This is the recording of the online workshop for all teams interested in applying to the TruBlo open call #2. The deadline for applications is September 10, 2021.
- Overview and goals of the project (Worldline)
- Overview regarding the scientific expectations (ICCS)
- How to apply (F6S)
- Technical support services (Alastria)
- Business support services (Athens Technology Center)
Video Recording – Webinar for TrubBloOpen Call #2
A PDF of all presentations used in the webinar.
Full.2021.07.15 TruBloCall InfoWebinar.pptx
The webinar was held on July 15, 2021.
TruBlo Project Update
This week was kick-off week. The TruBlo consortium met representatives of all ten projects selected for funding in Open Call #1. All teams will receive funding, as well as technical and business support, in the next six months.
* Alastria offers a scalable infrastructure to initiate, test, launch and scale blockchain projects.
* ATC, ICCS/NTUA (and partially Deutsche Welle) will provide business model support.
Links to all 10 open call #1 projects:
- BlockTrust – Reputation management for science.
- FogBlock4Trust – A fog assisted, blockchain based credential management solution.
- FAKE – To evaluate news items producers as well as content generated by users.
- CONTOUR – Trusted content for tourism market purposes.
- LedgeAIR – Reliable data from aircraft, combined with blockchain storage for trust.
- ShoppEX – A better, trustable shopping experience – by enabling more information about products and production background
- TRUSTMEDICOS – Creating trust in healthcare info in social networks.
- TSC – Truth Seekers Chain
- Trust and Reputation – Focus is on the circular economy and reliable info about recycled items.
- NPRO – NPRO aims to improve the quality of reputational information in high-trust service markets.
Updates this week
Worldcoin wants to distribute digital money to everyone, based on biometric scanning
Worldcoin is a new US startup, with financial backing from VC firm A16z and Coinbase. Among the founders is Sam Altman, the former head of YCombinator, a very successful incubation platform – which is why the project gets considerable attention. The idea of Worldcoin is to work towards global financial inclusion, to provide digital financial services to everyone. For identification, the company has developed its own hardware, a camera-like device to scan the iris of a user.
German identity service ID Now buys French competitor
For onboarding, many services and subscriptions demand a digital verification process. As a result, platforms offering digital identification services are in demand. This now leads to consolidation in the market. Example: German startup [IDnow](https://www.idnow.io) will acquire the French platform [ARIADNEXT](https://www.ariadnext.com) for €50m ($59m). The motivation is to be present in more markets with an extended number of services, eventually in one combined platform.
How blockchain could help to bring trust to used car sales
Buying a used car today is riddled with uncertainties: Paper records do not reliable tell about repairs, hidden accidents or even total mileage. In Germany, it is a known problem that it is relatively easy to reduce the mileage of a luxury car by 20K or even 30k kilometres, then asking a higher price. Storing vehicle information on a blockchain could solve this problem.
Neeva, a new search engine, promises ad-free search but will need a subscription
How would a search results page look without any advertising? This is the question Neeva will explore as a business. The venture was founded by two ex-Google executives with deep knowledge about the search engine market. The company is readying for a July launch, but won’t be available in all world regions, at least at the start. It is currently possible to line up for early access. Neeva will allow a free try-out period of three months and plans to then charge $4.95 per month. The new search offering has secured $77.5 million in funding.
Global spending for mobile apps reached a new record of $65 billion, in the first six months of 2021
Across all smartphone platforms, this represents an increase of 24%, compared to last year, says a release of preliminary data from Sensor Tower.
- Spending on the **App Store by Apple** is projected to reach $41.5 billion for the first half-year of 2021. This number includes in-app purchases, subscriptions, premium apps and games.
- In relation, this is about 1.8 times the amount spent on the rival **Google Play** platform, which is estimated to reach $23.4 billion.
