Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 41

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 41

Five Minute Blockchain

Welcome to a new edition of the TruBlo newsletter. The big news this past week was the successful merge of Ethereum. Our main question for selecting information and links: How is the field of blockchain, content and trust evolving?

Estimated reading time:

Updates this week:


PROJECT


TruBlo: Full list of 45 funded early-stage projects

We funded 45 early-stage projects, with €75K each. Selected projects will have the chance to get a second round of funding with an additional €100K. You can scroll through all projects on the website; each has a short profile.

TruBlo Funded Projects


TRUST


Ethereum Merge completed

This was a huge step for the platform. The new approach of proof-of-stake instead of proof-of-work will sharply reduce energy needs. How the change will affect the future of Ethereum remains to be seen. This week the cryptocurrency is down about 10%.

“The metaphor that I use is this idea of switching out an engine from a running car,” said Justin Drake, a researcher at the non-profit Ethereum Foundation who spoke to CoinDesk before the Merge happened.”

Coindesk


The Economist: “The future of Crypto is at stake in Ethereum’s switch”

“Proof-of-stake will require 99.9% less energy to maintain. The effect on emissions will be as though, overnight, the Netherlands had been switched off.”

The Economist ($, free registration possible to read article)


A larger number of crypto start-ups at YCombinator’s current batch

Despite the recent downturn, the newest YCombinator cohort of start-ups has 30 crypto teams. YCombinator is the top incubator program for new tech companies, with an impressive track record of large firms which started there.

TechCrunch


Microsoft Teams popularity results in new cybersecurity challenges

“…according to research released by Vectra yesterday, versions of Teams for Windows, Mac and Linux are storing authentication tokens in plain text on the underlying device. This is significant because it means attackers can gain access to authentication tokens and other information if they hack a system where Teams is installed. This vulnerability highlights that enterprises can’t afford to rely on the security of consumer-grade, public-grade communication platforms when they’re communicating sensitive information, IPs and other data.”

VentureBeat


CONTENT


Open source AI software: Stable Diffusion released

You might have heard of Dalle-E. Now there is another software able to generate images from text, and it is open source.

A week or so ago, Stable Diffusion was released, and the world went crazy, and for good reason. Stable Diffusion, if you haven’t heard, is a new AI that generates realistic images from a text prompt. You basically give it a description of the image you want, and it generates it.

Stavros.io


Apple doubles digital advertising workforce

Apple gradually takes a larger slice of global advertising revenues; the number of people working in that area at the company has by now doubled. This is not without potential controversy because Apple had introduced privacy rules reducing the ability to track users for companies like Facebook.

Financial Times


Should Apple be forced to use USB-C?

In discussions in Europe and the US, the goal is to have less “chaos” with charging ports. But not everyone agrees. If companies are forced to use a specific system, what happens to innovation in the long term? Quote from John Gruber, writing on Daring Fireball:

“Proponents of the EU’s USB-C charging port mandate speak as though bringing order out of chaos is still a problem to be solved in the mobile phone world, like it was 15 years ago. It’s not. Market forces generally work, and in the case of charging ports, they have: there are only two meaningful phone charging ports today, USB-C and Lightning. There is no chaos. There are good arguments for Apple to switch the iPhone to USB-C (high-speed data transfer, particularly for the 4K video footage iPhones have long been capable of, being at the top of the list), and good arguments against (zillions of iPhone owners with zillions of existing Lightning cables). But that should be for Apple to decide.” (Daring Fireball)

Daily Beast


Instagram fined 400 million for child privacy violations

“The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined Meta, the owner of the social network Instagram, EUR405M for what it labeled a violation of child privacy statutes under the GDPR. DPC mentioned three issues with Instagram’s privacy settings that led to the penalty:

  • Users under 17 can open business accounts.
  • Business accounts for minors still display user contact information.
  • Underage accounts are not private by default.”

Techgenix


France: Journalists sign charter towards better climate change reporting

Journalists and media professionals in France signed a charter defining guidelines for climate change reporting. This includes revisiting growth models for the media companies themselves. One of the goals is to investigate and report on real solutions.

