Archive March 2019

Blockchain Exchange Secures $50 Million in Diamonds for ETF Launch

Blockchain-based trading platform CEDEX says it has now secured a supply of more than 6,000 diamonds ahead of its launch of a diamond exchange-traded fund (ETF). Announcing the news on Wednesday, CEDEX said that the diamonds – worth over $50 million – will provide traders with a variety of investment options prior to the launch of the ETF, which is currently in development. The supply comes from diamond holders registering their stock on the exchange for trading, the firm told CoinDesk. CEDEX claims to have used blockchain tech and a proprietary algorithm to overcome several hurdles that previously prevented diamonds from becoming a tradable asset class like gold: lack of transparency, liquidity and fungibility. CEDEX said its mission is to turn diamonds into a tradeable asset class, and it aims to enable customers to trade on its inventory and generate liquidity in the market. The exchange – which launched in beta in November 2018 – will use tokens to allow customers to trade in diamonds of different sizes and values with “low” carrying cost, according to the announcement. The platform has its own ERC-20 token too, CEDEX Coin, which CEDEX says on its website is compliant and can be used for trading and investment on the exchange. Its “DEX” algorithm gauges the value of diamonds based on their characteristics and shows sellers a DEX score and estimated market price, according to the firm’s website. CEDEX co-founder and CEO, Saar Levi, said:
“The vast inventory available combined with CEDEX unique technology opens up for traditional and digital markets the opportunity to develop financial instruments that will initially create the liquidity needed to jump-start our vision – transforming diamonds into a new asset class.”
“Bridging the gap between existing financial markets and the diamond industry will fuel this untapped market from a $90 billion industry to an estimated $300-$400 billion,” Levi added. The firm added that it’s currently in talks with commodity brokers, exchanges, banks and ETF issuers in order to offer them a software solution that will allow integration of its ETF products onto their trading platforms. CEDEX said it raised $20 million in March 2018 to develop its platform. Source: www.coindesk.com

Facebook Blockchain Job Openings Top 20 Amid Staffing Spree

Social media giant Facebook keeps looking to expand its blockchain-related staff. Facebook’s careers website now lists 20 job openings related to the technology in a wide range of areas, including: technology communications directorthreat investigatordata scientist, two product managers and a product designerbrand strategy and marketing managers, community, media and webmanager, engineers, various UX researchers and other roles. Probably the most unusual role is a global security strategic partner who “will serve as a liaison and thought partner between Global Security and the selected key business partners, in this case: Facebook’s Blockchain organization.” The job descriptions don’t disclose much about any future product, but hint at ambitious goals:
“Our ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now – that could be things like healthcare, equitable financial services, or new ways to save or share information.”

Friending blockchain

Ahead of the current hiring spree, Facebook has been hinting at a keen interest in blockchain for some time. According to a recent report by the New York Times, Facebook has been working on a token that will be used across the company’s media platforms, which include Facebook itself, WhatsApp and Instagram. The token will be a kind of a stablecoin pegged to a basket of several fiat currencies. Fifty engineers at the company are already working on the token and it’s expected to be released in the first half of 2019, the newspaper reported. In a recently posted video interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said blockchain technology might allow the company to re-imagine the way users sign on to the social media platform, replacing the current system called Facebook Connect. “Basically, you take your information, you store it on some decentralized system and you have the choice to log into places without going through an intermediary,” Zuckerberg said. Last summer, former PayPal president David Marcus stepped down from his board seat at crypto exchange Coinbase, citing his new assignment at Facebook as blockchain research lead – suggesting the social media company’s ambitions for the technology were serious enough to pose a conflict. Source: www.coindesk.com

City of Denver to Pilot Blockchain Voting App in Coming Elections

A U.S. city plans to utilize a blockchain system to store and track votes in its upcoming municipal elections in May. Denver, Colorado, announced Thursday that it would implement a pilot program to allow overseas voters, active-duty military personnel and their eligible dependents to vote using a blockchain-based smartphone app in collaboration with Tusk Philanthropies and Voatz. Voatz’s technology has previously been used in West Virginia, where active-duty military personnel used the software during the state’s primary and general elections in 2018. Since its launch, the Overstock-backed startup has conducted more than 30 successful pilots, with more than 15,000 votes cast in its largest election to date. In a statement, Jocelyn Bucaro, deputy director of elections at the Denver Office of Clerk and Recorder said the Denver Elections Division is known for making voting an easier and more transparent process for individuals through technology. “Participating in this pilot program fits perfectly into our mission,” she said, adding:
“We believe this technology has the potential to make voting easier and more secure not only for our active duty military and overseas citizens, but also for voters with disabilities, who could potentially vote independently and privately using their phones’ assistive technology.”
To participate, eligible voters must file an absentee ballot request and complete an authentication process through the Voatz mobile app. If approved, they will be able to submit their ballot between March 23 and May 7, Denver’s election day. Using the app means voters can avoid having to print and scan the paperwork they would need should they file normal absentee ballots. Further, voters will be able to confirm whether their ballot was recorded, a feature traditional absentee ballots typically lack. The National Cybersecurity Center (NCC), which is also participating in the pilot, is “excited to partner with the City/County of Denver, Voatz and Tusk Philanthropies,” said NCC CEO Vance Brown. “This public/private partnership showcases how promoting innovative technologies, such as blockchain-based mobile voting, protects against cyber-attacks that negatively impact our world,” he said. “The application of blockchain in our election system provides for secure, auditable, transparent and accurate counting of ballots and the increased integrity of our election system.” The U.S. might see more regular use of this technology should it prove to be effective, he added. Source: www.coindesk.com