1,000 Universities: IBM’s Ambitious Plan to Fill Vacant Blockchain Jobs

There's a staffing problem in the blockchain industry: simply, there are too many open positions and too few blockchain specialists.

Now, to help meet that rapidly increasing demand, IBM is partnering with Baruch College, Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and the University of British Columbia to establish a series of grants, design blockchain curricula and more.

In addition, IBM has added new blockchain resources to it's IBM Academic Initiative, an ambitious effort that opens resources from the global tech giant to 1,000 universities.

But while unique in its sheer scope, IBM's new push is just the latest in a series of efforts around the world to train new blockchain industry talent.

Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain, described the results of a beta release of the program to CoinDesk:

"We’ve already gotten some very, very positive responses."

Hands-on learning

Wieck also revealed details about how the programs will leverage IBM's technology.

To start with, IBM Blockchain Platform, the firm's proprietary distributed ledger technology, will form a part of the university curriculum, and will be made accessible for students.

Further, universities that participate in the projects will receive six months access to IBM Cloud and use of the IBM Blockchain cloud sandbox.

And it's becoming increasingly easy to see how such skills would be put to use by graduates of the courses.

The announcement comes on the same day that IBM formally launched its IBM Blockchain Platform, a food supply chain consortium with Walmart and other major firms on board, and revealed the first ever startup accelerator aimed at investing in startups building with Hyperledger Fabric.

Student lockers image via Shutterstock

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Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Bitcoin Break $3,000 Do Not Miss This

The price of bitcoin topped $3,000 for the first time in history today, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

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After spending much of the last week seeking direction in the $2,700 to $2,900-range, the average price of bitcoin across major international exchanges edged up over this threshold finally at roughly 17:00 UTC.

The new record comes at a time when alternative digital assets are seeing robust inflows, with ethereum's ether token setting a new all-time high of more than $300 today as well.

Indeed, analysts spoke to the ongoing broadening of the cryptocurrency market as a tide that is benefitting bitcoin.

"The inflows into 'alts' are greater than those into bitcoin. In other words, bitcoin is growing at a very nice pace, but non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies are growing even faster," cryptocurrency hedge fund manager Tim Enneking told CoinDesk.

Jehan Chu, managing partner at cryptocurrency fund Jen Advisors, agreed, noting that bitcoin is likely benefitting from new investor interest and the surging interest of "cryptos like ether".

Still, Arthur Hayes, founder of Hong Kong-based digital currency exchange BitMEX, stated that bitcoin is still the "most talked-about cryptocurrency", even as returns become more substantial in other areas of the market.

Hayes told CoinDesk:

"As investors marvel at bitcoin's historical returns and the returns of altcoins, their natural first purchase is bitcoin. Bitcoin has under performed other coins this year, it is now playing catchup."

Investor Sean Walsh largely agreed, pointing to bitcoin's growing price as a sign of its place in the market as the first stop on a road to other assets.

"Bitcoin still seems like the dominant gateway to [alternative digital assets]. So, many first purchase bitcoin in order to then trade their bitcoin for altcoins," he noted.

The development coincides with signs that the cryptocurrency market is maturing to support new inflows and increasing interest.

As noted by CoinDesk research analyst Alex Sunnarborg today, the cryptocurrency exchange market has never been more globally diverse or buoyed by such an array of possible inflows.

Such tailwinds have combined in recent weeks to bring new investor attention to bitcoin, with expectations for bitcoin's growth becoming more and more exuberant. Danish investment firm Saxo Bank went so far as to publish a forecasting report in which it placed the possible value of bitcoin at $100,000 in the next 10 years.

Chris Corey 

CMO Markethive Inc

Charts on mobile device via Shutterstock

Why a New Small Business Blockchain is Actually a Big Deal

Efforts to apply blockchain in the supply chain took an interesting turn last week.

blockchain for small business

I'm speaking, of course, about a piece of news that at first seemed pretty ordinary: a group of European banks announced they would band together to develop a blockchain-based trade finance solution.

This one, though, is unusual.

Rather than tackle large-scale global transactions that cross oceans, the project focuses on intra-European trade, and, more importantly, between small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Why is this interesting? It's not because SMEs make up the vast majority of the world's businesses (although that certainly does make for a compelling use case). Rather, it's because of what it says about the evolving nature of trade finance.

We have seen many blockchain projects take a run at the subject, and the application seems obvious. Transactions across borders generally involve significant documentation, a process that itself generates numerous errors and gross inefficiencies.

Reducing the burden associated with getting goods from one place to another has to be a good thing, right?

Let's take a look.

Starting smaller

Most of the projects to date have focused on large international corporations, which is understandable, given that over two-thirds of world trade originates with global enterprises.

Where both the pain and potential promise are most acutely felt, however, is not in conglomerates, but in SMEs. In part, it's because of their sheer number, but mainly, it's due to financial trends.

Approximately 80% of global trade is now conducted through open account transactions, not via traditional channels using letters of credit. This means that there is no bank guarantee of payment.

The buyer pays when it's time to pay – usually well after the product has been delivered.

For many large corporations, this shift reflects tighter restrictions many banks are facing on lending and guarantees, as well as a desire to improve working capital and reduce administration and financing costs.

For most SMEs, open account is their only option, since over half of SME trade finance applications are declined.

Win-win situation

In open account transactions, trust becomes a huge factor. This is an issue when initiating a new commercial relationship, especially for SMEs with patchy or non-existent credit histories.