Charte Journalisme Ecologie


BLOCKCHAIN


Binance to end support for stablecoins offers users to switch to their own

“Binance claims the move is to “enhance liquidity and capital-efficiency for users”, but the conversion and Binance’s related decision to stop trading on spot pairs involving those same stablecoins seems like an attempt to increase the status of its own stablecoin against that of rivals.” (Source: Web3isgoinggreat)

TechCrunch


Big financial firms collaborate for EDX

Several leading financial institutions in the US, including Fidelity, Schwab and Citadel, are behind a new crypto exchange called EDXM. Observers are unsure whether this is a sign of more profound interest or a delayed project coming out in crypto winter.

EDX


African Start-up “Metaverse Magna” receives funding for decentralised gaming

This February, Africa and emerging market-focused Nestcoin raised a pre-seed round to build, operate and invest in its web3 applications, including crypto content platform Breach Club and gaming guild Metaverse Magna (MVM). Nine months after its launch last December, the latter has completed a seed sale token round of $3.2 million at a $30M fully diluted valuation.

TechCrunch


UK Treasury mandates that crypto exchanges report breaches or pay fines

New rules are applied in the UK in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The goal is to cover all valuable digital assets, which results in crypto assets being part of the sanctions list. If platforms do not report breaches quickly, they face fines for such delays.

The Guardian


OTHER STORIES & SHORT LINKS


  • What is decentralised identity in blockchain? Guide. Cointelegraph
  • South Korean Officials Are Targeting Do Kwon’s Passport Bitcoin.com
  • Mailchimp bans crypto-related projects Cointelegraph
  • Adobe agrees to buy the design tool Figma for a high price of $20B Bloomberg TechMeme
  • Anonymising facial images to improve patient privacy Nature
  • YouTube Taps Machine Learning to Convert Landscape Videos to Square, Vertical Formats Variety
  • AI Isn’t Ready to Make Unsupervised Decisions Harvard Business Review

Would you happen to have any feedback or suggestions? Contact us via info@trublo.eu

Photo by Joel Henry on Unsplash

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 40

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 40

Five Minute Blockchain

Welcome to a new edition of the TruBlo newsletter. We are funding 45 early-stage blockchain ideas to explore new options for “trusted content on future blockchains”. A list of all TruBlo projects is here: https://www.trublo.eu/projects/

Our main question for selecting news and links: How is the field of blockchain, content and trust evolving?

Estimated reading time: 5 min 12 secs

Updates this week:


TRUST


FTC sues US data broker Kochava

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a suit against Kochava, a US-based data broker.

“Kochava’s data can reveal people’s visits to reproductive health clinics, places of worship, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and addiction recovery facilities. The FTC alleges that by selling data tracking people, Kochava is enabling others to identify individuals and exposing them to threats of stigma, stalking, discrimination, job loss, and even physical violence. The FTC’s lawsuit seeks to halt Kochava’s sale of sensitive geolocation data and require the company to delete the sensitive geolocation information it has collected.”

FTC

The Guardian


Two-thirds of UK youth are not interested in crypto

A survey conducted by youth marketing agency Seed in May 2022 showed low interest in cryptocurrency among young people in Britain.

“Responses revealed that 66% of so-called ‘zoomers’ aged 18-24 are not interested in cryptocurrency, with 10% willing to try it but won’t prefer it over other investments. It canvassed 2,000 people during May, which was the depths of the crypto crash. Women are even less interested in crypto, with three-quarters giving it a thumbs down. In contrast, half of men are willing to give it a try.The situation for NFTs was even worse, with 70% believing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are scams.”

Ledger Insights


Facebooks pervasive pixel

A study using technology from Mozilla reveals the extent of data collection around the world.

The Markup


People buying guns with cryptocurrency leave a digital trail

Gun owners in the USA want no or minimal data registration about purchases and ownership. But buying weapons with crypto could leave an unintentional digital trail.

Coindesk


CONTENT


Sources: Netflix plans to launch ad tier in November, to be ahead of Disney+

In July, the company announced to plan for the introduction in early 2023. Now it looks like the launch will be done earlier for markets in the US, Canada, UK, France and Germany.

Variety


Google blocks TruthSocial app because of violent content

TruthSocial is a social media platform initiated by former US president Donald Trump after being banned from Twitter. Now it seems Google will not allow the app to be downloaded via the Google Play Store.

Axios
TechCrunch


French government uses AI to detect undeclared swimming pools

In France, homeowners must declare a swimming pool for accurate property tax. Authorities are now using machine learning software to analyse aerial photos.

