Small businesses are the foundation of the American economy. Today, more than 50% of employees are employed in companies with less than 500 employees. These companies also provide 66% of new jobs.

Despite their importance, small businesses face many hurdles to online cryptosoft commerce

The Bitcoin has the potential to relieve companies of this burden. However, this requires a stable basis of trust and intelligent regulation. Entrepreneurs who want to start a new cryptosoft company today have access to many platforms to turn their vision into reality. Flextronics, for example, accelerates product development by helping cryptosoft companies> optimize and manage their supply chain. Once created, companies can easily market their products on Amazon and leverage their server resources effectively depending on demand.

Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Co., winning new customers today is also quite easy. These companies offer many tools to find potential customers. Once the customer has been found and a purchase is made, FedEx, DHL and UPS offer complete logistical services and timely delivery.

Even though small companies have had access to these platforms for years, they miss one essential area: payment. The current infrastructure of payment systems is poorly suited for online trading, which is becoming more and more central.

Everyday issues such as fraud and identity theft are a particular problem for small businesses with limited financial resources. Credit card refunds make sense in direct, local commerce. In the globalized consumer goods market, however, this policy is very laborious. Compared to large companies, small companies simply do not have the resources to accept online payments on a global scale.

As discussed during last week’s CoinSummit, we now have a whole new infrastructure with Bitcoin. Together with other platforms, the Bitcoin offers exactly the leverage that allows small businesses to stay competitive.

This reverse „Economy of Unscale“ means that entrepreneurs from San Francisco to Mumbai can now grow rapidly with just a handful of employees and a dream of the future.

Since the beginning of industrialization some 200 years ago, the masses have been the key to a profitable large company. These companies have, to their advantage, created unfair trading systems that have given them more and more power.

Large enterprises also have the opportunity to spread the cost of business processes and inefficiency across a large sales volume. Entire business lines, from manufacturing to high quality services, could only be created close to monopoly conditions. Unfortunately, innovation often falls by the wayside.

The world economy is on the threshold of transformation

In order to reach the „promised land“, Bitcoin founders are now considering completely different approaches than in the past, when the creation of crypto currencies was the focus.

Unlike our carefree approach to online services, Bitcoin entrepreneurs must actively engage with regulators to ensure that consumers (and businesses) are properly protected.

The Bitcoin raises a host of questions that need to be answered in order to reach the masses. Consumers must be given the opportunity to keep their wallets safe and the Bitcoin market itself needs more stability. As Bitcoin transactions cannot be undone, companies need to find solutions for e.g. refunds.

Regulatory authorities are generally not against change, but are often understandably concerned about unknown technologies. Only through cooperation between government, financial institutions and technology can we ensure that we build a system that satisfies all interests.

This is why General Catalyst invested in Circle in an A financing round. Circle is working on an infrastructure around the Bitcoin to make it safer in daily use. Co-founder Jeremy Allaire, who has also worked in the app-ser area for several years.

Smart Contracts are the heart of blockchain technologies. They ensure decentralized execution of „contracts“ and are intended to ensure consistency in the network.

A conventional contract outside of blockchain technologies consists of an agreement between several persons. Usually, the contract ensures that both parties can insist on their claims and present the contract as evidence in case of dispute to justify certain claims and rights. A classic contract is the rental agreement, which, to put it simply, consists of two elements:

The tenant transfers the rent to the landlord
The landlord leaves the apartment to the tenant
Contracts often consist of sequences in „if-then“ form. When the tenant pays his rent (for the first time), he receives the key for the apartment. This process can be simplified by Smart-Contracts, as the sequence can be automated. A Smart-Contract means nothing other than a sequence of activities that are carried out when a particular event occurs. This can range from rental contracts to complex financial transactions.

What is the difference between Smart-Contracts and Bitcoin loophole contracts?

