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Blockchain in Healthcare: Bridging Trust in response to COVID-19

Blockchain in Healthcare: Bridging Trust in response to COVID-19
Link to our article: https://block.co/blockchain-in-healthcare/
There’s never been a better time to provide proof-of-health solutions in the healthcare system globally. While it’s difficult to comprehend the significance of the role that technology may offer in such difficult times, essentially it can be nailed down to its basic concept of simplifying work and coordinating activities, which could have helped avoid the worst crisis people have experienced in their lifetime. If the healthcare system would adopt technological innovations in the early stages, it could have benefited and saved many lives.
Although the healthcare system has traditionally been slow in embracing the latest digital solutions, just like many other industries, we’ve observed in a previous article how the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies on a global scale in several industries, including healthcare.
The latest webcast brought to the audience by Block.co hosted some high profile experts from the industry. They illustrated how blockchain especially, together with other technologies such as IoT, and AI could in the future help elevate prompt responses, and provide more secure and efficient storage of data, something that has been missed in the recent pandemic.
Ahmed Abdulla from Digipharm, Dr. Alice Loveys from EY, and Dimitrios Neocleous from VeChain were hosted by Georgina Kyriakoudes, one of the first in the world to hold an MSc in Digital Currency, founder of Dcentric.Health and creator of the permissioned blockchain ecosystem app called Aria, which aims to transform the patient healthcare experience by giving individuals full control of their medical records.
Blockchain’s benefits in healthcare are primarily identified by efficiency, specifically on the transfer of data, facilitation of goods transport via the supply chain, prevention of counterfeit medicines sale, secure storage, and exchange of data around ID management. The impressive projects all the webcast guests have developed in the industry enable just these features, from the digitization of patient records to storage and exchange of medical data as well as easier processing of funds.
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Ahmed Abdulla founded Digipharm with the idea of issuing tokens to allow patients to be in control of their medical records at all times. Moreover, tokens are issued to be paid for anonymously sharing personal medical data to help research; pay for healthcare based on how it has improved quality of life.
We have experienced a disparity in Covid-19 tests costs around the world. For instance, getting tested in Cyprus costs around €60 while in the US it may add up to a few thousand dollars. This is due to the way countries arrange payment setups from payers to providers. Blockchain empowers people to take ownership of their records and funds while providing transparency of processes. This is where blockchain can be robust, by increasing transparency and allowing the patient to secure money transfer and hold their own records”, stated Ahmed.
His work as blockchain advisor at the UN Economic Commission for Europe is helping set up standards for the blockchain ecosystem, namely how the system should be used safely, and in a way that benefits all stakeholders.
“I lead the blockchain and healthcare team at the UN center for trade facilitation and e-business where we developed a blockchain and trade facilitation white paper; the second phase will soon provide an advanced technology advisory board to advise private or public stakeholders on what’s the best technology to use. It might not always be blockchain, hence we first understand and then advise if the tech is right for them or not. Blockchain is clunky, expensive, and not always proper for the organization we work with”, continued the blockchain expert.
Most people may prefer public and permissionless blockchain because it has major advantages over a private and permissioned one. Transparency stands out for the way the ledger is shared and for due diligence becoming unnecessary as a result. This means costs are also cheaper, in the range of 100% lower. On the other hand, a public decentralized blockchain has a major disadvantage since no legal framework is laid out. This means uncertainty as there is still a grey area in the legal field that might create confusion.
Dimitrios Neocleous is Ecosystem Manager at VeChain Tech and directly supported digital and technological solutions provider I-DANTE with the creation of the E-NewHealthLife and the E-HCert for the Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus. Both apps give patients control over their health records, improve medical data sharing, and increase hospital operational efficiencies by simplifying the process of visiting a hospital.
E-NewHealthLife is a complex ecosystem solution that starts from a patient’s visit to an emergency room. A card with the reason for a patient’s visit is issued; it gets time-stamped; the patient is sent to the waiting room; once the patient’s turn comes and the medical check is completed, the card is scanned and the visit is closed. Patients can digitally access all diagnoses that took place anytime at the hospital.
“The platform produces a digital health passport, which is an encrypted non-fungible card that patients can use to identify themselves automatically when registering at the hospital’s emergency room. The passport is stored within a mobile app called E-HCert, which keeps track of each patient’s medical data and can be shared as needed”, announced Dimitrios.
E-HCert App is a Covid-19 lab test electronic wallet and pushes up the results of a patient who’s been tested for COVID. It has been proven to be very successful so far; currently, 2000 people who transited through the Larnaca airport in Cyprus have downloaded the app. With time-stamped records, it’s able to provide data such as the day and time when the sample was collected, it offers immutability, security, and integrity of data.
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“Covid-19 showed a deficiency in healthcare. The spread of the virus could have been prevented if we had digitization of processes and transparency of data through blockchain, and transfer of data through an authorized share of records. An open permissionless decentralized blockchain helps bring ownership of medical records back to the patient, and that is not possible in a centralized system”, continued the VeChain representative.
Dr. Alice Loveys is EY ‘s healthcare blockchain leader in the US and has been at the forefront of emerging healthcare technologies for her entire career including being a pioneer in electronic health record adoption, health information exchange, and privacy and security.
She believes that “blockchain technology is like a plumbing system that brings clean and transparent trusted data that can be used. It’s not proper for a track and trace system as it invades privacy unless there is the consent from patients, in that case, blockchain transparent share of data would be extremely useful for medical research and testing”.
One problem we experienced during the crisis is the confusion that arose with divulged information and the frustration that comes with it. People do not understand anymore which information can be trusted; at first, it looked like COVID-19 symptoms were not dangerous, then it came out that they actually were. Masks were not useful at the beginning, then they suddenly became necessary.