Social token platform Coinvise receives $2.5 million VC money
The platform enables users to “create, earn and collect” social tokens. Social tokens are a recurring topic, there is a hope for better interactions plus the idea to monetize fan groups for music, movies or other creative areas. No clear winner yet, but interesting. Note that besides Coinvise there are a number of competitors in this field – check them out by opening the links below.
It is an interesting field. For example, music bands can create communities with their fans. Or, in a wider context, positive actions and the support of others could be rewarded.
Combining green smart contracts and ‘oracles’ could help to reach climate goals.
The energy consumption of blockchain has been discussed extensively this year. Tesla first said they would accept Bitcoin as payment, then retracted that offer weeks later because of concerns about the environmental issues, specifically of energy-intensive Bitcoin mining.
Others pointed out: The existing global banking system uses a lot of energy, too. In part, because extensive IT systems are needed to channel money from one country to another and so on. Gold mining, too, leaves a huge footprint.
This is the article linked below is worth reading: It argues that the combination of “green” smart contracts with a nascent technology called ‘oracles’ could evolve into a tool to reduce energy consumption and help to reach climate goals. The big promise here is a new level of efficiency. Reaching higher trust and transparency of production chains is a key motivation.
Banks look at blockchain to save costs with bonds
Handling long term debt in bonds results in costs. Using blockchain data storage and smart contracts could result in considerable costs savings. This is why banks are increasingly interested in this scenario. The European investment bank used Ethereum for a €100m bond in April 2021.
Coinbase receives a licence from German regulator BAFIN
Germany passed a new law in November 2019, demanding a licence for custody services in the crypto market. Now, Coinbase has received the first such licence, allowing the company to keep operating in the country.
BAFIN Press Release (in German)
Russia testing digital ruble with 12 banks
Both in China and in Russia, authorities are in step-by-step processes to test digital currencies. In Russia a current test involves 12 banks, one motivation is to check whether the banking systems can handle the move to digital.
Slides from Sebastiaan van der Lans presenting at the joing TruBlo/Ontochain workshop for NGI Forum 2021.
Use case: How media companies benefit from timestamps
The second document is a presentation of how NRC, a large Dutch media publisher, uses timestamps for SEO (search engine optimization). A key element here: It can be determined who published the content and when. While search engines are currently not considering timestamps this could change in the near future, because even Google and co. would welcome verifiable data about the content.
Timestamps and disinformation: EU research results
Yet another use case for timestamps is to fight misinformation. In principle this could work in the way of positive proof, in the future. Articles with a valid timestamp could be shown, while content without such quality marks could be filtered down.
TruBlo open call #2 will start early June 2021
TruBlo has finalized the selection of winners from open call #1. Winners are contacted directly.
Due to this selection process the TruBlo 2nd open call will be started not during May, but in early June 2021. Details will be communicated via our website and in this newsletter.
Updates this week:
How timestamps enable trustable content
WordProof, a startup from Amsterdam, suggests using timestamps for content. This could solve a number of challenges. Content origin and ownership could be verified. Search engines could use timestamps to determine trustable content, this could be a big change in the future. This month WordProof announced the first partnership with a (small) search engine. Longer article with more background on TruBlo.eu: LINK
Plus: An interview with WordProof founder and CEO Sebastiaan van der Lans LINK
Conspiracy theories: How to better understand the rise of “divided realities”
Do you find it hard to understand why people start to believe in conspiracy theories and how this happens?
How could so many people believe things that are obviously untrue? Why don’t kids learn about this in school? Shouldn’t being able to navigate information and separate truth from lies be a standard part of education?
How national and regional governments try to extend control of social networks
This week officials in several countries and states moved forward to control content published on social networks.
The actions are not directly related. The direction is the same: Authorities want to control.
