JP Morgan’s Blockchain Researchers Discussed Ethereum’s Shortcomings Before DAO Hack



When two senior blockchain leaders left JP Morgan’s Juno project last month to start the firm Kadena.io, as reported by Quartz, it was on amicable terms.

Related: JPMorgan Publishes Code for Permissioned Blockchain

JPMorgan & Kadena Partnership In The Works?

In fact, former executive director Stuart Popejoy and JP Morgan head engineer Will Martino – who use South Park caricatures on the website in their biographies – are currently exploring a partnership with their former employer, the largest bank in the United States with total assets of $2.35 trillion.

Kadena’s conversations with JP Morgan revolve around both the initial pilot of the Kadena self-titled blockchain and other use-cases, and  a relationship with the bank could be formalized in the next few months with Kadena either as a vendor or partner. Spinning off from JP Morgan was “definitely” a professional decision for Popejoy and Martino.

“Our decision was based on the belief that the true potential of the Juno pilot would be best-served by an independent effort,” Martino told Motherboard, referring to JP Morgan’s blockchain project.

DAO Hack Foreseen By JPMorgan

Martino’s and Popejoy believe  their work serves as an improvement over Ethereum. Martino and Popejoy say Kadena’s technology would avoid blockchain crises such as the June $56 million DAO hack of Ethereum’s token, ether.

Like Ethereum, Kadena’s blockchain technology can handle payment clearing use-cases, but that’s just an “added bonus of private utility-like blockchain technology,” as Martino says. He believes blockchain technology can standardize business logic for inter-organizational relationships. This, he suggests, “could provide for terrific business acceleration.”  At the time of the DAO hack, Kadena was preparing Pact, a safe, declarative smart-contract language.

“While bugs aren’t impossible in Pact, it represents the same sober, disciplined approach found in database engineering and Bitcoin: safety is absolutely paramount in transactional computing,” Martino said.  The Ethereum hack, ultimately, confirmed a longstanding hypothesis of the Kadena founders – one they had since their JP Morgan days.

“That Ethereum’s Solidity, and indeed the EVM bytecode environment itself, is fundamentally unable to provide a safe environment for blockchain transaction execution,” Popejoy expressed.

Martino and Popejoy noticed Ethereum’s shortcomings as blockchain technology researchers in the Emerging Technologies Group at JP Morgan, which is tasked with fostering innovation within the bank. Ethereum’s design presented “a significant barrier to industry adoption of private blockchain in a multi-organizational setting.”

Is the Kadena blockchain a Bitcoin and Ethereum killer app? Popejoy and Martino believe so. Kadena can, after all,  process upwards of 7,000 transactions per second. Bitcoin is currently stuck at seven transactions per second a la the “Bitcoin block size debate.” Kadena also claims their blockchain sacrifices none of the cryptographic robustness expected from a blockchain, proving full durable security. Overall, the Kadena founders foresee a paradigm shift away from public blockchains like Ethereum.

“Private blockchain solves a raft of issues for transaction processing that normally require extensive operational and engineering expertise, including database replication, reliable and performant messaging, service discovery, high-availability, and disaster-recovery,” Popejoy said. “Remarkably, blockchain solves all of these problems in a single stroke, letting IT focus efforts on solving business problems by coding transactional logic into smart-contracts.”


Buffalo Judge Says Bitcoin is Not Money

(GoldSilverBitcoin) U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott in Buffalo, New York ruled that bitcoin is not money in a money laundering case out of Buffalo. Scott ruled instead that Bitcoin is akin to a commodity, a collectible, but not currency.

Scott’s decision may not be upheld, as the district judge is reviewing it and reserves the right to take a different position, but it does raise interesting legal questions for the digital currency.

Related: Digital Asset Exchange ShapeShift Raises $10.4 Million in Series A

“The whole point of bitcoin is to escape the entanglement with sovereign governments,” Scott noted. “Money is not just any financial instrument or medium of exchange that people can devise on their own.”