1. third parties are omitted
The decisive factor is that Smart-Contracts generally do not involve third Bitcoin loophole parties. In order to conclude a Bitcoin loophole Smart-Contract, a notary is not necessary, as would be the case, for example, with property transfers with conventional contracts. Instead, the Smart-Contract is executed by the nodes in the network.

2. activities are performed automatically
The if-then structures ensure that, as soon as the event occurs, the subsequent activity is executed. If person A and person B close a Smart-Contract and A fulfills his condition, then the necessary action will be executed automatically in the network. It is not necessary for B to become active at this point or for a third party to be informed. Instead, the nodes can check the status themselves at any time.

3. all participants are informed about status changes
The decentralized structure requires that the individual nodes process consistent information. This means that all nodes know about status changes when an event occurs.

How is a Smart-Contract executed?

There are different types of Smart-Contracts. The best known platform is Ethereum. There, Smart-Contracts themselves are treated like an account that acts autonomously. So there are no single individuals who have access to this account. Instead, the actions to be performed are performed in the network. This account can be simplified as a set of instructions (program code) that are executed. These include performing calculations, storing information, and sending transactions to other accounts.
Although the Smart-Contracts are written by humans and stored on the blockchain, after that the execution is solely up to the network and the user has no more possibility to make changes. This means that errors can still occur due to incorrect programming.

BTC-ECHO in conversation with the Forschungsstelle für Energiewirtschaft e.V. (Research Centre for Energy Economics). The energy industry is often cited as an industry that could benefit immensely from blockchain technology. At the same time, criticism is growing of extremely energy-intensive mining processes such as those used at Bitcoin. BTC-ECHO author Phillip Horch has signed an agreement with the Forschungsstelle für Energiewirtschaft e.V. (Research Centre for Energy Economics). (FfE) on how blockchain and energy sector are compatible with each other – and what challenges lie ahead for the still young technology.

Bitcoin mining is repeatedly criticised for consuming a lot of energy and for being highly polluting. The underlying blockchain technology, on the other hand, offers advantages that can be advantageous for the energy sector.

What contribution can research make to bringing the energy sector and the Bitcoin secret closer together?

Blockchain technology as infrastructure and Bitcoin secret platform technology can form the basis for a large number of applications like this: Is Bitcoin Secret a Scam? Beware, Read our Review First The first and most prominent example is Bitcoin. In our project, however, we are only marginally concerned with the topic of Bitcoin, since its applications in the energy industry are extremely small. The problem of the massive energy demand of the Bitcoin blockchain certainly poses a special challenge with regard to its ecological consequences. However, thanks to alternative consensus mechanisms, the problem of high energy consumption can be solved depending on the blockchain design and application.

In the context of the energy industry and especially in our project we focus on the chances of technology, new developments and the optimization potentials in a digitalized energy supply. Our recently published technology report will provide the basis for this.

What challenges do you see as groundbreaking developments in blockchain technology for the future?

Blockchain technology is already capable of guaranteeing data integrity, manipulation security, reliability, high availability, transparency and pseudonymity in digital processes. For applications in the energy industry, requirements regarding transaction speeds and costs as well as data protection are of particular relevance. It is to be expected that new developments will improve user-friendliness, create interoperability and drastically reduce the energy consumption of public blockchains through alternative consensus mechanisms. Even if the concepts could in principle be transferred to other protocols, there is still a lack of standardisation. An examination of current further developments shows that the technology is subject to an enormous innovation push, but is sometimes fragmented and many different blockchain protocols exist. The focus of many developments is on different goals. These are sometimes multi-layered and aim primarily at the large limitations in terms of scalability, interoperability and anonymity.

Keyword standardization: Do you think regulation at the national level would be sensible here?

Standardisation is conducive to broad application. The fact that the topic is also taken up at national level in the standardisation committees is certainly helpful in this respect. The Bundesverband Blockchain is already successfully demonstrating this. In future, however, standardisation will also have to take place with regard to technology. In the energy sector in particular, it is necessary to fall back on verifiable and uniform standards. As already mentioned, in our understanding the blockchain is a platform technology that benefits from efficiently linking a large number of participants and users and offering easy access.

