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Beyond the Classroom: The Rise of University Blockchain Labs

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Beyond the Classroom: The Rise of University Blockchain Labs

As the cryptocurrency industry matures and public interest heightens, blockchain research and educational efforts have made their way into the halls of some of the world’s leading universities. Courses on cryptocurrency finance, blockchain development and related law are developing into serious avenues of study. They’re academia’s response to a formerly stigmatized space’s debut into mainstream culture, a formal and accredited extension to the work of innovators and leaders who propelled the space forward when it was still relatively underground.

Complementing classroom offerings, university-led blockchain research and development initiatives are on the rise, as teams of professors, blockchain developers and students work to take the industry from market speculation to mainstream application.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) features the oldest and perhaps best-known university-sponsored blockchain development lab in the world. Since 2015, the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative has brought together some of the space's leading independent developers with MIT faculty to extend the development of such applications as the Lightning Network.

Halfway into 2018, some of the world's top universities are joining MIT and vetting initiatives of their own. New in structure but by no means new to the field, Stanford's month-old blockchain R&D lab was launched with a bit of a jumpstart. Co-directors Dan Boneh and David Mazières have three years of blockchain-focused research and academic papers to set the lab into motion. Both directors are computer science professors at Stanford and have taught courses on blockchain technology since 2015.

As these labs begin operating in the background of academia, these professors can take the work they've done in the classroom and work toward tangible developments. At the intersection of education and innovation, these R&D efforts show the potential and need for industry growth — and the plethora of talent that can nourish it.

They also show us that market cap and investor returns alone may be poor indicators for whether a fledgling industry is growing. These labs aren’t paying the way themselves; they’ve tapped into the pocketbooks of some of the space’s most notable entities, including the Ethereum Foundation and Ripple. Disregarding the market’s steady decline from all-time high prices this year, these big players are investing heavily in research and development for the future growth and health of the space.

Together, these funds and the labs they support are creating the infrastructure to push blockchain development through a new era of mainstream exposure to mainstream adoption.

MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has had its hand in blockchain and cryptocurrency research and development longer than most. Founded in 2015, the MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) is an offshoot of the university’s Media Lab. Working alongside other universities and research centers, the lab is a collective of tech industry veterans, crypto programmers, faculty, students and research scientists. Its main R&D focuses include platform/pilot testing, research publication and open-source development for blockchain technology.

The initiative has pulled both from within MIT faculty and from without to cultivate an accomplished team. Led by Director Neha Narula, a 2016-2017 member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Blockchain, and MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito, the team features a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund in Simon Johnson and Gary Gensler, an Obama-era Commodity and Futures Trade Commission chairman.

As one of the oldest R&D labs in the space, it also employs Bitcoin Core developers Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields, as well as Tadge Dryja, co-author of the Lightning Network white paper.

Dryja in particular has used his time at DCI to continue the work he and Joseph Poon started with the Lightning Network. This summer, the lab has been piloting a prototype to test the Lightning Network’s smart contract functionality. Contrary to common misconceptions, Bitcoin does house a scripting language, though it’s less flexible and more limited than those of platforms like Ethereum.

“It's not as developer friendly because bitcoin didn't go in that direction, but you can use it. You have to be a little creative,” said Alin Dragos, Head of Strategic Partnerships at DCI.

Working their way around Bitcoin’s scripting limitations, Dryja and Dragos have brought smart contracts to the Lightning Network. Broadcasting data for the smart contracts to the second layer, off-chain network that Lightning provides, these smart contracts can be both private and scalable, their information being stored off-chain. Only the transaction, whenever the service’s users decide to close their payment channel, will be sent to Bitcoin’s network.

This Lightning Network application is just one of the many contributions the lab has facilitated to enrich Bitcoin’s network. It has also overseen or assisted with much of Wladimir van der Lann’s work on Bitcoin Core.

In addition to its efforts with such key contributions, the initiative publishes academic papers, thought pieces and informative articles on topics from anonymity algorithms to blockchain use cases for legacy sectors, and it provides free cryptocurrency and blockchain courses on its website.

The team also attracts mainstream media and news coverage to provide input on industry-related topics. In the past, Gary Gensler has discussed token security status with the New York Times, and PBS has invited Neha Narula on to its NewsHour for a feature on Bitcoin.

Stanford

Ironically, with DCI, MIT boasts the oldest university-run blockchain R&D lab in the nation, but the university offers no official undergraduate courses on blockchain technology — only standalone online ones that don’t offer any university credit.

Stanford is in the opposite position. The West Coast University has offered cryptocurrency and blockchain classes for as long as DCI has been active, but it wasn’t until this year that the institution launched its own research initiative.

Supported with funding by the Ethereum Foundation, Protocol Labs and Polychain Capital, among others, Stanford’s Center for Blockchain Research is led by computer science professors Dan Boneh and David Mazières. The center is, in effect, the practical culmination of the academic work both professors have committed to the field since 2015.

“Our goal is to support the ecosystem,” professor Dan Boneh said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

“[CBR] is a technically focused research center that is going to be developing technology to support the blockchain ecosystem. We’ve been doing that now for a while and, basically, this is giving more structure to that,” he added, emphasizing the role the center plays in building on the work the Stanford computer science department has already produced in the field.

After establishing three years’ worth of pedagogical groundwork, Boneh and Mazières spent the last year adding structure to the CBR. A physical hub for future innovation, the center solidifies the body of work the professors have published to date, and it will house more hands-on research and development going forward.

Fittingly, the vast majority of this research will be technically focused from the center’s onset.

“We’re focusing on a number of different areas, starting with cryptography, obviously. For me this has been really exciting because every time I talk to a project, I come away with new research problems to think about,” Boneh stated in the interview. “We’re also working on languages for smart contracts. We’re working on verification tools … consensus protocols.”

Like DCI, CBR is already taking the theoretical and making it functional. The lab’s smart contract brain child is already in testing, Boneh revealed in the interview, and the demo’s findings will be published in a forthcoming paper.

This paper will enrich the library of work that Boneh et al. have already produced. Keeping with Bitcoin’s ethos for open-source access, CBR and Stanford offer these articles free of charge, and they cover topics that range from consensus protocols to confidential transactions.

While research for these works comes from within Stanford, the inspiration for them — and the problems they look to solve — come from the industry’s myriad projects.

“The research work is primarily to the center, but the question is: where are the research questions coming from? The research questions are coming from the projects. So we publish papers to look for solutions.”

As these solutions and the papers positing them suggest, the center’s technical bent is obvious. Still, Boneh stressed that the center’s focus will widen as it builds out its team and resources. Joe Grundfest, a former SEC commissioner and Stanford Law professor, is CBR’s original anchor to fields outside of the realm of computer science, but he won’t be the only one down the road.

“The center is focused on computer science. The plan is actually to grow and include the broader aspects of blockchain — this is why it was important for me to have someone from the law school involved from day one. But we will have folks in economics, folks from the businesses school,” Boneh claimed.

Looking toward what’s to come, Boneh indicated that, for the near future, the center is focused on educational outreach. It’s holding an open series of summer seminars on topics like scaling and SNARKs, and it’ll be hosting the third annual Stanford Blockchain Conference from January 30 to February 1, 2019. The conference is calling for submissions until October 16, 2018.

University College London

University College London’s Centre for Blockchain Technology (CBT) is holistic in its R&D approach. In many regards, it casts its net wider than MIT or Stanford, both of which, for the time being, focus mainly on technical incubation and research.

CBT was founded in 2015 when “the crypto-space was in its early embryonic stage and not as mature as it is now,” when “no one was really aware of the real blockchain potentials,” Founder and Executive Director Paolo Tasca told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview. It was created as “an interdisciplinary group able to address at the highest levels the major technical, socio-economic and legal challenges posed by the advent of distributed ledger.”

