Recently my first pull request to Bitcoin Core got merged. It wasn’t any critical change to the protocol but was a small added functionality to the testing framework, which can occasionally be useful for the developers. This completed one of my personal milestones since I started my journey with Bitcoin, on 26th October 2017. I succinctly remember the date and even the exact time when all of it started, simply because of the impact it had on me. Since then my journey down the rabbit-hole has led me into explorations of subjects that were never part of any conceivable career path of mine. And along the way, met some amazing people and probably some friends for life.
As I come from a non-CS background everything related to Bitcoin was brand new to me. Concepts, ideas, and terminologies popped up everywhere that I have never heard before. The first few weeks were overwhelming as I was discovering the intersection of multiple disciplines starting from, computer science, mathematics to economics, and politics. The cognitive dissonance was hard, and the inevitable realization of what money is hit me even harder. I knew I stepped onto something big and wanted to go as deeper as possible. Being a dev was never part of the plan as I wasn’t looking for career opportunities. But the path of curiosity is serendipitous, and honestly, that’s the fun of it. The only reason I started learning to code was to have a more intimate understanding of Bitcoin. And it took 2 years 5 months from writing my first “Hello World” program in Python, to get my first PR merged in Core.
I shared my excitement of that day in a tweet and to my surprise, many people approached me saying its a source of inspiration for many others who are at different stages of the same journey.
In this article, I will try to articulate my experience of the journey in the hope that it might be useful for people looking towards a similar path and wondering if the effort is worth it. Tl;dr, It is.
I like to describe it as a “hike up the Bitcoin hill”, as opposed to the more common “falling down the rabbit hole” analogy. Though there is definitely a fall at the beginning, but once you overcome the initial dissonance and clear your eyesight, you realize what exactly you are looking at. Then its time for some action, and the “hike” begins.
Before going on any hike, we try to take peripheral information about the journey, route, environment, and the history and stories of the place we are about to visit. This information helps us cherish the full extent of the journey, and it becomes a proper experience rather than just a walk. The same applies to the “Bitcoin Hike”. One can very well become an expert in “Blockchain Technology” without ever realizing the story behind it (trust me, they exist), but you can never be a Bitcoiner without them. The Bitcoin hike is ultimately part of the never-ending human struggle of freedom. The hike ends at a summit into a hyperbitcoinized world, free from the tyranny of the state and perpetual robbery of public purchasing power by the current fiat money regime.
A lot has been written, said, contemplated, and explained on what Bitcoin is throughout the last decade. Yet we still haven’t been able to come up with a definition of Bitcoin, and chances are, we might never. That’s not only because Bitcoin is way too much multidisciplinary to bind it into a single definition, but also because it is ultimately a social consensus system. What Bitcoin is, depends on what everyone thinks Bitcoin is at this moment. And that consensus can very well change in the next moment. Bitcoin is different things to different people. Depending on their current domain of expertise, world view, political motivation, and environmental situation, every individual perceives it from different perspectives.
Bitcoin is a hill with many paths to hike on. Depending on where someone is starting from, they can trace different routes and have differing experiences. But they all ultimately reach the same peak.
For someone looking to start the technical route along the hill, here’s my short attempt at explaining the Bitcoin protocol from a birds-eye level.
Bitcoin is a set of communication rules. If you have ever played the game of ciphers in your childhood, where you and your friends would jumble up the words as you communicate in a running class by passing on notes, Bitcoin is almost like that. Only you and your friends knew the rules to unjumble them, and none of the other friends could read the message in transit. Bitcoin is like such communication rule, but for computers, and unlike the cipher game, it doesn’t encrypt anything. Every computer running the Bitcoin software can talk to other computers running Bitcoin (aka nodes) over the internet. And they communicate with each other by following these set of rules, known as the Bitcoin Protocol. These rules are special, and it was designed to facilitate a special purpose. By following these rules, every computer can come into an agreement among each other about the state of a database. This database is canonically called the Blockchain and every node keeps a local copy of it. The information inside this database if of a form of “X owns Y bitcoins”. And as every node agrees with each other about the state of this database at every instant of time, every node can answer the question of the form “Who owns What”, at every instant of time. No matter which node in the network you ask, they all will give the exact same answer. Thus, by following these rather peculiar set of rules, the Bitcoin network simulates a global monetary system, where agreements on who owns how much money can be agreed among all the nodes, without having a central point of authority.