A spokesman for the Chinese Financial Market Authority has issued a warning against Security Token Offerings. In a speech in Beijing, Huo Xuewen advised investors not to deal with the new financing method.

When China issued an ICO ban towards the end of last year, the Bitcoin formula space was hit by high waves

The Bitcoin formula share price reacted immediately with a sharp bend: As a result, many Chinese blockchain companies migrated – destinations included Japan and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Now the financial supervisory authorities have also commented on security token offerings – but so far there have been no major reactions.

Security token offerings are currently on the rise – at least that’s what many investors say. The idea behind this sounds very promising: Investors acquire company shares with the security tokens. This should ultimately offer more security than is the case with ICOs, for example. Initial coin offerings do not have the best reputation in the Bitcoin community, as they are often only used to quickly generate capital without actually performing.

Nevertheless, Huo Xuewen of the Chinese Financial Market Authority issued a warning to investors. According to this, interested parties should only invest as soon as STOs are legal – but this is not the case at the moment:

„I hereby warn all those who issue and advertise STOs in Beijing. My advice is to only invest in such projects if the government has declared them legal.“

Control should remain with financial supervision

Finally, it is in the interest of financial supervision to retain control over people’s asset management:

„We must manage the wealth of high-end clients, wealthy individuals and the wealth of people – that is the responsibility of all asset managers in Beijing. From this perspective, we need a diversified asset management organization that requires the management of more than $30 million of wealthy client assets and the wealth of ordinary people,

a Chinese news portal quotes him. Security Token Offerings therefore do not fit into this concept.

Within a few days, Bitcoin fell from over 16,000 euros to just under 12,000 euros and thus lost 25% of its value. With a few exceptions such as Ripple or Lisk, the picture looks similar for other crypto currencies. How should the price fall be interpreted?

The current crypto trader pattern is familiar

The share price rises, the media roll over, so that even the Bildzeitung and others report on Bitcoin – now the Bitcoin crypto trader price falls and the term tulip bubble is used inflationary. But how dramatic is the current crypto trader price movement? Is it really the beginning of the end?

It is still a little premature to announce the end of Bitcoin or the bursting of an alleged bubble. Even though we are currently in a proper correction, the end of which is not visible, we can say at this point in time that it is one of the smallest of the year in percentage terms:

Only the correction last month was less pronounced. In September and July, the share price fell by over 30 % – nothing needs to be said about the rest of the story.

But even if Bitcoin continued to fall, would that really be the end of Bitcoin?

If we look at the development in recent months, we see that the growth was not exactly linear: Resistances based on temporary price maxima were breached several times. To make it clear: The price rise, which is marked in red and well describes the maxima in February, June, August and September, equals a value gain of almost 500% in a year. There are few investments that generate 30-40 % per month. Even this already incredible development has been surpassed by Bitcoin since November: Within one month, the share price has risen by 50%. After all, even this development, marked in blue, was too slow, which led to a price increase of 60% – within ten days!

The fact that looking at one’s own portfolio hurts in such times is part of it – personally I will therefore avoid this look during the holidays. But it is not yet possible to speak of an end to the upward trend that has been underway for a year. It would be better to consider when Bitcoin could be bought again. Currently, the former resistance of the original uptrend channel is being hotly contested – this or the support of the uptrend channel represent good support and are accordingly possible (re-)entry points.

In this sense, despite all the red candles, I wish you a Merry Christmas that is not overshadowed by a correction.

We embark on a journey to personality: What does identity mean? How do we move from analogue to digital identity? Now that we know that our digital identity consists of a huge mountain of data worth a few satoshis, the question arises: What do we do with it now? Today: Identity 5.0: Digital Identity and Blockchain.

