Blockchain Jobs And Wages Are On The Rise: Study

Money talks. And with a median salary of nearly $85,000 per year, blockchain professionals make more than most, according to Oct. 2018 Glassdoor study. The median U.S. salary is nearly $52,000. So why do crypto and blockchain workers earn 62% more than other American workers?

Because companies are mostly hiring people with technical expertise such as coders and analysts. Secondly, most jobs are located in expensive cities which drive higher wages. The top five U.S. locations with the most blockchain openings are:

New York, NYSan Francisco, CASan Jose, CAChicago, ILSeattle, WA

In New York, the median pay for software engineers is $104,000. Here are the top five non-U.S. locations with the most blockchain work opportunities:

LondonSingaporeTorontoHong KongBerlin

“Companies are hiring primarily for technical roles, requiring engineering experience and coding skills, and many of these job openings are centered in cities that are already major talent hubs for technical or financial expertise,” according to Glassdoor’s study. “Both factors are contributing to pay exceeding median salaries elsewhere — another strong indicator of long-term investment.”

Such jobs rose 300 percent since last year, rising to 1,775 openings in the U.S. in August 2018. But Asia is seeing a lot of hiring as well. Recruitment firm Robert Walters is seeing a 50% increase in blockchain or crypto jobs in Asia since last year. Thus, it’s no surprise that Singapore and Hong Kong are establishing themselves as the “blockchain islands” of the Far East.

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Will The ‘Ethical ICO’ Atone For The Father’s Sins?

It’s fashionable to disparage initial coin offerings (ICOs): the choice fundraiser for the cowboy, the con and the scam. With a tarnished name, few legitimate projects chose to go down the ICO route. The crowdfunding platform, Cofound.it, closed its doors in September complaining the ICO market ultimately hurt investors. It’s a low ebb. But one British-based project thinks it can still be used; if it’s an ethical ICO, anyway.

Holding company Investx announced on Thursday that their planned public sale for the INX utility token would follow strict principles to reduce the risk for investors. This will include the creation of a reserve fund as well as a sustainable token supply. The company has brought on David Atkinson, Director of Holochain (HOT), to advise and assist the development of an ethical ICO.

“We [Investx] wanted to differentiate our ICO by openly committing to ethical ICO principles”, said Peter Edgar, CEO of Investx. “These are steps we’ve taken to stabilise the token, lay foundations for future growth, and commit to transparency that holds us accountable to token holders.”

The funds will go towards Investx’s new blockchain equity platform. Based on the Ethereum (ETH) network, INX tokens can be used to buy equity in private companies, which they can keep or sell, in or outside the ecosystem. Although companies hosted on the platform will have the option of accepting INX for equity, Investx will have a fiat currency reserve relative to the number of tokens in circulation, which can be used to buy equity on the token holder’s behalf.

Investx argues that their blockchain model would open up SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) investment to a wider variety of investors, including even retail investors. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has so far given their approval.

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Bitmain Could Be Casualty In US-China Trade War

“An eye for an eye” is a Biblical principle of justice that is seeing 21st century use case. And if applied to its full extent, the tit-for-tat approach towards one’s adversary will do harm to the world’s two largest economies. That is until either side blinks.

The U.S.-China trade war escalated last month when President Donald Trump imposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. It’s the second and more painful round of taxes levied on imports, and it’s set to increase to 25% by year-end unless the world’s most populous country of $1.4 billion opens its markets to the world’s biggest economy (America) worth $19.4 trillion.

The billionaire-turned-politician isn’t backing down. He’s doubling down with the same resolve of an angry voter.

During the 2016 campaign, Pres. Trump’s politics of populism appealed to disenfranchised Americans who have been left out of the middle class by competitive – and arguably predatory – Chinese business practices. He called for retaliatory actions (an eye for an eye) against China’s trade practices which include tariffs on American imports, restrictions on U.S. products, and outright theft of proprietary technology and intellectual property.

So how big is the trade imbalance between the two superpowers? Last year, China reaped trade surpluses of $167 billion in computers and electronics; $39.9 billion in electronic equipment; and $38.6 billion in miscellaneous manufacturing, according to U.S. Census Bureau.

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Polymath Soars As STO Excitement Over tZero Peaks

Polymath (POLY) tokens surged as much as 20% in value during Thursday’s trading as markets reacted to the news tZero has issued its security tokens to investors.