This last sentence is crucially important. The entire reason for doing such protocol dance among computers is to come into agreement without needing a central authority. If you have a central authority you do not need the protocol anymore, because then the authority simply keeps track of who owns what, and everyone else can just ask the authority. Thus, the Bitcoin protocol essentially solves the problem of Agreement without Authority.
This problem of agreement was quite old and was first formally described in 1982 in the context of distributed computing systems, known as the Byzantine Generals’ Problem. But deeper down the statement, the problem is more of a socio-political than of computer science.
How can a group of untrusting entities, dwelling in an adversarial environment, come into agreement about any statement?
This problem has plagued human society since the very beginning of the herd settlement era, as you can readily guess such problems would arise when it comes to social governance. The only possible solution humans could come up with so far, is the ideation of the “State” (herd leader/monarchy/democracy). The state is entrusted with the authoritative power to “decide” on statements of true and false on behalf of the entire society, and everyone else can simply ask the state whenever in need. When the same problem comes in the context of money and finance, we solved it with Commercial Banks and Central Banks. Where people ask the commercial banks and in turn, they ask the central bank for the resolution of such decision making questions. Glimpses of this problem can be found almost everywhere in our society, and in all of them, the only solution humans have is to place an authoritative figure to dictate the information required for individuals to come into agreement.
That’s until 3rd Jan 2009. When a pseudonymous entity named Satoshi Nakamoto, openly published a C++ code that seemed to describe a communication protocol, that claimed to solve the Byzantine Generals’ Problem. So far Bitcoin has been solving the problem, for thousands of nodes, without fail, for the last 11 years.
Thus born the first instance of a solution to the problem of Agreement without Authority, and the first application of it was a decentralized global monetary system, that cannot be captured, controlled, denied, inflated, or stoped.
So obviously, Bitcoin hill is a pretty damn exciting hike to take.
So as one starts on a hike up the Bitcoin hill, there are few essentials they need to gather. Unlike a real hike, most of the tools and utilities are to be picked along the road. But to start with we need a few basic primitives.
- Cryptography: Bitcoin is a cryptographic protocol. Even if it doesn’t use any form of encryption/decryption (this might change with BIP324), there are other cryptographic constructions extensively used inside it. The most important are the hash functions and the Digital Signature Algorithm. Hash functions are used to simulate commitments and are the entire basis of the Proof Of Work consensus algorithm that solves the Byzantine Generals’ Problem among untrusted peers. Digital Signature Algorithm is used to simulate ownership proof over the digital assets (bitcoins) within the protocol. So grabbing a 101 cryptography course will definitely help. There are many available online, I took this one.
- Programming: Bitcoin is a communication protocol for computers connected over the internet. So naturally, the rules are written in a language that computers can understand. The first reference implementation was written in C++ by Satoshi Nakamoto, known as Bitcoin Core. Translations of the same set of rules can be found in almost every other programming language out there. So to run through the trail, one definitely needs knowledge of programming. This is by far the biggest learning curve if you are starting from scratch. There are various resources out there to get your feet dirty with programming concepts, and almost all of it can be accessed for free. I leave it up to the reader to explore suitable learning formats on their own. If you are new to programming, probably the easiest language to start with is python. There is a good article by Pierre Rochard on the technical side of bitcoin. Justin Moen’s mooniversity is a great resource with tutorial videos to make a bitcoin-like system from scratch in python. Jimmy Song has written Programming Bitcoin where you develop a dummy bitcoin python library from scratch, giving you a good overview of how different parts of the system works. Christopher Allen has a nice walkthrough of learning bitcoin from the command line, which will get you up to speed with Bitcoin RPC and Linux terminal. And use Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos as a goto reference book. Programming is quite a vast discipline and is not only limited to Bitcoin. It can feel scary at times, but it’s doable even without a computer science degree. Remember to never quit if you want to take this quest, just keep walking.
- The Club: Once you have done gathering the preliminaries in your rucksack, the next thing to do is join a club. Fortunately, there exists a Bitcoin PR Review club, started by Jhon Newberry last year. Where every Wednesday, participants analyze and discuss one Pull Request into Bitcoin Core. This is not only the best place to get familiar with the code base but a very ripe ground for new learners to quickly grab up new concepts. It might feel a little intimidating at the start. But remember its not about knowing everything, but about figuring what you don’t know yet, then go back and learn it. Over time you will gather enough understanding and knowledge that you can make meaningful participation in the conversations as well as in the GitHub review process. John Newbery, Jonatack, Jimmy Song, and Amiti Uttarwar has created some great articles explaining the journey of contributing to Core. These are some great resources to start with once you are ready to get your hands dirty with real-world Bitcoin Programming.