SecureKey: Proof of identity by the news spy

The Canadian security company SecureKey is working with IBM on the news spy solution to store identity data on the blockchain. Whether driver’s license, ID card or bank information: Everything is retrievable and ready for use via smartphone apps. Access to and disposal of this data remains with the news spy. This is primarily a matter of proving creditworthiness. The confirmation process is automated, without touching on data protection issues. The blockchain is both decentralized and transparent.

The central administration of money is a factor that is repeatedly criticized in the camps of the crypto-communtiy. Banks, like governments, have supremacy – they determine (to a large extent) how much and what money is in circulation. With his proposal to create a decentralized digital peer-to-peer money system, the legendary Satoshi Nakamoto created an alternative: Bitcoin.

The blockchain technology behind this revolutionary currency has even more disruptive potential than the currency itself. In addition to typical fields such as the financial or electoral system, one aspect in particular is moving more and more into the center of attention: digital identity. Especially in areas that are often described as „social hotspots“, the blockchain can help. The following is a selection of projects that answer the question of how digital identity comes onto the blockchain.

Moldova: Blockchain against human trafficking

The Republic of Moldova takes a humanitarian approach. The country, better known as Moldova, is not only struggling with great poverty. The country must also combat human trafficking. A high level of corruption, coupled with a lack of money, is tempting some to buy human lives for a handful of euros. Smuggling across the border is then comparatively easy. If someone should ask for the identity of the smuggled persons, the question is answered with bribery.

To counter this, the government is working on a blockchain solution. The forgery-proof and decentralized administration of identity data is intended to prevent human trafficking. In addition, people are thinking about collecting identity data such as fingerprints or a scan of the iris in order to be able to retrieve it during checks.

Jordan: Proof of identity for fugitives
The refugee camp „Azraq“ offers accommodation to about 35,000 refugees in Jordan. The internal administration also works with identity data here. At the checkout in the supermarket, for example, there is an iris scanner that compares the identity data with those on the block chain. In principle, people can pay with a scan of their eyes – the technology does the rest. All refugees in the camp have an account on the blockchain – after the scan the account is checked and the payment is approved in the best case. Without a bank and without a government.

After the massive price increases of the last few days, Bitcoin had to lose a lot of market capitalisation in the last few hours. The Bitcoin price is currently quoted at 16,900 US dollars – a minus of around 12%. Bitcoin’s market capitalisation slipped from its highest level on 17 December from 336 billion US dollars to 280 billion US dollars today. At the same time, the Bitcoin descendants, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Gold (BTG), respectively Forkcoins, were able to massively increase in value. What is behind these movements?

Looking at coinmarketcap, it is noticeable that the Bitcoin-Forkcoins are the biggest winners in the top 10 of the last hours. Bitcoin Cash ranks third with a clear lead over Ripple with a plus of over 50 % – current exchange rate: 3,500 US dollars. Considering that Bitcoin itself was trading at the same level in September of this year, this increase is more than impressive. But also Bitcoin Gold is above the expectations of many investors with a plus of 30 % and a price of 430 US dollars.

There are many reasons for this Bitcoin news

Expensive and lengthy transactions
As has so often been noted, the Bitcoin news ecosystem is barely able to cope with the massive increase in Bitcoin demand. This results in high transaction fees and long transaction waiting times. After all, Bitcoin can only execute a maximum of 7 transactions per second (theoretical value), so that the mempools are overloaded when the transactions are collected for confirmation. In order for a transaction to be processed quickly, enormous additional fees have to be paid by the user. For smaller amounts, for example, the transaction fees may exceed the purchase amount. A situation that has a negative impact on the Bitcoin news rate, even if solutions (Lightning Network) are in sight. Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold are, at least currently, in a much better position in this respect, so that they can benefit from the scaling problems as Bitcoin alternatives.

Bitcoin Futures
Futures are so-called futures contracts with which you can bet on rising as well as falling prices. This financial product class was recently introduced on the largest futures exchange in Chicago for Bitcoin. Accordingly, not only long positions, but also short positions could be built up, which push on the Bitcoin price. This is an option that does not exist for other crypto currencies and frightens some Bitcoin holders.