In a price surge reminiscent of the December bull-run, POLY is currently trading at $0.22. The tokens peaked at around 14:00 BST when the market cap surpassed $70m: just shy of $0.25 per individual coin. The price declined in the past four hours. The POLY market cap stood at $64m at press time, $6m below where it had been earlier that same day.

Polymath first started to rise last night, when coins spiked from $0.20 to over $0.24 within an hour. Although the price quickly corrected, tokens began to rise steadily throughout the evening and into Thursday morning.

tZero token sale

This initial spike followed news on Tuesday that tZero, a blockchain-based subsidiary of the internet retailer Overstock, had issued its security tokens. Sold during a security token offering (STO), between December and early August, investors with a signed agreement for future equity (SAFE) were issued with the tokens as early as last Friday.

Although the tokens have now been issued, holders still won’t be able to touch them. To be fully compliant with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), security tokens need to be locked down for a full 90 days before they can be released, and then only to accredited investors. Normal investors will have to wait until early August 2019 – exactly a year after the token sale – before they can take their holdings.

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Decentralizing the Dollar: Crypto-Collateralized Stablecoins

Decentralizing The Dollar is a three-part series on stablecoins, each addressing one of the three key methods postulated for tying a stable cryptocurrency to a fiat currency. In Part One, we examined how TrueUSD might rectify the flaws in Tether; in Part Two we looked at Kowala, and algorithmic stablecoins; and in Part Three we’ll look at crypto-collateralized coins.

Keeping track of the different stablecoins is a bit like learning the names and habitats of all the dinosaurs. There are tokens backed by dollars, euros, gold or silver, or even by pure code. There are also different stability systems for each major blockchain, and some have their own chains. 

There are also stable coins whose value is collateralized by other digital assets. Volatile cryptocurrencies might seem like an odd anchor, but that hasn’t stopped several tokens from stabilizing their value with a combination of crypto-collateral and governance to limit their price movements.

Some, like BitShares USD and Maker’s DAI token, can be considered relatively successful at hedging against market volatility. Others, like NuBits, provide a cautionary tale. 

Maker/ Dai: Volatility Fenced In

If you wanted an example of clever programmers innovating away the market’s problems, you couldn’t do much better than MakerDAO, a system of smart contracts which keeps the native DAI token stable.  Using a combination of price feeds and clever code, MakerDAO has kept the value of the Dai token reasonably close to a dollar. 

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Tron TRX Partners With Baidu: Yeah, And Crypto Briefing Partners With Walmart

Just when we thought Tron was starting to grow up and behave like a credible enterprise, Justin Sun turned around and did what he did best. After a week of stoking the embers, the Tron Foundation confirmed rumors that TRX was partnering  with China’s largest search engine. An “official tweet” from the Foundation announced that “#TRON is joining forces with Internet service giant Baidu,” and headlines sprouted around the cryptosphere:

 

Confirmed: Baidu and TRON to Cooperate on Cloud Computing Resources (Cointelegraph)News Flash: Tron’s Justin Sun confirms its secret partnership with Chinese Google, Baidu (AMBCrypto)Breaking: Baidu confirmed as TRON’s [TRX] Newest Partner (CryptoCrimson)

 

That’s a pretty formidable announcement, and evidence that the blockchain is starting to appeal to serious business—the sort of thing you’d announce in a joint press release rather than an “official tweet.”

Unfortunately, like many aspects of the Tron project, if it sounds too good to be true, then Justin Sun is opening his mouth again. 

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IBM Blockchain A Sure Bet For Enterprise Customers

Crypto guru Mike Novogratz views distributed ledger technology (DLT) as split between enterprise-facing private blockchains and open-source public blockchains. IBM is the undisputed leader in enterprise solutions with 65% of companies saying they would choose Big Blue to deploy the technology in their own business, per a Sept. 2018 survey by Juniper Research.

For now, it’s hard to imagine anyone dislodging IBM when it comes to large-scale use cases of blockchain. And that’s reflected in how corporate executives view the New York-based conglomerate of 330,000 employees.

Corporate preference for Big Blue is nearly 10 times that of second-place Microsoft (7%) while other companies that barely received votes include Accenture, Deloitte and Oracle. Samsung SDS and Sony have entered the space, with Samsung helping the South Korean government use DLT to improve administration — a pilot project that will undoubtedly attract similar interest from bloated bureaucracies around the world. Sony recently announced an initiative on digital rights management.

But compared to what IBM Blockchain is doing, these look like tentative steps rather than bold inspirations of conquest — and perhaps more of an effort to appease impatient board directors than to achieve a tectonic break in how business is done.