The center’s research philosophy is built on three disciplinary tenets, namely science and technology, finance and business, and law and regulation. Spanning so many fields, it is “the largest centre on blockchain technologies in the world which counts more than one hundred research associates involved in several research projects,” according to Tasca.

Currently, the center has 60 applicants under consideration to add to its team of scholars and researchers from UCL’s mathematics, computer science, economics, science, statistics, law, psychology and energy departments.

Tasca indicated in our interview that “[every] department supporting the CBT is independent in managing its own research agenda.” Though it’s “very often,” he continued, that “blockchain-related issues can be addressed only by adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Thus, the CBT is the UCL body that provides a core team of leading blockchain scholars and facilitates these cross-departmental and often inter-university projects on blockchain-related areas.”

Such an extensive, interdisciplinary approach has given birth to a wide range of variegated research. On the CBT’s resources page are papers that span topics from network attacks to the failure of interdependent economic ecosystems, some of which appear to have only vague threads of association with blockchain technology.

Over the past two years, UCL CBT has supported projects such as a pilot for verifying academic credentials on the blockchain and a study on the crypto economy’s evolution.

Like Stanford, CBT also holds seminars and events to further foster education. In addition, the center offers its expertise by way of consulting services, a private counterpart to the public engagement the summits and seminars facilitate. It’s offered its advisory services to startups and private/public entities alike, including the Bank of Canada, Financial Conduct Authority, Banca D’Italia and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, to name a few.

The project is funded in part “from government public grants and international grants,” Tasca revealed, including “a recent funding award … the BARAC (Blockchain for Automatic Regulation and Compliance) project which was the largest 2017 EPSRC UK grant for a blockchain project” and “the PETRAS Internet of Energy Things (P2P-IoET) [grant] for supporting peer-to-peer energy trading and demand-side management through blockchains.”

The initiative also relies on funding from the CBT industry alliance and such third party companies as Ripple, Fidelity Investments, R3, State Street and Oracle, among others.

With a stack of resources both monetary and academic, the CBT contracts its expertise out to some of the world’s leading governmental entities. Notably, Tasca said that the center has consulted with the UN’s World Food Organization on how blockchains could be used to effect transparent quality control over international food supply chains. It has also worked closely with “the EU Parliament, the U.K. government, the U.K. parliament, the Bank of England and the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority].”

In addition to government organizations, the CBT also offers support for blockchain pilots and startups, and Tasca teased that the center will soon reveal “a specific program to promote entrepreneurial ventures to advance technology innovation in the areas of IOT, AI and blockchain.”

University of Edinburgh

With funding from Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood’s IOHK, the Blockchain Technology Laboratory (BLT) is working with the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics to advance blockchain research and innovation. BLT’s director Aggelos Kiayias and Hoskinson forged the alliance from a shared desire to address the industry’s pain points, such as the proof-of-stake consensus model, using what Kiayias calls “a first principles approach.”

In an interview, Kiayias continued to say that, while the lab’s “focus so far has been on the design of distributed ledgers protocols, their security, scalability, sustainability, performance, interoperability and economics,” it is “in the process of expanding with collaborations in the school of business, economics, math, architecture and political science.”

Other Centers of Research

The Imperial College of London has its own center dedicated to blockchain and cryptocurrency research, as well. Like its peers, the Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering publishes academic articles on its findings and hosts educational events. Recently, two of its members, professors William Knottenbelt and Dr. Zeynep Gurguc, published a report entitled “Cryptocurrencies: Overcoming Barriers to Trust and Adoption.” It touts cryptocurrency as global finance’s next logical iteration, rationalizing the reasons why the financial tool has all the markings of a digital fiat equivalent and what it will take to see comprehensive adoption.

Outside of lab-directed research, other universities and their faculty have published research and reports that have been invaluable for the industry. At the University of Austin Texas, for example, professors of finance John Griffin and Amin Shams published a lengthy report correlating Tether’s issuance with bitcoin’s meteoric price rise in 2017. The report corroborates a long-held concern within the community, as it claims that Tether was used to artificially support bitcoin’s price during its most recent bull run.

For academia’s role in blockchain research and development, in the words of Professor Boneh, “There’s real science to be done here.” And as Tadge Dryja and Wladimir van der Laan’s collaboration with MIT suggests, these scientific pursuits are often paired with and strengthened by the contributions of independent developers and those visionaries whose work predate the advent of university research in the industry.

With universities and independent researchers chipping away at the space’s challenges and limitations, such contributions are a welcomed reminder that, even in times of market downturns, there’s more to the industry than investing. Innovation cares little for speculation, and the work being undertaken at these universities bodes well for the continued growth of the technology.

For part one of our series on blockchain education, read our earlier cover story, From Chatroom to Classroom: The Evolution of Blockchain Education.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Beyond the Classroom: The Rise of University Blockchain Labs

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Beyond the Classroom: The Rise of University Blockchain Labs

As the cryptocurrency industry matures and public interest heightens, blockchain research and educational efforts have made their way into the halls of some of the world’s leading universities. Courses on cryptocurrency finance, blockchain development and related law are developing into serious avenues of study. They’re academia’s response to a formerly stigmatized space’s debut into mainstream culture, a formal and accredited extension to the work of innovators and leaders who propelled the space forward when it was still relatively underground.

Complementing classroom offerings, university-led blockchain research and development initiatives are on the rise, as teams of professors, blockchain developers and students work to take the industry from market speculation to mainstream application.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) features the oldest and perhaps best-known university-sponsored blockchain development lab in the world. Since 2015, the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative has brought together some of the space's leading independent developers with MIT faculty to extend the development of such applications as the Lightning Network.

Halfway into 2018, some of the world's top universities are joining MIT and vetting initiatives of their own. New in structure but by no means new to the field, Stanford's month-old blockchain R&D lab was launched with a bit of a jumpstart. Co-directors Dan Boneh and David Mazières have three years of blockchain-focused research and academic papers to set the lab into motion. Both directors are computer science professors at Stanford and have taught courses on blockchain technology since 2015.

As these labs begin operating in the background of academia, these professors can take the work they've done in the classroom and work toward tangible developments. At the intersection of education and innovation, these R&D efforts show the potential and need for industry growth — and the plethora of talent that can nourish it.

They also show us that market cap and investor returns alone may be poor indicators for whether a fledgling industry is growing. These labs aren’t paying the way themselves; they’ve tapped into the pocketbooks of some of the space’s most notable entities, including the Ethereum Foundation and Ripple. Disregarding the market’s steady decline from all-time high prices this year, these big players are investing heavily in research and development for the future growth and health of the space.

Together, these funds and the labs they support are creating the infrastructure to push blockchain development through a new era of mainstream exposure to mainstream adoption.

MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has had its hand in blockchain and cryptocurrency research and development longer than most. Founded in 2015, the MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) is an offshoot of the university’s Media Lab. Working alongside other universities and research centers, the lab is a collective of tech industry veterans, crypto programmers, faculty, students and research scientists. Its main R&D focuses include platform/pilot testing, research publication and open-source development for blockchain technology.

The initiative has pulled both from within MIT faculty and from without to cultivate an accomplished team. Led by Director Neha Narula, a 2016-2017 member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Blockchain, and MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito, the team features a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund in Simon Johnson and Gary Gensler, an Obama-era Commodity and Futures Trade Commission chairman.

As one of the oldest R&D labs in the space, it also employs Bitcoin Core developers Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields, as well as Tadge Dryja, co-author of the Lightning Network white paper.

Dryja in particular has used his time at DCI to continue the work he and Joseph Poon started with the Lightning Network. This summer, the lab has been piloting a prototype to test the Lightning Network’s smart contract functionality. Contrary to common misconceptions, Bitcoin does house a scripting language, though it’s less flexible and more limited than those of platforms like Ethereum.

