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| December 17, 2018

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CNN

Cubans to get internet on cellphones, but how many can afford it?

December 6, 2018 |

For years, when Cubans talked about 3G mobile internet arriving on the communist-run island, it was with the same sarcasm that people in other countries reserve for discussions of flying pigs and hell freezing over.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – Regions – Americas

Political Decentralization: Freeing the Internet From Monopolists With Crypto-Tech

December 5, 2018 |

This piece on political decentralization was written by Jonas Sevel Karlberg. Karlberg advises several prominent projects and is a co-founder of the Nordic Blockchain Association. He is also the founder and CEO of AmaZix.

***

The internet was born from an ideal for information to be shared by all, with all, and was seen as the archetypal decentralized system. Today, however, commercialization by monopolistic and powerful actors has created a system in which we are shown information paid for by the highest bidders, and can only access what the wealthy and powerful permit. Giant tech companies, big businesses, and even governments now act as sentries who not only control what we can do, but have unprecedented capabilities to watch us do it.

Also read: Four Ways to Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary

This is not how it should be, and it doesn’t have to remain this way. Blockchain and crypto technologies, built on a commitment to achieve democratization and decentralization, offer a solution that could bring down the concentrations of power that currently govern the internet.

A Tarnished Ideal

In its genesis, the internet was a system owned by no one and everyone at the same time. This was a key reason behind its exponential growth — anyone, from anywhere, could create content and share it with the world. In that “Wild West,” neither governmental nor business forces were able to control or restrict the web, its users, or the information on it.

However, while the internet remains physically decentralized, it now depends on large, centralized services to support its critical components, such as web hosting, cloud computing, DNS services, social media, search engines and email services.

Arguably, Google Chrome is among the most popular web browsers in the world — Android smartphones, coupled with the ubiquitous Google Suite, all combine to give Google hegemony over the internet. Indeed, Mozilla’s Internet Health Report 2018 shows that more than 90 percent of internet users use Google Search. Other large companies have a similar presence in other areas, with Amazon dominating cloud storage and Facebook grasping hold of social networking. Part of the reason why these global giants are in this position is their unprecedented ability to observe what people do on the internet, and exploit that information for their own commercial and financial gain.

More sinister is the ability to determine and restrict what consumers can see and consume — search results are prioritized by advertising revenue and filtered by location and government, subtly concealing advertising based on consumer behaviors and demographics. Accuracy, fairness and relevance of information are abandoned in favor of popularity, price and commercial value.

By all means, this betrays the ideals upon which the internet was built. Everything we do is only by the permission of some central entity. Want to buy something online? You can, but only if your bank or payment processor pays the merchant on your behalf. Want to say hello to a friend halfway across the world? Sure, but only if Facebook relays the message for you.

Taking Back Control

First, we must make an important distinction between architectural and political decentralization. The former refers to the number of computers that make up a system, while the latter concerns how many individuals or organizations ultimately control that system. Blockchain and crypto technologies employ both to take control of information away from giant, despotic tech companies and put it back in the hands of users.

In a decentralized system, the internet is a community of users and a network of independent machines that power and host information. This not only removes central hands from the levers of control, but also makes systems more resilient to failures and hacks, while ensuring that there is no element of vulnerability.

Crypto tools already decentralize money transactions, among other things, and will be vital in the creation of a sustainable decentralized internet. They enable decentralized web hosting, while protecting against DDoS attacks by replacing centralized servers with thousands of nodes, each of which constitutes a small part of the website. This is the basis of architectural decentralization, and is a change that must occur, especially given recent notable data breaches.

This in turn enables political decentralization — handing back control of information to users. Distributed ledgers at the heart of blockchain not only protect against data breaches, but prevent companies that store information from using it for their commercial benefit, sharing it with governments, or selling it to third parties without user consent. By storing data across a distributed network, blockchain makes sure that individuals retain ownership of their information. Individuals have a right to own and, if they see fit, keep their information private and determine how it can be used.

A Challenging but Achievable Reality

Decentralization is the way forward, but there are undoubtedly several challenges facing the development of crypto-tech that must be solved if its transformative potential is to be realized.

Scalability is the most significant issue currently facing blockchain systems, and it is limiting mainstream adoption of the technology. Increasing privacy is also vital if user data and information are to be properly protected, given that crypto systems currently rely on pseudonymity, rather than anonymity.