“The software, developed in partnership with the consulting firm Capgemini and the US digital giant Google, was tested in nine regions — Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute-Savoie, Morbihan, Maine-et-Loire and Vendée — and revealed more than 20,000 undeclared swimming pools, according to a report by the directorate. “

Euronews


Twitter tests an edit button for Tweets

A tweet can be edited for up to 30 minutes, and the edit history will be shown to users. The feature has been requested for a long time, though critics feat that the edit option might open the door to misuse.

The Verge


Little kids yelling “poop” at Alexa are driving up profits for some songs

“Pecunia non olet” is a Latin proverb that means “Money does not smell”. Now, some musicians report that songs with the word “poop” are getting many plays. The assumption is that this happens because little kids yelling “poop” activate Alexa.

Buzzfeed


BLOCKCHAIN


Helium developers propose switching to Solana

According to a blog post by the Helium Foundation, the platform wants to free up resources needed to develop and maintain its own blockchain and instead plans to switch to Solana.

“Developers behind the Helium network – a grid of medium-range wireless hotspots pitched as an alternative to hard-wired internet service – are proposing to migrate away from the project’s own blockchain onto Solana, in pursuit of faster transaction speeds, higher uptimes and more interoperability with other blockchains as key reasons. The Helium Foundation wrote in a Medium post this week that the new proposal from the Helium core developer team would improve the operational efficiency “significantly.” The proposal to move toward Solana and away from Helium’s own blockchain, officially known as HIP 70, “addresses network speed, reliability and scalability”.

Coinbase

Web3 is going great


Misplaced decimal allowed traders in Georgia to cash out at 100x the regular price

Coinbase tries to get its money back after discovering that in late August, Georgia traders could cash out crypto at 100 times the intended market rate. The Georgian Lari (GEL) exchange rate was 290, not 2,90. As a result, an estimated 900 traders could sell their holdings at a considerable profit. Coinbase is now seeking payback; accounts have been locked in some cases. The misplaced decimal point was not detected for seven hours.

Blockworks


Market analysis: The state of crypto banks in 2022

Users: From October 2021 to May 2022, Crypto.com saw its user base grow from 10M to 50M, an increase of 400%. Similarly, the number of Nexo users doubled from over 2M to over 4M from September 2021 to May 2022. Crypto lending has surged over the last two years and publicizes a vision of financial services where lenders and borrowers avoid the traditional financial firms that position themselves as the gatekeepers for loans or other products.

Company size: While some crypto banks are facing hiring headwinds, others are unperturbed amid market volatility. In June 2022, BlockFi announced a 20% layoff — the company headcount dropped from about 850 in January to about 680 by the end of July. Meanwhile, Nexo’s LinkedIn headcount has jumped nearly 60% since January 2022.

Blockdata


Short links


  • Google and YouTube outline plans for content moderation in US midterm elections TechCrunch
  • How to add DuckDuck Go Privacy Essentials to your browser ZD Net
  • Web3 Domain Name Service Could Lose Its Web Address Because Programmer Who Can Renew It Sits in Jail Coindesk
  • Snap appears to have axed its Web3 team as part of the social media company’s decision to restructure and cut its headcount by about 20%. Blockworks
  • 62% of wallets did not sell Bitcoin for a year amid a bear market Cointelegraph

Would you happen to have any feedback or suggestions? Contact us via info@trublo.eu

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

 

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 39

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 39

August 25, 2022• Issue No. 39

Five Minute Blockchain

Welcome to a new edition of the TruBlo newsletter. We are funding 45 early-stage blockchain ideas to explore new options for “trusted content on future blockchains”. A list of all TuBlo projects is here: https://www.trublo.eu/projects/Our main question for selecting news and links below: How is the field .of blockchain, content and trust evolving?

Updates this week:

Estimated reading time: 4 min 10 sec


TRUST


Spyware use in Europe, homemade

In Greece, Thanassis Koukakis, a financial journalist, discovered spyware on his phone. This case seems to be part of a whole wave of spyware uses.

“Over the past 13 months, it has been revealed that spyware had targeted opposition leaders, journalists, lawyers and activists in France, Spain, Hungary, Poland and even staff within the European Commission, the EU’s cabinet-style government, between 2019 and 2021. The bloc has already set up an inquiry into its own use of spyware, but even as the 38-person committee works toward producing a report for early 2023, the number of new scandals is quickly mounting up.”

