Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 40

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 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:

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:


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.”


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.



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.


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.


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. “


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.



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”.


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.


Market analysis: The state of crypto banks in 2022

Users: From October 2021 to May 2022, 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.


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

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Newsletter #27

Newsletter #27

TruBlo Newsletter #24

TruBlo Newsletter #24

A condensed weekly update from the intersection of trust, content, and blockchain.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes (1873 words)

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Projects: Check out the profiles of funded projects on our website.


Kick-off with projects selected in the second open call: Last week, TruBlo organized a two-day kick-off with the 15 projects selected for funding in the second open call. In total, including the projects selected in the first open call, there are now 25 active projects.

TruBlo Website

Updates this week:


A lot of trust for few: Crypto Custody Providers

Crypto custody providers are specialized services. Their job is to store currency securely. In the current market, eight of these platforms have a relatively large share of the market:

“10% of all cryptocurrency ($250 billion) is stored on just 8 crypto custody tech providers/custodians”.

Blockdata has an overview and comparison of these providers.


“Like in a wild west movie when the sheriff rides into town.”

How much cryptocurrency has been stolen so far? Here is one estimate: Roughly $10 billion, between 2011 to 2021. Is that a lot? Not so much? Hard to judge. To be fair: Even in the traditional banking market, money scams result in money every year. Potentially the crypto market is not worse, but not better either. The big challenge here is that usually, people are tricked into handing out their credentials. Still, about a third of the losses are because of security breaches.

In more detail:

  • In total, $2.86 billion has been stolen through security breaches and $6.8 billion has been stolen through scams, and $0.335 billion through DeFi hacks.
  • In the US, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seized cryptocurrencies to the value of $3.5bn, which is 93% of all seizures.
  • Approximately $10 billion in total worth of cryptocurrencies has been stolen between 2011 and May 2021

Quote: “It’s like in a wild west movie when the sheriff rides into a lawless town – they need to have brought the big guns with them if they’re going to get the situation under control. These “guns” broadly fall into two areas – new laws and new tools.”

An informative article by fin-tech writer Chris Gledhill on LinkedIn provides more numbers and trends (and links to official reports).


The Do-Everything companies

The “Wall Street Journal” documents how fast-growing tech companies are diversifying into one area after another. They are overtaking the former positions of the “old guard”, companies like General Electric or Siemens.

Why it matters: Media and communication markets are more affected by monopolistic structures than utility markets. It might be bad for the price competition if all electricity comes from one company. But if all information and advertising come from just a very few companies, it is a complex problem.


What is Explainable AI (XAI)?

Artificial intelligence systems should not be a black box. Although it might be complex to understand how a system works, judging and verifying the output should be possible. This must be possible for the conclusions as well as how the system came to them. To get there, we need “explainable AI” (XAI).

  • Explainable AI comes in three types:
    • Global (what the system is doing),
    • Local (how a model came up with a prediction), and
    • Social (how users might behave in response to the system’s predictions)

This is viewed as important:

  • A survey by IDC from 2020 showed that many business buyers see “explainability” as a “critical requirement”.
  • The European Commission High-Level Expert Group on AI has referenced XAI as a guiding principle.

Venture Beat: What is explainable AI? Building trust in AI models

NGI Policy Summit: How can we rebuild the internet as a public good?

From November 29 to December 1, 2021, the European “Next Generation Internet” (NGI) community came together to discuss the future of the internet.

The Policy Summit discussed how we could build an alternative model for the future of the internet through the lens of three overarching themes: keeping the internet global, building a sustainable, interoperable Internet, and reclaiming the internet as a public good.

Note: There is a great option to view selected speeches “on-demand”, meaning that you can select the speakers and talks you are interested in. Our recommendation is to watch the talk by book author and internet activist Cory Doctorow.


Twitter: @NGIForward

European Innovation Report: Some progress here

“The European Innovation Report 2021” provides some evidence that the deep gap between start-up and funding activities in the US and Europe might become more narrow. There is a notable increase in innovation funding and startup activities in Europe. Gradually the EU can claim progress in the field of fast-growing (and well funded) startups.

A question for the future is: How will the EU companies differ (in business models, values, ethics) from the large US or Chinese companies.



EU Commission supports a “European Newsroom.”

The EU supports the organisation of a collaborative project to report European news. The project will bring together 16 news agencies and be led by “Deutsche Presse Agentur” (dpa) from Germany.


