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Moving on from big blockchains

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What we gain in flexibility by losing proof of work

When it comes to using blockchains for inter-enterprise coordination, there’s an elephant-sized problem in the room. In my view, nobody’s talking about this issue enough, whether due to denial or the need to keep the hype going. The problem, in a nutshell, is confidentiality.

To recap what I’ve explained previously, a blockchain allows a database to be shared between entities who do not fully trust each other, without requiring a central administrator. Instead, a blockchain-based database is based on a set of “nodes” which are owned by the participating entities. Nodes send transactions to each other in a peer-to-peer fashion, with each node independently verifying each transaction. Groups of transactions are then confirmed in “blocks” created by special nodes called “miners”. These blocks link to form a “blockchain” which acts as a unified transaction log, ensuring that all nodes reach consensus on the database’s state.

At this point, blockchains are a proven technology, both in public cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and their private equivalents. But they still suffer from a fundamental problem. Putting aside advanced cryptography (for now), blockchains reveal the content of every transaction to every participant. Why? Because in order to verify a transaction, every node has to see that transaction. This makes blockchains fundamentally different from centralized databases, in which transactions are only visible to their creators and the database administrator.

So if you’re considering a blockchain for a project, you should bear this simple principle in mind:

Blockchains are for shared databases in which everyone sees what everyone else is doing.

To be clear, seeing what someone is doing doesn’t necessarily mean that you know who is doing it. Blockchains represent identity using meaningless alphanumeric “addresses”, and most participants need not know to whom these belong. Nevertheless, a lot can be learned by analyzing the behavior of an address, and especially from how it transacts with other addresses. In formal terms, this means that blockchains provide pseudonymity rather than anonymity, because identities persist over time. In the case of bitcoin, several companies are already selling services which mine the “transaction graph” to reveal information about the owners of bitcoin addresses.

The bottom line is that blockchains are best suited for shared databases which are write-controlled but read-uncontrolled. Or, to put it more poetically, blockchains are transparency machines.

The economics of mining

Blockchains began with bitcoin – a digital, decentralized and censorship-proof form of money. One of bitcoin’s key design goals was allowing anybody to “mine” a block which confirms transactions, to prevent governments or banks controlling who can pay whom. In theory, open mining sounds democratic, but on its own it leads to dictatorship by stealth. Why? Because on the Internet it’s possible for one entity to use many different identities, a problem known as the Sybil attack. This means that someone could seize control of block mining, deciding unilaterally which transactions get confirmed, without anyone else even knowing it happened.

Bitcoin cleverly resolves this problem through proof of work. Bitcoin mining may be open, but it is also extremely difficult. In order to create a block, a miner must win a global race to solve a pointless and tricky computational problem, which consumes a lot of electricity (and therefore money). These days mining is performed by specially optimized hardware, but this doesn’t make it any cheaper, because the network regularly adjusts the problem’s difficulty to maintain a steady rate of 1 block every 10 minutes. This makes it hard for any single actor to seize control of the chain and, so far at least, the scheme has worked.

In exchange for the hard work and expense, the winning miner receives a reward, currently 25 newly-minted bitcoins per block (to halve during 2016). Miners also receive a little extra from the fees attached to transactions, although for now these play a minor role. And here are some shocking numbers: During 2015, bitcoin miners raked in $375 million in rewards and fees, in exchange for confirming 45 million transactions. That comes out to over $8 per transaction, even ignoring the fact that many of these weren’t genuine transfers of funds.

Who on earth is paying for all this? The answer is: bitcoin investors. For the most part, miners exchange their new bitcoins for regular currencies like dollars and yuan, because they need this money to pay for mining hardware and electricity. And what will happen if the investors stop coming? Well, the bitcoin price will crash, as miners are forced to dump their bitcoins at a significant loss. Indeed, looking at bitcoin’s price history, there have been several periods during which the price drifted gradually and undramatically downwards, because of the constant supply of bitcoins to be sold.

In the meantime, as the first and most prominent blockchain, bitcoin continues to attract an impressive level of incoming investment. Clearly there’s room for just a handful of such high-profile public blockchains, because the economics of open mining leads inevitably to consolidation. Any new blockchain secured by a low quantity of mining power will not be attractive to end users, because of its inherent insecurity. This will keep its currency value low, which will prevent it attracting additional miners. In other words, the virtuous circle underlying bitcoin’s explosive growth will be hard to repeat. In my view, the only likely exceptions will be newcomers such as Ethereum and Dash which offer a step change in terms of functionality. (I’m ignoring so-called merged mining as well as ideas like proof of stake, because they have not yet been proven to work at scale.)