One key finding – the spyware was developed in Europe, not elsewhere:

“What sets the scandal in Greece apart is the company behind the spyware that was used. Until then the surveillance software in every EU scandal could be traced back to one company, the notorious NSO Group. Yet the spyware stalking Koukakis’ phone was made by Cytrox, a company founded in the small European nation of North Macedonia and acquired in 2017 by Tal Dilian—an entrepreneur who achieved notoriety for driving a high-tech surveillance van around the island of Cyprus and showing a Forbes journalist how it could hack into passing people’s phones. In that interview, Dilian said he had acquired Cytrox and absorbed the company into his intelligence company Intellexa, which is now thought to now be based in Greece. The arrival of Cytrox into Europe’s ongoing scandal shows the problem is bigger than just the NSO Group. The bloc has a thriving spyware industry of its own.”

WIRED


A deep dive into the fall of Three Arrows

Long report about the founders, set-up and the reasons for the downfall of the crypto hedge fund. Apparently, “playing with money” was a big part of it, sheltered by a hybrid that the complex technology would make the blundering hard to detect.

“Bear markets in crypto tend to make any stock-market action look like child’s play. The crashes are so severe that insiders call it “crypto winter,” and the season can last years. That’s where Three Arrows Capital found itself by the middle of January 2022, and it was poorly equipped to weather it. The GBTC position ate an ever-larger hole in 3AC’s balance sheet, and much of its capital was tied up in restricted shares in smaller crypto projects. Other arbitrage opportunities had dried up. In response, Three Arrows seems to have decided to ramp up the riskiness of its investments in hopes of scoring big and getting the firm back on a solid footing. “What made them change was just overreaching for returns,” says a major lending executive. “They were probably like, ‘What if we just go long? In February, Three Arrows took one of its biggest swings yet: It put $200 million into a buzzy token called luna, which was founded by a brash, alluring South Korean developer and Stanford dropout named Do Kwon, with whom Davies and Zhu had been hanging out in Singapore.”

New York Magazine


CONTENT


How a small, slightly different view might grow into deep distrust

Even if views on a complex issue differ, it should be possible to find a consensus for the best solution over time. A factor in this should be the amount of available information – the more, the better. That would be an assumption based on common sense. But it might not be true at all. Instead, the abundance of information might amplify small different views into deep distrust of “the other side”.

„We show that small biases may lead to substantial and persistent divergence in both trust in information sources and beliefs about facts, with partisans on each side trusting unreliable ideologically aligned sources more than accurate neutral sources and also becoming overconfi- dent in their own judgment.”

Could the abundance of information on the web and social media overwhelms and confuses humans? And that this leads to more extreme positions instead of compromise?

Stanford University


Dark Patterns: Bad when used by others, but ok when used by your company?

Benedict Evans points to two articles published in The New York Times: One criticising the use of “dark patterns” on technology platforms. And other technical articles where the news organisation talks about its optimisation to gradually funnel online visitors into subscriptions.

The use of technology to funnel first-time visitors gradually towards a possible subscription is not automatically a “dark pattern”. The expression describes UI/UX layouts of websites where users have difficulty saying “no”. Such patterns are used in all kinds of applications, often leading to complaints by users who only later find out they were tricked into consent for a setting, for marketing purposes or even a subscription which can not be cancelled anymore.

But Evans has a point that often, double standards apply to the use of

The technical report about using Machine Learning to gain more subscribers does not mention such approaches. But the point is: As everyone tries to optimise the business revenue, the occurrence of tricks, cover-ups and harmful business practices will likely not go down but up. One fact from the published article: After reaching 10 million paying subscribers, the NYT aims to reach 15 million by 2027. Such ambitious growth often applies tricks to achieve such goals in time. High pressure to reach goals was a significant reason for Volkswagen’s scandal around engine emissions.

The New York Times: Stopping the manipulation machines ($)
The New York Times: How The New York Times Uses Machine Learning To Make Its Paywall Smarter


BLOCKCHAIN


In Argentina, Crypto is more practical for many transactions than cash

A recurring doubt regarding the future of cryptocurrencies (and blockchain) is the question of practicality. Where is the practical, day-to-day use?

One country where this is different is Argentina, a country where cryptocurrencies have a growing appeal, despite the volatility.

Two main reasons: The local currency, the peso, has lost value for decades. The second problem is that banks have imposed restrictions on bank accounts. Having a bank account in another currency with a bank outside of Argentina is no real option because one would have to travel there to get the money. This is why many people in Argentina store money they have in bricks – they buy bricks when they have money and store them.

