Community News

This Week in Blockchain 02.15.19

Solving the Bottleneck Issue

One major reason for the lack of mass adoption of blockchain is the technical hurdles that remain. This is to be expected with any new technology, but one thing is certain: whatever company figures out an iPhone-easy intuitive platform for using blockchain is going to run ahead of the pack.

Enter Baidu, the Chinese search engine, which is launching the Baidu Blockchain Engine (BBE). The platform claims it will make the production of blockchain dApps as easy as mobile apps. Baidu’s ABC (AI, Big Data, cloud computing) technology stack is the supposed secret sauce to making this happen.

Hosted on Baidu’s “intelligent” cloud platform, the system uses a modular blockchain framework to provide developers with a multi-chain system including smart contract templates, dapp templates and other services aimed to make development simple and fast.

BBE is an ambitious project with claims of supporting existing enterprise frameworks and consumer-focused finance—developers claim its system can support the verification of 50B tokenized assets. We’ll have to wait and see if they can truly handle this load.

Carbon Capture

As has often been expressed, combating climate change was the motivating factor behind the creation of RChain. While most people sit back and watch the reality unfold with little input, a few companies are taking it seriously. One of them is the Swiss organization, Climeworks, which has created a power-generating waste-incineration plant outside of Zurich.

As the NY Times reports, the recycling of CO2 from the atmosphere could have quite an interesting impact:

These were “direct air capture” machines, which soon would begin collecting carbon dioxide from air drawn in through their central ducts. Once trapped, the CO₂ would then be siphoned into large tanks and trucked to a local Coca-Cola bottler, where it would become the fizz in a soft drink.

Of course, the validity of such a technology is uncertain. But ingenuity will have to save the day, otherwise we’ll all soon be victim unsustainable and erratic weather patterns. (I write this as the second “atmospheric river” this winter dumps an inch of rain per hour outside my window.) All ideas welcome at this point.

Going Green

The greening trend continues: a survey over 1,000 U.S. employees, conducted by our friends at Swytch, reveals that over 70 percent of them prefer to work for companies with a “strong green footprint.” Ten percent would also agree to take a pay cut of $5,000-$10,000 to do so (with three percent agreeing to a cut of more than $10,000). Remarkably, 30 percent claim to have left companies without sustainability agendas.

A few other findings:

  • Over 35% of total respondents, and over 40% of Millennials, have committed more time and effort to a company because they were happy with its sustainability agenda
  • Across the political spectrum, both liberals(95%) and conservatives (89%) overwhelmingly agree that companies should be rewarded for producing and/or consuming renewable energy
  • Over a third of respondents believe that the national government should be primarily responsible for addressing climate change while nearly a quarter of respondents believe large corporations should be responsible

Not the Smartest Lights

While the news today of the moment is focused on Amazon pulling out of its planned Queens headquarters, a more disturbing issue has arisen concerning voice-activated lighting.

In other words, after you connect a light fixture to Alexa, Amazon wants to know every time the light is turned on or off, regardless of whether you asked Alexa to toggle the switch. Televisions must report the channel they’re set to. Smart locks must keep the company apprised whether or not the front door bolt is engaged.

Pushback has ensued over the fact that device updates do not give users control over the data they share. As John Wantz, founder of EVERY*, told me a few months ago, blockchain will offer solutions for you to actually “own your data.” That’s what his company is aiming for, and what we should all be demanding.

Closing Thought

“Feeling like a victim of injustice in one situation does not make us less likely to commit an injustice against someone else, nor does it make us more sympathetic to victims. It’s as if there is a brick wall between those two sets of experiences, blocking our ability to see the other side.” — Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)