Harmony Launches Staking, Becomes the First Sharded Proof-of-Stake Blockchain to go Live 8734

Harmony upgraded its mainnet to support staking, becoming the first blockchain to successfully combine sharding and proof-of-stake. Launch partners include Binance, Huobi and BitMax as well as professional validators such as Blockdaemon, Stake.fish and Figment Networks. Stakers on Harmony can expect to earn annual yields ranging from 45% to 15% in the first year.

Background

In 2018, the combination of proof-of-stake and sharding emerged as a leading solution for blockchain scaling. Projects like Ethereum 2.0, Near Protocol and Harmony adopted this approach for its promise to increase transaction throughput and reduce cost, while preserving decentralization.

Theoretical promise quickly gave way to the daunting technical complexity of building such a system. Fast forward to 2020 and no project has yet been able to crack the nut of sharding and proof-of-stake. That is until Harmony announced it had successfully upgraded its 4-shard network to support staking.

Impact

Being first is one thing, but the real question is does this blockchain architecture deliver on promises? And here Harmony’s making remarkable progress. Transactions on Harmony settle in 8 seconds, a welcome change for those accustomed to waiting minutes for Ethereum transactions to finalize. Costs are significantly cheaper as well. A transaction on Harmony will set you back only $0.000·001.

Sharding allows Harmony to achieve these results without sacrificing decentralization. Harmony’s network consists of over 320 public nodes and Harmony plans to increase that number to 1000 and beyond by the end of the year. By contrast chains like EOS and Libra scale at the cost of decentralization by limiting their networks to 21 and 27 nodes respectively.

Proof-of-stake blockchains have been criticized for “rich get richer” economics, in which the largest stakers earn the most. Harmony’s novel staking mechanism called “Effective Proof of Stake” counters this problem by capping the rewards of large stakers and boosting the rewards of smaller ones.

Future

Now that the core protocol work is complete, Harmony will shift focus to solving a potentially harder challenge: adoption. Harmony’s EVM compatibility makes it easy for developers in the Ethereum ecosystem to test out the new network. In addition to the protocol’s features, a comprehensive set of developer grants are planned to encourage developers to take the leap.

“Now that we’re equipped with a battle-tested base layer, we will shift gears to pursue adoption with the same nonstop execution that enabled us to launch the first sharded PoS blockchain,” said Harmony CEO, Stephen Tse. “Our scalability, speed and cost will enable use cases and user experiences that no other blockchain before us could.”

Harmony’s roadmap for 2020 includes reducing settlement times below 8 seconds, transitioning to community governance, and pursuing several promising application areas including cross-border finance and branded digital collectables.

Partners

Among Harmony’s launch supporters are numerous professional validators and exchanges. Blockdaemon, Stake.fish, Staked.us, Wetez, Sesame Seed, Everstake and InfStones are among 16 staking partners who are also top validators on Tezos, Cosmos, EOS and TRON. Binance, BitMax and Kucoin will support Harmony staking on their platforms.

About Harmony

Harmony is a fast and open blockchain for decentralized applications. Its protocol has achieved secure and random state sharding. Harmony’s Mainnet supports thousands of nodes in multiple shards, producing blocks in a few seconds with instant finality. The network’s staking mechanism reduces centralization while supporting stake delegation, reward compounding and double-sign slashing. Harmony aims to build an open network of nodes operated and governed by a large community.

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ZebPay Expands Chainalysis Relationship in India 3187

Chainalysis, the blockchain analysis company, today announced the expansion of its partnership with ZebPay, the leading cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider in India. Under the terms of the agreement, ZebPay will expand its use of Chainalysis KYT (Know Your Transaction) for transaction monitoring and compliance processes and Chainalysis Reactor for enhanced due diligence and investigations in India. The expanded relationship follows the recent regulatory developments regarding cryptocurrency in the country. ZebPay already uses Chainalysis software in Singapore.

“While there are still steps that need to be taken to strengthen cryptocurrency regulation in India, exchanges like ZebPay that implement robust compliance and investigative software will be well-equipped for future developments,” said Jason Bonds, Chief Revenue Officer, Chainalysis. “We believe India is poised to make advancements for the cryptocurrency industry, and look forward to growing our business there. We are excited to partner with ZebPay during such a historic time.”

“We wanted to build a best-in-class compliance program in India from the start,” said Avinash Shekhar, President, ZebPay. “We already knew the power of Chainalysis KYT’s automated compliance features and Chainalysis Reactor’s advanced investigative capabilities from our work with them in other markets, and we know Chainalysis will set us up for successful expansion in India.”