- Economics/Politics/Game theory: Finally as you go on packing your rucksack keep in mind that Bitcoin is much more than just code. Beyond technicalities, Bitcoin is a beautiful social phenomenon. The system work by a clever incentivized design where the right amount of incentives are provided for each network participant, so everybody is better off by supporting the system instead of attacking it. This economic design simulates a game-theoretic convergence of the state of the Blockchain among all its participants. An order emerges out of the seemingly random events of SHA256 hashing operation in Proof Of Work mechanism. Bitcoin is termed as the first human created instance of deterministic anarchy. But the ethos behind this idea is political, and the seed has been growing for at least the last 30 years in an activism known as the Cypherpunk movement. This was essentially an underground academic activism aimed at using mathematics and tools of cryptography to demolish encroachment of the State on human freedom worldwide. Bitcoin is the fruit of the Cypherpunk movement. Moreover, the idea neatly ties up with a completely independent field of contrarians in the domain of economics known as the Austrian School of Economics. Where academicians have been debunking the serious flaws of the current fiat money regime since at least 1920s. A lot has been said and explored in open internet about the history and politics of Bitcoin the idea, and it’s much more important to learn about them than just learning to code. Dan Held wrote an elaborate account of the principles and activism behind Bitcoin in his series Planting Bitcoin. Saifedean Ammous gave a complete account of the implication of a hard sound monetary standard on our economics, society, and personal lives in his book The Bitcoin Standard. Parker Lewis gave an intellectual walkthrough of how the implication of a hard money standard is almost inevitable in his series Gradually, Then Suddenly. An enormous but not exhaustive list of resources from various disciplines tied with Bitcoin can be found here, here, here and here.
The amount of resources out there can feel simply overwhelming. It’s easily possible that this might be the biggest intellectual journey you have ever pursued. But don’t be overwhelmed, because you don’t have to learn it all in one go. If you are here for the right reasons, you would know that this is a journey of a lifetime. Bitcoin is not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a get free quick idea. The first thing — at least some ounces of the above Bitcoin knowledge — will do is to reduce your time preference drastically. And that itself is an enormous personal improvement. Learning the subject of Bitcoin is like eating a giant elephant, you can’t eat it in a go, you have take one bite at a time.
And I cannot stress it enough that it’s even more important to understand the “Why” of Bitcoin than the “How”. If you have glimpsed a hyperbitcoinized world, free from the tyranny of dictatorships, free from massive doses of inequality stemming from Cantillon effect, free from central banks routinely robbing you of your purchasing power to feed the Wall Streets of the world, free from financial exclusion, free from torturing trade embargoes placed to satisfy the sick ego of the State, free from never-ending wars and human rights violations all over the world, you have already packed your rucksack. The only thing left is to get out of your comfort and start walking. And if you are there, you have already gained the more valuable answers of “Why”, and the “How” is all out there, waiting to be digested, for free.
If you have reached so far, its kind of your moral duty to invest any excess intellectual capability you can spare in the betterment of Bitcoin, in whatever shape or form. To take part in this peaceful voluntary movement, created by the people, for the people, to bring in freedom not only in your country but in the entire world together. The movement doesn’t recognize culture, borders, or race as the extortion of tyranny also doesn’t recognize any of them. Bitcoin is possible the most effective first step to fix your world which is utterly broken from every aspect of a functional society. But Bitcoin is more than just code. It’s an idea virus. And if you are infected thoroughly with it, you will know in your gut what you need to do to spread it among unsuspecting minds.
Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. — V for Vendetta
It doesn’t matter if you can’t code, or do not have the tenacity or fascination to learn it. Even thinking and contemplating about Bitcoin sitting in the corner of your room is a positive contribution towards the idea. Be the annoying friend in your group who can’t stop talking about Bitcoin. Be the technical facilitator for your friends, family, and neighbors who can’t access this asset class on their own. Be a Bitcoin educator. Honestly, there is no “Bitcoin Expert” in this world. Be the expert that your own folks need.
I hope this piece gives some useful clues on how to start your hike up the Bitcoin hill. Even though there isn’t any perfect trail to follow, you can always make up your own trail. In fact, that’s the most correct way to enjoy this journey. Take a detour, get lost for a few months, then come back again stronger. Even though I have just merely started my hike, surely this is the most rewarding intellectual endeavor I have undertaken. I hope this mumbling made some sense, and I shall see you at the peak of hyperbitcoinization.
