Bitcoin and Blockchain in 2020 – Report Summary

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Bitcoin News Summary – January 20, 2020

Block.One, the company behind the EOS ICO, will no longer be launching its new crypto-integrated social network, Voice, on the EOS blockchain. Instead, a custom EOSIO platform will be deployed. Block.One has yet to explain its about-face, although some speculate that the EOS chain is strained and unable to support a popular new app.

As the trial of BSV founder, Craig Wright, drags on; his various claims continue to be disproven. The most recent claim, that a bonded courier would deliver the private keys to a fortune in early bitcoins, has been dispelled by Craig’s own lawyer. The lawyer stated to press that Wright does not possess those private keys.

A recent survey published by HSB revealed that about 36% of small and medium-sized businesses in the USA accept some form of crypto as payment. 59% of companies surveyed said they had also purchased crypto to use in some business capacity. 505 companies were polled starting in October of last year.

The business-focused social network site, Linkedin, released a report which shows that blockchain-related skills are currently the most sought-after category by employers. Demand for blockchain skills is highest in developed Western regions such as the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. Demand for blockchain skills surpasses all other IT skills, including AI. Major corporations such as IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon are all looking for blockchain developers.

Before we conclude, this week’s “Bitcoin quick question” is what happens when Bitcoins are lost? If a user loses access to his wallet and doesn’t have a backup of his private key or seed phrase, his Bitcoins are lost forever. Lost Bitcoins still remain on the blockchain but there’s no way to access them since it’s impossible to recover the private key that controls them. A study done by Chainalysis back in 2020 suggests that somewhere between 3 and 4 million Bitcoins are already lost forever. One unfortunate example of this is James Howells, an IT worker from Newport, who unintentionally threw away his hard drive with the private key to 7,500 bitcoin in mid-2020.

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That’s what’s happened this week in Bitcoin. See you next week.

Blockchain Technology Explained – An Executive Summary

Researchers and technologists alike are talking about how blockchain technology is the next big thing across industries from finance to retail to even healthcare. According to Gartner, their client inquiries on blockchain and related topics have quadrupled since August 2020. This article attempts to provide a short executive summary on what blockchain technology is, how it works, and why has it captured everyone’s fancy.

First things first, what is blockchain technology?

Blockchain is the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Unlike physical currency, digital cash and cryptocurrencies come with a very real problem called Double-Spending. Let me explain what that is. When I email you a picture of my cat, I’m sending you a copy and not my original picture. However, when I need to send you money online, as much as I would love to send you a copy of it, it’s a bad idea if I really do that! With Bitcoin, there was a risk that the holder could just send copies of the same bitcoin token in different transactions, leading to “Double-Spending”.

Blockchain technology helps counter issues like double spending. The simplest way to think of blockchain is as a large distributed ledger of sorts that stores records of transactions. This “ledger” is replicated hundreds of times throughout the public network so it is available to everyone. Every time a transaction occurs, it is updated in ALL of these replicated ledgers, so everyone can see it.

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Every time a new transaction is initiated, a block is created with the transactions details and broadcast to all the nodes. Every block carries a timestamp, and a reference to the previous block in the chain, to help establish a sequence of events. Once the authenticity of the transaction is established, that block is linked to the previous block, which is linked to the previous block, creating a chain called blockchain. This chain of blocks is replicated across the entire network, and all cryptographically secured which makes it not only challenging, but almost impossible to hack. I say almost impossible because it would take some significant computational power to even attempt something like that.

In the context of security, both transparency of the system and immutability of the data stored on blockchain comes into play. Immutability in computer science refers to something that cannot be changed. Once data has been written to a blockchain, it becomes virtually immutable. This doesn’t mean that the data cannot be changed – it just means that it would require extreme computational effort and collaboration to change it and then also, it would be very difficult to cloak it.

Evolution into new, alternative implementations

Blockchain technology can really be applied to not just a cyptocurrency like bitcoin, but to any “asset” that can be stored, distributed or transacted – property titles, music, insurance, physical goods and assets, even your data.

This technology has great implications for the financial services industry as well. On implementing a decentralized database or a public registry like blockchain to verify the identities of all parties, no longer will we need to have our transactions stay “pending” for three days. Settlement would be instantaneous since the transaction and settlement would happen simultaneously once the ledger is updated. There are many such use cases.

Perhaps the biggest use of blockchain technology is in identity management, as described in this insightful TED talk by Don Tapscott.

According to him, as we go through our lives, we leave this trail of digital data crumbs behind us. These are then collected and created into a digital profile of us – which is not owned by us! If we were to reclaim our “virtual” data, and take control over how much and who we give it out to, wouldn’t that be a great step towards helping us protect our privacy?

Blockchain technology can fundamentally change how we exchange value and perhaps that’s why this has caught everyone’s fancy. This is still in its nascent stages but definitely a technology that holds vast promise and something to watch for, in the future.

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Summary of CB Insight “The Blockchain Report 2020”

CB Insight published “The Blockchain Report 2020”

Here are some summaries from the report

Funding dollars fell sharply but deal activities held steady

Funding dollars fell sharply (30%) in 2020 but deals activity were fell flat. (2%)

Deal activities are moving from US to China.

In 2020, 51% deals are in US and 2% in China. However, 31% in US and 22% in China in 2020.

US and China companies dominate funding (69%), while NEO Global Capital from China and Coinbase from US were two most active investors in 2020. They commitment to funding their own ecosystem.

Top 5 global blockchain funding deals in 2020 are Ripple ($200M), Figure ($103M), Proxicoin ($100M), Fanlity ($63M), Layer($52M).

Funding to cryptocurrency companies has dwarfed funding to enterprise blockchain

In 2020, Non-enterprise blockchain (cryptocurrency companies) funding was $2,356M while enterprise blockchain funding was $434M. And almost half of funding to enterprise blockchain in 2020 came from one deal, Ripple raised $200M Series C in 2020.

Bitcoin price low correlate to other assets until the coronavirus

Coronavirus sell-off has shown Bitcoin still acts like a risk-on asset.

Governments take more part on blockchain

The central bank digital currencies (CBDC) have been discuss more on medias. General purpose is to replace cash for retail usage. However, it could threat traditional banking system.

Governments have recently shown openness towards regulated ICOs. However some countries like US shown openness to some areas of crypto, it is cracking down on others.

Without mentioned in CB Insight, Facebook launched Libra project is also one key to speed up the discussions of CBDC.

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