“Argentinians who use crypto are increasingly untethered from the local Argentinian economy and increasingly plugged into the global cloud economy. Crypto is providing new solutions to problems that Argentina has faced for generations, and many Argentinians are excited about its potential to make it easier and safer to make, use, and store money.”

Big Think


People in El Salvador want reliable banking.

“N1co is Central America’s first neobank, thriving because El Salvador still needs basic financial inclusion.”

Rest of World


Bitcoin Depot to go public at an $885 million valuation

The company is operating a network of Bitcoin ATMs in the US.

“Founded in 2016, Bitcoin Depot claims to be the largest provider of such ATMs in North America with more than 7,000 kiosks in the region. These ATMs function by connecting with a wallet and, after a verification process, allow the user to insert fiat money to receive BTC, LTC or ETH in their wallets.”

The Block


The percentage of crypto investors did not grow in the past 12 months

According to a survey by PEW Research, the number of people dealing with crypto has remained at the same level as a year before, at roughly 16%.

(In 2020) Pew researchers asked 10,371 Americans if they have “ever invested in, traded, or used a cryptocurrency.” Some 16 percent of Americans said they had. Last month, the nonprofit asked another sample group — slightly smaller, at 6,034 Americans — the same question. And again, 16 percent said they had invested or traded in the alternate currency.

Washington Post ($)

Related:

  • 64% of crypto-versed parents want crypto to be taught in schools Cointelegraph
  • 72% of Russians say they never bought Bitcoin Cointelegraph

Ethereum Merge to begin September 6

The Ethereum Foundation says it will begin the Merge on September 6, split into two parts, the second running between September 10-20

The Block


Short links


  • cbETH: Coinbase offers liquid staking service & token for Ethereum ahead of the Merge The Block
  • Authorities in Afghanistan shut down 16 crypto exchanges in one-week Coindesk
  • Revenue is a feature. Some companies can think about it later; others must figure it out earlier. Benedict Evans
  • Mana: “BlackRock for the new economy” TechCrunch
  • BalkanID will use AI for Identity Governance TechCrunch.
  • Privado helps developers be compliant with privacy laws Forbes
  • ThirdWeb raises 24 million for web3 development kit TechCrunch
  • Polygon founder launches fund with $50 million for web3 investments Cointelegraph
  • How traditional banks cope with digital assets Blockdata

Thank You for reading. Please forward this newsletter to colleagues: Click here to subscribe.

Would you happen to have any feedback or suggestions? Contact us via info@trublo.eu

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

 

Five Minute Blockchain Weekly Newsletter Nr. 37

Five Minute Blockchain Weekly Newsletter Nr. 37

August 12, 2022• Issue No. 37

Five Minute Blockchain

Welcome to a new edition of the TruBlo newsletter. We are funding 45 early-stage blockchain ideas to explore new options for “trusted content on future blockchains”. A list of all TuBlo projects is here: https://www.trublo.eu/projects/Our main question for the selection of news and links below: How is the field .of blockchain, content and trust evolving?

Updates this week:

Estimated reading time: 4 min 5 seconds


TRUST


US authorities on the hunt for Conti ransomware gang

U.S. authorities have named five members of a ransomware gang called Conti. There are rewards of up to 10 million US-Dollar for information leading to an arrest.

“The State Department said Conti has carried out over 1,000 ransomware operations targeting U.S. and international critical infrastructure, including law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services and 911 dispatch centers”.

TechCrunch


Trust, transparency and reliability are keys to Web3 success

“A Web3 world that removes traditional “middlemen” in favor of decentralization has the potential for creators and regular end users to gain more control over their data — but only if issues around digital trust, transparency and reliability are successfully addressed.”

Security Magazine


Mastercard survey: Awareness of crypto is high, but the industry needs to rebuild trust with consumers

Some data points from research by Mastercard:

  • Crypto payments are rising in popularity across the globe. 93% of those surveyed have heard of cryptocurrency
  • 41% have done at least one crypto-related activity in the past year
  • Consumers are still looking for more stability within the industry

The Block


CONTENT


Data ownership redefines the relationship between artists and fans

“Over the course of the past two decades, Grammy Award-winning DJ, André Allen Anjos (also known as RAC) has noticed a growing trend. ‘There’s been a trend since 2005 in the MySpace era, and all of that has been a trend towards sovereignty of an artist, of putting the artists on top,’ he says.

RAC is an advisor to Audius — a decentralized music streaming platform that raised $5 million last September from big names including Coinbase Ventures and Pantera Capital, along with popular artists such as Jason Derulo and Katy Perry.

