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Former Georgian PM: Blockchain is the steam engine of Industry 4.0

Georgia’s former prime minister is bullish on blockchain and its potential for the future of society.

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Located at the intersection between Europe and Asia, Georgia is a small country with a big mission to drive blockchain adoption and education. In February 2017, the government of Georgia made a bold move by signing an agreement to use the Bitcoin blockchain to record land titles, making it the first national government to use blockchain for authenticating state operations.

Georgia’s innovation didn’t stop there, rather continuing to grow as the country became a powerhouse for mining crypto. Then, in June 2019, the government of Georgia signed a memorandum of understanding with blockchain technology firm Input Output Hong Kong, or IOHK, to advance blockchain projects across government sectors, with a large focus on education.

Many of these innovations took place when Mamuka Bakhtadze served as the country’s prime minister, between June 2018 through September 2019. Cointelegraph had the pleasure of sitting down with Bakhtadze to learn more about his goals to drive blockchain innovation and education.

Rachel Wolfson: How did you start implementing blockchain and digital currencies into policy when you were Prime Minister of Georgia?

Mamuka Bakhtadze: This actually started before I became prime minister of Georgia. Georgia is the first country that introduced blockchain technology in public services. That happened a few years ago, when we partnered with the blockchain company Bitfury.

Our Ministry of Justice implemented Bitfury’s blockchain to register and verify property transactions. This was the first time not only for Georgia, but for any state to implement blockchain in the public services sector.

RW: You recently spoke at the virtual Davos event this year about taking blockchain further; what can the future hold?

MB: Georgia is a very good example of the limitless opportunities associated with blockchain, especially within the public services sector. Currently, we are implementing a very important project in the education sector together with IOHK and Charles Hoskinson, who is a very good friend of Georgia. Together with the Ministry of Justice and Minister for Education, we are implementing the credentials verification project. The team is using a Cardano-backed blockchain for this.

“Overall, we have a vision to make Georgia a regional hub for business, trade, tourism and finance, which are all important for innovation. It’s also important for the companies who are involved in innovation here to have access to a pool of talented individuals.”

When you want to make a transformation for your country, it’s very important to have a national idea that will consolidate the energy and effort required for it. In our opinion, this was education. In 2019, we initiated an education reform, and now, according to our legislation, it is mandatory for any government to invest 6% of GDP in education, which is around 25% of our budget.

So education is really a big element for Georgia. With this reform, we hope that we will be able to position Georgia as a hub for innovation, and blockchain plays a large role in this. The project that we are doing now with the Input Output team is very important from that perspective.

RW: Is Cardano and IOHK also setting up an education center in Georgia, where they’re teaching students about blockchain and then providing career opportunities?

MB: This is part of phase two of the plan. The first phase, as I have mentioned, is to finalize this project for credentials verification. The next phase will focus on the skill-building process for Georgians who would like to become part of this great initiative.

RW: Is the Georgian government also looking to implement blockchain solutions to revive tourism and travel that may have been impacted by COVID-19?

MB: Tourism is a very important industry for Georgia. Our population is less than 4 million people, and last year, we hosted more than 9 million visitors. So, tourism is really a very important industry for both the country and our economy.

I think blockchain can provide some very interesting solutions to this problem. Many countries are now trying to get data showing whether people have been tested for COVID-19. They also want information to show whether people have been living in so-called “high-risk” zones. At the same time, this is very sensitive data. Therefore, the security and safety measures of how to use this data is very important.

Blockchain can provide some interesting solutions for countries like Georgia who are so dependent on tourism. I know that there are some Asian countries that are working very intensively on these solutions. Georgia should also determine which technologies we will have to use to increase our visitors again. I think that blockchain would be the right answer to this question.

RW: What are your thoughts on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, and how is this being applied in Georgia?

MB: I’m a strong advocate for digital currencies and I have many strong arguments for being so supportive. It’s a fact that we are living in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Digital currencies are an inevitable part of this era. At the same time, the lessons learned from the previous industrial revolutions are very interesting.

“The technologies introduced in the first industrial revolution were struggling for decades to close the economic gap that stood between them and industrial relations. Still, the gaps that we are observing between countries and economies have the same roots. Therefore, it’s my understanding that the fourth industrial revolution is the greatest opportunity of all.”

However, for countries like Georgia, the use of digital currencies — an organic part of the fourth industrial revolution — should become part of the transformation for both nations and their economies. Moreover, what we are learning now from the COVID-19 pandemic shows that the global economy needs digital currencies and cryptocurrency, which will make transactions safer and more efficient. Therefore, I think that it’s an inevitable process.

Of course, there are a lot of barriers, and I really do hope to see more of an open-minded approach from governments and regulators when it comes to digital currencies. But the bottom line is that all of us should understand that this move is inevitable. The countries who will be more supportive of digital currencies and cryptocurrencies will have a very significant competitive advantage in the 21st century. Georgia cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

RW: So would you say Georgia is crypto-friendly? Are digital assets going to be adopted in Georgia earlier than other places in the world?