By leveraging Chainalysis KYT, cryptocurrency businesses like ZebPay can monitor large volumes of cryptocurrency activity and identify high-risk transactions on a continuous basis. Real-time alerts on the highest-risk activity allow compliance teams to focus on the most urgent activity and fulfill their regulatory obligations to report suspicious activity. Chainalysis Reactor assists cryptocurrency businesses to further investigate suspicious transactions and provide more detailed reporting on criminal activity such as fraud, extortion, and money laundering on the blockchain.

About Chainalysis
Chainalysis is the blockchain analysis company providing data and analysis to government agencies, exchanges, and financial institutions across 40 countries. Our investigation and compliance tools, education, and support create transparency across blockchains so our customers can engage confidently with cryptocurrency. Backed by Accel, Benchmark, and other leading names in venture capital, Chainalysis builds trust in blockchains. For more information, visit www.chainalysis.com.

About ZebPay
ZebPay is India’s leading cryptocurrency exchange since 2014, offering the largest BTC-INR and BAT-INR markets in the world. ZebPay is headquartered in Singapore, with exchanges in India, Singapore, and Australia offering cryptocurrency trading facilities.

Core Scientific and Bitmain Partner to Bring Bitmain’s “Ant Training Academy” to North America 4903

Core Scientific, the leading US blockchain hosting provider, and Bitmain, the industry-leading fabless manufacturer of computing chips, today announced the launch of the new Dalton, GA based Ant Training Academy (ATA) location, the first outside China. The new location was created to allow more North American based participants access to the same highly regarded training and certification services of the China based Academy, without having to travel outside North America. Courses are expected to begin in fall 2020.

Core Scientific is a leader in Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technologies, delivering best-in-class infrastructure and software solutions. In an increasingly distributed and connected world, Core Scientific believes AI and blockchain are changing the way information is processed, shared and stored across a range of industries.

Created by Bitmain in 2017, the ATA curriculum is based on years of knowledge dissemination and technology inheritance and accumulation. It is the sole training institution and certification authority officially certified by Antminer. ATA’s Maintenance Training Course is designed to educate maintenance personnel on how to install, operate, and repair mining equipment.

“We are very excited to partner with Bitmain to bring the world class Bitmain Ant Training Academy to North America” said Jeff Taylor, Chief Information Officer, Core Scientific. “Combining the proven ATA curriculum with accredited instructors from Core Scientific, where the white glove approach and strong operational excellence is part of our DNA, ensures attendees will walk away with the mission critical skills they need to operate at the highest level and secure the long term viability of their equipment.”

“As part of Bitmain’s commitment to providing continuous support and development for its global customers, we have partnered with Core Scientific, a company well-known for their professional work in the industry. We are confident that through this cooperation, customers will have better access to high-level professional training and certification from ATA to enhance the process of maintaining miners on a global scale”, said Nathaniel Yu, International Marketing Manager, Bitmain.

About Bitmain
Founded in 2013, Bitmain transforms computing by building industry-defining technology in cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI). Bitmain leads the industry in the production of integrated circuits for cryptocurrency mining, as well as mining hardware under the Antminer brand. The company also operates the largest cryptocurrency mining pools worldwide-Antpool.com and BTC.com. Bitmain technology supports a wide range of blockchain platforms and startups.

About Core Scientific
With a team that has a multi-year blockchain success story, Core Scientific provides custom hosting solutions at scale. Core Scientific is pioneering new innovations and best practices in the AI and Blockchain landscape. To learn more, visit www.corescientific.com.

Layer1 Launches Bitcoin Batteries to Stabilize Energy Grids by Releasing Electricity to Meet Market Demand 5903

Layer1 Technologies, the leading U.S. Bitcoin mining and energy infrastructure company, announced today that it has completed the installation of its proprietary demand-response technology based on the energy market standards developed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Now, Layer1’s fully integrated, proprietary Bitcoin-mining data center containers serve as large-scale energy storage systems (“Bitcoin Batteries”) that can be tapped in real time to meet peak market demand. By centralizing the consumption and release of multiple Megawatts per data center container, Layer1’s Bitcoin Batteries stabilize national and local energy grids that frequently suffer from demand shocks.

“Layer1 is the first company in the global Bitcoin mining industry that can curtail large amounts of energy consumption during times of market need and release it to the grid at the push of a button,” said Alexander Liegl, co-founder and CEO, Layer1. “We are the first company to perfectly align the economic incentives of large-scale energy consumption for high-performance computing, such as Bitcoin mining or cloud computing, and the need for grid stabilization by energy market regulators.”