“It's not as developer friendly because bitcoin didn't go in that direction, but you can use it. You have to be a little creative,” said Alin Dragos, Head of Strategic Partnerships at DCI.

Working their way around Bitcoin’s scripting limitations, Dryja and Dragos have brought smart contracts to the Lightning Network. Broadcasting data for the smart contracts to the second layer, off-chain network that Lightning provides, these smart contracts can be both private and scalable, their information being stored off-chain. Only the transaction, whenever the service’s users decide to close their payment channel, will be sent to Bitcoin’s network.

This Lightning Network application is just one of the many contributions the lab has facilitated to enrich Bitcoin’s network. It has also overseen or assisted with much of Wladimir van der Lann’s work on Bitcoin Core.

In addition to its efforts with such key contributions, the initiative publishes academic papers, thought pieces and informative articles on topics from anonymity algorithms to blockchain use cases for legacy sectors, and it provides free cryptocurrency and blockchain courses on its website.

The team also attracts mainstream media and news coverage to provide input on industry-related topics. In the past, Gary Gensler has discussed token security status with the New York Times, and PBS has invited Neha Narula on to its NewsHour for a feature on Bitcoin.

Stanford

Ironically, with DCI, MIT boasts the oldest university-run blockchain R&D lab in the nation, but the university offers no official undergraduate courses on blockchain technology — only standalone online ones that don’t offer any university credit.

Stanford is in the opposite position. The West Coast University has offered cryptocurrency and blockchain classes for as long as DCI has been active, but it wasn’t until this year that the institution launched its own research initiative.

Supported with funding by the Ethereum Foundation, Protocol Labs and Polychain Capital, among others, Stanford’s Center for Blockchain Research is led by computer science professors Dan Boneh and David Mazières. The center is, in effect, the practical culmination of the academic work both professors have committed to the field since 2015.

“Our goal is to support the ecosystem,” professor Dan Boneh said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

“[CBR] is a technically focused research center that is going to be developing technology to support the blockchain ecosystem. We’ve been doing that now for a while and, basically, this is giving more structure to that,” he added, emphasizing the role the center plays in building on the work the Stanford computer science department has already produced in the field.

After establishing three years’ worth of pedagogical groundwork, Boneh and Mazières spent the last year adding structure to the CBR. A physical hub for future innovation, the center solidifies the body of work the professors have published to date, and it will house more hands-on research and development going forward.

Fittingly, the vast majority of this research will be technically focused from the center’s onset.

“We’re focusing on a number of different areas, starting with cryptography, obviously. For me this has been really exciting because every time I talk to a project, I come away with new research problems to think about,” Boneh stated in the interview. “We’re also working on languages for smart contracts. We’re working on verification tools … consensus protocols.”

Like DCI, CBR is already taking the theoretical and making it functional. The lab’s smart contract brain child is already in testing, Boneh revealed in the interview, and the demo’s findings will be published in a forthcoming paper.

This paper will enrich the library of work that Boneh et al. have already produced. Keeping with Bitcoin’s ethos for open-source access, CBR and Stanford offer these articles free of charge, and they cover topics that range from consensus protocols to confidential transactions.

While research for these works comes from within Stanford, the inspiration for them — and the problems they look to solve — come from the industry’s myriad projects.

“The research work is primarily to the center, but the question is: where are the research questions coming from? The research questions are coming from the projects. So we publish papers to look for solutions.”

As these solutions and the papers positing them suggest, the center’s technical bent is obvious. Still, Boneh stressed that the center’s focus will widen as it builds out its team and resources. Joe Grundfest, a former SEC commissioner and Stanford Law professor, is CBR’s original anchor to fields outside of the realm of computer science, but he won’t be the only one down the road.

“The center is focused on computer science. The plan is actually to grow and include the broader aspects of blockchain — this is why it was important for me to have someone from the law school involved from day one. But we will have folks in economics, folks from the businesses school,” Boneh claimed.

Looking toward what’s to come, Boneh indicated that, for the near future, the center is focused on educational outreach. It’s holding an open series of summer seminars on topics like scaling and SNARKs, and it’ll be hosting the third annual Stanford Blockchain Conference from January 30 to February 1, 2019. The conference is calling for submissions until October 16, 2018.

University College London

University College London’s Centre for Blockchain Technology (CBT) is holistic in its R&D approach. In many regards, it casts its net wider than MIT or Stanford, both of which, for the time being, focus mainly on technical incubation and research.

CBT was founded in 2015 when “the crypto-space was in its early embryonic stage and not as mature as it is now,” when “no one was really aware of the real blockchain potentials,” Founder and Executive Director Paolo Tasca told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview. It was created as “an interdisciplinary group able to address at the highest levels the major technical, socio-economic and legal challenges posed by the advent of distributed ledger.”

The center’s research philosophy is built on three disciplinary tenets, namely science and technology, finance and business, and law and regulation. Spanning so many fields, it is “the largest centre on blockchain technologies in the world which counts more than one hundred research associates involved in several research projects,” according to Tasca.

Currently, the center has 60 applicants under consideration to add to its team of scholars and researchers from UCL’s mathematics, computer science, economics, science, statistics, law, psychology and energy departments.

Tasca indicated in our interview that “[every] department supporting the CBT is independent in managing its own research agenda.” Though it’s “very often,” he continued, that “blockchain-related issues can be addressed only by adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Thus, the CBT is the UCL body that provides a core team of leading blockchain scholars and facilitates these cross-departmental and often inter-university projects on blockchain-related areas.”

Such an extensive, interdisciplinary approach has given birth to a wide range of variegated research. On the CBT’s resources page are papers that span topics from network attacks to the failure of interdependent economic ecosystems, some of which appear to have only vague threads of association with blockchain technology.

Over the past two years, UCL CBT has supported projects such as a pilot for verifying academic credentials on the blockchain and a study on the crypto economy’s evolution.

Like Stanford, CBT also holds seminars and events to further foster education. In addition, the center offers its expertise by way of consulting services, a private counterpart to the public engagement the summits and seminars facilitate. It’s offered its advisory services to startups and private/public entities alike, including the Bank of Canada, Financial Conduct Authority, Banca D’Italia and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, to name a few.

The project is funded in part “from government public grants and international grants,” Tasca revealed, including “a recent funding award … the BARAC (Blockchain for Automatic Regulation and Compliance) project which was the largest 2017 EPSRC UK grant for a blockchain project” and “the PETRAS Internet of Energy Things (P2P-IoET) [grant] for supporting peer-to-peer energy trading and demand-side management through blockchains.”

The initiative also relies on funding from the CBT industry alliance and such third party companies as Ripple, Fidelity Investments, R3, State Street and Oracle, among others.

With a stack of resources both monetary and academic, the CBT contracts its expertise out to some of the world’s leading governmental entities. Notably, Tasca said that the center has consulted with the UN’s World Food Organization on how blockchains could be used to effect transparent quality control over international food supply chains. It has also worked closely with “the EU Parliament, the U.K. government, the U.K. parliament, the Bank of England and the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority].”

In addition to government organizations, the CBT also offers support for blockchain pilots and startups, and Tasca teased that the center will soon reveal “a specific program to promote entrepreneurial ventures to advance technology innovation in the areas of IOT, AI and blockchain.”

University of Edinburgh

With funding from Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood’s IOHK, the Blockchain Technology Laboratory (BLT) is working with the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics to advance blockchain research and innovation. BLT’s director Aggelos Kiayias and Hoskinson forged the alliance from a shared desire to address the industry’s pain points, such as the proof-of-stake consensus model, using what Kiayias calls “a first principles approach.”

