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A quick thought
One of the things I’m very interested in is Ed tech. That is, tech that augments current learning, or provides it in a way that is more easily attainable to students. While arguments over what will fix education as its currently delivered are difficult to resolve, we all accept that there is room for improvement in the way people access learning.
Is just saying “ed tech” an invocation that fixes everything? No. The first mistake is that tech is made by humans, and reflects their imperfect knowledge and predispositions. The second mistake is that it’s capable of introducing unforseen problems while solving for the things it was set out to solve.
Knowing all of these things to be possible, I’m still interested in the ways that tech can enhance existing education programs, or attempt to replace them entirely. Ed tech is one of the categories that has seen blockchain applied in interesting ways, whether it’s auditing a degree, storing a transcript, or even finding ways to pay students for learning.
Two token sales to watch 👁️
Tutellus claims to have had a working platform for education delivery sine 2013 in Spain. They now have 1 million users across 160 countries, using 130,000 video courses. Now, they’re introducing a coin, holding an ICO, and explaining why they’d do this at all with the number of users they’ve amassed. “We create our own cryptocurrency, the TUT token. The more you learn, the more money you get, the more relevant you are in the Community and the more visible you become to companies that may be interested in you. Tutellus solves those problems in a very simple way,” Students earn relevance and learning (without having to pay), students are motivated to help each other learn, teachers are valued more highly as their students increase their successes, and of course, companies can recruit more efficiently. I have to admit, I like the idea of being paid to learn. Check out the whitepaper.
Alt.Estate is about tokenizing real estate assets. They’ve tokenized US, Japanese, and EU assets so far. The idea of buying 1/1000th of a piece of property is interesting, because it makes property investing accessible to anyone. Personally, I think this could become a normal thing for property, whether car, boat or house. Here’s a whitepaper.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 😊😠👹
😊GOOD: Goldman Sachs Moves Towards Crypto
Goldman Sachs plans to set up a Bitcoin trading operation. This move sets the banking giant apart from its Wall Street competitors. At first, the bank will start small and offer various contracts with Bitcoin exposure. They even brought on a former crypto trader, Justin Schmidt, as head of digital asset markets to assist in the creation of a cryptocurrency desk.
Rana Yared, an executive overseeing the creation of the trading operation, commented: “It resonates with us when a client says, ‘I want to hold Bitcoin or Bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value.” Multiple requests from clients prompted the bank’s decision to officially take a step towards cryptocurrency. It also marks its definitive stance in the “Bitcoin is a fraud” discussion.
Automobile Industry’s Joint Blockchain Initiative
During this year’s Futures Blockchain Summit in Dubai, four of the world’s biggest car manufacturers—BMW, GM, Ford, Renault—along with a total of thirty participants ranging from IBM to Hyperledger and IOTA, launched a joint Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). The project’s mission is “to make mobility services more efficient, affordable, greener, safer, and less congested” by promoting a certain industry standard and the adoption of “blockchain, distributed ledger, and related technologies.” Chris Ballinger, the former chief financial officer and director of mobility services at Toyota Research Institute, became MOBI’s chairman and CEO.
Dubai Partners with IBM For Blockchain Business Registry
The Dubai Blockchain Business Registry Project is a joint endeavor of Smart Dubai and IBM that will streamline the process of setting up and operating a business in Dubai by providing a digital exchange of trade licenses and related documentation for all business activities. At the same time, the blockchain-based registry ensures complete regulatory compliance. The project is a part of the Blockchain Strategy that aims to establish Dubai as the first city to be fully powered by blockchain by 2020.
😠BAD: Arizona’s Crypto Tax Bill Passes with a Major Change
Arizona House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1091. This bill aimed to allow Arizonans to use a digital coin to pay their taxes. The measure, however, is now undergoing a makeover. By far the biggest change is the following insertion:
The department shall study whether a taxpayer may pay the taxpayer's income tax liability by using a payment gateway, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin or any other cryptocurrency that uses electronic peer-to-peer systems. The department shall study the conversion of cryptocurrency payments to United States dollars at the prevailing rate after receipt and shall study the process of crediting the taxpayer's account with the converted dollar amount actually received less any fees or costs incurred by the department for conversion.
The statement does not define when this study would take place or how long it would take. It is hard to say when or if Arizona will allow crypto tax payments. The matter will unfold in the following weeks, as legislators will further discuss the terms of the bill.
👹UGLY: Richard Branson Warns Against Bitcoin Frauds
Virgin Group’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, voiced his concerns regarding Bitcoin-related online frauds involving his name.
"I have written several times warning people about the growing problem of fake stories online linking me to get-rich-quick schemes, fake pages, misleading ads, false endorsements and fake binary trading schemes," Branson wrote.
Branson stresses the need for vigilance. “They often have titles involving quitting your job and yours truly investing in Bitcoin financial tech. The sites often impersonate well-known news outlets, such as CNN for example, to make them seem more legitimate.“
Branson singled out one fraud–Bitcoin Trader—that poses as a CNN Tech article. This fake article titled “560 Thousand British Quit Their Jobs After Richard Branson Invests Heavily In New Bitcoin Financial Tech,” is attributed to a real CNN tech writer and accompanied by CNN logo and the site’s characteristic formatting.
“While I have often commented on the potential benefits of genuine Bitcoin developments, I absolutely do not endorse these fake Bitcoin stories,” Branson adds.
Ethereum’s Under Scrutiny
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ethereum (ETH) is coming under scrutiny from U.S. federal regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The key issue under investigation is Ethereum’s token presale in 2014, which could be classified as securities sale because the investors most likely bought tokens in the hopes of future value increase.
The outcome will decide whether Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, should be classified as a security.
JP Morgan Files a Blockchain Patent
Banking giant JP Morgan Chase has filed a patent for a peer-to-peer payments network using a distributed ledger technology. The system would use blockchain to facilitate financial exchanges “in real-time without having to rely on a trusted third party to hold the true ‘golden copy.’”
It is quite a change of heart for JP Morgan, which is considered as one of the cryptocurrency’s biggest critics. Although the patent was originally submitted in October, the application was made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday.
Goldman Sachs Exec Joins Maltese Crypto Fintech Startup
Following Breanne Madigan’s move to leave Goldman Sachs and join Blockchain, a cryptocurrency wallet service, as head of institutional sales and strategy, this week another Goldman Sachs Executive switched roles in favor of blockchain finance.
“The power and potential of Blockchain as a technology, and cryptocurrencies as an application is undeniable. It speaks to the power of people at scale and re-establishes how great causes are achieved,” Lilaramani commented. “A few years from now, we will look back, and the technology world will divide into two categories — the enablers and the naysayers.”
This Malta-based fintech platform allows crypto investors to borrow cash using cryptocurrency as collateral, sell crypto whenever the price is favorable, or use the HOLD card for purchases.
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