Off to the moon!!
Record Number of Dark Markets Online as Demand for Illicit Goods and Services Continues to Grow
The criminal environment of darknet markets is extremely turbulent. Numerous darknet markets are launched every year and just as many are constantly exiting, being seized, or otherwise going defunct. Despite this barrage, CipherTrace has noted more dark markets online than ever before.
CipherTrace researchers are currently monitoring over 35 active darknet markets. The newest darknet markets – both launched around early September – are Invictus Market and Lime Market. Lime Market, thought to be run by the former admins of DarkBay, appears to be a very small market and is not expected to become a very notable enterprise. Invictus Market, on the other hand, is run by the admins of the well-known Imperiya darknet service—an enterprise that creates and maintains darknet vendor shops for a modest fee. As the admins of Invictus already have a good reputation among the darknet community, it stood to see quick growth. However, while Invictus was able to gain close to 10,000 customer accounts in its first month, by the end of its second month of operation (October 20), Invictus’ customer base had barely surpassed 10,000 accounts, indicating its exponential growth appears to have slowed drastically.
Three Tumultuous Exit Scams
Empire Market was one of the largest, longest running and most successful darknet markets. Launched in February of 2018, Empire rose to become the largest darknet market in the Western world during its time. However, by late August 2020 the dark market pivoted and exit scammed—a scheme where a dark market or fraudulent exchange ceases operation and steals all the funds in escrow and account wallets. An exiting market will either abruptly shut down or remain online with escrow payouts and withdrawals disabled, but deposits still enabled, allowing the scammers to net more funds until users catch on.
Following Empire’s exit, its vendors and customers had to move to a new market, leading to a large influx of new users on all other open darknet markets.
On September 10—less than three weeks after Empire’s exit—Icarus Market also went offline. The site never came back up, taking all their vendors’ and customers’ funds with them . Icarus had been pushing high effort updates soon before the exit, leading CipherTrace analysts to believe that the exit likely wasn’t planned. Rather, it’s probable that the large influx of new users from Empire and their deposits made Icarus ripe for a profitable exit. As a result, the admins may have taken advantage of the opportunity and exited sooner than they had originally planned.
Sometime around October 12, DeepSea market also abruptly went offline. After just a few days with no word from market admins, users and one DeepSea forum moderator concluded that the market had exit scammed. As of the writing of this report, it has been one week since the market went offline. It is possible—but unlikely—that the market will return. It could have been seized instead of exit scammed, but law enforcement has yet to announce the seizure. If the market doesn’t return and law enforcement don’t announce a seizure, it can be concluded that DeapSea has exit scammed.
White House Market, due to its good reputation among darknet users, will take some traffic from these exits and has the potential to be the next biggest market. However, White House Market’s high security requirements tends to turn the average dark market user away. It is more likely that DarkMarket will take much of the traffic from the Empire, Icarus, and DeepSea exit scams.
As it stands, DarkMarket and White House Market appear to be the largest darknet markets in the Western world with over 300,000 customer accounts each. White House Market saw a 40% increase in users between August 27 and September 28, following the exit scam of Icarus, and a further 8-10% increase between late September and October 20. The next most notable darknet markets currently active are Versus Market, Monopoly Market, ToRReZ Market, and of course the Russian darknet behemoth—Hydra—which has been active since 2015 and is likely the largest darknet market in the world.
Why So Many Dark Markets Come and Go
Creating a darknet market requires little upfront cost, and the potential rewards can be high—Empire market admins, for example, reportedly profited around $30 million from their exit scam alone, not including the money they made in the two years of their operation. Evolution market exited with $12 million in user bitcoin. This results in numerous darknet markets launching every year. According to CipherTrace research, there has been at least one notable darknet market launched every month on average since early 2019.
However, darknet markets go as quickly as they come. The eventual fate of all darknet markets is to be seized, to be hacked, to exit scam, or to voluntarily shut down. It’s most likely that the majority of darknet markets plan to exit scam from their inception, especially as a plan B if things go sideways.