In an interview, Kiayias continued to say that, while the lab’s “focus so far has been on the design of distributed ledgers protocols, their security, scalability, sustainability, performance, interoperability and economics,” it is “in the process of expanding with collaborations in the school of business, economics, math, architecture and political science.”

Other Centers of Research

The Imperial College of London has its own center dedicated to blockchain and cryptocurrency research, as well. Like its peers, the Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering publishes academic articles on its findings and hosts educational events. Recently, two of its members, professors William Knottenbelt and Dr. Zeynep Gurguc, published a report entitled “Cryptocurrencies: Overcoming Barriers to Trust and Adoption.” It touts cryptocurrency as global finance’s next logical iteration, rationalizing the reasons why the financial tool has all the markings of a digital fiat equivalent and what it will take to see comprehensive adoption.

Outside of lab-directed research, other universities and their faculty have published research and reports that have been invaluable for the industry. At the University of Austin Texas, for example, professors of finance John Griffin and Amin Shams published a lengthy report correlating Tether’s issuance with bitcoin’s meteoric price rise in 2017. The report corroborates a long-held concern within the community, as it claims that Tether was used to artificially support bitcoin’s price during its most recent bull run.

For academia’s role in blockchain research and development, in the words of Professor Boneh, “There’s real science to be done here.” And as Tadge Dryja and Wladimir van der Laan’s collaboration with MIT suggests, these scientific pursuits are often paired with and strengthened by the contributions of independent developers and those visionaries whose work predate the advent of university research in the industry.

With universities and independent researchers chipping away at the space’s challenges and limitations, such contributions are a welcomed reminder that, even in times of market downturns, there’s more to the industry than investing. Innovation cares little for speculation, and the work being undertaken at these universities bodes well for the continued growth of the technology.

For part one of our series on blockchain education, read our earlier cover story, From Chatroom to Classroom: The Evolution of Blockchain Education.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

The Kodak KashMiner's Flashy Debut Ends In Failure

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The much-publicized partnership that would have resulted in digital media brand Kodak's name appearing on a series of bitcoin miners is no more.

Bitcoin's Road Back to $7K (And the Chart Hurdles In the Way)

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin is inching its way closer to the $7000 dollar range, but there are key technical hurdles in its way to greener pastures.

CRYPTO INSIDER: Crypto ads are about to dominate sports

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Arsenal CashBet Jersey

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider's roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cash-rich crypto companies are keen to strike sports sponsorship and endorsement deals as companies such as Google and Facebook crack down on crypto adverts on their platforms. 

"We're effectively in discussions with over 70% of the Premier League," one insider tells Business Insider. "Same as Formula 1 and Formula E." Here's what you need to know.

Here are the latest crypto prices:

Bitcoin price today

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Mueller found that the Russian hacker scheme was dependent on bitcoin, and it may have gotten them caught

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Learning to celebrate failure at a young age led to this billionaire's success

CRYPTO INSIDER: Crypto ads are about to dominate sports

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Arsenal CashBet Jersey

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider's roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cash-rich crypto companies are keen to strike sports sponsorship and endorsement deals as companies such as Google and Facebook crack down on crypto adverts on their platforms. 

"We're effectively in discussions with over 70% of the Premier League," one insider tells Business Insider. "Same as Formula 1 and Formula E." Here's what you need to know.

Here are the latest crypto prices:

Bitcoin price today

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Mueller found that the Russian hacker scheme was dependent on bitcoin, and it may have gotten them caught

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Learning to celebrate failure at a young age led to this billionaire's success

CRYPTO INSIDER: Crypto ads are about to dominate sports

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Arsenal CashBet Jersey

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider's roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cash-rich crypto companies are keen to strike sports sponsorship and endorsement deals as companies such as Google and Facebook crack down on crypto adverts on their platforms. 

"We're effectively in discussions with over 70% of the Premier League," one insider tells Business Insider. "Same as Formula 1 and Formula E." Here's what you need to know.

Here are the latest crypto prices:

Bitcoin price today

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Mueller found that the Russian hacker scheme was dependent on bitcoin, and it may have gotten them caught

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A diehard Mac user switches to PC

CRYPTO INSIDER: Crypto ads are about to dominate sports

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Arsenal CashBet Jersey

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider's roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cash-rich crypto companies are keen to strike sports sponsorship and endorsement deals as companies such as Google and Facebook crack down on crypto adverts on their platforms. 

"We're effectively in discussions with over 70% of the Premier League," one insider tells Business Insider. "Same as Formula 1 and Formula E." Here's what you need to know.

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SEE ALSO: Mueller found that the Russian hacker scheme was dependent on bitcoin, and it may have gotten them caught

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Future Analysts Will Be Tested on Cryptocurrencies in New CFA Curriculum

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

CFA to Include Cryptocurrency Material in 2019 Course Offerings and Exams

As the crypto market continues to meld into the realm of traditional finance, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute is taking notice — so much so that the organization is adding cryptocurrency and blockchain sections to its 2019 certification exams.

The additions will be included in the institute’s Level I and II curricula, and the material will be a subsection in a seminal, wider-reaching subject area entitled Fintech in Investment Management. Within this new subject area, CFA students will be able to explore cryptocurrency finance alongside other burgenoing fintech industries, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. These new offerings will be included in the CFA’s lesson prep beginning in August 2019.

The newly included field will also find its way into the institute’s materials on professional ethics. This inclusion seems fitting for an industry that is under constant monitoring by world governments for money laundering, fraud, market manipulation and other unscrupulous practices.

The CFA decided to introduce the offerings after receiving positive feedback and rising interest from a number of focus groups and questionnaires. These crypto-curious responses reflect the same maturing institutional interest that has led the CBOE to file for a Bitcoin ETF on top of its future’s offerings and encouraged Andreessen Horowitz to launch a multi-hundred million dollar crypto fund.

“We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable,” CFA Managing Director for General Education and Curriculum Stephen Horan told Bloomberg in an interview. “This is not a passing fad.”

In vetting the industry, the CFA is shining a ray of legitimacy onto cryptocurrency’s financial ramifications. The institute is one of the most proficient and prolific financial analyst training centers in the world, globally administering just over 270,000 financial analyst accreditation exams in 2017. With over 150,000 international members, it’s one of the largest global associations of financial professionals in the world.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Derivatives trading continues to sizzle as banks report stellar second quarter earnings (C, JPM, BAC)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Traders excited pointing

  • Wall Street banks have followed up their stellar 2018 debut in stock trading with another robust performance in equities in the second quarter. 
  • JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch all saw strong second-quarter earnings in the past week, with each reporting a second consecutive standout performance from their equities divisions. 
  • Derivatives trading, which has particularly benefited from the rebound in volatility, has played a key role in the first half of the year. 
  • Equity derivatives traders have become the focus of an intense Wall Street hiring battleground amid their improved performance in 2018. 


The first quarter wasn't a one-off: Wall Street banks have followed up their stellar 2018 debut in stock trading with another robust performance in equities in the second quarter. 

JPMorgan Chase on Friday reported its second consecutive record quarter in equities, boosting revenues 24% from the previous year to $2 billion.

That same day Citigroup reported a 19% increase in equities revenues to $864 million, which follows a 38% uptick to $1.1 billion in the first quarter.

And on Monday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch followed up those results with $1.3 billion in second-quarter equities revenues, a 17% increase from 2017. The bank reported record equities revenues in the first quarter of $1.5 billion.

And just like the first quarter, equity-derivatives traders played a key role in driving the rebound in equities, a moribund line of business that suffered significant declines at Wall Street banks in recent years. 