Meanwhile, the biggest hurdle to be overcome is the sluggish adoption of, and familiarity with, the underlying technology. For a decentralized internet to re-emerge, users beyond the blockchain and crypto communities must engage with and support it, without being held back by a misconceived and cynical perception of blockchain.

Nevertheless, centralization cannot sustain society, and the decentralization revolution that has been quietly underway — for longer than you might think – is about to be turbocharged by decentralized technologies. The cryptosphere is bound by its unique ability for communitarian development and a common belief in using technology for the improvement of society. If anyone can make the decentralized ideal a reality, the crypto community can.

Is cryptocurrency-based disruption unavoidable? Do you think we will be able to use encrypted technologies to take back control? How long will it take until the major tech companies no longer control our ability to interact and transfer information online? 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

The post Political Decentralization: Freeing the Internet From Monopolists With Crypto-Tech appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

SpaceX gets FCC approval to operate a second satellite constellation for broadband internet

November 15, 2018 |

SpaceX’s plans to offer broadband internet took another step forward Thursday as the Federal Communications Commission approved the company’s application to operate an additional constellation of thousands of small satellites in very-low-Earth orbit.

Chief Executive Elon Musk has said the proposed…


L.A. Times – Business

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Shipments of 7nm Bitcoin Mining Equipment

November 14, 2018 |

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Shipments of 7nm Bitcoin Mining Equipment

Japan’s GMO Internet has postponed the shipments of its two lines of 7nm bitcoin mining rigs. A representative of the company has clarified the situation to news.Bitcoin.com, noting that some refunds have already been issued. In addition, the company is planning to relocate its mining operations.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Shipments Postponed

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Shipments of 7nm Bitcoin Mining EquipmentGMO Internet announced on Monday that it has postponed the shipments of its 7nm ASIC bitcoin mining equipment. The company has two lines of mining rigs: B2 and B3. The former was scheduled to start shipping at the end of October and the latter in November.

A representative of GMO revealed to news.Bitcoin.com on Tuesday that the shipments of both lines have been postponed, elaborating:

It is because the parts we need for our mining machines are actually very difficult to acquire right now … It is difficult to acquire some of the electronic components, such as resistors, due to the tight global supply-demand balance.

He added that the company has not decided whether to ship any miners this year.

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Shipments of 7nm Bitcoin Mining Equipment

GMO Internet launched the B2 line in June and the B3 line in July. In August, the company upgraded the B3 case shape design in order to improve its cooling performance and operational stability. Both B2 and B3 are priced at $ 1,999 and are sold out.

The representative emphasized that refunds will be issued to any customers who ask for them, noting:

We asked our customers whether they wish us to refund at the time of delay announcement. So far, we have already completed issuing refunds to customers who demanded them.

Relocating Mining Operations

Through its Swiss subsidiary, GMO engages in three mining business areas: in-house mining; developing, manufacturing and selling mining machines; and cloud mining.

On Nov. 5, the company released the monthly report of its mining business which shows that 595 BTC and 875 BCH were mined in October. GMO’s total hashrate increased to 674 PH/s during the month from 479 PH/s in the previous month.

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Shipments of 7nm Bitcoin Mining EquipmentIn its quarterly earnings presentation, the company still says it aims “to become No. 1 in the field of cryptocurrency.”

The internet giant further detailed that its mining business recorded a loss during the third quarter even though the expansion of mining facilities progressed as planned. The company attributed the loss to a small net sales increase of only 1.249 billion yen ($ 11 million) year-on-year “because of a decline in profitability due to the deteriorated macro environment including stagnant bitcoin price and an increase in hash rate,” reiterating:

Cryptocurrency mining business experienced a decline in profitability due to a downturn in the macro environment.

At Monday’s press conference, GMO Internet’s founder and CEO, Masatoshi Kumagai, unveiled his company’s plan to relocate its mining operations in an effort to boost profitability by lowering electricity and production costs.

The GMO representative confirmed the plan to news.Bitcoin.com. However, he noted that the details of location and timeframe are “under consideration at this moment,” emphasizing that “we have not decided it yet.”