- In Florida Governor DeSantis (Republican) has signed a bill regulating social media companies. In the future, it would be forbidden to ban a political candidate from the platforms. The bill is described as a move against “censorship by tech elites”. LINK
- In Russia, authorities told Google that banned content must be deleted from search records in 24 hours. Before Twitter was notified with similar demands. Should the companies not comply, Russia will slow down traffic from those sites and impose fines. LINK
- In India, authorities visited two Twitter offices, because of labels classifying some tweets sent out by the ruling party as “manipulated media”. Link
Inside the nasty battle between journalists and Silicon Valley
There is a widening rift between (some) representatives of big tech and journalists. LINK
How journalists can avoid amplifying misinformation in their stories
When journalists point to false claims this might on some occasions do more harm than good. Re-using the content, like a screenshot or a link, could result in even more reach and damage.
To avoid these journalists should use clear labels, such as a visual overlay or other marks so that even the most casual reader does not mistake what is criticized as valid and true. Via Nieman Lab. LINK
How Netflix creates your personal top 10 list
Netflix looks different to different users. The recommended content differs based on the individual viewing habits. But what data goes into those recommendations? LINK
Apple claims to have stopped 1,5bn of potentially fraudulent activities in the App Store in 2020
Apple is currently in a trial brought forward by games company Epic. The core disagreement is whether Apple should be allowed to charge 30% of subscription revenue from any other company which wants to install an app on any iPhone.
Companies like Epic argue that the dominant market position of Apple hinders competition. Apple, in return, argues that the infrastructure provided is difficult to maintain and that there is much work to keep the platform clean from malicious content.
The numbers, published by Apple in a press release, are notable – because they are very high:
- 244 million customer accounts deactivated
- 424 million attempted account creations rejected
- 470,000 developer accounts terminated
Swap your face, for fun
Reface is the name of an app enabling “face swaps”. For example, a photo of your face can be projected on the Mona Lisa, even with realistic face movement. The idea is that this is fun.
Another view: This is problematic, because of many options to create fakes and violate content ownership of others. One thing is sure: It is getting harder and harder to tell reality from fiction. Reface shows mainly shows what is possible, at this moment. LINK
Rollercoaster: Cryptocurrencies are taking us for a wild ride
Only 45 days ago Tesla announced it would accept Bitcoin as payment. Roughly six weeks later Elon Musk reconsidered and reversed this offer.
“The Technoking of Tesla, Elon Musk has taken an u-turn on Bitcoin after months of hyping it up. Earlier this year, Musk’s Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and even announced that it would be accepting Bitcoin as payment. Bitcoin peaked following this news. Musk became a messiah for the crypto community. His tweets moved markets in an unprecedented way and stumped the market gurus. But, Bitcoin is not without flaws. Mining BTC is considered to be worse for the environment, which collides with most of Musk’s zero-emission aspirations (think: Tesla, Solar City). On Thursday, Musk tweeted that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment citing environmental issues.“ LINK
The value of Bitcoin decreased by $365 billion in the following days.
Last, week, on May 19 investors saw another plunge of value, by as much as 30%.
Report says: Traditional banking and gold mining use double the amount of energy of cryptocurrencies
According to estimates in a study, traditional banking and mining for gold are using more than double the of Bitcoin mining.
“Galaxy Digital compared the Bitcoin network’s energy consumption with that of the banking system as well as the gold industry since the largest cryptocurrency is often compared with the two. The report found that banking and gold consume around 263.72 TWh per year and 240.61 TWh per year, respectively, while Bitcoin consumes much less energy — 113.89 TWh per year.”
There is more to this, of course. Some cryptocurrencies are using high amounts of energy, though the criticism might result in new approaches, which are less energy demanding. LINK
How a digital Yuan would change banking
China is experimenting with a digital currency. It will be called eCNY or “digital yuan”. Because of the size of the Chinese economy, any changes there would have effects everywhere. Consultancy Oliver Wyman expects that the introduction of digital, programmable money would “level the playing field between banks and big tech.”
- Digital money could be a way to overcome current barriers, specifically for transactions across country borders. In the long run, moving money could be simpler, faster and cheaper. LINK
Thank You for reading.
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