This Week in Blockchain 12.28.18

Swytch in 2019

Our friends at Swytch capped off a remarkable year with solar development projects in Puerto Rico and South Korea, which will continue (and expand) in the new year. In Q4 the company launched its enterprise-scale product, which they plan on extending and refining over the coming months. As CEO Evan Caron commented,

What we have built is a testament to our team’s effort to be focused on a core mission and accomplishing something every day to get us one step closer to solving some of the worlds biggest problems… The year ahead will be filled with many challenges, and opportunities to solve them and we are well positioned to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves.

Partners for life

The last few months have been a time of reflection and pause on many technology projects. Since the internet sent us into hyperdrive two decades ago, we seem to have lost perspective regarding the timeframe new technologies require to properly be rolled out. A slow-down is not the same as submission. Companies are plowing ahead, albeit not at the pace our shortened attention spans allow for.

At Forbes, the Big Four futuristic tech sectors are Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things, and Big Data. Due to recent slowdowns, Darryn Pollock believes there is an opportunity for IoT and Blockchain to help one another along. He continues,

It is clear that having a system of smart things performing as a network under limited human supervision could benefit from an immutable ledger because the security and safety concerns of the network can be shored up with the help of an un-hackable blockchain that has a well established token system.

IoT devices have run into numerous problems from hackers. Sure, talking to your television and phone might feel like an evolutionary advancement, but when you’re unknowingly being surveilled we have to question the utility of such devices. As Pollock writes, companies dabbling in IoT experienced a 26 percent success rate, a far cry from being secure or scalable.

Just as each technology needs an army to test and construct the respective platforms and devices, cross-industry colloborations are also proving necessary. Pollock allows VeCap CEO, Imad Labaddi, to explain why blockchain could make a major impact in the utility of IoT devices:

They allow users to trade directly by providing both a payment mechanism and a communication channel. Blockchain networks can be used to create indexed records, which are linear and permanent so that others can reference them globally without censorship. The third thing Blockchain technologies allow its users to do, is act as their certification authority. Individuals who can control their data can achieve this.

Helping our elders

Sitting across an elderly couple at the Apple store, I listened to them explain their dilemma. After two-and-a-half hours in the store, they were still trying to set up a Gmail account. The husband had never used Gmail before; he only opened his Verizon email once. But he was looking into the future. The infinite patience of the Apple employee was incredible.

At 43, I’m not that far from being an elder—to some I already am—and I’ll have to contend with technologies that baffle me. That said, senior citizens are easy targets for hackers. According to Rubica, 67% of U.S. seniors online have been the victim or target of at least one common online scam or hack. Below is the bullet list of the top five ways seniors are at risk of being hacked; dive into the full article for in-depth perspective.

  • Tech support scams in the form of digital pop-ups
  • Ransomware via email
  • Malware via mobile apps and games
  • Identity theft via social media sites and websites
  • Insecure Wi-Fi network and public Wi-Fi

The path ahead for blockchain

Over at Coindesk, ChromaWay co-founder Henrik Hjelte offers four solutions to current problems plaguing blockchain:

Function vs Form: Instead of centralizing all of the client application operations (e.g., the algorithm which generates unique CryptoKitties), allow application logic to run on the blockchain.

Data Loaned vs Data Owned: Users will have to adjust to thinking of data as an asset they own and decide to “lend” to app developers. 

Zero-Sum vs Shared Benefits: Tokens can be fungible and can be used across dapps in exchange for other types of services.

Proprietary Networks vs Blockchain Open Source: Open-source technology projects have resulted in enormous improvements by providing bug-free software, raising tech performance, facilitating interoperability and reducing the total ownership cost of technology development.

Closing thought

When in doubt, work on the deficiencies you’re most embarrassed by. — Tim Ferriss