Utility commissions are required to provide grid reliability while serving the increasing consumer demand for electricity in their markets. For instance, when a heat wave strikes and amplifies retail demand for air-conditioning, citizens are threatened with blackouts in times of greatest need. Layer1’s proprietary demand-response software can be activated to stabilize the energy grid by dynamically managing its electricity usage during periods of peak market demand.

“The increased installation of renewable energy production capacity will require increased demand response services from companies like Layer1,” said Liegl. “While the increased generation of renewable energy enables the government to meet carbon emission reduction goals, the volatility of green energy production means there’s less certainty of supply for end-consumers. In order to continue guaranteeing energy grid stability, public utilities will need to increase their integration with cutting-edge demand response technology.”

Layer1’s developed, proprietary large-scale power management software and patent-pending immersed liquid-cooling infrastructure reduces the company’s all-in electricity costs by over 75%, enabling its cost of production per Bitcoin mined to be multiples lower than any other global competitor.

Layer1 continues its mission to be the only vertically integrated Bitcoin miner to deliver pioneering technology for the energy market. Layer1 has redesigned Bitcoin mining from first principles to control every profit and cost lever across its technology stack, from proprietary ASIC chips and liquid-cooled mining containers to wholly owned power development and procurement.

The Layer1 team brings together Bitcoin mining’s most experienced team, having built-out over 15% of the network as founders of some of the biggest players in the world. Armed with a full-stack approach and never-before-seen container power capacity that’s rapidly scalable, climate resistant, and plug-and-play deployable, the Layer1 team is on a mission to forever change the way large-scale mining works.

The Power of Blockchain and Cloud Storage for Documents 8623

Cloud Storage

MJC & Associates, Inc. of Sugar Land, Texas, introduces a digital service company and the launch of its new technology platform, SAFEBOX-IMMUTABLE BLOCKCHAIN DOCUMENT PROTECTION℠, that uses the Ethereum blockchain network and cloud storage for managing and securing your valuable documents.

SAFEBOX℠ provides a solution for signing agents, escrow companies, legal, medical professionals, and other professionals that need to store confidential documents in perpetuity! All this can be done with just a few clicks.

“We have been working on this project for so long and we are very excited for its final launch,” said Robert Coleman-Foster, CEO of MJC & Associates, Inc., parent company of SAFEBOX℠. “Our product is easy to use and is particularly designed for individuals and organizations dealing with critically important and valuable documents requiring safeguarding, even forever.”

To get the best value out of using this service, SAFEBOX℠ is offering three different membership plans perfect for all levels of users:

  • Free – allows users to view their documents on the network. The users can only access the network so they can see materials that are shared with them.
  • Basic – designed for users who want to experience the security of blockchain and cloud computing for managing their documents. This plan allows you to upload, view as well as share a limited number of documents on the system.
  • Premium–built for professionals who deal with a high volume of paperwork and want the security of a reliable scalable global system that can assure their documents will remain immutable.

About – MJC & Associates, Inc. is based in Sugar Land, Texas and comprised of many brands like SAFEBOX, Integrity Signers, Assured Auto Signers and Integrity Litigation Support Services, Home Security and Personal Health Services. They believe in giving back to the society and have proved so with their nonprofit entities, the MJCA CARES Foundation and Mighty Men of Valor Ministries.

MJC & Associates, Inc’s constant effort in creating products for the betterment of the society has lead it to develop SAFEBOX.  SAFEBOX is newly founded technology platform of MJC & Associates, Inc. that makes use of the cloud storage and blockchain technology to expedite the work related to documents and record keeping. SAFEBOX’s client base consists of signing agents, attorneys, medical professionals, title companies, automobile dealers.

FinTech arm of WEG Bank Partners with Anquan Capital to Explore Blockchain Applications for Banking and Financial Services 8656

Anquan Capital Pte. Ltd, a Singapore-based group of technology companies has partnered with the FinTech arm of the German WEG Bank AG, which operates under the brand name TEN31. Anquan Capital has launched a number of innovative technology companies including Zilliqa, Anqlave and Aqilliz. TEN31 Bank, which is currently developing into a specialist institute for blockchain-related FinTech companies, will implement joint projects with these companies in the future.

The new partners will announce specific projects over time. However, it is expected, for example, that the legal framework for crypto storage that has been in place since early 2020 will play a role. TEN31 has positioned itself accordingly at an early stage and secured permission under the grandfathering rule of the German banking code.

This collaboration will explore opportunities between Anquan Capital through Anqlave and Zilliqa. Anqlave develops custody and secure data storage solutions for enterprises, while Zilliqa is a high-throughput, high-performance blockchain for next-generation enterprises and applications.

