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Blockchain-aided voting trials to begin in India

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Trials of blockchain-aided voting in India that would enable voters to post ballots from outside their home provinces are to begin soon.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that research using the cutting-edge technology had already started and that mock trials were to be launched in the very near future, as reported by The Wire.

India’s Election Commission worked alongside researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in creating a secure way to verify identities and enable voting from far-flung regions of the country, and beyond. On the same day, Arora confirmed a proposal that would give Indians living abroad the chance to engage in the voting process.

The blockchain aspect of the system would see personalized e-ballot papers generated by the blockchain once a voter’s identity has been verified. Subsequent votes are then encrypted, generating a blockchain hash, explained former Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena.

“After a voter’s identity is established by the system, a blockchain-enabled personalised e-ballot paper will be generated. When the vote is cast, the ballot will be securely encrypted and a blockchain hashtag generated. This hashtag notification will be sent to various stakeholders, in this case the candidates and political parties.”

Saxena explained that the system isn’t designed to allow people to vote from home. Instead, they would still have to congregate at a designated polling area, just not the one in the polling region in which they’re registered. 

Emphasizing the early stage at which the project still remained, Saxena said voters wishing to utilize this voting procedure would probably have to arrange it in advance.

On the other side of the world, the two most recent elections in the United States were marred by unfounded accusations of vote manipulation, whether by Russian collusion or rigged vote counting. The rise of blockchain technology amid such furor has led some to suggest its ability to secure cryptocurrencies could also be applied to the election process.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-aided-voting-trials-to-begin-in-india

Blockchain

$250M Fund to Invest in Polkadot and Cardano Launched in India

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FD7 Ventures, the cryptocurrency-oriented fund that recently vowed to dispose of its BTC holdings for ADA and DOT, has set up a $250 million micro-fund focusing on investments in teams working on the ecosystems of Polkadot and Cardano.

FD7 Goes to India for DOT and ADA

Based in Dubai, UAE, FD7 is a crypto-oriented investment fund with over $1 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm recently announced somewhat bold plans to dispose of $750 million of its BTC holdings and allocate the sizeable amount into ADA and DOT.

At the time, the company’s Managing Director blasted the primary cryptocurrency and highlighted the potential for Cardano and Polkadot to further rise in popularity and utilization.

FD7 Ventures doubled-down on its belief in the two projects, according to a more recent press release. It reads that the firm has opened an office in Bangalore, India, with the primary focus of offering financial assistance to Polkadot and Cardano.

To do so, FD7 has established a micro-fund targeting $250 million to invest in teams working on the two projects. The statement described this move as part of the overall “strategic road map to build its presence in Bangalore” and further reaffirm its support for Polkadot and Cardano.

“Positioning our new location where we have in Bangalore gives us a home-field advantage to tap into some of the world’s best future talent in blockchain and cryptocurrency development.” – commented Prakash Chand, Global Managing Director at the company.

The new venture plans to invest $1-5 million across 50 companies yearly, with about “thirty percent of those Polkadot and Cardano ecosystem-based companies receiving secondary investments of $5-20 million.”

NFTs Are the Future

The statement also touched upon the growing craze of non-fungible tokens (NFT) and Polkadot’s role in some particular cases. More specifically, it breached the recent partnership between the famous YouTuber Paul Logan and Bondly, which resulted in an impressive popularity boost.

“Just look at Bondly, which is built on Polkadot. It literally blew up overnight when YouTuber Paul Logan sold more than $5 million worth of NFTs in just 24 hours. This is not just a space to watch but one which is proving its investment-worthiness with almost daily records being set with increase use cases for non-fungible tokens that support cryptographic art, collectibles, gaming, and more.” – said Chand.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/250m-fund-to-invest-in-polkadot-and-cardano-launched-in-india/

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China restricts crypto mining in Inner Mongolia

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China has been at the forefront of developing its digital yuan or DECP [Digital Currency Electronic Payment] but has continued to maintain a distance from the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The growing crackdown on Bitcoin mining firms in China has been impacting the sentiment in the area and according to reports, it has now extended a ban on mining projects in Inner Mongolia.

The country will end all cryptocurrency projects associated with mining. This decision followed China’s effort to meet energy efficiency targets. The large amounts of energy consumed by crypto and other industries like steel, coke, and methanol production have resulted in the government’s stringent decision to ban mining activity in the region.

The autonomous region of Inner Mongolia has been a hub for cheap power due to which the mining industry was drawn to it.

The aim of the region has been to cut emission per unit of gross domestic product by 3% this year and gradually control the massive boom in the consumption of standard coal. Although small, the region accounted for 8% of global Bitcoin mining hash power.

China has a 65% hold of the total network hash power allotted to Bitcoin and the above map highlighted that among other regions Xinjiang was the highest contributor to the hash rate in a month.

The abundant supply of coal and the relative remoteness of the region made it more convenient and cheap for miners to set base here. However, no strict actions have been taken to curb this problem by the Chinese government. If the country continued its mission to become more energy-efficient, it won’t be long before miners have to find alternatives to cheap electricity available in various regions in China.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/china-restricts-crypto-mining-in-inner-mongolia

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Central bank digital currency a mixed blessing, says RBI

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India’s central bank has recognized the potential benefits of central bank digital currencies but not without including a few pitfalls.

The Reserve Bank of India offered its assessment of CBDCs as part of its report on currency and finance issued on Feb. 28.

As part of the report, the RBI noted that several countries are exploring the creation of their own sovereign national digital currency.

According to the central bank’s report, CBDCs can help to promote financial inclusion and transactional transparency. The RBI also stated that national digital currencies could be useful as an instrument of monetary transmission by helping to engineer public consumption towards specific categories of products and services.

Detailing the benefits of CBDCs, the RBI also remarked that digital counterparts to sovereign fiat currency could be used by central banks to pump “helicopter money.”

In its analysis, the RBI also expressed concerns about the potential negative impacts of CBDCs on the legacy financial system, noting:

“CBDC is, however, not an unmixed blessing — it poses a risk of disintermediation of the banking system, more so if the commercial banking system is perceived to be fragile.”

For countries with significant credit markets, the RBI argued that CBDCs could threaten the primacy of commercial banks as the primary channel for the transmission of monetary policy.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, India is looking to emulate China in creating its own CBDC. According to RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, the central bank is “very much in the game” of developing a digital rupee.

However, the RBI report did not include any details about the central bank’s digital rupee project. In another portion of the document, the central bank did concede that internationalization of the rupee was inevitable but added that such a move would complicate monetary policy formulation and implementation.

With several countries looking to create their own sovereign digital currencies, CBDC interoperability is becoming a concern among stakeholders. Meanwhile, reports indicate that China’s digital yuan will have a more domestic focus.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/central-bank-digital-currency-a-mixed-blessing-says-rbi

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