IBM Is All-In On Blockchain Bets

The Fortune 50-ranked company is focused on sure bets that are aimed at global impact: That is, to help Fortune 500 clients reshape entire industries, and whose private or open-source DLT transformations drive the highest ROI for shareholders.

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Grin Coin And MimbleWimble: An Introductory Guide

What Are Grin And MimbleWimble?

Grin coin is an implementation of the MimbleWimble protocol. Grin aims to be a scalable privacy coin that has no addresses, no amounts, and is therefore less storage intensive than other privacy coins and digital currencies.

The coin has an anonymous founder, has been developed by the community, and Grin is slated to have a fair proof-of-work launch in Q1 2019. Its mining algorithm is ASIC-resistant, meaning you can mine Grin with your laptop.

The MimbleWimble protocol is a design for a blockchain-based ledger where there are no addresses and the data storage required is minimized. It is a private-by-default blockchain that is also scalable and uses elliptic-curve cryptography that has been tested for decades. When compared to Bitcoin, MimbleWimble only needs to store 10% of the data requirements which means that it is more scalable, less centralized, and significantly faster.

Grin and MimbleWimble: History

On August 2nd, 2016 a text file was posted anonymously in a Bitcoin development forum outlining the early-stage of the MimbleWimble whitepaper. The purpose was to soft fork this design for a blockchain-ledger into Bitcoin as a solution to the scaling problem and to add private transactions. On October 20th, 2016 a different anonymous developer posted on the same forum that he was working on an implementation of MimbleWimble – it was called Grin.

When Satoshi first wrote the Bitcoin whitepaper its purpose was to become a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. High transaction fees and opportunity costs of using bitcoin have transformed its major use case into being more of a store of value.

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Otoy Blockchain: World’s Largest Cloud Rendering Network

Here’s a fun bit of trivia: which company runs the largest cloud computing network for rendering graphics? Is it Pixar, whose 24,000-core-data center qualifies as one of the world’s top supercomputers? Or Amazon Web Services, with an estimated 4.1 million servers? Or perhaps Microsoft, with more servers than Apple(bees)?

The answer might be: none of the above. RNDR, a blockchain-based platform for decentralized computing, now claims that its distributed network of Graphics Processing Units constitutes the largest cloud network of its kind. In a press release issued today, the company stated that its network “Top[s] the cumulative capacity of all GPU instances from major public cloud providers,” including Amazon and Microsoft.

The data were based on a survey, taken during RNDR’s beta testing. Based on responses from 1,200 individuals, the survey found that users are contributing 14,000 GPUs to the network, for a combined rendering power of 1.5 million OctaneBench. OctaneBench is a GPU benchmarking unit created by OTOY to measure rendering power; according to OTOY’s website, 100 OctaneBench refers to the processing power of a single GTX 980 graphics card. 

 

Star Wars Headline, Because Star Wars Mentioned In Just A Moment

RNDR is a blockchain network launched by OTOY, a centralized rendering service whose computing power has been used for productions like Star Wars, Avatar and Westworld. OTOY has also partnered with Facebook to provide post-processing tools for the Manifold camera, and with Unity to provide enhanced cinematic graphics to game developers. 

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Happy Birthday NEO: The One Becomes Two

NEO celebrated its second anniversary today, signifying two years of stable operations since its mainnet launched. While most of us celebrate our birthdays with cake, presents and red envelopes, the “Chinese Ethereum” is celebrating the blockchain way— with a “technical articles competition,” as well as other contests. 

“The NEO MainNet has been running in stable capacity for two years since its release,” the NEO website said in the anniversary announcement. “As an early blockchain project, NEO has spent the past two years improving its core technology, enriching and extending its ecosystem, and expanding the global presence of the NEO community.”

NEO’s Premature Growth Spurt

NEO was one of 2017’s greatest hits, although the run-up in prices was largely overshadowed by a few other big blockchains. Under the diminutive name of Antshares, the mainnet launched with a token valued at around $0.08 cents—putting it all the way down at 535th by market capitalization.

But Antshares climbed at breakneck speed. By August 2017, when it rebranded, NEO had reached the top ten, with prices pushing $40 dollars. Within a few months, the value quadrupled again, crossing $160 before the bubble began to burst. 

Peeking Under the Wrapping Paper

But the two-year-old blockchain is already starting to deliver on the presents. Although Ethereum grabbed most of the spotlight in the blockchain revolution, NEO’s dBFT consensus algorithm comes with significant advantages—including a 10,000 per-second transaction rate that leaves proof-of-work blockchains in the digital dust. 