Operating a darknet market is risky. Market operators have a long list of adversaries. Law enforcement is the most obvious, powerful, and dangerous adversary of a darknet market. If a market runs for long enough, it’s likely to be seized and its operators arrested. Ten years ago, the first dark market, The Farmers Market, appeared on the Tor network; eight years ago its eight founders were arrested, seven pled guilty and the leader was convicted to 10 years in prison for selling narcotics and laundering money. Ross Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, allegedly operated Silk Road—the first large scale dark market with over 100,000 customers. Ulbricht was also charged with a murder for hire plot and was sentenced to a double life sentence plus forty years without the possibility of parole. Ulbricht built this black market bazaar to exploit the dark web and the digital currency Bitcoin to allow users to conduct illegal business beyond the reach of law enforcement. According to the DOJ “Ulbricht’s arrest and conviction – and our seizure of millions of dollars of Silk Road Bitcoins – should send a clear message to anyone else attempting to operate an online criminal enterprise. The supposed anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield from arrest and prosecution.
Darknet markets are also under constant threat of being hacked by adversaries who want to steal funds from a market’s hot wallet, extort the admins, or conduct an attack that might lead to a profit. Furthermore, darknet markets are constantly receiving Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. DoS attacks on a market might be conducted by an individual demanding ransom, by admins of a competing market who want to diminish competition, or even by law enforcement who want to destabilize these criminal enterprises.
Even if a market intends to be around forever and manages to avoid being seized or hacked, there is always the chance of either a slip up in their operational security or an attack that poses too great a threat to the admins that they’re forced to execute their plan B: an exit scam. By conducting an exit scam, the admins of a darknet market are able to solve their problem while making a substantial profit.
The Ease of Creating a Dark Market
The ease of creating a dark market adds to its lucrative appeal, particularly if one intends to exit scam. While the biggest hurdle to operating a dark market was once the issue of gaining the trust of vendors and customers to use your site, the barrage of seizures and exits leaves many bouncing to and from one dark market to the next.
There are many ways criminals can quickly produce dark markets, with the easiest being to simply buy a pre-built marketplace template—all the customer has to do is replace any place-holder text and install the software to their servers. This method was used by the popular dark market “DarkMarket.” The current price for a standard, pre-built marketplace kit that accepts BTC and Monero is only $599 in BTC. Support for additional coins range from $50-$90 per coin. This upfront cost is minuscule when compared to the profits of many of the established exit scams.
The ease of creating your own dark market, coupled with the profitability of exit scamming and constant demand shown by the volume of customer accounts on these marketplaces culminate in a record number of dark markets now online. It is likely that this number will only grow in the future, however, the use of blockchain analytics such as CipherTrace can ensure that the funds originating from any of these dark markets are identified the moment they are moved to fiat off-ramps such as exchanges.
Top 10 Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Providers
🔥🚀 BaaS or Blockchain-as-a-Service is a paid blockchain-based cloud service that blockchain companies provide to customers. BaaS provides customers with the ability to build, host, and use their own blockchain apps, smart contracts, and any other digital services on a distributed network.
It is important to clarify that the BaaS concept is derived from the concept of SaaS (Software as a service) and works similarly to it. 👇
◆ How does BaaS work?
According to the BaaS concept, blockchain companies install, manage, and maintain, blockchain-based cloud platforms in addition to providing the tools necessary to build blockchain applications to customers in return for a fee.
◆ The future of the BaaS industry
Currently, the global revenue from blockchain services is estimated at $ 2.5 billion and by 2025 this number is expected to rise to $ 19.9 billion.
Overall, the business value of blockchain solutions will increase to more than $ 360 billion by 2026, with estimates of this number reaching $ 3 trillion by 2030.
The previous figures clearly show the future of the industry as well as explain the huge and successive investments in the blockchain business in general.
❖ Advantages of using the BaaS model
The BaaS model provides its users with many advantages, most notably high data security, efficiency, scalability, unlimited customization potential, as well as it is compatible with current cloud services.
In addition to the above, the adoption of the BaaS model reduces administrative burdens and provides better management and recruitment of resources.
Moreover, the BaaS model is easy to use and affordable, given the value it offers.
☉ BaaS vs owning a blockchain-based cloud platform
The BaaS model is a better solution for business than having a blockchain-based cloud platform in all aspects. Owning a blockchain-based cloud platform is hugely costly due to start-up costs (infrastructure, personnel, software, licensing, hardware, consulting, and more), retirement costs (decommissioning of server racks), and operational costs (monitoring, cost per transactions, bandwidth expenses).