Despite his harsh words about Bitcoin, he compared the commodity to collectibles such as “marbles, Beanie babies or Pokemon trading cards.”

Scott’s decision was based on a recommendation to U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa’s, but will likely not be upheld in higher courts.

Scott’s decision came in a money laundering case against Richard Petix, a 31-year-old Rochester man with a previous child pornography conviction.

Scott’s decision, and they were obvious in the money laundering case against Richard Petix, a 31-year-old Rochester man.

Petix, who has a previous child pornography conviction, is accused of selling $13,000 in bitcoins to an undercover federal agent as part of a drug distribution and money laundering scheme. Scott recommended the money laundering charge be dropped because bitcoin isn’t money.

Despite Scott’s recommendation, Petix’s defense lawyers are withdrawing their motion to dismiss and are now planning to take his case to trial, in part because of Siragusa’s expected decision and because they want to get the matter resolved quickly. They also claim their client is far removed from the dark net and criminal element that uses bitcoin to hide its identity and location.

“This kid traded bitcoin like other people trade baseball cards, stamps or coins,” said defense lawyer Matthew R. Lembke of Rochester.

Deciding what Bitcoin ought to legally be considered for tax purposes has been a hot topic.

“It has some mainstream appeal,” said Xiang, the federal prosecutor. “And if enough people get comfortable with bitcoin, maybe it doesn’t go away. Maybe it has staying power.”

 

Defending World Champion Cubs Don Gold for Wrigley Field Opening Night

(GoldSilverBitcoin) Anthony Rizzo is a baseball star. He is possibly the face of Major League Baseball thanks to his role in ending the Chicago Cub’s 108 year drought and role as team star. So, it’s only fitting that on the night the Cubs raised the 2016 World Series Championship banner, Rizzo delivered his first RBI of the season to walk-off against the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Monday night.

Said Rizzo: “I’ll remember this day for as long as I play baseball.”

Related: How a Bitcoin Accepting Securities Lawyer Profited from Cubs Game 7 Win

Before the nailbiter of a game, the banner raising ceremony was delayed for nearly two hours due to inclement weather. The Wrigley Field video scoreboard replayed Game 6-clinching NLCS win over the Dodgers.

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As the final out of Game 6 was recorded, it poured. The videoboard showed former Cubs catcher and member of 2016 championship team David Ross take the dance floor for Week 3’s competition on “Dancing with the Stars.”


The Cubs watched from the dugout.

The Cubs sported their gold-trim Cubs jersey, which has become a new baseball trend. The 2014 World Champion Giants, 2015 World Champion Royals and now the 2017 Chicago Cubs all wore gold-trimmed uniforms in their first homestand after a World Series victory.

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Ben Zobrist missed out on wearing the Royal’s 2016 gold-trim jersey, though the Kansas City organization did send him one. He underscored the honor of wearing these jerseys and what the championship has done for the City of Chicago.

The “thank yous” are non-stop. “Recently I had a guy cry on my shoulder,” Zobrist said. “An officer from the city here.”

“Everyone needs to realize the significance of it, what it means for the organization and personally as we look back on that jersey,” Zobrist said. “We get to keep a lot of jerseys over the years, but that will be one of my favorites.”

The gold-trim jersey, which feature a gold border around the front logo, a world series commemorative patch on the right arm and a gold number and name on the back, were on sale in the Cub’s official team store for $198.

After the rain delay, the Cubs banner raising ceremony got under way. After 108 years, the former “Loveable Losers” were Champions of the World. All of the Dodgers were bundled up as lineups were announced, except for one: Clayton Kershaw. He wore just his short-sleeved gray jersey, just the same as he wore when he was rocked in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series when the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-0.

After the defending World Champion Cubs had lined up one-by-one alongside the third base dugout, they made their way towards the center field brick wall to the roar of the crowd.

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg raised the banner commemorating the 1907 championship. Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins raised the 1908 banner. Billy Williams raised the 2016 National League Pennant as the crowd awaited the final banner.