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Mike Novogratz: Upward Price Pressure As Crypto Goes Institutional In Q1 2019

Crypto prices are headed up, at least sometime in the first half of 2019.

That’s according to Wall Street veteran Mike Novogratz, head of cryptocurrency hedge fund Galaxy Digital, who is considered an authoritative voice in the $220 billion industry. Bitcoin (BTC) probably won’t break the $10,000 barrier anytime this year, Novogratz told Bloomberg this week. However, an infusion of big-time institutional capital in late Q1 and early Q2 of 2019 could kickstart another historic bull run.

“We’ve been saying for a long time that one of the things that will get institutional investors to get involved in cryptos is custody solutions and they’re [Fidelity] coming out with a world-class custody solution that’s aimed at institutions,” Novogratz said in Oct. 15 interview. On Monday, the former Goldman Sachs partner announced on Twitter that Galaxy Digital is one of Fidelity’s early institutional clients, using the Wall Street firm’s custodianship services.

“What’s unique about crypto is that they’re bearer instruments. If I take your Bitcoin, it’s gone. If I take your Ethereum, it’s gone. If you get money stolen from JPMorgan, they know exactly how much was there and so they still owe you that money.”

There are plenty of idiosyncracies unique to the crypto industry such as private keys, multi-factor codes, wallet addresses and technical jargon. Novogratz said that institutions are nervous about storing millions (or billions) of dollars in decentralized systems that can be prone to lost keys and fraud. He said institution-grade services, particularly custodianship, are crucial for bringing a wave of big investments from hedge funds, endowments and other entities.

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Hammers, Hoodies and Flamethrowers: On Offer At Origin Today

Many people first heard about bitcoin (BTC) in the context of the Silk Road. This was an online marketplace, working off the darknet, where people could buy almost anything – heroin, pistols, pornography – a kind of illicit eBay.

But unfortunately for its operators, the Silk Road left a Paper Trail… which is why its founder, Ross Ulbricht, is currently detained at the pleasure of the U.S. government in a Colorado facility.

Crypto, as a sector, has matured; and as it becomes mainstream, the markets have also changed. 

A safer and altogether more salubrious P2P marketplace is now online, taking aim directly at the gig economy middlemen like Airbnb, Uber, or Craigslist.

The Origin (OGN) protocol is a decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace. It’s a platform for buyers and sellers to connect and transact with one another. Based on the Ethereum (ETH) network, goods and services can be bought with Ether. The mainnet is live, and the dApp is in beta and available to try.

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Monero Upgrades to Bulletproof Privacy: XMR Dev News

Monero developers have released a new version of the protocol, which will go into effect between October 18th and 19th. In addition to changing the proof-of-work algorithm to deter ASIC mining, the new upgrade includes improvements to Monero’s privacy functions that will allow deeper protection for significantly lower fees. Node operators and miners are urged to upgrade their software, and failure to do so may cause transactions to fail. 

Mon of Steel

The biggest additions to Monero v.0.13 are “bulletproofs,” which allow transactions to be verifiably published to the XMR blockchain without revealing their size. “Our current range proofs scale linearly in size with the number of outputs and the number of bits in the range,” Monero’s team wrote in a blog post last December, “meaning they make up the bulk of a transaction’s size.”

In contrast, “Bullet” proofs grow logarithmically in proportion to the range and number of outputs in a message, allowing transactions to provide greater privacy and use less data. Monero developers estimate that enacting bulletproofs will result in 80 percent reductions in transaction sizes, with proportionate improvements on transaction fees as well. “Further,” the blog explains, “initial testing shows that the time to verify a bulletproof is lower than for the existing range proofs, meaning speedier blockchain validation.”

In addition, the ring size—the number of decoy signatures used to camouflage Monero users when they send transactions—will be raised from seven to eleven, enhancing privacy on the network. 

Faster than a Speeding ASIC

The new upgrade is the latest sidestep in Monero’s duck-and-feint evasion of Bitmain and the world of industrial-scale mining. Unlike Bitcoin or Litecoin, Monero’s developers have explicitly declared war on ASICs, with regular hard forks that will make specially-designed hardware unusable. 

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Stablecoins See More Adoption A Month After Launch

It’s been a month since U.S. regulated stablecoins entered the cryptocurrency market, and as expected they’re seeing wider adoption globally. Singapore-based exchange Huobi on Tuesday announced the additions of four stablecoins. The new dollar-pegged coins include Paxos Standard Token (PAX), TrueUSD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC) and Gemini Dollar (GUSD).