In addition to the above, owning a blockchain model means fully assuming administrative responsibilities. 👇
🗨 While in the BaaS model, the cost is significantly lower because you only pay for the service you get. The service price in the BaaS model is subject to several factors, including the transaction rate, the maximum number of concurrent transactions, the payload size on transactions, and so on.
Also, in the BaaS model, all administrative burdens are borne by the provider.
● How to choose the right BaaS provider?
There are a number of points to consider when selecting a BaaS provider. For instance, the provider’s experience and reputation, the security of the platform, the technical support as well as the ease of use and pricing.
In addition, it must be ensured that the platform integrates with the existing operating systems and software.
🚀 It should also ensure that the platform supports smart contract integration and deployment, identity access management (IAM) system, different runtimes, and frameworks. 👇
🟥 Top 10 Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Providers
Blockwell is one of the world’s leading providers of blockchain solutions to governments, enterprises, and end-consumers. Founded in 2018 by experts who have contributed for 20 years in developing emerging technologies for some of the largest companies in the world.Blockwell aims to assist organizations in adopting blockchain solutions by providing consulting and a cloud blockchain platform in addition to a distinct and diverse set of tools and programs.
Blockwell aims to help everyone generate profits by allowing them to build and expand blockchain tools, services, and products.
Currently, content creators rely on existing toolkits developed by Blockwell, set their own commission structures, and earn percentages as they sell and promote their tools around the world.
During the past two years, Blockwell has developed blockchain solutions for cryptocurrency businesses around the world. 👇
🔻In addition, Blockwell has vetted dozens of token contracts for some of the most popular exchanges in the world, prevented and stopped hacks saving individuals millions of dollars, built successful token-swaps tools, and analytics tools.
Blockwell’s previous work includes the names of many well-known businesses such as JPMorgan Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Disney, GoPro, Paramount, Mattel, Universal, Lucas Arts, Suzuki, Epson, Time Warner Cable, Guitar Center, Beachbody, Marriott, Jaiyen Eco-Resort and more.
🗨 Blockwell has an impressive list of tools and applications. Notable among them are Blockwell Wallet, Pride Token, Fire Tokens, EgoCoins, Blockwell, Blockwell Book, Sheets-n-Blocks – Blockchain, Contract Tool, VoteBlock, API Miner, Smart License Creator, Blockwell Prime, Listener, Token Swapper, Blockwell Daico, Blockwell Telescope, Blockwell Spyglass, Blockwell Velvet, Blockwell KYC Form Builder, Non-Fungible Token Creator, BW, and Dumbapps.
In addition to apps and tools, Blockwell has launched a store for DApps named “Well Spring” that has 16 working apps so far.
Blockwell backed tokens are valued at over $ 80M.
🗨 Regarding the future, Blockwell is seeking to expand by investing $ 10M. The company plans to obtain it by selling 100MM tokens to investors.🔻
Amazon introduced its BAAS service called “Amazon Managed Blockchain” in 2018 through its cloud arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon Managed Blockchain is a managed service that makes it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks using open source frameworks including Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.
Moreover, Amazon allows customers who want to manage their own network to go ahead, but it is an option that needs experience in dealing with AWS Blockchain Templates.
Amazon also enables companies to integrate their blockchain-based networks and business processes to improve IT infrastructure, business processes, human resources, financial transactions, and supply chains.
In addition to the above, Amazon provides AWS Key Management Service to secure Hyperledger Fabric’s CA (Certificate Authority) and Amazon QLDB technology to manage augmented ordering service.
🗨 The BAAS offer from Amazon is characterized by flexibility in identifying resources to suit companies’ needs.
Amazon customers’ list includes star names like Nestlé, BMW, Accenture, Sony Music Japan, and the Singapore Exchange. 👇
🚀IBM is one of the world’s most important BaaS service providers. Forbes selected it among the top 50 blockchain companies, thanks to its blockchain platform “IBM Blockchain“, which it launched in 2017.
IBM Blockchain is a fully-integrated distributed ledger technology platform that enables businesses to “’ develop, govern, and operate a blockchain ecosystem quickly and cost-effectively on a flexible, cloud-based platform by using Kubernetes.
Partnerships have been vital to IBM’s continuous BaaS expansion. it created the Trust Your Supplier platform alongside blockchain firm Chainyard and also pioneered the Contingent Labor platform in conjunction with IT People.
As well as IBM Blockchain has joined The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project to evolve and improve upon earlier forms of blockchain. Instead of having a blockchain that is reliant on the exchange of cryptocurrencies with anonymous users on a public network (e.g. Bitcoin), a blockchain for business provides a licensed network, with known identities, without the need for cryptocurrencies.