Then, the Chicago Cubs raised the 2016 “Champions of the World” banner. The members of the 2016 team pulled on it one-by-one. The banner had to be knocked up against the top of the flagpole a few times to fully unravel blow in the wind.

“I love banner-raising,” Cubs eccentric manager Joe Maddon said before the ceremony. “Rings are wonderful, but I love banner-raising. That’s symbolically there all the time. Every time a kid shows up at the park, he sees that banner.”

The Cubs entered the field through the center field wall. Rizzo, the organization’s longest standing MLB player, held the World Series Trophy high above his head. The Wrigley Field PA played “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by AC/DC.

“A lot of emotions seeing that video and raising the flag,” Rizzo told press after the game. “The fans deserve that. Ive been a little emotional lately for some reason thinking about all this, when they told me that, emotions ran and what an honor that is. “

Rizzo said that at one point during the night he was “fighting back tears.”

He noted: “I wasn’t expecting to get hit with that many emotions. It was amazing.”

Laura, Todd and Tom Ricketts, whose family own the Chicago Cubs, then threw out three first pitches.

The ESPN broadcast then cut to an interview with Maddon, who discussed the importance of bringing the widow of a mentor of his, as well as former Cubs manager, Don Zimmer. Zimmer’s wife, Soot, was in attendance, Maddon told ESPN viewers, by his request. He told her her late husband would be there – albeit in spirit – and so she should be, too.

The field was ready for the game. On the edge of the bases, gold plates with the World Series Champions logo shone for the camera. For one World Series hero in particular, this was the moment he’d been waiting for.

Kyle Schwarber missed most of the 2016 season – he did not record a hit during the regular season – due to a knee injury. Miraculously, doctors cleared him to be the Designated Hitter in the World Series and he played a key role in his team’s victory.

“I haven’t really got to play at home in a year so it’s really going to be special when I walk out to left and see people in the bleachers,” Schwarber said. “It’s going to be a bit of a family reunion, I guess.”

The temperature sank towards 40 degrees as the game wore on. The crowd, perhaps a bit grumpy after a long day, booed Cubs bullpen pitchers – Carl Edwards, Jr. and Justin Grimm – late in the game when they had trouble finding the strike zone.

Today the celebration continues in Chicago. Kris Bryant made took batting practice mid-day Tuesday – an off-day for the Dodgers and Cubs who resume series on Wednesday – in a Red Bull stunt.

Javier Baez, Cubs second basemen and only Puerto Rican on the 2016 championship squad, will be honored with the street “Javier ‘Javy’ Baez way” in Chicago’s Puerto Rico neighborhood.

The Cubs will wear the gold jerseys one more time, Wednesday, after they receive their Championship rings, which are said to feature 108 diamonds.

“The best part of last year is we all got to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein. “[We] feel connected to each other and the fans and the organization and the city.”

Images: USA Today, WBEZ, AP, ABC

Police Take Tank Collector’s £2million in Gold Bullion Found in Vehicle’s Fuel Compartment



When a tank collector bought a new tank for £30,000 trade-in, he found more than £2million of gold bullion hidden in the tank’s fuel tank. And then, the police took the precious metals.

Nick Mead found five gold bars while restoring the Russian T54/69 he recently added to his collection of 150 military vehicles.

The 55-year old and his mechanic friend Todd Chamberlain filmed the finding of the gold in case they found munitions and needed to show it to bomb disposal crews. They found instead gold bars weighing up to 12 pounds or 5 kilograms each. The bars are altogether worth more than £2million, reports The Sun. But, the tank collector is no longer in possession of that ancient money.

He said: “We didn’t know what to do. You can’t exactly take five gold bullion bars down to Cash Converters without questions being asked, so we called the police.”

Mr. Mead owns Tanks-a-Lot, where customers can drive any of his tanks on his farm located in Helmdon, Northants in the United Kingdom. He gave up an Army lorry and an Abbot self-propelled gun to procure the T54/69 in the £30,000 after seeing the tank advertised on eBay.

