Chicago Bitcoin Center Launches at 1871 To Support Blockchain Startups

Bitcoin Magazine
Chicago Bitcoin Center Launches at 1871 To Support Blockchain Startups

In an announcement at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in Chicago, Matthew Roszak revealed the Chicago Bitcoin Center, an incubator that will act as the “center of gravity for blockchain-based technologies.”

“Chicago has a rich history and DNA in financial technology, and the blockchain has the potential to provide a new, open-source rail for FinTech innovation. The Chicago Bitcoin Center is open to designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and all those dedicated to building tomorrow’s next chapter of financial technology,” said Roszak in a statement.

The goal of the Chicago Bitcoin Center is to provide office space as well as mentorship by other bitcoin entrepreneurs, investors, and technologists. Further, the Center will also provide public relations and government affairs support.

“The financial industry is a key vertical that is profoundly affected by technology, and the Chicago Bitcoin Center establishes a leadership position for 1871 and Chicago in this important field,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman, in a released statement.

The inaugural companies for the incubator are Bloq; Glidera, a digital currency merchant service provider; Red Leaf, a bitcoin ATM operator; and OasisCoin, a bitcoin remittance provider.


Image via 1871

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Government of Jersey Publishes Consultation Paper on Risks and Regulation for Digital Currencies

The government of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, has published a consultation paper on the risks and regulations for virtual currencies, including bitcoin. The report will be similar to that of Financial Action Task Force previously covered by Bitcoin Magazine. However, the government of Jersey is engaging in a public virtual currency consultation process from July 9 to August 7.

With the participation of virtual currency and cryptography enthusiasts, the government of Jersey is set to publish the final consultation paper after all feedback and responses have been considered.

The document will focus on money laundering risks and terrorist financing risks associated with digital currencies and the possibility of using the blockchain technology to create a standard ledger of records for the island.

Unlike the report of FATF, the government of Jersey will devote a significant part of the document in explaining the potential applications of the blockchain, and its wide range of usages.

“The creation of a business-friendly framework that encourages innovation, jobs and growth in both the financial services and digital sector is a priority for the Government of Jersey,” the document reads. “Virtual Currency systems can be significant building blocks of a modern digital economy. This Consultation Paper highlights the most prominent money laundering and terrorist financing risks that the Government of Jersey believe are associated with virtual currencies in their current form.”

The document explicitly explains the benefits and the technology behind Ripple and its gateway system, and how the technology can be used to benefit the Island of Jersey.

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Mining Titan BitFury Raises $20 Million to Continue Rapid Market Share Grab

In a statement released today by BitFury Group, the company announced that it had raised an additional $20 million from investors including DRW Venture Capital, iTech Capital, and Georgian Co-Investment Fund. The company expects to use the money to accelerate growth and continue develop next-generation chips beyond the recently launched energy-efficient 28 nanometer chip.

There has been a significant amount of venture money moving into mining and infrastructure companies. With this $20 million, BitFury remains the most financed company, having raised two other $20 million rounds over the past three years. This funding brings total funds to $60 million, which is $31 million more than KncMiner. This brings total infrastructure investment to $116.5 million.

“By supporting BitFury’s efforts in this regard, and by providing liquidity in bitcoin via its wholly owned subsidiary, Cumberland, DRW aims to facilitate the widespread adoption of the distributed ledger technology,” Don Wilson, founder of DRW Venture, said in a prepared statement.

BitFury is also expected to use this money to support the build-out of a 100-megawatt data center in the Republic of Georgia that the company will deploy its 28 nanometer chip. In the next 6-12 months, it is also expected to roll out its 16 nanometer ASIC chip, which the company suggests will use only 0.06 joules-per-gigahash.

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MIT Media Lab Project Enigma Enables Blockchain-Based Encrypted Data Storage

Over the last few months, renowned global organizations and financial establishments have proposed designs, or at least have attempted to implement Bitcoin’s blockchain technology, to encrypt sensitive data or to settle transactions without the association of third-party institutions such as banks.

Continuing the global trend, the MIT Media Lab and two Bitcoin entrepreneurs have developed a prototype of an encryption system called Enigma. Enigma is a Bitcoin blockchain-based encryption system that enables untrusted and anonymous computers to share sensitive information with a third party without putting the data at risk of hacking attacks and breaches.

The system will be able to prevent shared information from being surveilled by government entities or law enforcement, as it can only be decrypted by the holder of the decryption keys.

“You can see it as a black box,” explained Guy Zyskind, one of the developers of Enigma and an MIT Media Lab graduate researcher. “You send whatever data you want, and it runs in the black box and only returns the result. The actual data is never revealed, neither to the outside nor to the computers running the computations inside.”

In a way, Enigma’s techniques and properties resemble a few features of Bitcoin’s decentralized network infrastructure. Enigma encrypts data by disassociating it into several components, and by randomly segregating it to hundreds of computers in the Enigma network, also known as nodes. Then, each node runs calculations on its assigned block of data, until a user merges the results to decrypt a block.

The mathematical algorithms are designed by the developers of Enigma, and the nodes execute calculations only on the blocks of data that it is assigned to.

The ownership of data, or chunks of information, is then stored as metadata in the Bitcoin blockchain, which prevents the ledger of ownership from being forged or altered.

“I can take my age, this one piece of data, and split it into pieces, and give it to 10 people,” says Zyskind. “If you ask each one of those persons, they have only a random chunk. Only by combining enough of those pieces can they decrypt the original data.”

What Enigma’s Encryption System Can Bring

If Enigma’s encryption system works out flawlessly like the developers promise, it would create a whole different ecosystem where private databases can be hosted without threats from third-party entities, such as governments or law enforcement trying to surveil the information.

While cloud databases and platforms such as Dropbox and even Facebook are obligated or often forced to pass on sensitive data at governments’ will, the same cannot be done for Enigma’s cloud services, because the data simply cannot be revealed without the decryption keys which only its owners hold and control.

Enigma would also allow users to safely share all kinds of information with companies without any risks of releasing sensitive data. “No one wants to give their data to some company when you don’t know what they‘ll do with it,” explained Oz Nathan, Enigma’s co-creator. “But if you have guaranteed privacy, data analysis can be a lot more powerful. People will actually be willing to share more.”
Photo Security/Photopin

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