The Block


Facebook loses appeal to teens, study says

“Gen Z internet use is on the rise, but the rate at which teens use Facebook is rapidly declining. A Pew Research Center study on teens, technology and social media found that only 32% of teens aged 13-17 use Facebook at all, but in a previous survey from 2014-2015, that figure was 71%, beating out platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.” (Source: TechCrunch)

The most popular social network is YouTube

Pew Research Center


BLOCKCHAIN


Ethereum merge may be coming sooner than expected

The merge is now expected for September 15 or 16, 2022.

Background: “The Merge is set to transition the second-largest cryptocurrency Ethereum to its next phase (formerly known as Ethereum 2.0) as the network’s entire blockchain moves to a new system which proponents say will make it more efficient, sustainable and scalable.” (Source: TRT World).

Decrypt


Ethereum usage prices levelling out even before the merge

Costs for transactions and on-chain use on Ethereum are levelling out, as Coinbase reports. One reason: Lower usage, which results in lower demand.

Coinbase


Tornado Cash website goes dark after sanctions by U.S. Treasury

Background: “Tornado Cash is an open-source project that enables people to shield their transaction histories from public view. The U.S. government alleges it is also a service that was used to launder more than $7 billion worth of ill-gotten gains since 2019, including by North Korean hackers.”

On Friday, August 12. the Tornado Cash website was no longer reachable. Similarly, the Discord channel. Before Tornado Cash had been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury on Monday this week. According to crypto news websites, all “American persons are barred from interacting with the open-source protocol”. (Via Coinbase)

Another view from David Gerard:

“Transactions on the Ethereum blockchain are completely traceable. Any transaction anyone ever made on Ethereum can be traced, all the way back to the launch of the project in 2015. Transactions are pseudonymous — but many users have been identified after the fact. Tornado Cash is a mixer — an Ethereum smart contract program that you can use to break the traceability of transactions on Ethereum. This is for privacy. Tornado Cash accepts deposits of ether (the currency on Ethereum) from one address and enables you to withdraw the ether from a different address. The smart contract works as a pool that mixes all deposits, using zero-knowledge proofs.” (Via David Gerard).

In Amsterdam, authorities arrested a Tornado developer.

Tornado DAO discusses legal avenues after being sanctioned (via The Block)


Study: Number of people working in the blockchain industry up by 76%

“The number of people working in the blockchain industry went up by 76% year-on-year as of June 2022, a study undertaken by the professional networking platform Linkedin and the crypto trading app OKX has found. The study also found there is “a large gap in demand for technical talent in the global blockchain talent pool.'”

Bitcoin.com


Thank You for reading. Please forward this newsletter to colleagues: Click here to subscribe.

Do you have feedback or suggestions? Contact us via info@trublo.eu.

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Five Minute Blockchain – Weekly Newsletter Nr. 35

Five Minute Blockchain – Weekly Newsletter Nr. 35

30.06.2022 • Issue No. 35

Five Minute Blockchain

Updates from the intersection of trust, content and blockchain. What are notable developments?

This newsletter is published by the TruBlo project. We are funding 45 early-stage blockchain ideas to explore new options for “trusted content on future blockchains”. A list of all TuBlo projects is here: https://www.trublo.eu/projects/.



Updates this week

Estimated reading time: 5 min 44 seconds


TRUST


FBI says LinkedIn used for crypto scams

“In a typical scenario, according to the report, a scammer will pose as a professional with a fake profile and reach out to a LinkedIn user, starting with small talk before elevating to an offer to make money through crypto investments. Eventually, the scammer leverages the trust earned over months to direct the user to invest money to a site controlled by the perpetrator, and then drains the account.”

Coindesk


German telcos test new advertising technology, resulting in concerns by privacy advocates

In Germany, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, the two largest mobile providers are currently testing a new advertising technology called TrustPid.

“TrustPid allows mobile carriers to generate pseudo-anonymous tokens based on a user’s IP address that are administered by a company also named TrustPid. Each user is assigned a different token for each participating website they visit, and these can be used to provide personalised product recommendations—but in what TrustPid calls “a secure and privacy-friendly way.” That “privacy-friendly” part has raised critics’ hackles.”

In essence, the question is whether or not the new technology would allow for personal tracking. A spokesperson from Vodafone answering to Wired denied that this would be possible.