What do you think of GMO postponing the shipments of its 7nm bitcoin mining equipment? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and GMO Internet.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Shipments of 7nm Bitcoin Mining Equipment appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

GMO Internet Reports Cryptocurrency Exchange Profit Rose Over 34% in Q3 2018

November 12, 2018 |

GMO Internet Reports Cryptocurrency Exchange Profit Rose Over 34% in Q3 2018

GMO Internet, the Japanese technology and online finance conglomerate, presented its results for the third quarter of fiscal 2018 on Nov. 12. The presentation included new details about the performance of the Tokyo-listed group’s cryptocurrency-related businesses.

Also Read: The Daily: US Museum to Accept Bitcoin, Estonia Grants License to B2BX Exchange

Record Performance by Quarter

The presentation covers the operations of GMO Internet in cryptocurrency mining, exchange and payments. The company reported total quarterly revenue of 2.61 billion yen ($ 22.93 million) in the third quarter. It noted that the positive results came “just a year since the launch despite the harsh external environment.”

On the cryptocurrency exchange side of the operation, profit was up 34.4 percent quarter over quarter, from 0.55 billion yen in the second quarter to 0.74 billion yen in the third. It said it posted an increase in profit despite the fact that revenue from the exchange business alone fell slightly from 1.42 billion yen in the second quarter to 1.36 billion yen in the third.

GMO Internet also reported that customer accounts have been growing steadily, reaching 208,000 in the third quarter. However, the trading value has fallen from 220 billion yen to just 89 billion yen ($ 782.7 million) quarter over quarter.

GMO Internet Reports Cryptocurrency Exchange Profit Rose Over 34% in Q3 2018

Aiming For 800PH/s Within 2018

GMO Internet Reports Cryptocurrency Exchange Profit Rose Over 34% in Q3 2018On the cryptocurrency mining side of its business, GMO Internet reported it has increased its human resources during the third quarter of the year. And this helped it increase mining revenue slightly to 1.23 billion yen in the third quarter, from 1.17 billion yen in the preceding three-month period. In contrast, the worsening external environment and increased depreciation costs drove profit down quarter over quarter, from a loss of 0.36 billion yen in the second quarter to a loss of 0.64 billion yen in the third.

The company reported it reached a bitcoin hashing rate of 674 PH/s during the third quarter, for both BCH and BTC. It said it aims to achieve a total of 800 PH/s within the year.

GMO Internet also said that sales of cryptocurrency mining machines have been postponed due to delays in shipments of needed electronic components. In addition, it announced that it is changing the ticker symbol of the yen-pegged stablecoin it launched during the third quarter from GJY to GYEN.

What do you think about the latest GMO Internet quarterly report? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and GMO Internet.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post GMO Internet Reports Cryptocurrency Exchange Profit Rose Over 34% in Q3 2018 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining for October

November 5, 2018 |

GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining for October

Japanese cryptocurrency mining company GMO Internet Group released its monthly update for October on Nov. 5. The report shows a huge increase in the amount of bitcoin cash extracted – 875 coins, from zero in September. Altogether, the company earned about $ 3.85 million from mining BTC and BCH during the period under review.

Also Read: Pan-African Organisation Launches Framework to Encourage Cryptocurrency Trade

New Mining Hardware Drives Output

In its monthly update, the Tokyo-based GMO Internet Group said its hashrate has grown since the end of September after establishing more mining facilities while continuing to operate miners from other manufacturers. “We will continue to introduce the mining machine from other manufacturers to the in-house mining. Our plan is to see our hashrate surpass 800 ph/s by the end of December,” it said.

GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining for October

GMO Internet has tended to focus on BTC as opposed BCH since it began its mining operations late last year. The $ 1.7 billion-valued company mined a total 4,070 bitcoin core and 1,323 bitcoin cash during the first 10 months of this year, earning about $ 33 million in rewards. The latest surge of interest in BCH has been viewed in some quarters as position-taking ahead of the impending Nov. 15 fork.

GMO also appears keen on breaking China’s monopoly in the industry, as evidenced by its quest to boost mining capacity. But it’s not been all smooth sailing. The company detailed:

Regarding our mining machines, there has been a delay for part of the electronic components due to the tight global supply-demand balance, which led to the postponement of shipment.

Competition among miners has increased on account of numerous Chinese companies entering the industry. Miners from the Asian country are now thought to control about two-thirds of the computational power working on the BTC blockchain.