Key design challenges for crypto and Web3

As a consumer, as a normal user: How will you tell a scam from the correct log-in page of a cryptocurrency platform?? If you are a project manager for a crypto platform, this article is required reading. It shows examples and helps to understand better what the solution must be.


Cosmetics company Lush demands actions for a safer environment from platforms

Lush announced that it would close down the Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat account it operates in all 48 countries they are present.
They demand actions from the platforms “to provide a safer environment” for users. Twitter and YouTube will stay in operation.


Axie Infinity: Is the play-to-earn model sustainable? Experts have doubts.

For every gamer, this must sound too good to be true: Get paid to play. This, though, is what the platform Axie Infinity offers. The company is the “current flag-bearer for the emerging play-to-earn (P2E) business model” (Source: Naavik).

Here is how it works: You get paid in cryptocurrency if you fight monsters in Axie Infinity. But there is a catch. To start the game, you have to pay an entry fee of $1,000. Many players come from low-income countries and do not have such an amount. This has led to the emergence of sponsors, who enable a new player to get in, but then take a cut of the earnings. So far, so complex.

At the current state, the game economy is dependent on massive user growth to pay existing players. But this year, the cryptocurrency used in the game by the name of “Smooth Love Potion” (SLP) has lost value compared to US-Dollar. Analysis firm Naavik published a partially free study about Axie, link below.

Financial Times ($): Crypto’s hottest game is facing an economic maelstrom

Analysis by Naavik (partially free to read)

Seeing is believing? Look at these examples of deep fakes and think again

This links to an older article from Technology Review (from August 28, 2020). But have a look, it’s important to see this. The article shows how easy it is to use Software to create deep fakes. There are examples in the article, which have a surprisingly high quality.

The creations that are possible are used for all kinds of memes. For all kinds of platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

This means: Millions of people are seeing them. Users need to recalibrate what they think is true and what is not true. As the article says: Things are getting weird.


Metaverse: Crypto states vs crypto corporates

Who will be the leading force in the future metaverse: A large company pushing advertising into every area? Or will new organisations and groups be pushing against pure commercial usage? Fascinating outlook into the future.



Enterprise Blockchain Report: Funding requirements for startups notably higher

LeadBlock Partners, a venture capital fund, has published its enterprise blockchain report. The data is based on 250 startups. In comparison to earlier surveys, the startups expect to need higher funding to succeed.

According to the survey, a challenge for raising money is the lack of blockchain know-how among investors. 58% of the interviewed startups disagreed with the question of investors’ competence in this field.

Another question of the survey was which platforms the startups would choose. Ethereum is still in the lead here, with a share of 28%. The article has a breakdown of all platforms in use, with more detail.

Ledger Insights: Enterprise blockchain startup funding requirements more than double

Mosaico: Using tokens to connect startups with investors

Mosaico is located in Poland. They facilitate contact between startups and investors. So far, the company has an amount of $12.5 million for 28 projects. To an extent, the tokenization of a business project is a very early IPO – in the sense that investors can buy parts of the company.

“With four years of presence in the crypto industry, Mosaico has successfully incorporated blockchain technology into equity crowdfunding within Europe. Besides creating attractive opportunities for investors to diversify their portfolios, the entity plays an advisory role for its patrons and beneficiaries. “ (Cointelegraph)


CurioNFT offsets carbon emissions using “lazy minting”

The criticism over energy use for mining Bitcoins or minting NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) seems to result in platforms taking action. For an upcoming NFT project, CurioNFT will reduce carbon emissions by using “lazy minting”. This means that the process is initiated at a time of low Ethereum usage, thus “generating 2% of the emissions of a typical NFT”. The platform says the carbon costs are equivalent to sending 17 emails with attachments. The company is involved in other activities to offset emissions. They have so far planted 12,000 trees.

The Block Crypto

Quick updates: Recent news about digital money/blockchain in El Salvador, the EU, Japan, Nigeria

  • El Salvador: The International Monetary Fund issued a note about the financial situation in El Salvador. The IMF warned the country about the risks associated with its blockchain policies. In the country, Bitcoin is an official currency. LINK
  • The EU Parliament and the European Council are moving forward to allow a pilot program for blockchain-based tokenized securities (EU Report here). This would allow financial instruments like stocks or bonds could utilize blockchain as the backend technology. Quote: “Under the sandbox program, certain existing legal requirements are temporarily waved, subject to limits.” LINK
  • Large banks in Japan and 70 other companies are getting ready to trial a new digital currency for large business transactions. The trial is planned for the second half of 2022. LINK
  • Nigeria: The country’s central bank wants financial institutions to develop products based on the newly introduced CBDC. An opportunity here to develop secure, usable solutions. LINK

Square Decentralized Exchange Protocol white paper

Financial company Square published a white paper for a decentralized exchange protocol. The idea would be to enable payments across different types of fiat and cryptocurrencies. LINK

How can Ethereum evolve with Layer 2?

