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Europe welcomes the first Blockchain research lab in Edinburgh

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The Scottish capital Edinburgh welcomes Europe’s first blockchain research laboratory that will focus on cybersecurity and the protection of personal data. The project has been started with the collaboration of Edinburgh Napier University and a Hong Kong-headquartered technology company.

Known as Blockpass Identity Lab (BIL), launched last night at Edinburgh Napier’s Merchiston campus is part of a £600,000 partnership between the university and Blockpass IDN, a blockchain-based identity application provider. The BIL aims to figure out the ways in which blockchain technology can protect personal data from online scammers and hackers. The lab will mainly work to identify hackers who attack personal data and misuse it for ulterior motives.  It is important to mention that it will be the first blockchain-dedicated research lab in Europe, which is particularly designed to building new data infrastructures which respect the rights, and privacy of citizens by protecting from online scammers as you all know cybersecurity is one of the main issues of today’s digital world. 

Under a three-year partnership with IDN, funding will be utilized to support research staff, 5 Ph.D. students and a virtualized blockchain environment.

Kate Forbes, the Scottish Minister for the Digital Economy said, 

“This exciting work to explore how blockchain technology can protect personal data from online scammers and hackers carries on the tradition of innovation and excellence exemplified by John Napier [the Scottish mathematician that the Edinburgh Napier University is named after].”

The announcement of the blockchain research laboratory comes after a series of high-profile data breaches at companies including Yahoo, Facebook, Uber, and Equifax. The protection of the personal user data is becoming a key corporate concern these days. According to one research,  Identity fraud affects around one in ten people in the UK.

Bill Buchanan, professor in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier, said: “We are proud to be joining forces with Blockpass to create the first dedicated blockchain laboratory in Europe.”

Minister for the digital economy Kate Forbes called the collaboration “a great example of the type of partnerships which will help to ensure that Scotland has an innovative, world-class cybersecurity goods and services industry”. Multiple events will be held at the campus in the week following the BIL launch, multiple events are anticipated to be held at the campus this week.  These include the inaugural Blockpass Identity Lab Conference on Digital Identity, Blockchain and Advanced Cryptography on Friday, 28 September, and a “hackathon” starting on Saturday, 29 September.

We hope that this would be a big step in the world of cybersecurity and keep the hackers at bay. What do you think about this lab? Let us know in the comment section or email at aqsamirza9990@gmail.com

 

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Barclays, a British financial service stops working on Crypto project

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According to some sources, Barclays, a British multinational service company has stopped doing work on a cryptocurrency trading project, in the latest twist for banks hoping to tap into the rapidly growing sector. There was speculation in April 2018 that Barclays Bank Plc. was considering introducing a cryptocurrency trading desk to join Goldman Sachs Group in the initiative. It may appear that it will not be happening, at least for now.

Not too long ago, the financial institution was interested in doing positive development in the crypto world. Earlier this year, the investment bank in this regard put together a senior team to look at how it could incorporate the trading of digital assets into its markets business. The initiative, however, has been put “on ice”, in other words, it has been delayed, one of the people said.

Read Also: IMF says the rapid growth of Crypto market will impact global financial system

 Tyrer worked alongside Marvin Barth, head of FX and emerging markets macro strategy at Barclays, on the project. Lee Braine, a senior technologist at an investment bank, and consultant Matthieu Jobbe Duval also worked on the venture.

The sources informed, the four were exploring whether cryptocurrencies could be a viable long-term asset class, whether Barclays’ clients are interested in the project and what IT infrastructure would be required.

Barclays’ chief executive Jes Staley told the bank’s annual general meeting in May that Barclays remained careful of the regulatory and compliance issues surrounding the asset class. “There is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of,” he said.

The decision to shelve the project will be of interest to the UK’s lender’s rivals, many of which have been exploring ways to profit from the explosion of interest in cryptocurrencies.

JPMorgan transferred Oliver Harris into the newly-created position of head of crypto-strategy in May, while Goldman Sachs said it is looking into opening a desk for trading cryptocurrencies.

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Zambia’s Central Bank says Bitcoin is not legal in the country

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Zambia’s central bank has said that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are not legal tender in the country.