With the new partnership, the strategy of TEN31 Bank continues to consistently focus on strategic partnerships. With this important step, the vision of the founder, Matthias von Hauff, to shape the bank into a full-service provider for FinTech customers has become a reality.

Like all TEN31 partners, Anquan attaches great importance to transparency and compliance. The partnership between the two groups now makes it possible in particular to develop services in the financial sector that require a solid regulatory framework.

Matthias von Hauff, CEO of TEN31 Bank: “With Anquan as a shareholder, we have added yet another ideal partner to our network. Not only do we benefit from their excellent technologies, but we also secure a spearhead in the Asian region in the long term.”

Max Kantelia, CEO of Anquan: “I’ve always said that bringing blockchain into the mainstream requires a concerted, multi-sectoral effort by legacy institutions, emerging tech companies, and regulators. That’s why Ten31’s forward-thinking strategy and its clear role as a regulated bridge between the legacy and blockchain holds enormous appeal for me. Today, we can see blockchain creeping from the fringes of a technology sector that few understand, and into our daily lives. It is a perfect time to collaborate with TEN31 to explore how unlocking the potential of DLT technologies could accelerate digital transformation and revolutionise finance for everybody.”

A further positive signal for the industry is the German Federal Government’s progress in pushing ahead with regulation. Industry experts are eagerly awaiting the next draft bill on crypto custody and further legislative changes in 2020. The recently published decision of the German Bundestag underlines the increasing importance of the necessary regulatory framework.

AXA Ventures Leads $5 Million Investment in Next-generation Cybersecurity Startup Hub Security 11973

Hub Security, a startup that offers military-grade cybersecurity solutions for fintech, cloud, blockchain and data storage, announced today it has closed a $5 million Series A funding round led by AXA Ventures, with participation from Jerusalem-based OurCrowd.

The company said the investment will be used to strengthen Hub Security’s team, expand their technology and offer enhanced products to fintech companies, focusing on enabling access to credit, corporate banking solutions, cross-border payments and providing ultra-secure banking solutions.

Hub Security offers a solution to growing security concerns related to cloud and enterprise organizations that are raising alarm bells across industries struggling to combat rising levels of cyberthreats and attacks. There is consensus among security experts of the need for military-grade security solutions that can address the threat of data theft and exploitation –– especially in the era of COVID-19.

“We believe this round of funding is crucial to helping us continue our mission of providing military-grade level cybersecurity solutions to top cloud, finance, and digital asset management providers,” said Eyal Moshe, Hub Security’s CEO.

“Hub Security’s end-to-end approach to the development and delivery of its hardware and software components ensures the highest level of security throughout the entire product lifecycle –– something that’s critical now more than ever in the era of COVID-19. We don’t take for granted the trust we’ve seen from investors, especially in the current financial climate.”

As a growing number of industries turn to cloud and data storage solutions, there is an increasing demand for cybersecurity solutions that can combat emerging threats.

Hub Security boasts an expanding portfolio of fintech, cloud, and insurance clientele. In February 2020, the company announced its strategic partnership with Seagate® Technology as part of its new LyveTM Labs. The initiative was launched in order to provide methods for safe and secure data management solutions, both on and off the cloud.

“Hub Security’s miniHSM is the first of its kind to offer a pocket-sized HSM solution, which provides an ultra-secure HSM-to-HSM communication layer built uniquely for cloud, banking, healthcare, and government enterprises with scalable, air-tight security that can support any cloud-based or digital asset,” said Eyal Moshe, Hub Security’s CEO.

HUB Security utilizes military-grade cybersecurity tactics for its HSM architecture that is designed for FIPS140-2 Level 4 protection (In advanced stage process) –– the highest protection level available for mobile cryptographic security solutions on the market to date.

HUB Security’s combination of hardware and software solutions include ultra-secure internal signing and authorization flows with a multi-signature vault, hardware firewall and an AI-learning system designed to anticipate unique cyberattacks.

“On our FPGA-based HSM, we have an innovative approach,” CEO Eyal Moshe said. “This is in sharp contrast to HSMs relying on legacy architecture , where you have to connect your source via PCIe — and depend on the operating system to deliver the data to your application. HUB Security approach gives very high bandwidth, as well as low latency.”

“I was actively looking for a ‘software-defined HSM’ platform company in Israel for the past 12 months and I was very pleased when I met Hub Security and learned about their unique offering. We agreed very quickly to partner and invest,” said Moshe Raines, Partner at OurCrowd and Labs/02 managing partner.