JPMorgan CFO Marianne Lake and Bank of America CFO Paul Donofrio each specifically called out derivatives for outsized contributions to their equities numbers, just as they did in the first quarter. While Citi didn't laud a particular desk — it hailed "growth across all products" — it noted its results reflected "the benefit of continued higher market volatility," an environment that derivatives traders tend to thrive on.

Renewed market volatility — which was absent much of 2016 and almost all of 2017 — has revived banks' stock-trading businesses in 2018. It's a trend that has been epitomized by the equity derivatives sector, which sells products to institutional investors that allow them to hedge their stock positions or make directional bets on a particular stock, sector, or index.

Investors see less of a need for such products when the market calmly moves in one direction, as it primarily did the previous two years.

The volatility drought ended in early February, when the CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of implied volatility also known as the VIX, surged as much as 200% from its low point to its high point during the first full week of that month. 

The frenetic trading environment meant tons of business for banks as they rushed to accommodate clients trading the VIX and other S&P 500 derivatives products.

But volatility has remained elevated amid the trade war President Donald Trump has pushed for, as well as investor concern over political uncertainty in Italy and Spain during the second quarter.

That's helped keep the first-quarter derivatives binge going, which has padded earnings but has also had the knock-on effect of sparking a talent war over derivatives talent. 

Equity derivatives traders have become the focus of an intense Wall Street hiring battleground, with more than 40 moves at the level of vice president or higher in equity derivatives in the US this year.

We'll likely get more insight into the role of derivatives trading in the equities rebound this week as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — two of the most vaunted trading houses on Wall Street — report earnings Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.  

SEE ALSO: 'I've never seen it like this in 10 years': How the VIX blow-up led to a talent raid on Wall Street trading floors

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Court Approves Alleged Bitcoin Money Launder's Extradition to France

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

In a legal tug-of-war between France, Russia and the U.S., Greek courts have ruled in France's favour to take over custody of Alexander Vinnik.

Billionaire Peter Thiel, Bitmain Lead Investment Round in EOS Creator Block.one

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Billionaire Peter Thiel and bitcoin mining giant Bitmain are headliners in a star-studded investment round for Block.one, the creator of the EOS cryptocurrency. Billionaires Headline Block.one Funding Round Block.one announced the conclusion of the funding round on Monday, but the firm did not reveal its size or at what valuation it was conducted. In any

The post Billionaire Peter Thiel, Bitmain Lead Investment Round in EOS Creator Block.one appeared first on CCN

Promoted: The Future of Online Shopping Is Powered by Spl.yt — A Decentralized E-Commerce Protocol

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Splyt Thumb

As a rapidly growing business sector, e-commerce continues to open up new avenues for exploring, comparing and purchasing products worldwide. Spl.yt, a smart contract protocol, aims improve the e-commerce system for buyers and sellers by automating functions currently performed by “middlemen” marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.

Such popular online platforms have no doubt transformed the way in which we shop and live. Access, convenience, low prices and the availability of a large selection of products are among the many benefits these platforms deliver to consumers. But such benefits provided by centralized corporations come at a cost — increased prices, process inefficiencies and aggressive marketing using huge amounts of personal data. 

Research from “The Enterprise Guide to Global Ecommerce” projects a 246.15 percent increase in global e-commerce sales, from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. And while Amazon alone accounts for almost half of that revenue, there remains a huge ocean of online opportunities for other businesses to share.

As the e-commerce landscape faces domination by the likes of established industry players, innovative approaches to buying and selling are experiencing roadblocks to advancement. Consumers are often subjected to lengthy searches of multiple product listings in order to assess availability and price favorability. Moreover, vendors, in varying their marketplace options, must keep their inventories current and prevent double selling to avoid taking a hit to their reputation. 

Across this space, middlemen often capture high fees on all transactions, adversely impacting vendor revenues while leading to increased product costs for consumers. There is also a lack of mechanisms in place to support smaller e-commerce vendors in their product sales, particularly as it relates to fraud, spam and consumer dispute resolution. 

The Promise of Blockchains

Blockchain technology is a game-changing solution that shows promise in the rapidly evolving e-commerce arena. At the heart of new advancements in this space is the Spl.yt Core Foundation, a blockchain-backed nonprofit operating out of Santa Monica, California. This startup aims to deliver a smart contract-based protocol that supports a new era of efficient, transparent and secure e-commerce systems.

Targeting those who sell, buy or facilitate purchases of retail items online, Spl.yt will help save time and money for this audience by removing middlemen functions and services by way of its decentralized e-commerce model.

Spl.yt’s capabilities include an automated global inventory system, fractional asset ownership and management, inter-marketplace reputation tracking, fair dispute resolution and automated affiliate marketing incentives. Driven by a global blockchain inventory, one that features tokenized incentives to foster honest, real transactions, those involved in buying and selling will experience Spl.yt’s fair and efficient e-commerce process.

According to co-founders Cyrus Taghehchian and Jason Civalleri, this forward-thinking approach from Spl.yt is meant to address a growing dissatisfaction with centralized services and organizations, including market manipulation and position exploitation, technical failure risks and high costs.

They say that by addressing the oligopolistic nature of the e-commerce world — one that robs smaller projects of opportunities — the growth potential for decentralized governance into financing and product development will be more fully realized.

“Any seller in e-commerce knows the biggest problem facing online retail right now is that the entire industry is controlled by a handful of corporate behemoths with unchecked economic power to set prices and standards,” said Civalleri. “These tech giants are essentially middlemen whose self-appointed role is to mediate transactions between buyers and sellers, yet consistently do so in a way that hurts small business while making everything more expensive for consumers. Not to mention the fact that they track consumers’ every move so they can use ads to better target their wallets.”  

Igniting a New E-Commerce Normal

Civalleri and Taghehchian believe that today’s e-commerce ecosystem should be owned and operated by the actual buyers and sellers who make e-commerce possible, not middlemen corporations who make everything more difficult.

It’s here where the Spl.yt Core Foundation is developing the protocol to automate these functions in a decentralized way, with the ultimate goal of working themselves out of existence so that community members can run a truly decentralized e-commerce network while blocking the aforementioned behemoths from reemerging in the same harmful way.

“The existing e-commerce regime only benefits a few powerful middlemen at the top of the ‘food chain,’ so to speak,” said Taghehchian. “Ten years ago it was difficult to build an e-commerce website but easier to monetize. Today, it’s easy to build a website using templates but very hard to make profit due to the couple of online storefronts that own nearly 60 percent of the market share. We believe in a new e-commerce structure that is more egalitarian, instead of top-down.”

He reiterated that the goal is to empower all e-commerce players so that they can make a good living and earn rewards for their contributions to foster the health and growth of the entire e-commerce ecosystem.

The grand vision, said Taghehchian, is to introduce an open and global inventory system for product listings across marketplaces, saving buyers and sellers time and resources. Seller listings will be automatically updated across all Spl.yt connected marketplaces, with buyers only needing to search one platform to access accurate product availability and pricing.

He added that the Spl.yt protocol will also be used to incentivize affiliate marketers, such as social media influencers or even would-be-competitor marketplaces, to assist in the sale of a product. This will be achieved by issuing automated affiliate rewards to any party contributing to the sale of the item.

“The potential use cases for improving efficiency, transparency and security across the industry are as endless as our own imaginations,” Taghehchian said. “Our aim continues to be to open doors for innovative businesses and entrepreneurial individuals to achieve their potential using the capabilities enabled by the Spl.yt protocol. Our long-term vision is to keep moving toward a more decentralized future wherein the greater e-commerce ecosystem is owned and operated by people within a fair and automated network of participating parties.” 

You can read the project “litepaper” here

This promoted article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Malta-based STASIS Launches New Euro-Backed Stablecoin

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Malta-based STASIS Launches New Euro-Backed Stablecoin

Malta-based tokenization platform STASIS has launched EURS, a stablecoin backed by the Euro. EURS, aiming to be the biggest "fully verified and collateralized stablecoin" in the world, launched with a $100 million pre-launch order book which is expected to hit $500 million by year’s end.