Huobi said these price-steady assets will be available for deposits and withdrawals starting on Oct. 19. However, all are now available on Huobi Wallet. Moreover, an OTC platform by the same company will soon add them although no specific dates were released. PAX, TUSD, USDC and GUSD are all expected to see more investor support given that the Singapore-based exchange is the fourth-largest globally in crypto trading volume.

Tether (USDT) has attracted negative attention for its recent dip in price and market capitalization. If the trend continues, investors could show significant preference for regulated and/or audited stablecoins.

“While Tether’s appeal to traders seeking a safe haven during a prolonged bear market for traditional cryptocurrencies was undeniable, the news of its dip is not surprising,” says Eiland Glover, CEO at Kowala, in a statement to Crypto Briefing. The firm is creator of a stable crypto that tracks the U.S. dollar. “Projects that rely on public ‘trust’ in reserves of assets to maintain price pegs run the risk of losing the faith of investors at any given point, creating an environment for speculation that defeats the claim that asset-backed solutions solve the cryptocurrencies’ primary obstacle to mainstream adoption: price volatility.”

BitPay on Monday also announced that settlements for Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) payments can be done through Gemini Dollars (GUSD) and USD Coin (USDC). The U.S.-based crypto payment processor said in Oct. 15 blog that these stablecoins will remove the volatility risk for businesses receiving settlements in BTC or BCH.

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Belarus, Ukraine And Russia: Time To Revisit Their Tech?

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Eastern European region has endured growing pains. However, one thing the newly formed countries could always hang their hat on was a strong fundamental base in applied math and sciences. As capitalist principles have fortified the budding economies, these strengths have transformed into a stellar IT startup scene.

Unfortunately, for countries which remain outside the European Union, like Belarus, Ukraine and Russia (BUR), attracting Western capital still proves challenging. This has also been true when it comes to the blockchain revolution and the ICO scene.

While there are many challenges when it comes to working in the region, the BUR triangle is a goldmine of technological advancement. Investors who put in the extra effort and get to know locally-developed projects could be rewarded with outsized returns in the coming future

PR Issues In Eastern Europe

For almost three decades, the reputation of Eastern Europe has been colored by the  difficult economic conditions facing the region. Even as former Eastern Bloc countries joined the EU, economic development has been challenging. Many of the countries have had to overcome the clout of the Soviet past and longstanding ties with Russia in order to establish a national brand and reputation.

The Baltic Bloc, for example, having become one of the innovation hubs of the region (think Skype), was reclassified as Northern Europe. The precarious political situation wrought by shifting alliances has made it that more difficult for the BUR countries to build awareness of their IT startup scene.

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New Nano Transaction Results Create $20m Market Cap Spike

There’s nothing small about Nano’s (NANO) price surge today. The coin has added $20m to its market cap in the past two hours as the market reacts positively to new data about the speed of a Nano transaction.

Nano began to rise quickly in value at around 15:00 BST. From approximately $1.84, it has so far increased to just below the $2 barrier. This has allowed the coin to recoup some of the losses it incurred during last week’s flash crash.

This follows new data showing that the Nano transaction was one of the fastest in the space. Bitcoin Kit, a virtual currency data site, found that it took roughly three seconds for NANO to be deposited on the cryptocurrency exchange, Binance. This made it a whole three seconds faster than its nearest competitor, the remittance token Stellar Lumens (XLM), which could be successfully deposited in six seconds.

The most recent exchange deposit speed test by @bitcoinkit1 has been released and $Nano is still number one, but you already knew that right?https://t.co/dd7LMkko84

— Nano (@nano) October 16, 2018

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Fidelity Crypto Platform To Onboard Institutional Whales

It’s no secret there’s trillions of dollars on the sidelines — just waiting for the right time to wade into unchartered waters of cryptocurrencies.

Thanks to Fidelity’s new company, Fidelity Digital Assets, institutional investors can do just that, and possibly exert upward price pressure on what has been a year-long bear market. On Monday, the financial powerhouse with $2.5 trillion in assets under management launched three crypto solutions aimed at big-money “whales” such as hedge funds, family offices, pensions and investment banks. These solutions include institutional-grade custodianship, crypto trading platform, and dedicated client service.