MB: I’m optimistic about this, and just to finalize the comparison I made with the first industrial revolution, I think another big part of this will be blockchain adoption. Blockchain will have the same impact as the steam engine had during the first industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution was powered by the steam engine and the fourth industrial revolution will be powered by blockchain. That’s really a game changer.

When it comes to regulations, politicians everywhere in the world and in Georgia should be more open-minded. Once again, the pandemic has shown us why. The global economy needs digital currencies now.

“The minister of finance, together with my team, have crafted a brief concept of what type of national digital currency Georgia could have. I do hope that one day in the future, this project will be implemented.”

There are also a number of other initiatives. Of course, I would like to see Georgia as a frontrunner when it comes to blockchain and digital currencies.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/former-georgian-pm-blockchain-is-the-steam-engine-of-industry-4-0

Blockchain

Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse, Chris Larsen File Motions To Dismiss SEC Lawsuit

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Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder Chris Larsen have recently appealed to Judge Analisa Torres, filing two separate motions to dismiss the US SEC’s amended complaint against Ripple and its executives.

Regulatory Overreach

In a letter dated March 3, 2021, the Attorneys representing Garlinghouse stated that the lawsuit filed by the SEC against Ripple was simply a “regulatory overreach.”

They argued that the SEC’s allegations of Garlinghouse aiding and abetting the sale of XRP, which they also alleged of being a security under the Securities Act, failed based on several reasons.

The letter reads:

“The SEC fails to recognize the economic realities of Defendants’ transactions in XRP, the XRP market, and Ripple’s business, each of which exhibits none of the traditional characteristics of an investment contract under SEC v. W.J. Howey Co.”

The Howey Test is often used by the SEC to determine whether an asset possesses the qualities of a security, and the regulatory body had argued that XRP had all the characteristics of a security. 

However, Ripple and its executives have maintained that XRP is a virtual currency, as confirmed by the Justice Department and FinCEN.

The filing also remarked on the recent amended complaint filed by the SEC before the pretrial hearing on February 22, which alleged that Garlinghouse violated securities laws by selling his XRP holdings through Ripple.

Baseless Claims

Garlinghouse had reportedly sold more than 60% of his XRP holdings worth around $159 million at that time, a move that had been frowned upon by several members of the crypto community.

However, the attorneys representing him have asserted that the SEC’s complaints against him are baseless since there are no tangible proofs to show that those transactions had indeed occurred within the US.

They said that “the truth is that the vast majority of Mr. Garlinghouse’s XRP sales were made on foreign exchanges, and those transactions do not and cannot violate the federal securities laws.”

Meanwhile, Chris Larsen’s lawyers said in their letter that the regulator has failed “to state a claim against Mr. Larsen,”  even in its amended complaint. Hence, the lawsuit against their client should be dismissed.

An Attack On Cryptocurrencies

The conclusion of this SEC lawsuit against Ripple will greatly affect the way cryptocurrencies are viewed and regulated. 

The CEO had earlier stated that this case is an “assault on crypto at large” and that Ripple “will not let SEC bully the entire industry.”

It is still uncertain who would be declared right or wrong, we just have to wait and watch with fingers crossed.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/ripples-brad-garlinghouse-chris-larsen-file-motions-to-dismiss-sec-lawsuit/

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XRP Price Analysis: 04 March

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Disclaimer: The findings of the following analysis are the sole opinions of the writer and should not be taken as investment advice

XRP’s price action has seen it move in both directions rapidly over the past two months. In fact, the first half of February alone saw the coin make significant strides north before it corrected to account for losses on the price charts. However, such price movement was mostly confined between its resistance and support levels. In the coming weeks, the cryptocurrency may continue to trade range-bound provided its immediate support doesn’t give in to the market’s bears.

At the time of writing, XRP was trading at $0.455 with a market capitalization of over $20 billion. Over the course of the week, the cryptocurrency registered losses of over 6 percent. However, a slight uptick in price was noted over the last 24 hours, with XRP able to hike by close to 4 percent.

XRP 1-day chart

Source: XRP/USD, TradingView

Since the start of February, XRP has traded within a confined range. Its price action has been limited to trade between its resistance at $0.62 and support at $0.39. This support level is very crucial to XRP’s price in the long-term and if the bears flip this to resistance in the coming days, XRP will see its price head towards the $0.24 range – a trading price that was last seen in January 2021.

At the time of writing, there was a bit of bullish momentum that seemed to be benefitting the crypto’s price. If a trend reversal takes place over the coming days, then traders can benefit from a short position.

Rationale

The altcoin’s technical indicators highlighted how the coin is still not entirely out of the woods yet. There was significant bearish pressure for XRP on the daily chart. The MACD indicator underwent a bearish crossover and while a reversal seemed possible, it hadn’t occurred at the time of writing. Additionally, the Stochastic indicator was still in the oversold zone, despite moving towards the neutral zone.