Similar to Tether, EURS is fiat-collateralized. Each stablecoin unit is backed by a corresponding unit of Euro.

Created to satisfy the yearnings of European institutional investors, STASIS believes that the EURS token can provide protection during periods of extreme volatility in the market while improving the "risk and return metrics of crypto-investment portfolios." Leveraging Ethereum’s network, EURS is an EIP-20 token.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Gregory Klumov, STASIS CEO, believes EURS will be a game changer which could usher in more European institutional investors. He said, "STASIS created EURS token following the demand from institutional clients, high net-worth individuals, and funds that trade digital assets. Also, we think that there is a lack of price-stable cryptocurrency with the visible transparency of reserved assets. The advanced 3-level asset verification process of EURS makes it stand out from any of the stablecoin projects currently available on the market."

This “advance 3-level asset verification process” comes in the form of daily and weekly account statements and quarterly audits “posted to the public by one of the Big Four accounting firms.” Exante Ltd., a Cyprus investment services company registered with the Cyprus SEC, processes daily and weekly account statements for the company, but there are currently no official audits available, with no clear information yet on which accounting firm would be responsible for these quarterly reports.

One major concern with stablecoins is whether the issuer can hold enough fiat to backup the digital coins in circulation. STASIS, which currently has a total supply of 291,000 EURS in circulation, says its collateral reserve is being managed by an unnamed “AAA-rated European institution” using a conservative, duration-distinguished bucket strategy, where reserves are broken down into several periods (buckets) and analyzed to determine those who subscribed and redeemed. Representatives from STASIS told Bitcoin Magazine that the name of the institution would be revealed at a later date.

“The weights of these buckets will depend on their statistical subscription to redemption ratio. We will have access to more data once the product is launched on more exchanges,” Klumov added.

EURS is currently being traded on London-based crypto exchange DSX, but there are plans to expand to other cryptocurrency exchanges in the future.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Peter Thiel, Bitmain Co-Founder Invest in EOS Developer Block.one

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

In a fresh round of funding, Block.one has added to its line-up of major investors PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and bitcoin mining giant Bitmain.

Much Wow, Very Trade: Dogecoin is Now Listed on Robinhood Crypto

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Stock trading app Robinhood has listed dogecoin on its commission-free cryptocurrency trading platform, the company announced on Monday. The parody cryptocurrency, created in 2013, currently ranks as the 44th-largest cryptocurrency, with a circulating market cap of $288 million. At its peak in early January, dogecoin’s market cap swelled as high as $2.1 billion, much to

The post Much Wow, Very Trade: Dogecoin is Now Listed on Robinhood Crypto appeared first on CCN

What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Investors are underestimating how much worse Trump's trade war might get, UBS says 

A major further escalation in President Donald Trump's trade war could see the S&P 500drop more than 20% in value, and markets are not ready, according to new research from strategists at Swiss bank UBS.

Writing in a major analysis of the president's growing trade battle with China, a team from the bank led by chief global economist Arend Kapteyn, argued on July 11 that markets are drastically underestimating how bad things could get if Trump antagonises China further and the conflict becomes a full-scale trade war.

Trump has already threatened to place tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and things could get even worse. That's when the markets will suffer, UBS said.

Goldman Sachs is about to name its next CEO — here are the execs who will be in and out according to a dozen insiders

When Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein hands off to heir apparent David Solomon in the coming months, it will be the investment bank's first change in leadership since 2006.

During the intervening years, Blankfein led the firm through the financial crisis and the subsequent fallout surrounded by a coterie of loyalists, some of whom worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the CEO at commodities trader J. Aron & Co.

Solomon's management team will differ from his predecessor's. An investment banker who climbed the rough-and-tumble ranks at Bear Stearns before jumping to Goldman Sachs before it sold shares to the public in 1999, Solomon runs with a different crowd. Many of them worked for the Goldman president during the decade he ran the investment-banking division.

Here's our list of more than two dozen executives at Goldman Sachs, broken into four categories: Solomon's inner circle; some key members of his broader management team, but not all ("bench"); a collection of executives facing an uncertain future ("on the bubble"); and a few Blankfein loyalists who have a depth of institutional knowledge not easily replaced. 

Bank of America beats in second quarter earnings 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced second-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.63 a share Monday morning, a 43% jump from last year. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $0.57.

Here are the key numbers.

The president of $85 billion Qualcomm explains his master plan for growth

Qualcomm makes the chips that power nearly every smartphone, but lately its name has been associated with a series of scandals — including a hostile take over attempt by its competitor Broadcom, which President Trump stopped with a presidential order.

Now the company has to prove to shareholders and the world that it can overcome its corporate challenges and focus on growing as a company.

In a conversation with Business Insider, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon shared the company's plans to diversify its products away from just smartphones and mobile technologies.

10 pharmacy startups that could be M&A targets after Amazon's acquisition of PillPack

Amazon's move to acquire digital pharmacy startup PillPack for a reported $1 billion marked its entrance into the online pharmacy space.

Analysts at Bernstein estimated that 50 to 70% of prescriptions could shift online, and that Walmart, CVS and Walgreens could try to acquire their own digital pharmacy startups.

Here are 10 emerging online pharmacies and related companies that could be the next targets, according to Bernstein.

In markets news

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Tesla's US website isn't allowing customers to order the Model 3 (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Tesla Model 3

  • Tesla's US website does not allow customers to order the Model 3, as of Monday morning.
  • After clicking the "Order Now" button for the vehicle, users are shown the following message: "Designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category, Model 3 achieves 220 miles of range while starting at only $35,000 before incentives. Model 3 deliveries are beginning in the US based on whether you are an employee, if you own a Tesla, and when you placed your reservation, and will continue by country."

  • A Tesla spokesperson said they were looking into it. 


Tesla's US website does not allow customers to order the Model 3, as of Monday morning. After clicking the "Order Now" button for the vehicle, users are shown the following message:

"Designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category, Model 3 achieves 220 miles of range while starting at only $35,000 before incentives. Model 3 deliveries are beginning in the US based on whether you are an employee, if you own a Tesla, and when you placed your reservation, and will continue by country."

Next to the message is an image of a blue Model 3. The page contains no other information about the vehicle or any prompts that lead to other pages.

A Tesla representative said she was looking into the matter.

The Model 3 is Tesla's first mass-market vehicle, designed to broaden the company's customer base beyond the luxury segment and increase the rate of electric vehicle adoption. But Tesla struggled to ramp up production after it was launched in July 2017 due to excessive automation at its factories.

In May 2016, Musk said he estimated the company would make 100,000 to 200,000 Model 3s during the second half of 2017. Tesla made 2,685 Model 3 vehicles in 2017.

tesla model 3 order page

The company twice missed its self-imposed deadline to produce 5,000 Model 3s in a week, but hit that rate at the end of June. On July 2, the company said it had made 5,031 Model 3s during the final week of June and 28,578 during the second quarter, more than it had made in the prior three quarters combined.

Last week, Tesla started allowing all customers to configure and order the Model 3, though the $35,000 base model is not yet available. In late June, a Tesla representative told Business Insider it would be available in six to nine months for those who had already made reservations. That's longer than a timeline given by CEO Elon Musk in May, when he said the $35,000 option could become available between September and December.