WIRED


CONTENT


New York Times with solid growth of website traffic

The New York Times is currently one of the fastest-growing news websites. The website got 524 million visits in May 2022, an increase of 52% compared to last year. A big driver for the traffic growth has been the acquisition of Wordle, a popular online game. The NYT purchased the game in February 2022. Another website with solid traffic growth is the Daily Mail (UK), with an increase of 14% to 373 million. For comparison: The website of CNN has even higher total traffic (641 million) but not as much growth (4%).

List of the top 50 most popular news websites in the world

Press-Gazette


Netflix starts tier with advertising

Netflix will introduce a new tier supported by advertising. After years of solid growth, the company had recently lost around 200.000 subscribers. The idea is to reach an audience which would not pay the monthly subscription.

“We’ve left a big customer segment off the table, which is people who say: ‘Hey, Netflix is too expensive for me, and I don’t mind advertising”, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in an interview. “… we’re not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today. We’re adding an ad tier for folks who say, ‘Hey, I want a lower price, and I’ll watch ads.”

Based on reports, Google will organise the sales for such Netflix advertising.

Hollywood Reporter


China wants to censor all social comments in advance

A new proposal by a regulator in China aims to approve all social media comments in advance. It is not clear how this would be done technically. The assumption is that it would be an automated service.

“On June 17, the internet regulator Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) published a draft update on the responsibilities of platforms and content creators in managing online comments. One line stands out: all online comments must be pre-reviewed before being published. Users and observers are worried that the move could further tighten freedom of expression in China.”

Related: The New York Times has a visual report showing how surveillance technology in China works and how it has expanded in recent years:

“China’s ambition to collect a staggering amount of personal data from everyday citizens is more expansive than previously known, a Times investigation has found. Phone-tracking devices are now everywhere. The police are creating some of the largest DNA databases in the world. And the authorities are building upon facial recognition technology to collect voice prints from the general public.”

MIT Technology Review

The New York Times ($)


Notes: Twitter adds a long-form text option

Twitter will add a new feature called ‘Notes’, which then can be attached directly to a tweet. The idea is that content creation and tweet promotion can be done on one platform. Market observers view it as an experiment; it is unclear whether this will catch on. Twitter is testing the feature with several writers. So far, the quality is not available in all world regions, e.g., Europe.

Twitter


Khaby Lame rises to most followed TikTok creator

Lame, who rose to popularity with comedy reactions to other TikToks now has 142 million followers on TikTok.

Techcrunch

Khaby Lame TikTok

Wikipedia


BLOCKCHAIN


Falling prices testing platforms

The falling values of cryptocurrencies create all kinds of challenges. Example: Last week, users of Solend, a Solana-based protocol, voted to take over an account to prevent a margin call. The original user had borrowed $108 million but was getting under pressure to liquidate if the Solana token would fall below $22,30. Managers of Solend used “emergency powers” to take over the wallet. However, this decision was met with an outcry by users as a violation of the principle of decentralised decisions through code, not by single humans. While this is only one episode, the current situation in the crypto market creates all kinds of issues and pressure to invent policies for crises.

Coinbase


Three Arrows Capital ordered to be liquidated

The end of the crypto speculation bubble affects all kinds of Blockchain companies. Some of them are in crisis mode. Many watched the liquidity crisis in the past week at Celsius and BlockFi. Another firm in trouble is ThreeArrows Capital, which is based in Singapore. Sky News reported that a British Virgin Islands court had ordered the fund’s liquidation.

“The firm’s demise is likely to raise further questions, however, about the regulatory oversight to which cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are subject in the world’s major financial centres.”

The collapse of such prominent players sends shockwaves yet to other companies:

“Cryptocurrency market maker and lending firm Genesis Trading is facing potential losses into the “hundreds of millions,” according to three people familiar with the matter.”

Sky

Coindesk


Hackers steal $100 million exploiting bridge

The Harmony blockchain, used as a bridge to exchange tokens of different blockchains, has been hacked.

“Hackers looted about $100 million from a so-called cryptocurrency bridge, again exposing a key vulnerability in the digital-asset ecosystem.”

“…bridges are particularly vulnerable to hacks, as their technology is complex and they are often run by anonymous teams. The way they safeguard funds is often unclear. Sophisticated hackers have repeatedly targeted them. ”

Bloomberg


Short links:

• After the big crash, entrepreneur Do Kwon still wants to offer a new coin Wall Street Journal


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