They had found machine gun ammunition before finding the gold. They think the gold was looted by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait during the Gulf War where-after the tank was captured and shipped to Britain.

Nick said: “They must have cut a hole in the fuel tank and rammed it full of gold bars.”

Two officers took away the bars and gave them a receipt.

Nick said: “Even if I don’t get any of the gold back I will still have my beautiful tank.”

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman did not comment to press.



El Salvador is First Nation to Ban Gold, Metals Mining

El Salvador will prohibit gold and other metal mining after lawmakers overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday for the ban. Environmental activists say the country is the first in the world to ban metal mining.

Related: How to Start Your Own Gold Dealer Website



El Salvador’s delicate environment was cited as being unable to sustain metal mining operations, and legislators from many parties approved the ban, supported by the popular Roman Catholic Church. Proponents said a ban would proect the country’s supply of clean water.

“Today in El Salvador, water won out over gold,” tweeted Johnny Wright Sol, a legislator from the center-right Arena party.

Around the world, some bans on cyanide use to extract gold from low-grade ore exist, and Costa Rica has a national ban on open-pit gold mining.

Researchers Discover Way to Make Gold & Silver Nail Polish

Researchers believe they have discovered a way to add gold and silver to nail polish to create a durable, tined and perhaps even antibacterial nail coloring, extending the precious metals’ ancient uses for fashion in the form of jewelry.

Related: World’s Second Largest Gold Coin Stolen From Berlin Museum


The research, published in the ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, highlights how modern techniques depend on pigment powders and additives. Scientists, investigating nano-particles in polishes, discovered they can make nail polish more durable, in the case of silver nanoparticles, treating fungal toenail infections.

To break silver, gold and platinum alloy, they shot lasers into gold in short bursts for periods of fifteen minutes. They learned that this resulted in colored, transparent polishes with a metallic sheen. Researchers used laser ablation to create a master batch of metal nanoparticles in ethyl acetate, a polish thinner, which could then be added to individual bottles of polish.

Blockchain Personalities Speak out on Hard Fork

21.co used the 21.co/blockchain list to survey influential individuals in the blockchain space. “The list includes Bitcoin Core developers and Bitcoin Unlimited supporters, as well as a host of investors, executives, and founders,” writes 21.co on its Medium account. 

Related: Microsoft Head of Decentralized Identity Says Bitcoin is Under Attack

The survey turned up aggregate numbers on “what this sector of the community thinks,” as well as responses from people who wished to be cited, as well as those who wished to be quoted anonymously. The overwhelming number of people surveyed reporting using specifically Bitcoin.

When the company asked about “small blocker” and “big blocker” sympathies – a framing many take issue with – the company found ‘A plurality of responding influencers were sympathetic to the big-block camp. However, as we will see in the next section, even most “big-blockers” were not in favor of the Bitcoin Unlimited fork.’ The company also probed what applications people felt were most useful to them.

“Most of the major applications of digital currency seem to get people excited,” 21.co wrote. “It’s interesting that store-of-value and permission-less payments are still seen as the killer applications by many in the venture-backed community relative to non-currency-based blockchain applications. This is somewhat at variance with the tone of some media coverage over the last 1–2 years.” Most of those surveyed – 70% – do not want Bitcoin Unlimited activated. Conversely, most respondents noted they wanted Segwit activated.

A year ago, we had no implemented mechanism for scalability. Today, we do and it is ready now: segregated witness. This is just the first step in a long line of work to do. But we need to take the first step as well as set a roadmap for future steps. The time is now.

Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo

 

 

 

Digital Asset Exchange ShapeShift Raises $10.4 Million in Series A

Digital currency exchange ShapeShift, based in Switzerland, raised $10.4 million in capital from U.S. and international venture capital investors to fund its future expansion. The firm, owned by libertarian and former bitcoin gambling site SatoshiDice administrator Erik Voorhees, allows cryptocurrency users to instantly exchange digital currencies like bitcoin for other altcoins without needing to open an account nor the need for fiat currencies like US dollar, euro or Chinese yuan.