As luck would have it, private blockchains avoid all of this trouble. Instead of open mining, private chains rely on a whitelist of permitted miners, with all blocks signed digitally by their miner of origin. This is combined with some form of distributed consensus scheme which prevents a small group of these miners from monopolizing the process. If you like, it’s democracy for the privileged, rather than democracy for all. Since private blockchains have no need for proof of work to enforce diversity, they also don’t have to incentivize miners with a financial reward. Instead, a private blockchain costs no more to run than a regular replicated database. The reward is simply the immediate and sufficient benefit of being able to make use of the chain.

With the economics of open mining out of the way, a universe of possibilities opens up. One organization can participate in thousands of blockchains, just like it accesses thousands of (internal or external) databases today. And globally there can be millions (or billions) of blockchains, all serving different purposes and sets of users. But if the world will be filled by so many blockchains, it’s safe to assume that each of them is going to be small.

From monolithic to small blockchains

What do I specifically mean by a “small blockchain”? I mean a blockchain whose scope is restricted to a narrow and specific purpose. This is the polar opposite of catch-all public blockchains like bitcoin and Ethereum, or even the permissioned global bank blockchain that some think is in the offing. It is, in fact, rather more like a regular database, but with a different model of sharing and trust.

Of course, there are many ways in which a blockchain’s scope can be restricted, so I’ll focus here on three simple examples: (a) per-order blockchains, (b) bilateral blockchains, and (c) notarization by hash.

Per-order blockchains

Let’s imagine a blockchain designed to manage the lifecycle of a single container of branded goods, manufactured in China and sold in the US. There can be a bewildering number of parties involved in this process, such as a retailer, agent, distributor, importer, shipping company, manufacturer, licensor and designer, as well as multiple subcontractors, shipping ports, banks, customs agencies and tax authorities. A large amount of information has to flow back and forth between these parties, leading to bureaucratic delays, errors and expenses. In theory, all this could be streamlined using a centralized database, but the question is: who will run it? Considering the gap in geography, culture and legal systems, it may not be easy to find someone that all the parties can trust.

Now, much has already been said about how blockchains can simplify coordination in supply chains. A blockchain can be used to record important documentation, digitally signed as appropriate, as well as enable the transfer of digital equivalents of key assets such as a bill of lading or letter of credit. However, putting all of this data on a monolithic blockchain can leak confidential information. For example, if two competing manufacturers use the same shipping company and bank, they could learn a lot about each other’s activities from transactions which involve those counterparties but are not their own.

One solution is to keep all the information relating to a single order in a blockchain which is dedicated just to that order. In this case, the confidentiality problem is much diminished. For example, two competing manufacturers will never participate in the same chain. At the beginning of the process, a new private blockchain can be set up, and connected to by all the participants. This blockchain makes the state of the order visible to all users in real time. And once it is safely delivered and paid for, the order’s blockchain can be decommissioned and archived away, only to be reopened in case of a dispute.

One issue with per-order blockchains is identity management. When using a blockchain for inter-enterprise coordination, each participant needs to know the real-world identity behind many of the other addresses used on the chain. Obtaining this mapping securely is a potentially inconvenient process, involving either direct exchange of information (by fax?) or a trusted administrator who provides it. But the good news is that there’s no need for this process to take place every time a new blockchain is set up. Instead, participants can have the same address on all the chains that they use. Alternatively, a separate long-running blockchain could be used purely for identity management, allowing each entity to securely distribute its address for each new chain.

Bilateral blockchains

Now let’s consider a blockchain which is used for the rapid settlement of exchanges of financial assets, such as government-backed currencies. This chain would involve at least three types of participants: (a) the trading parties which are performing the transactions, (b) the custodial bank which holds the currencies and issues on-chain tokens to represent them, (c) regulators and/or auditors who receive a read-only view of the activity taking place.

This is a perfectly natural application of blockchains, and already supported in full by off-the-shelf platforms such as MultiChain (our own). But again, the problem of confidentiality rears it head. If the trading parties are locked in intense competition, they can watch each other in order to infer:

  • How much of each currency is held by each trader.
  • Which currencies they actively trade in, with what frequency and quantity.
  • Who else they trade with on the blockchain, and at what prices.

Even if we assume that the parties are not told who is using which address (or multiple addresses), it won’t take them long to work it out. Fierce competitors in a marketplace tend to know a lot about each other, and this prior knowledge can be correlated with patterns of blockchain transactions in order to learn more. For many financial use cases, the risk of this leakage is simply a deal-killer, because the efficiency gained is outweighed by the confidentiality lost.