👉 IBM Blockchain Platform has been used widely in industries such as food supply, media, advertising, and trade finance. 👇
🔥 Microsoft is one of the oldest BaaS service providers as it has been in the market since 2015 when it launched Azure Blockchain Service.
Microsoft aims through its BaaS service to enable users to build public, private, and consortium blockchain environments with industry-grade frameworks and bring their blockchain apps to market.
🎯Microsoft provides three products to customers: Azure Blockchain Service, Azure Blockchain Workbench, and Azure Blockchain Development Kit.
Azure is compatible with other Microsoft products such as Logic Apps and Flow, making it a great choice for organizations looking to harness blockchains such as General Electric and T-Mobile.
Microsoft Azure’s most prominent features are the support of several Blockchain frameworks, including Quorum, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, and Ethereum. Plus, ease of deployment using Azure CLI, Azure Portal, or Visual Studio Code with the Azure Blockchain extension. Azure also supports full monitoring and logging.
🗨 The above helped Microsoft to forge important partnerships with prominent entities such as its partnerships with Ripple and BitPay. 👇
🔻 Alibaba is one of the leading blockchain solutions providers around the world. The well-known Chinese company introduced its BaaS service in 2018 through its cloud platform.
🗨 Alibaba has an active research team and has registered many patents on blockchain during the past period.
Utilizing Quorum, Hyperledger Fabric, and the Ant Blockchain, the platform integrates Alibaba Cloud’s Internet of Things (IoT) and anti-counterfeiting technologies to create blockchain solutions for product traceability.
Alibaba’s BaaS offering provides diverse solutions to meet user needs including encompasses enterprise-level BaaS services, an agile BaaS platform that supports private deployment, and specific blockchain solutions for container services. 👇
🚀 Software giant Oracle unveiled its BaaS service in 2017. The service, called “Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service”, aims to provide an enterprise-grade distributed ledger platform that can help businesses to “increase trust and provide agility in transactions across their business networks.”
Oracle enables its service users to provide permission blockchain networks for private or consortia models, enroll member organizations, and run smart contracts to update and query the ledger in addition to many other benefits.
🎯 Also, Oracle enables its service users to use its other solutions such as Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud, and other Oracle cloud solutions. 👇
🔥 R3 launched its BaaS service called “Corda” to enable companies to transact directly and privately using smart contracts.
Corda is an open-source blockchain platform that works on minimizes blockchain nodes’ deployment time by a few minutes, allowing enterprises to host the Corda network in a few clicks.
👉 Interoperability, security, and privacy are the foundations of the finance-focused Corda.
Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) recently hired Corda service to streamline financial processes and enhance settlements
Corda provides users with the following benefits: Easy cloud-based deployment and quick setup of nodes with Docker, a Built-in blockchain application firewall to provide additional security, as well as R3’s Interoperability feature that allows developers to work with more than one application at the same time.
🗨 It is worth noting that R3 has developed solutions for more than 300 clients in addition that it has partnerships with many prestigious institutions such as Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and more. 👇
🎯 SAP launched its BaaS service “Leonardo” in 2017. Through its service, SAP aims to help companies transition into the digital age through the use of distributed ledger technology.
Leonardo is a Hyperledger based service and resides in the SAP Cloud service, meaning it can be accessed from any device.
🔻 The platform provides plug-and-play blockchain solutions and allows for the easy setup and hosting of blockchain nodes.
SAP Leonardo functions as a blockchain cloud service, machine learning service, and supports the Internet of Things (IoT) in a single ecosystem.
👉 SAP Leonardo provides its users with several benefits such as cloud deployment, monitoring of blockchain data in real-time, and more. 👇
🚀 Well-known Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei launched its BaaS service in 2018. The service, called “BCS“, is based on Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain framework that allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play.
With its BaaS service, Huawei aims to enable companies to develop smart contracts on top of a blockchain network for several use-case scenarios.
🔥 Huawei also works with enterprise customers to promote the deployment of blockchain solutions and applications and to build reliable, public infrastructure, and an ecosystem-based on blockchain and shared success.
🗨 According to Huawei, BCS enables enterprises to deploy blockchain technology within five minutes. It concentrates on nine application scenarios, including data assets, Internet of Things (IoT), operation, identity verification, data certification, data transactions, new energy, philanthropic donations, and inclusive finance.
Huawei has many and varied partnerships inside and outside the Chinese market, but the most prominent name remains the famous car manufacturer Honda. 👇
🔻Factom launched its BaaS service in 2017. The service, called “Factom Harmony“, aims to allow enterprises and software vendors to quickly add blockchain capabilities to any application or workflow using simple API calls.
Harmony also aims to enable users to create portable, archivable cryptographic proofs to use as trusted inputs for internal and external audits.
🚀 What sets Factom Harmony apart is that it reduces the time and resource requirements to perform audits and meet compliance objectives. ⤵
✍ Author: Husayn Hashim
👤Bio: Husayn Hashim works as an author and programmer. He has been writing about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies for si years. He’s interested in programming, technology, finance, and business. He loves writing and loves to share his knowledge with others.
Founder´s Packs now available for the first AAA blockchain game BLANKOS BLOCK PARTY
Mythical Games, a next-generation game technology studio driving mass adoption of blockchain, today announced the upcoming private beta for Blankos Block Party, an open-world multiplayer game with a heavy focus on player-designed levels and collectible assets, will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, with open beta to follow later this year. Players eager to start their collection of the digital vinyl toys come to life can now purchase a Founder’s Pack, starting at $24.99 (USD), to receive exclusive and limited in-game content, as well as guaranteed priority access to the game’s private beta and Founder’s status in both Discord and in-game.
Blankos Block Party is an online game world that integrates blockchain to facilitate the economy and allow players to buy and sell their in-game items in exchange for real-world currencies, using Mythical’s proprietary technology to track and verify all purchases across any platform, creating a safe transaction for all involved. With this model, Mythical is eliminating the need for grey markets and allowing the community to dictate the value of what is bought and sold in secondary marketplaces.
Limited quantities of the Founder’s Packs are available now for purchase via fiat or supported cryptocurrencies in four different package options, which provide limited-edition Blankos and themed accessories designed by some of the world’s top vinyl toy artists, priority access to the private beta, 100% in-game currency match and other items only available while these packs last. Each Founder’s Pack will be numbered in order of purchase and recorded on blockchain to enhance collectibility and future resale value for players.
Ice Pack: RSVP to the ultimate block party with the Ice Pack, and receive the exclusive Lolli Blanko and three themed Lolli accessories, Founder Status and Lolli emoticon and 2,500 Blankos Bucks. ($24.99)
Tako Pack: Start your collection with the exclusive Tako Blanko designed by multimedia artist Junko Mizuno, two themed Tako accessories, as well as one unique Tako-themed Build Mode asset and one Build Mode item wrap, Founder Status with Lolli and Tako emoticons and 5,000 Blankos Bucks. ($49.99)
Bite Me Pack: Be the life of the party with the Bite Me Pack, which delivers the exclusive ‘Bite Me’ Billy Bones Blanko, six Bite Me-themed accessories, rare gold and black Build Mode materials, plus Bite Me brand Build Mode basic set, Build Mode items and the Bite Me rocket launcher, as well as Founder Status with Lolli, Tako and Bite Me emoticons and 10,000 Blankos Bucks. ($99.99)
Boss Pack: Become a VIP with the Boss Pack and show off your status with the exclusive Boss Dino Blanko designed by legendary toy artist James Groman, two Boss Dino-themed accessories, two Build Mode Materials, three Build Mode items and two themed weapons for Build Mode, not to mention Founder Status with Boss Dino, Bite Me, Tako and Lolli emoticons and 15,000 Blankos Bucks. ($149.99)
Founder’s Pack items will only be available for a limited time, or until the limited quantities sell out; Mythical will not reissue these special-edition Blankos or their accessories in the future. These exclusive Founder’s Pack items will be available for purchasers to unbox and play immediately in the private beta, and can also be sold to other players when the Blankos secondary market launches.
For additional details on Founder’s Packs and their contents and benefits, or to purchase one of the limited edition packs, please visit Blankos.com. Packs can be purchased with fiat currency, or supported crypto payment options via BitPay (Binance USD/BUSD, Bitcoin/BTC, Bitcoin Cash/BCH, XRP, ETH, Gemini US Dollar/GUSD, Circle USD/USDC and Paxos Standard USD/PAX). In addition to purchasing a Founder’s Pack to receive priority access to the private beta, players can reserve their free accounts now on the Blankos website to get on the waiting list for the chance to be included in the private beta without purchase (subject to capacity).
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