As you know that many nations are introducing friendlier policies for blockchain technology and there’s a positive development overall in the Blockchain industry but Zambia has a different point of view when it comes to cryptocurrency. The Bank of Zambia (BoZ), responsible for creating and implementing monetary policies for the world’s 105th largest economy, explained their stance against the use of cryptocurrencies in contrast to the growing public interests in the field.

According to a local news report. The central bank admitted that it was receiving a lot of inquiries related to Bitcoin’s legal status in Zambia, and they had to “safeguard the interests of members of the public and to maintain the integrity of the financial system” with its official stance on the digital currency.

BoZ believes there are certain clauses in their financial constitutions, naming Section 30 which do not allow giving Bitcoin a legal status in Zambia. BoZ stated that clauses and said they are the barrier in the way of Bitcoin and similar digital assets from having a legal tender status. Also, the bank agreed that they had no constitutional power to disfigure or ban the local crypto market under the existing legal framework.

“Firstly, Section 30 of the Bank of Zambia Act vests the right to issue notes and coins exclusively in the BoZ. To date, BoZ has not issued any form of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the Republic of Zambia; Secondly, BoZ does not oversee, supervise nor regulate the cryptocurrency landscape. Consequently, any and all activities related to the buying, trading or usage of cryptocurrencies are performed at owner’s risk.”

BoZ also issued a warning regarding the investment in cryptocurrency. The bank said that the investors should be aware of the risks associated with the use of cryptocurrencies. It added money laundering, consumer protection (related to hacking and fraud), and terrorism financing to its statement, reminding that they will not be able to offer any legal recourse to crypto users if they get subjected to any of such online crimes.

As of now, the Zambian crypto community does not constitute any significant trading activity to the global crypto volume. The country does not have an active local exchange, and the local crypto traders mostly rely on either foreign crypto exchanges or peer-to-peer desks to conduct their transactions. It might be due to the lack of crypto education in a country where only 11.6 percent of people have an internet connection, according to a World Bank report.

What do you think Will Zambia ever give a legal status to cryptocurrency or not? Let us know in the comment section or email at aqsa9990@gmail.com

 

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IMF says rapid growth of Crypto market will impact global financial system

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated in a recently released report that the rapid growth of Bitcoin and crypto could impact the international finance system.

The report entitled “World Economic Outlook: Challenges to Steady Growth” published by the IMF read:

“Cybersecurity breaches and cyberattacks on critical financial infrastructure represent an additional source of risk because they could undermine cross-border payment systems and disrupt the flow of goods and services. Continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system.”

Despite the 80 percent decline in the valuation of the crypto market, the industry has seen some of the most positive developments regarding the institutionalization, regulation, and development of cryptocurrencies as an emerging asset class in the past nine months.

Led by existing companies like Coinbase and Gemini, major financial institutions in the likes of NYSE, Cboe, and Goldman Sachs have started to strengthen the infrastructure of the cryptocurrency market, allowing both high profile retail traders and institutional investors to allocate large amounts of money in the asset class.

As the cryptocurrency sector continues to grow at an exponential rate, the IMF emphasized that it could create vulnerabilities in the financial system. Because cryptocurrencies are considered alternative currencies with value, a growing number of hackers have started to target digital asset trading platforms with sophisticated tools and hacking methods.

Jeon Ha-jin, the chairman of South Korea Blockchain Association said,

“Stealing cryptocurrencies is similar to stealing cash, and exchanges will continue to be targeted by hacking attacks in the long-term. It is as important to establish systems to deal with the aftermath of hacking attacks as integrating various methods to prevent hacking attacks.”

In South Korea, the third largest cryptocurrency exchange market behind the US and Japan, exchanges have begun to insure their funds through trusted insurance providers like Samsung to add an additional layer of security and investor protection.

Gemini, a leading cryptocurrency exchange in the US alongside Coinbase, also recently obtained insurance services from Aon to ensure that in an unlikely event of a security breach, the exchange is able to cover user funds and holdings fully.

Emin Gun Sirer, a professor at the prestigious Cornell University and a highly regarded expert in the space of cryptocurrency and blockchain, stated that the acknowledgment of cryptocurrencies as an asset class by the IMF is optimistic for the industry.

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