Mining Difficulty
Bitcoin’s high mining difficulty often makes Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold relatively more attractive. After all, the crypto currency that is most economical or promises the highest return is mined. As a result, Forkcoins can benefit time and again from miners switching to them because their mining difficulty allows higher returns than Bitcoin – the price of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold leaves them grateful to the detriment of Bitcoin.

Service Provider Acceptance and Technical Alternative

More and more merchants and wallet providers are accepting Bitcoin-Forkcoins, first and foremost Bitcoin Cash. The world’s largest Bitcoin payment provider, Bitpay, has announced that it will also accept Bitcoin Cash. The lower transaction costs or lower scaling problems compared to the Bitcoin primary rock could fuel further adoption by Bitcoin service providers. In addition, there are many supporters of Bitcoin Cash’s alternative approaches.

Uncertain market behavior and profit taking
In addition to the factual arguments presented above, there are always price impulses that are based on the market behaviour of the participants. It can therefore be assumed that larger Bitcoin holders have sold parts of their Bitcoin positions. It is difficult to determine whether these larger sales are the result of a pure profit taking intention or of a clear negative attitude towards Bitcoin. Experience has shown that, in the context of massive volatility, price corrections of minus 13% should not be overestimated, as is the case with Bitcoin – just as price increases of 50% should not be overestimated, as is the case with Bitcoin Cash.

The Fulmo GmbH invited to the second Lightning Hackday. At this Barcamp & Hackathon one could talk about the Bitcoins Lightning Network and experience the offchain scaling in action. Almost simultaneously the team behind the COMIT Network of TenX reached an important milestone at the other end of the world.

Barcamps or unconferences are events organized by the visitors themselves

Admittedly, a topic is set, but some guest speakers can also be invited. However, the majority of the individual events are not decided until the event itself. Participants stand up and present an idea they would like to talk about. Each other can decide then, which of these topics interest them. This is the way to get together for demonstrations of beta versions, to meet in challenging discussion groups and to maintain a general exchange. Networking is an important keyword here. Isn’t it fitting that such a decentralized format was chosen for the Lightning Hackday, an event via the Lightning Network?

Fulmo GmbH is a young company which has dedicated itself 100 percent to the possibilities of the Lightning Network. In order to fulfil their role as Lightning evangelists and for networking, they created the Lightning Hackday, which went into its second round on 23 June. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop by at the first event, which is why it was especially important for me to be there. The to-do lists may get longer, deadlines more tight and sleep less, but some events still have to be attended.

The Lightning Hackday – a barcamp around the Lightning Network

And it was worth it! Beyond the course discussions that have shaped the crypto debates since the bull market last year, the focus here was on technology. The various main events, in which XUD and Lightning Labs presented individual aspects of the Lightning Network in detail, showed how large the Lightning Network complex of topics is. With Socrates I had to call οἶδα οὐκ εἰδώς : I know that I don’t know (how it would be better translated). If I thought that I would be familiar with the Lightning Network, I had to learn that a new world around Atomic multiple payments, Watchtowers, Autopilots or Splicing opens up. This large complex of topics was discussed in the mentioned lectures as well as in discussion groups. The possibilities and current limits of the Lightning Network could thus be explored.

Other developers presented their implementation of a Cross Chain Atomic Swap between Bitcoin and Litecoin. Finally, several participants, together with the Honey Roof, demonstrated in the form of a play how a transaction in the Lightning Network works.

But a hackday wouldn’t be a hackday if you didn’t make the new technology tangible and give them the opportunity to play a hand themselves. So you could experiment with several Lightning Nodes installed on a Raspberry Pi – or simply buy them for the equivalent of 20 cents via Lightning M&Ms from a Candy Dispenser. I tried the latter with Michael Mertens and Sebastian Stommel from Cryptotec – and it worked quite well despite some WLAN problems: