and look forward to continued discussions with the SEC.
Seven Institutes Work Together to Create a New Payment Network
Seven educational universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley are working together to develop a blockchain-based online payment system that will resolve the problems related to scalability, privacy, security and performance in cross-border transactions. This project is named as Unite-e and it targeting to achieve the TPS in the range of 5000 to 10,000. The effort is funded by a swiss-based non-profit organization and will be launched later this year. It aims to surpass the problems and fees of mainstream channels like Visa and provide people with effortless transactional capability.
IBM Joins Hands with Major Healthcare Players
The tech giant IBM is working with a group of big names in the healthcare space in order to improve the sharing and privacy levels of sensitive patient related data. They are aiming to make healthcare claims and transactions efficient through a blockchain-based healthcare system. Other than IBM, healthcare companies such as Big Blue, Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation (the largest customer-owned health insurance provider in the U.S.) and PNC Bank are participating in this initiative. As per IBM, more members will be joining in the coming months.