Ethereum has evolved into the key platform enabling smart contracts. But future growth is inhibited due to high gas prices for transactions. This is why some companies and solutions are now providing Layer 2 services.

A quick definition: “Layer 2 is another network working above the leading Ethereum network. The Layer 2 solutions stay above the Layer 1 network through a smart contract. Layer 2 can interact with the leading network and not rely on modifications to their base protocols.”


Blockchance Conference, Hamburg – December 2-4, 2021

More than 4,000 delegates, including blockchain and AI experts, developers, investors, CEOs and advisors from the EU Commission, are expected in Hamburg for the hybrid Blockchance Europe 2021 underway in the Chamber of Commerce from December 2-4.


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TruBlo Newsletter #3

TruBlo Newsletter #3

TruBlo 1st Open Call – join until March 19, 2021.

Up to 175.000 Euro for innovative ideas. Apply here


Trust, Content, Blockchain, Next Generation Internet.

Blockchain for business: Why is it not taking off?

The value of Bitcoin is rising. But the hype there has so far not helped with business solutions using blockchain. Why is development in this area so slow? 

A report from MIT Sloan says:

“The biggest challenge to companies creating blockchain apps isn’t the technology — it’s successfully collaborating with ecosystem partners”. 

International container shipping is an example: If implemented, containers could one day pass through customs faster. But this will only happen once many shipping compannies and port authorities adopt the technology. 

Early blockchain projects for business are in a catch-22 situation: They need a network to be valuable. 

For the study researchers studied over a dozen live blockchain applications including TradeLens, the IBM Food Trust, the Grass Roots Farmer Cooperative, We.Trade, KoreConX, MediLedger, Santander (bond issuance and settlement), SmartResume, WineChain, ANSAcheck, Rapid Medical Parts (3D printing of parts to convert sleep apnea machines to hospital-grade respirators), Stellar (payments platform), and Xbox royalty payments (compensating content creators).

So, everyone is waiting for the first big success to open the gates. 

Key takeaway: Should you plan a blockchain project consider how it could be picked up fast by many users or many members of one particular group. LINK

A way to timestamp documents

Wordproof offers a way to add verification options to online articles, through “timestamps”. Using a hash value which is then stored in a blockchain this creates a “birth certificate” for content. The company offers a module which can be added to WordPress for this purpose. For starters, there is a free plan. Plus, there is a video showing how timestamps work. Video

Clubhouse would like to access your contacts

“When you join the fast-growing, invite-only social media app Clubhouse — lucky you! — one of the first things the app will ask you to do is grant it access to your iPhone’s contacts. A finger icon points to the “OK” button, which is also in a bolder font and more enticing than the adjacent “Don’t Allow” option. You don’t have to do it, but if you don’t, you lose the ability to invite anyone else to Clubhouse.”

This sounds like the next privacy and what is surprising is that it starts the way other such issues started: By an eagerness to gather data – without making it clear for what reason. Why would my doctor want to join Clubhouse? Let him decide. Why is this strategey of collecting all those names a higher priority than a rock-solid user experience? LINK

Facebook reports rise in content takedowns

In the last quarter of 2020 Facebook took down 6,3 million posts to enforce against online bullying and harrassement. The number has rissen from 3,5 million takedowns in the third quarter of 2020. LINK

12 ways to build trust for tech companies

An article published on Forbes lists up 12 ways to gain trust. Among them: Transparency, showing that privacy is important by example and “privacy by design”. Blockchain is listed as the enabling technology. LINK

In 2020 consumers spent $13 billion on non-game subscriptions, up from $9,7

The market for paid content, in various forms, is growing. In the past it was very difficult to make money this way, but this has changed. Figures reported by Sensor Tower say spending has increased by 34% in one year. if LINK

Fifty million content creators

“There are currently over 50 million creators on Youtube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, and other social media platforms. Two million of them are full-time, and they earn six-figure salaries by creating content daily or weekly. And that massive distributed content creation engine means that about 90% of the video, audio, photo, and text-based content consumed today by Gen Z is created by individuals, not corporations.”

Via Forbes. This is a from mid-2020, but notable.

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