Related: Shapeshift Among Bitcoin’s Best Affiliate Programs



According to the digital currency exchange, the company has grown on average of 48 percent monthly since it launched just three years ago.

The Series A funding, led by Berlin’s Earlybird, also included investors like Lakestar, Access Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, and Blockchain Capital.

ShapeShift already had backing by FundersClub and Digital Currency Group. Erik Voorhees, who has been very successful in Bitcoin, also devoted funds.

The funds will mostly go towards further expansion, the company said. Considerable money might go towards security, as the company did once suffer a hack perpetrated by an inside source, according to an internal investigation.

“When we started ShapeShift, a future world of natively digital assets was very theoretical,” Voorhees said in a statement of the Series A funding. “Yet this world is quickly arriving; one in which millions of forms of digital value, from access keys to tokenized derivative contracts to video game items, will trade between people and machines all over the world, every second of every day.”

More than 40 digital currencies and assets – like bitcoin, ethereum, dash, litecoin, Augur and Monero – are traded on the ShapeShift platform. These assets may be traded for another.

“ShapeShift’s team built a compelling crypto exchange engine which can be easily integrated into third-party products,” said Christian Nagel, partner at Earlybird.

The investment into ShapeShift could signal a second wave of venture capital investment into the digital asset space. (big bank and multinational tech companies investing in blockchain, aside) While the first wave saw VC’s focus on Bitcoin, this second wave, it might be argued, will see a movement into the digital asset space – that is, ‘altcoins’, as cryptocurrency enthusiasts call them for shorthand.

Photo: Erik Voorhees

You Can Now Own a Pair of 24k Underwear

 

Australian underwear brand aussieBum wants your butt to feel like…a million bucks. Towards that end, the company has created a pair of men’s underwear worth $14,695. The company even sold a pair, though that guy wishes to remain anonymous has followed the brand since 2001, according to aussieBum’s press release.

RELATED: Victoria’s Secret Angels Prep for Fashion Show



Now underwear collectors can own a pair of 24k Gold underwear, made out of 24k gold yarn developed in Germany and knitted in Queensland. Designed by company founder Sean Ashby, and made in Sydney, Australia, the company hopes the 24k pair will add to its success – the press release says the company sold more than one million pairs of underwear and swimwear around the world.

“If you doubt yourself, wear something else,” he says.

Gold Investment is Still on the Rise

For the fourth straight year, gold investment will increase in 2017. Global political and economic factors have driven to increased gold demand despite the fact that the yellow metal has yet to reach once more its highs of fall 2011.

“There has been a return of opportunistic generalist investors who had exited gold in late 2011 and early 2012,” New York-based CPM Group said in its Gold Yearbook 2017.

Related: How to Start Your Own Gold Dealer Website



CPM projects investment in gold bullion to be 17.6 million ounces in 2017. 2016 saw 17.4 million ounces of gold bullion purchased, which was the highest since 2012 – just after the peak – when 29.2 million ounces were purchased.

CPM, which reseraches commodities, conjectured global gold coin demand to be 7.5 million ounces in 2017, an increase over 2016’s 7 million ounces – also, the highest since 2013.

“Most long-term gold investors do not seem to expect the world’s financial and political systems to collapse. Rather, they see them as facing major structural problems that will not be easily resolved or repaired in any short period of time,” CPM said. “In the near- to medium- term as it is becoming clearer to (shorter-term investors) that, while there may not be a collapse in the financial system, clearly the present interest rate environment, global economic growth profile, levels of unemployment and underemployment, and political turmoil globally are all factors that warrant owning at least some gold as a portfolio diversifier.”

CPM, furthermore, cited convoluted policies from Trump’s administration for more sideways precious metals prices in 2017.