GMO Sees Improved Hashrate

GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining for OctoberIn terms of mining power, GMO Internet recorded hashrates of 674 petahash per second in October – a 50 percent increase from the previous month. While the company has seen a significant increase in its computing power, its hashrate is still significantly below that employed by major mining pools. At the top of pile at the moment is BTC.com, which handles over 9,000 ph/s. GMO Internet stated that it aims to eventually reach 3,000 ph/s, with a short-term goal of 800 ph/s by December.

In October, the Japanese cryptocurrency company indicated that it would launch a stablecoin pegged to the yen in 2019. Masatoshi Kumagaii, founder and president of GMO Internet, said the stablecoin, which will be known as GMO Japanese Yen (GJY), will be issued in Asia. It is expected that the assets backing the stablecoin will be stored in Japan where the tech firm already has banking licenses.

Founded in 1991, GMO Internet is involved in internet advertising and media, internet securities and mobile entertainment businesses. The Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed firm also operates GMO Coin, its cryptocurrency mining and exchange unit.

What do you think about GMO’s latest mining update? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining for October appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Don’t get ripped off, check your internet speed

November 4, 2018 |

We know what “slow” internet is like: videos buffer, downloads lag, and a single page can take forever to appear in its entirety. We wonder whether it’s our browser, our device, or the website we’re visiting.
FOX News

These 100 Sites Shaped the Internet

October 26, 2018 |

It’s time, Gizmodo declares, “to start building a canon of the most significant websites of all time.” In putting together a list of the “100 Websites That Shaped the Internet as We Know It,” the Gizmodo staff considered sites (not apps or services) “that influenced the very nature of the…
Newser

Japanese Internet Giant GMO to Launch Yen-Pegged Cryptocurrency

October 10, 2018 |

Japanese Internet Giant GMO to Launch Yen-Pegged Cryptocurrency

Japan’s GMO Internet Group has announced plans to issue a yen-pegged stablecoin called GMO Japanese Yen. Already in the crypto exchange and mining hardware businesses, the company plans to launch its third crypto enterprise with this stablecoin.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Yen-Pegged Stablecoin

Japanese Internet Giant GMO to Launch Yen-Pegged CryptocurrencyGMO Internet Group announced Tuesday that it “will start full-scale preparations to issue stable coins of virtual currency, with an eye to enter into the ‘settlement’ area of virtual currency business.” The company detailed:

‘GMO Japanese Yen (ticker symbol: GJY)’ [will be launched] through the unified brand (global brand) ‘Z.com’ in the overseas strategy of the GMO Internet Group. [It will be a] ‘yen-pegged currency’ linked with the Japanese yen.

Noting that there are already 57 stablecoins in the world, 23 of which are already in circulation, GMO disclosed that “We plan to start issuing [the stablecoin] for the Asian region around the fiscal year 2019.”

Third Crypto Business

Currently, GMO has two businesses in the crypto space: the exchange business which started in May last year and the mining business which started in December. In its earnings presentation published in August, the company outlined another crypto business area it seeks to enter called “cryptocurrency payment.”

In Tuesday’s stablecoin announcement, GMO revealed that it has been “investigating and researching whether the virtual currency could be the settlement currency from the viewpoint of volatility.”

Japanese Internet Giant GMO to Launch Yen-Pegged Cryptocurrency
GMO’s crypto businesses. Source: GMO Internet Group

GMO’s Hope for Its Stablecoin

Japanese Internet Giant GMO to Launch Yen-Pegged CryptocurrencyAccording to GMO, in order to solve the hyperinflation problem seen in many developing countries, “issues such as true non-centralization need to be overcome.” The firm asserted that stablecoins can be a solution to this problem “as a currency to replace low-credit domestic currencies.” The firm also believes that even in developed countries, stablecoins have “a potential to become a global standard innovative financial infrastructure.”

Referring to its yen-pegged crypto, GMO described:

One of the tasks is to stabilize price fluctuation (volatility), which is a risk to remittance and settlement, in order to increase the spreading and development of the virtual currency.

What do you think of GMO issuing a yen-pegged stablecoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and GMO Internet Group.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japanese Internet Giant GMO to Launch Yen-Pegged Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

An Internet Bill of Rights? One California representative says the time has come

October 7, 2018 |

By July of 2019, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) aims to see the House of Representatives pass landmark legislation shielding consumers from the onslaught of data breaches and the anxiety and confusion over the misuse of their personal information on the web.

To nudge such legislation along, Khanna…


L.A. Times – Business