Nonetheless blockchains can still provide some assistance in this scenario – namely, to record the flow of transactions and messages across each bilateral communications channel between trader and custodian. By combining signed transactions with signed commitments, the blockchain provides realtime reconciliation across this channel, ensuring there is no way in which the parties can differ over what was done and when. In addition, regulators and/or auditors could be granted read-only access to many or all of these pairwise blockchains, giving them a comprehensive view of the activity in a particular marketplace, without needing to explicitly request data from its participants.

Notarization by hash

As I hope is now clear, blockchains can be used to digitally sign, store and timestamp any important data, including text, documents, images and database entries. So long as the blockchain’s miners do not collude maliciously, the chain becomes an irreversible and incontrovertible audit trail for all of the information within. For example, all of the emails sent between the members of a group could be recorded on a blockchain, with each message signed by both the sender and receiver.

But once again we come up against the problem of confidentiality. In many cases, the two parties to a correspondence will not want its content to be visible to anyone else. Their sole purpose in using the blockchain is to prevent future disputes, so that they cannot disagree over what was said, by whom and when.

In this case the solution is simple. Instead of storing the full text of the messages within the blockchain, a “hash” (or digital fingerprint) of their content is embedded instead. A hash is based on a one-way function, which means a function whose output is easy to compute for a given input, but which is practically impossible to reverse. By collaboratively embedding and signing the hash of a message’s content in a blockchain, the parties are able to “lock down” that content in an auditable way, without revealing it to the other participants.

In parallel to embedding this hash, both correspondents store the full message content on their own systems. If a dispute arises in future, either party can reveal this content to an independent party, who can calculate its hash and confirm that this matches the hash on the chain. If so, there is no denying the correspondence that took place. Indeed, this same principle is already applied by many services to notarize documents on the public bitcoin blockchain. Doing so on private blockchains gives greater scalability, lower transaction costs, and hides the entire process from the outside world.

Zero knowledge proofs

So there we have it – three examples of how blockchains can be used, given the limitations posed by radical transparency. But before I finish, it’s important to mention some emerging cryptographic techniques. Sporting names like homomorphic encryption and zero-knowledge proofs, these promise to untie the gordian confidentiality knot. In the context of a blockchain, they offer a seemingly impossible separation of visibility and verification. A partially encrypted transaction can be embedded in a blockchain, along with a proof of its validity, without revealing the transaction’s contents. Every participant can then verify the proof, while still only seeing the transaction in encrypted form. And the unencrypted version is revealed on a need-to-know basis, presumably only to the transaction’s recipient.

Although there has been some real progress in this space, these technologies are yet to mature. It’s still not computationally feasible to generate and verify a proof regarding the validity of a blockchain transaction while keeping its contents fully private. Nonetheless let’s assume that, at some point in the future, this technical problem is solved. I still think we might have a psychological one. You see, in the current way of doing things, a CIO knows that her employer’s confidential data is protected by physical and organizational barriers. Data can only escape if someone is grossly negligent or deliberately commits a crime. But when it comes to advanced cryptography, the picture is rather different, with the CIO relying on advanced mathematics and the soundness of random number generators.

So even when the technology problem is solved, I think it could still take a long time to overcome the emotional barrier. In the meantime, where does this leave us? With the stark assumption that every participant in a blockchain sees everything else that is going on. While this assumption might restrict the sphere of feasible applications, it will also prevent time being wasted on projects that will never be moved to production. And as others have said before me, 2016 is the year to transition from thinking and talking about blockchains, into building some real applications.

Please post any comments on LinkedIn.

Source: https://www.multichain.com/blog/2016/01/moving-on-from-big-blockchains/

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Record Number of Dark Markets Online as Demand for Illicit Goods and Services Continues to Grow

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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.

Source: CipherTrace Cryptocurrency Intelligence

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.

Figure 1: Silk Road was a wakeup call to law enforcement globally to the criminal potential of cryptocurrencies. (DOJ Exhibit 113 A, entered into evidence at Ulbricht’s trial)

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.

Source: https://ciphertrace.com/record-number-of-dark-markets-online-as-demand-for-illicit-goods-and-services-continues-to-grow/

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Top 10 Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Providers

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🔥🚀 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

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

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

🚀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

🔥 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

🔻 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. 👇

Oracle

🚀 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

🔥 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

🎯 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. 👇

Huawei

🚀 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

🔻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.

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Blockchain

Founder´s Packs now available for the first AAA blockchain game BLANKOS BLOCK PARTY

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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).

Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/founders-packs-now-available-for-the-first-aaa-blockchain-game-blankos-block-party/

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