SEE ALSO: I tried Tesla's Autopilot for the first time — and it was nerve-racking at first

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Kodak-branded KashMiner Bitcoin mining rig for rent wasn’t — and won’t be

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Write off another piece of crypto craziness: A Kodak-branded Bitcoin-mining rig that was on show at CES in January, where it generated much headshaking and skepticism that it could ever deliver the claimed returns, has evaporated into the ideas ether from whence it came. The BBC reports that the plan to rent access to Kodak-branded […]

BlackRock, the World’s Largest Asset Manager, is Exploring Cryptocurrencies

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Six months after its chief executive lambasted bitcoin as an “index of money laundering,” BlackRock — the world’s largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider — has set up a working group to explore how to profit from the burgeoning cryptocurrency ecosystem. The Financial News reports that the $6.3 trillion asset manager has begun discussing whether to … Continued

The post BlackRock, the World’s Largest Asset Manager, is Exploring Cryptocurrencies appeared first on CCN

Robinhood has added two more cryptocurrencies

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

US-based digital trading platform Robinhood has added two new cryptocurrencies — Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash — to Robinhood Crypto, its crypto exchange service. It already offers Bitcoin and Ether.

Consumer Reasons for Not Trading Cryptocurrencies

Additionally, users can read crypto news, create price alerts for 16 cryptocurrencies, and monitor market data. Robinhood Crypto is currently available in 17 states in the US, but it has plans to expand in the future.

  • Robinhood only launched its crypto service in February 2018. Robinhood Crypto is still a fairly new offering, and adding two new cryptocurrencies suggests demand for the initial two must be high. Customers are likely attracted by the ability to manage their crypto investments next to other stocks and investment offerings, which makes the whole process more convenient.
  • However, the crypto market has been in decline. While one Bitcoin was worth almost $20,000 at the end of 2017, its value has since fallen around 65%, according to CNBC. Similarly, Litecoin’s value has fallen 64% since January, and Bitcoin Cash saw a decline of over 72%. This volatility is could be making some investors wary about the space, especially as the novelty wears off.

Despite the risk, Robinhood's crypto service appears poised for success.While the crypto market's high volatility has likely scared off some investors, it doesn’t seem to be bothering Robinhood or its customers. The platform now boasts 5 million customers, and reports that many have voiced interest in trading more cryptocurrencies.

Catering to this demand will probably boost customer satisfaction with the platform, and we will likely see many more people using Robinhood for crypto trades in the future.

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Robinhood has added two more cryptocurrencies

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

US-based digital trading platform Robinhood has added two new cryptocurrencies — Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash — to Robinhood Crypto, its crypto exchange service. It already offers Bitcoin and Ether.

Consumer Reasons for Not Trading Cryptocurrencies

Additionally, users can read crypto news, create price alerts for 16 cryptocurrencies, and monitor market data. Robinhood Crypto is currently available in 17 states in the US, but it has plans to expand in the future.

  • Robinhood only launched its crypto service in February 2018. Robinhood Crypto is still a fairly new offering, and adding two new cryptocurrencies suggests demand for the initial two must be high. Customers are likely attracted by the ability to manage their crypto investments next to other stocks and investment offerings, which makes the whole process more convenient.
  • However, the crypto market has been in decline. While one Bitcoin was worth almost $20,000 at the end of 2017, its value has since fallen around 65%, according to CNBC. Similarly, Litecoin’s value has fallen 64% since January, and Bitcoin Cash saw a decline of over 72%. This volatility is could be making some investors wary about the space, especially as the novelty wears off.

Despite the risk, Robinhood's crypto service appears poised for success.While the crypto market's high volatility has likely scared off some investors, it doesn’t seem to be bothering Robinhood or its customers. The platform now boasts 5 million customers, and reports that many have voiced interest in trading more cryptocurrencies.

Catering to this demand will probably boost customer satisfaction with the platform, and we will likely see many more people using Robinhood for crypto trades in the future.

Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

Content like this delivered straight to your inbox daily
Access to 250+ expertly researched reports plus all future reports
Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
And more!
Learn More

 

Join the conversation about this story »

Report: World's Biggest Asset Manager BlackRock Exploring Bitcoin

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Global investment management company BlackRock may be mulling a move into bitcoin futures, according to a report.

Bitcoin Price Spikes to $6,600 as Crypto Market Finds Momentum

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

After a week of stability in the $250 billion region, the crypto market has started to demonstrate solid momentum, potentially eying a breakout to the $300 billion mark, supported by a rally initiated by bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. On July 16, the price of bitcoin, ether, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and EOS increased by 3 to

The post Bitcoin Price Spikes to $6,600 as Crypto Market Finds Momentum appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Price Spikes to $6,600 as Crypto Market Finds Momentum

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

After a week of stability in the $250 billion region, the crypto market has started to demonstrate solid momentum, potentially eying a breakout to the $300 billion mark, supported by a rally initiated by bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. On July 16, the price of bitcoin, ether, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and EOS increased by 3 to

The post Bitcoin Price Spikes to $6,600 as Crypto Market Finds Momentum appeared first on CCN

Kodak Bitcoin mining 'scam' evaporates

BBC, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The company behind a Kodak-branded crypto-currency scheme confirms the plan has collapsed.

We're nearly at zero: The US just passed another flashing-red indicator on the way to recession

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

upside down

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes declined for a fifth consecutive week.
  • We're getting closer to a scary "yield curve inversion" — an event that has historically presaged recessions.
  • But we're not there yet.
  • This time it's different, allegedly.

The yield on 10-year US Treasury notes declined for a fifth consecutive week, taking the US economy yet another step toward recession. A contraction in America would hurt growth across the planet.

Treasury yields don't automatically trigger recessions, of course.

But there has been a worrying historical correlation between the moment that the percentage yield on the two-year Treasury becomes greater than the yield on the 10-year note. That phenomenon is called a "yield curve inversion," and it means that investors are so worried that they're much less likely than normal to bet on short-term assets.

In layman's terms: Bonds are about safety for investors. If you buy a two-year note, you can be reasonably sure that you'll get your money back in two years' time. Two years isn't very far away, after all. The near-term is easier to predict than the long-term. So yields (the amount you get back) are lower for short-term notes, because the risk is lower, and thus the reward is lower too.

Ten-year notes represent the opposite bet. They are riskier because who knows what will happen in 10 years' time? So yields on long-term notes are higher because there is more uncertainty until you get your money back.  

When the opposite happens — and investors signal that the short-term feels riskier than the long-term — something must be wrong. If investors say they have less idea of what's going to happen in two years than 10 years, then they must be very worried about the near-term — and that is a pretty good signal of an impending recession.

When the two-year exceeds the 10-year, recessions tend to follow in short order.

This chart from FRED shows it best. We're closer to an inverted yield curve than at any time since 2005-2007, which was right before the great financial crisis of 2008:   

10 year vs 2 year treasury bond spread

At the moment, we're still above the zero-percent-difference line. But only just. The yield curve is flattening, not inverted. We're trading at 25 basis points on Monday, the flattest since 2007. 

There is one reason not to panic. The yield curve doesn't say that a recession will come imminently. Just ... sometime soon. Macquarie analyst Ric Deverell and his team told clients recently that even if the curve was inverted, a recession might not show up until 2019, based on the historic record: 

"Historically, the term spread has been one of the best indicators of a forthcoming recession ... Indeed, each of the five most recent recessions were preceded within two years by an ‘inverted’ yield curve, with only one false signal (the yield curve very briefly dipped into negative territory in mid-1998, during the Russia crisis and the collapse of Long Term Capital Management, around 33 months before the cyclical peak)."

"On average, the lag between yield curve inversion and the onset of a recession is around 15 months. ... Even if the current trend pace of flattening since 2014 were to persist, the curve would not invert until the middle of 2019."

The global economy doesn't look like it's facing a recession — there is widespread GDP growth in the US, Europe, Asia and China. Nonetheless, the current expansion is one of the longest on record, and the economy tends to move in boom-bust cycles. We're due for a bust, frankly. 