Important levels to watch out for 

Resistance: $0.62

Support: $0.39, $0.24

Entry: $0.42

Take Profit: $0.26

Stop Loss: $0.58

Risk/Reward:0.91

Conclusion 

XRP’s price can be expected to be range-bound in the near-term. That being said, the altcoin may lose a lot of its value if the immediate support is breached in the next 24-48 hours. On the contrary, if the press time bullish momentum sustains itself, then a move towards its immediate resistance at $0.62 cannot be discounted.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/xrp-price-analysis-04-march

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A dark horse in the Ethereum scaling wars? Chainlink’s oracles find fertile ground on xDai

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Chainlink (LINK) oracles have made their way to xDai, an Ethereum sidechain that has seen growing adoption among DApp developers who cannot afford to stay on the Ethereum mainnet.

As announced by Chainlink on Thursday, its price feeds are live on the xDai mainnet, offering price data for an initial set of trading pairs including LINK/USD, AAVE/USD, DOT/USD and SUSHI/USD. More pairs can be quickly added if there is demand, the company said.

The integration was completed by Protofire, a development workshop and xDai validator. The team received a Chainlink Community Grant to port native Chainlink oracles on xDai, including a token bridge adapter that enables native LINK payments for the oracle’s functionality.

The integration of Chainlink price feeds is the latest in a series of positive adoption news for the xDai project. The chain was already hosting major Ethereum-based DApps like Perpetual Protocol, a derivatives platform, and Omen, a prediction market developed by Gnosis. The inclusion of native Chainlink oracles removes a major barrier for projects relying on them, potentially opening up xDai for more DApps who wish to escape from the congested Ethereum mainnet.

Decentralization is good, but it won’t pay for gas

xDai is a relatively centralized sidechain secured by an independent set of validators. Sidechains are a type of chain where a standalone blockchain uses another’s token as a native currency for paying transaction fees — in xDai’s case, that token is MakerDAO’s Dai. The architecture binds the economies of the two environments, but the sidechain is otherwise a completely independent entity with its own security rules.

In the Ethereum community, xDai is commonly known as a centralized layer two solution. It was launched by PoA Network, a project whose name directly hints to centralization — Proof of Authority is the somewhat euphemistic name of a consensus model where the validators are chosen by the project’s insiders, instead of a community.

The xDai chain has since its launch transitioned to a Proof-of-Stake model very similar to that used by EOS or Binance Smart Chain. The total number of validators can never exceed 19, compared to the tens of thousands of validators in Ethereum’s Beacon Chain. The benefit this architecture provides is faster scalability, with xDai offering an advertised 70 transactions per second for simple token transfers.

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Friederike Ernst, chief operating officer at Gnosis, agreed that xDai is somewhat centralized:

“It is not as decentralized as mainnet, this goes without saying. Obviously these are for very different use cases: you don’t want to do things on xDai where you need the economic consensus guarantees of layer one. But for many things, you don’t actually need them.”

The allure of xDai comes in part from its almost plug-and-play compatibility with Ethereum. Its OmniBridge allows moving any token to xDai and back, while its blockchain architecture is almost identical to Ethereum. This makes porting DApps or infrastructure elements like oracles very easy.

The centralization concerns seem to be not enough to stop adoption. Chainlink sees itself following developer demand, with Johann Eid, head of integrations at Chainlink Labs, telling Cointelegraph that “smart contract developers should have the option to work with whichever chain is the best fit for their use case.”

For Omen, the decision to set up shop on xDai was a matter of immediate necessity, Ernst explained:

“For most things, the gas costs outweigh the downsides of being on a PoA chain. And the fact of the matter is, while people are betting on a lot of layer two solutions, very few of them are in production.

Array

The growing adoption of xDai or Binance Smart Chain is seemingly at odds with the crypto community’s preference of decentralization. Ethereum fans often believe that the prevalence of DeFi on the blockchain is the result of its more decentralized architecture and community spirit. Indeed, the rise in usage of blockchains like Tron or BSC occurred after it became clear Ethereum could not cope with its load.

At the same time, decentralization appears to be not enough by itself. For example, the most Ethereum-like blockchain in existence is Ethereum Classic, which was formed by a community who believed that Ethereum was not decentralized enough. It has failed to attract almost any interest from DApp developers.

More centralized solutions have a major benefit going for them — they work, right now. Rollup-based layer two solutions are still in development, with Optimistic Rollups being closest to release. Ernst was not particularly enthusiastic about its one week withdrawal waiting period, though. “I’m a huge fan of zkRollups. There you don’t have the withdrawal limitations, but the technology is not developed enough.”

While some developers continue waiting for rollup-based solutions, platforms like xDai can advance unimpeded. “Ultimately, it’s a tradeoff between the higher security guarantees offered by Ethereum and the usability, innovation, speed and cost savings right now on L2 sidechains,” an xDai spokesperson told Cointelegraph. As long as gas fees on Ethereum remain high, DApps may bforced to choose practicality over ideology.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/a-dark-horse-in-the-ethereum-scaling-wars-chainlink-s-oracles-find-fertile-ground-on-xdai

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