Without going into the details of how the new platform will work, the ability to see, in real-time, the status of the transaction at each step should make trust more transparent. Accelerating the process from order to settlement will increase liquidity.

The incorporation of the management of the respective banking functions (payment, factoring, etc) aims to facilitate the procedure even further, and could increase margins for both the banks and their participating clients.

Seen from the exporting SME's point of view, the project could be a way to overcome obstacles created by the shifting sands of finance and politics. And from the banks’ point of view, not only will it help to retain and support SME customers, it is also an effective way for banks to re-intermediate themselves into the trade finance process.

Starting within the relatively "safe" confines of the European Union gives the project a chance to test the process of cross-border trade before venturing into more complicated territory.

What's next

If things go according to plan, we shouldn’t have to wait long to see how the project fares with target users. It is already a working proof-of-concept, developed last year by Belgian bank KBC.

Opening it up to six other European institutions is an obvious step toward scalability, presenting a way to test cross-border relationships within a manageable group before it's global.

The team will start to seek regulatory approval within the next few months, with a view to going "live" before the year's end.

Looking forward, the compelling advantage of lower transaction costs and stronger commercial relationships could help to partially offset the uncertainty and potential price of rising interest rates and shifting trade barriers.

It's not hard to see how projects like this could help to prepare businesses around the world for the changes ahead, and to adapt to not only current trends, but future ones as well.

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Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Green Fire On The Blockchain

Green Fire On The Blockchain

Green Fire has decided to change the world as you know it. We are moving together onto the blockchain. We have chosen “Green Fire Gold” (GFG) as the blockchain application name. GFG will be the first to take landfill mining and reclamation on to the blockchain.

GFG is designed with next generation high load blockchain protocols, utilizing a blockchain design that improves functionality with each additional user, maximizing scalability and load performance.

GFG includes your own private universal wallet that allows for immediate trading and exchange between all currencies and investment markets.

The GFG blockchain is designed by the best in cryptocurrency development to create a coin and mainstream payment network usable by everyone in the world.

The GFG universal wallet/coin combo can be used to manage your entire life and assets. Inside are a Universal Dapp store (decentralized application store), micro-services, micro-payments, smart contracts, universal exchange, universal payment system, and custom template decentralized app building, just to name a few.

Understanding blockchain

The Blockchain has become the default backbone for most new financial and business development.

In essence, blockchain is a distributed database, or "timestamp server," as it was called by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto in the paper that proposed bitcoin.

The blockchain consists of blocks of data — each block is a timestamped batch of valid individual transactions and the hash of the previous block, creating a link between the two. Because each timestamp includes the previous timestamp in its hash, it forms a chain. Each new transaction must be authenticated across the distributed network of computers that form the blockchain before it can form the next block in the chain.

GFG is developing a fully decentralized, leaderless DAO*, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and a fully distributed financial platform, OWNED BY THE PEOPLE WHO USE IT.

GFG is using the MyCryptoWorld development platform to construct the GFG DAO. This platform develops on an advanced Ethereum blockchain.

For the determination phase of implementation an interdisciplinary team of cryptocurrency, marketing and software veterans/enthusiasts around the globe have already started determining the intelligence that operates GFG.

As soon the business determination is finished the whole system will be completely community/user driven and owned. From this point on the further evolution will be in the hands of all owners, using e-Governance/voting and other cutting edge tools to create consensus and run decisions.

The GFG DAO is a digital decentralized autonomous organization and a form of investor-directed venture capital fund.

The GFG DAO has an objective to provide a new decentralized business model for organizing both international commerce and social marketing. It will be on the Ethereum blockchain, and will have no conventional management structure or board of directors.

The GFG DAO is stateless, and not tied to any particular nation state. As a result, many questions of how government regulators would deal with a stateless fund are yet to be dealt with.

The GFG DAO is being crowdfunded via a token sale. A similar crowdfunding campaign in May 2016. It set the record for the largest crowdfunding campaign in history

OWNED BY THE PEOPLE WHO USE IT

The Landfill Pickers and the Women Informal Workers will own GFG. GFG will be governed by consensus.

Consensus in a distributed system is determined by entities checking each other's work and providing a stamp of approval as to transactions and activities allowed. This is accomplished through a distributed network, one might say, a “social neural network”.

Smart Contracts

GFG Blockchain also leverages a technology called "smart contracts," which are bits of executable code that only act when specific conditions within the blockchain are met. This allows a blockchain to automate activity like payment transfers when a task is completed, or even a partial payment when a milestone is achieved.

By providing a way to record transactions as automated trusted activity among digitally networked peers, audit and professional services firm Ernst & Young believes "blockchain technology has the potential to streamline and accelerate business processes, increase cybersecurity and reduce or eliminate the roles of trusted intermediaries (or centralized authorities) in industry after industry."

Blockchains have proven that they reduce cost and increase trust in financial transactions. It is becoming apparent that we can expect financial services firms to abandon existing transaction-processing technologies in favor of blockchain technologies.

We are developing the GFG DAO on the blockchain with a unique crypto token (coin) and its own brand of distributed manufacturing and ecommerce.

Green Fire is taking the Landfill Mining operations and the Children of the Landfill project and wrapping them in a blockchain application.

This will provide these “invisible workers” the very poorest of the poor the most unique democratic environment that is yet to prevail for them. They will be the next global cultural warriors to emerge from the shadows.

Mike Prettyman,
Chief Information Officer at Green Fire Engineered Reclamation
For more information come to the website

Children of the Landfill Project

Green Fire Engineered Reclamation

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