There is another big difference between today and 2005: Central banks the world over have been buying bonds like crazy for nearly 10 years to keep interest rates down and to fuel the economy via so-called "quantitative easing." That has artificially depressed bond yields, and it means that this time around the yield curve is not the reliable predictor of recession it used to be. That's the position of UBS economist Paul Donovan, for instance.

Of course, when smart people start saying a recession won't happen because "this time it's different" — that's also an indicator of impending recession.

SEE ALSO: Retirement fund managers have made a huge mistake assuming 7% is an average return because 600 million workers are about to disappear from the global economy

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Bank of America beats, profits climbs 33% (BAC)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Brian Moynihan and Liu Mingkang

Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced second-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.63 a share Monday morning, a 43% jump from last year. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $0.57.

Here are the key numbers:

  • Revenue: $22.6 billion, down from Q2 2017 revenue of $22.8 billion, which included a $793 million pretax gain on the sale of the bank's non-US consumer card business.
  • Net income: $6.8 billion, up 33% from 2017.
  • Net interest income: Increased $664 million, or 6%, to $11.7 billion, thanks to higher interest rates, as well as loan and deposit growth.
  • Global wealth and investment management: Net income increased to $968 million, up 20%. Record client balances of nearly $2.8 trillion.
  • Credit card charge-offs rise: Net charge-offs increased $105 million to $896 million.
  • Investment banking fees down: Firmwide investment banking fees decreased 7% to $1.4 billion.
  • Global markets: Net income increased to $1.1 billion, up 34%. Sales and trading revenue jumped 6% to $3.4 billion.
  • Record first-half net income: $13.7 billion in profits in the first half of the year. 

“Solid operating leverage and client activity drove earnings higher this quarter. Responsible growth continued to deliver as a driver for every area of the company," CEO Brian Moynihan said.

Bank of America's strong showing follows robust earnings results from peers Citigroup and JPMorgan, which announced record second-quarter net profits Friday

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REPORT: Goldman Sachs to name David Solomon next CEO as early as Monday

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

David Solomon

  • Goldman Sachs set to formally announce that David Solomon will be the bank's next CEO.
  • Solomon has been apparently been heir to incumbent Lloyd Blankfein for several months.
  • The announcement of Solomon's appointment as CEO could be made as early as Monday, the New York Times reported.


Goldman Sachs will formally name David Solomon as the bank's next CEO this week, the New York Times reported over the weekend, finally confirming an appointment that has been expected for several months.

Solomon, who is currently the bank's president, will replace outgoing boss Lloyd Blankfein, who is expected to retire later in the year.

Blankfein has been CEO for 12 years, although stepped back from the firm briefly during late 2015 and early 2016 after being diagnosed with cancer.

The announcement of Solomon's appointment as CEO could be made as early as Monday, the New York Times reported.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Solomon has been the favourite, and pretty much the only candidate, for the job since Harvey Schwartz, Goldman's former joint president and chief financial officer, retired abruptly earlier in the year.

Business Insider's Dakin Campbell reported in May that Schwartz's retirement came after he realised it was almost certain Solomon would beat him to the CEO position.

Solomon, a native New Yorker and Goldman veteran of more than two decades, rose through the investment-banking business with a reputation for being Goldman's point man on many key client relationships, including 3M, Disney's Bob Iger, and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Solomon is known for pushing his investment bankers hard in the service of clients.

He is also known for his unorthodox hobby — EDM production. Solomon, known as DJ D-Sol, recently released his first track, a dance remix of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 hit "Don't Stop."

It has been reported that Solomon's moonlighting as a DJ has even helped Goldman secure business. At the time of Swedish streaming giant Spotify's public listing, tech site Recode reported that Solomon made "a personal plea" in the bank's pitch to the Spotify that referenced his side-project.

SEE ALSO: BI Prime: An inside look at Goldman's shocking executive shakeup — which provides major hints about how the firm will be run in the future

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Bitcoin Struggles for Gains as Volume Hits 36-Week Low

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The lowest trading volume since November 2017 is slowing up bitcoin's price recovery.

EU's Tusk calls for WTO reform to stop 'conflict and chaos' of Trump's growing trade war

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

European Council President Donald Tusk looks on during a news conference at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 20, 2017. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli

  • EU Council president Donald Tusk warned that trade wars can turn into "hot conflicts" in his opening statement at the EU-China Summit on Monday.
  • Tusk called for the EU, Russia, US and China to work together to reform the world order rather than destroy it. "There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos," he said.
  • "This is why I am calling on our Chinese hosts, but also on presidents Trump and Putin, to jointly start this process from a thorough reform of the WTO (World Trade Organization)," he added.

European Council President Donald Tusk called on US President Donald Trump to reform the world order rather than bring it down, warning that trade wars can turn into "hot conflicts."

Tusk made the remarks during his opening statement at the EU-China summit on Monday in Beijing, Bloomberg and the Guardian reported.

"We are all aware of the fact that the architecture of the world is changing before our very eyes and it is our common responsibility to make it change for the better," Tusk said.

The World Trade Organisation should be reformed rather then destroyed, he said, adding, "There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos."

The annual talks between EU leaders, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang coincide with Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland and mark a time of high global tension over trade.

Tusk called for the US, Russia and China to work together to cool the dispute. "I am calling on our Chinese hosts, but also on presidents Trump and Putin, to jointly start this process from a thorough reform of the WTO (World Trade Organization)," he said.

"Today we are facing a dilemma, whether to play a tough game, such as tariff wars and conflict in places like Ukraine and Syria, or to look for common solutions based on fair rules."

On Sunday, Trump labelled the EU as one of his country’s biggest "foes" calling it "very difficult." Meanwhile the Chinese economy has slowed slightly in the second quarter of 2018 from 6.8% to 6.7%, a situation that has not been helped by the trade war.

Chinese Ambassador to the EU wrote in a Chinese newspaper editorial on Sunday before the talks: "I hope during the summit China and the EU will consolidate consensus and trust… and send a joint message defending multilateralism, free trade and investment facilitation."

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Chilean Court Orders State-Owned Bank to Re-Open Bitcoin Exchange Orionx’s Account

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Fourth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago has recently ruled that state-owned Banco Estado has to re-open the account of bitcoin exchange Orionx, after it seemingly illegally shut it down. As CCN covered, earlier this year Chilean banks Itau Corpbanca, Bank of Nova Scotia, and state-owned Banco Estado shut down the accounts

The post Chilean Court Orders State-Owned Bank to Re-Open Bitcoin Exchange Orionx’s Account appeared first on CCN

Schnorr Is Looking Poised to Become Bitcoin's Biggest Change Since SegWit

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Highly-respected bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille unveiled a draft document outlining the technical makeup of bitcoin's likely next major upgrade.

LocalBitcoins Trader ‘Bitcoin Maven’ Sentenced to Prison for Money Laundering

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

LocalBitcoins trader Theresa Lynn Tetley, better known as the “Bitcoin Maven,” has been sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, a $20,000 fine, and three years supervision after release for laundering bitcoin as proceeds of narcotics sales and for her role in running an illegal bitcoin-for-cash exchange, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for

The post LocalBitcoins Trader ‘Bitcoin Maven’ Sentenced to Prison for Money Laundering appeared first on CCN

Exclusive: Podcast Interview with Bridge Protocol CEO Stephen Hyduchak

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This interview was originally done for the Bitcoin Podcast by CCN. Check out the original interview and let us know what you think! This week, I spoke with Bridge CEO Stephen Hyduchak. I first learned about Bridge earlier this year while attending Cryptolina and have been intrigued by the concept of applying zero-knowledge proofs to

The post Exclusive: Podcast Interview with Bridge Protocol CEO Stephen Hyduchak appeared first on CCN

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