This Week in Blockchain 10.12.18

It’s Time to Love Blockchain

Over at TechCrunch, Jon Evans argues that blockchains are “the new Linux, not the new Internet.” That said, he believes it’s time we all start loving blockchain. He says advertising-driven media is washed up, a continual concern by Internet critics. In fact, George Gilder opens up his new book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy, with that very sentiment, writing,

The Internet is not only full of unwanted ads but fraught with bots and malware. Instead of putting power in the hands of individuals, it has become a porous cloud where all money and power rise to the top.

Evans’s critique is that the ad model applied to social media incentivizes the “outrage generation,” as more engagement leads to more revenue. As we know, the more our emotions are stoked, the more we’re going to stay tuned in. Our anger is their profit.
The second issue Evans sees is the centralization of power. Facebook hacks (among others) compromise the data—the identity—of tens of millions of users at once. Decentralization, in his opinion, is the only way forward: 

There’s something more interesting than made-up money and get-rich-quick schemes going on here, and while I think it’s unlikely it’ll ever conquer the mainstream, I do believe there’s a genuine technically, politically, financially, and socially interesting alternative movement being born, behind all the sturm und drangand laughable scams. Watch carefully. Think again.


Communication Breakdown

At Blockcon in Los Angeles this week, there has been talk about the ability of blockchains to talk to one another. Instead of numerous blockchains that cannot engage in a dialogue, there are hopes that one day blockchains will be networked. While this notion will be a point of debate for years to come—why a private blockchain would want to communicate is one glaring problem—our current communication systems are having enough trouble, as EOS is proving.
Western EOS enthusiasts, Coindesk’s David Floyd writes, predominantly chat on Telegram, while Chinese fans talk on WeChat, which is creating governance problems:

The fact that two broadly separate conversations are happening in parallel has made it difficult for EOS to live up to its promise as a blockchain with built-in democratic governance. It’s also had tangible effects for EOS token holders, since some have had relatively easy access to dispute resolution, while others haven’t.

A Blockcon session on marketing yesterday impressed upon the crowd the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding when discussing blockchain and cryptocurrency across international borders. While the “official language” of blockchain is generally agreed to be English, reaching enthusiasts around the planet will take more time to implement. Decentralization and democratization should go hand-in-hand, but as this example shows, that’s going to take some time to work out.

Walmart On Chain

While the public focuses on crypto prices and the scalability of blockchain, many companies are moving ahead with implementing these technologies into their existing business models. Walmart recently announced that it will be tracking all of its lettuce on chain after a two-year pilot program. As the NY Times reports,

By this time next year, more than 100 farms that supply Walmart with leafy green vegetables will be required to input detailed information about their food into a blockchain database developed by I.B.M. for Walmart and several other retailers exploring similar moves.

As more use cases like this gain public awareness, criticism like the “50 Foot Blockchain” mentioned in the article will seem a laughable quip of the past.

Gone in a Flash

This in from CNET: Hackers have created malware that looks like an Adobe Flash update that installs cryptomining software on your computer. It’s so insidious that it even updates Flash. The software doesn’t your crypto, however—it uses your computing power to mine crypto:

The malware provides cryptominers with a secretive shortcut to use a crowd of strangers’ computers without their knowledge.

Thus far 113 successful installations have been detected. It is estimated that 5% of all Monero in circulation has been mined through such malicious means.

Crytpo Around the Planet

While the US Senate held hearings this week on the state of cryptocurrency, it turns out that the government has spent $5.7 million tracking America cryptocurrency holders. Other governments are being more proactive in their usage of crypto: Dubai stepped into the limelight this week by launching the first government-backed crypto, EmCash. Retailers across the nation will soon be able to use this currency for goods and services. Likewise, India, having already banned Bitcoin, is now considering its own crypto. Iran also announced plans to control its own cryptocurrency earlier this summer.

Time For Some Action

For too long, climate change has been thought of as something “down the road.” This week’s UN report shows, once again, that we’re out of time. The NY Times Editorial Board didn’t hold back:

The bottom line: We’ve got a decade or so to get climate change under control, and there is no such thing as a gentle glide path. We have to take a firm grip on the emissions curve and wrench it downward.

On the RChain front, one of our portfolio companies, Swytch, has announced a partnership with that will make the acquisition and tracking of tokens seamless. Stay tuned, as next week RCast features Swytch founder, Evan Caron.

Swytch’s innovative blockchain-based solution tracks and verifies the impact of sustainability efforts and actions on the worldwide level of CO2 emissions. The Platform API enables Swytch to easily engage with and educate users, provide wallets to users and initiate airdrops and transfers of tokens.