According to the Boston-based company’s research, 70% of institutional investors said that new asset classes will emerge because of advancing technologies, such as blockchain. Last month, Wall Street veteran Mike Novogratz said that cryptos could be poised for gains in Q1 and Q2 next year because of infusion of institutional money.

Fidelity’s entry into cryptos, where Goldman Sachs balked, represents a tectonic shift in thinking — and risk-taking — among Wall Street’s preeminent firms, especially given regulators’ reluctance and often befuddled approach to tech governance.

Relatedly, U.K. banking giant Barclays recently cancelled the rollout of its crypto trading platform that would have onboarded Europe’s old money.

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Tezos News: XTZ Proves The Tezzie Bears Wrong

XTZ tokens have so far been the big winner with a batch of positive Tezos news over the past week. Starting at $1.22, the value of XTZ tokens – or ‘tezzies’ – grew throughout Monday to finish at $1.36. The rally has continued into Tuesday and tezzies were trading at $1.47 by press time as the bears retreated, licking their wounds.

Per token, this may seem incremental; but the Tezos market cap is up by more than a $100m. Why? 

Part of this has been a knee-jerk reaction by the market to the surprise news yesterday Kraken would list XTZ on its servers. Exchange users will be able to purchase XTZ for Bitcoin (BTC) or Ether (ETH), as well as the US dollar, Euro or Canadian dollar. Being listed on a well-known exchange is always a big boost for a project’s value; it acts as a sign of confidence that encourages greater demand and keeps existing holders from selling out.

It’s not just a new listing happening in the Tezos camp. The Tezos Foundation, the body responsible for managing the project’s funds, announced at the end of last week it was going to support the training of as many as 1,000 blockchain developers. Although the exact amount allocated has not been specified, the Foundation said they would invest in projects willing to draw-up training programs and provide learning resources to increase the number of programmers building on the XTZ blockchain.

Just under two weeks ago, the Foundation also announced it had issued grants for teams supporting mobile app development for the Tezos blockchain. The teams chosen include one creating a development kit for IOS devices, and another one geared towards Android devices. Another project has focused on improving secure key handling from a mobile device.

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NEM To Boost Australia’s Booming Blockchain Sector

The NEM.io Foundation, which works on behalf of the XEM cryptocurrency, has launched the first of a series of blockchain incubators in Melbourne, Australia.

The NEM Blockchain Hub will play a role in educating the wider world on the blockchain, as well as providing premises and funding for blockchain initiatives. Part community outreach program and part launchpad for startups, the Hub hopes to spread the message of the blockchain throughout the local business community.

Melbourne’s Big Tech Push

The Blockchain Hub will take up residence in the Victorian Innovation Hub, which will house 360 start-up accelerators and incubators when it is fully up to speed. In the heart of Melbourne’s old docklands, there’s a huge push to turn the city into a center of technical excellence and the blockchain could prove invaluable to many of them.

Blockchain is a fast growing and evolving technology and LaunchVic are pleased to welcome NEM.io Foundation to the Victorian Innovation Hub,–Dr. Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic.

The NEM Foundation is looking forward to working with the community and creating a two-way street of blockchain start-ups and the business community it needs to support it.

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India’s PM Unveils Blockchain Center, Could Indicate Policy Shift

In a move that signals India’s growing acceptance of distributed ledger technology (DLT), Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last week that blockchain, artificial intelligence and drones are three priority areas for a new technology center in Maharashtra, a western province of nearly 125 million that includes the city of Mumbai.

“Some people are worried that the advancement of technology will have [a] negative impact on jobs but the reality is otherwise,” said PM Modi at the launch of Maharashtra center, per local report. “Industry 4.0 will touch those aspects which still remain untouched so far. It will change the nature of the job and create new opportunities.”

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), a national financial regulator, has been cracking down on cryptocurrencies and argued before India’s Supreme Court last month that cryptos should not be recognized as legal tender in the country of 1.35 billion. But PM Modi’s enthusiasm for blockchain could portend a lessening of resistance among India’s conservative elites.

The Maharashtra center is part of World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its local team will collaborate with global experts on new policy approaches that maximize the benefits of blockchain and other innovations. The other three centers are located in San Francisco, Calif., Tokyo and Beijing.

RBI’s resistance to cryptos is aimed at stabilizing the nation’s financial system. India ranks 11th globally in terms of all-time Bitcoin (BTC) trading volume at $73 million USD, according to LocalBitcoins. Growing use of Bitcoin and other cryptos reflect their ability to facilitate payments where monetary infrastructure is lacking.

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