“Blockchain could have prevented lockdown and economic crisis through data management in that a much faster response would have been provided to tackle misinformation because blockchain can help manage data from different sources”, continues Dr. Loveys. “Moreover, it’s a great way to protect the database. Instead of moving any private sensitive medical data through the more traditional digital systems, blockchain simply allows us to send an algorithm, encrypted data that safeguards the information. It’s not a great use as a database as it does not scale, therefore we would not be able to store information for billions of people in it. But for the data that is in the blockchain, using algorithms, makes it very convenient and secure”.
Another topic discussed during the webcast was the GDPR compliance for blockchain. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was created before blockchain therefore it doesn’t account for decentralized technologies. Generally speaking, it all comes down to how the technology is used and what kind of data is incorporated in it. Timestamping data without invading anyone’s privacy, or timestamp of consented data, should determine no issue at all. This is what privacy by design stands for, taking human values into account in a well-defined manner throughout the whole process.
Block.co, powered by the University of Nicosia, is establishing itself as a global leader in the issuance of digital immutable and secure certificates timestamped on the Bitcoin blockchain. In the field of healthcare, it could include medical records, prescription issuance, insurance disputes, supply chain documentation, and any type of verifiable certificate that requires authenticity at its core.
For more info, contact Block.co directly or email at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
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Blockchain in Healthcare – Webcast Q&A

Blockchain in Healthcare – Webcast Q&A
On our website, you can find the original article: https://block.co/webcastqa-blockchain-in-healthcare/
Block.co third webcast ” Blockchain in Healthcare: Bridging Trust in response to COVID-19“ received amazing feedback! We gathered some of the best experts in the field, Georgina Kyriakoudes, Ahmed Abdulla, Dimitri Neocleous, Dr. Alice Loveys to share their experience in the industry and discuss with us the latest updates in the sphere of Healthcare! In its third series of webcasts, Block.co gathered 253 people watching the event from 59 different countries, for a 90-minute webcast where guests answered participants’ questions.
Below is a list of the questions that were made and were not answered due to time constraints during the Blockchain in Healthcare webcast. Please note that the below information is only for educational purposes!
Question 1: I like what Dimitrios was saying regarding ownership and transfer. Health and social care have invested much in Information Management systems and processes. Transfer between NHS and social care is a typical block. Can you elaborate on how the blockchain sits across that – leapfrogs yet goes with the grain of what is already there in terms of shared records protocols, the exponentially growing types of professionals, pharmacists, careers, etc. that need early access to these records for better decision making.
Block.co Team Answer: Blockchain technology has the potential to improve healthcare, placing the patient at the center of the health care ecosystem, while providing security, privacy, and interoperability of health data. Blockchain could provide a new model for health information exchanges and transform electronic medical records to be more efficient, disintermediated, and secure. While it is not a cure, this new, Blockchain in Healthcare rapidly evolving field provides a sandbox for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing.
Healthcare systems around the world are preparing road maps that define critical policy and technical components needed for nationwide interoperability, including:
  • Ubiquitous, secure network infrastructure
  • Verifiable identity and authentication of all participants
  • Consistent illustration of authorization to access electronic health data, and several other requirements.
However, current technologies don’t totally address these necessities, and as a result, they face limitations associated with security, privacy, and full ecosystem interoperability.
Blockchain technology creates distinctive opportunities to scale back complexity, improve trustless collaboration, and create secure and immutable data. National Healthcare Systems need to track this rapidly evolving field to identify trends and sense the areas where government support may be needed for the technology to realize its full potential in health care. To form blockchain’s future, they ought to take into account mapping and gathering the blockchain ecosystem, establishing a blockchain framework to coordinate early-adopters, and supporting a pool for dialogue and discovery.
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Question 2: What about the “compatibility” of blockchain solutions in healthcare with GDPR and/or other regulations about personal data protection.
Block.co Team Answer: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe’s new framework for data protection laws, has a vital impact on healthcare organizations. During this more and more patient-centric world where global healthcare organizations collect a large set of data on patients to produce improved health outcomes, this increased regulation has an even larger impact.
GDPR presents challenges across all industries and includes language that has a special impact on healthcare. The regulation defines “personal” data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (data subject); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.” On top of this definition, GDPR contains three extra, important definitions that pertain to health data:
  1. “Data concerning health” is defined by the GDPR as “personal data related to the physical or mental health of a natural person, including the provision of health care services, which reveal information about his or her health status.”
  2. “Genetic data” is outlined by the GDPR as “personal data relating to inherited or acquired genetic characteristics of a natural person which give unique information about the physiology or the health of that natural person and which result, in particular, from an analysis of a biological sample from the natural person in question.”
  3. “Biometric data” is “personal data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the physical, physiological, or behavioral characteristics of a natural person, which allows or confirms the unique identification of that natural person, such as facial images or dactyloscopic data.”
As described in Article 6 of GDPR, processing of personal data is considered lawful if: (1) the data subject has given consent; (2) it is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is a party; (3) it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation; (4) it is necessary to protect the vital interest of the data subject or another natural person; (5) it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest; (6) it is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or third party.
However, healthcare organizations that usually manage health data, have an added responsibility to take care of “data concerning health,” “genetic data,” and “biometric data” to a higher standard of protection than personal data, in general. GDPR prohibits the processing of these forms of health data unless one of the three conditions below would apply as per Article 9.
a. The data subject must have given “explicit consent.”
b. “Processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services …”
c. “Processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care and of medicinal products or medical devices …”
Consent VS Explicit Consent – If one pays attention, there’s a difference in the GDPR’s health data use conditions (calls for “explicit consent”) and the general definition (calls for “consent”). Thus, there’s an ongoing debate as to what constitutes the difference between “unambiguous” and “explicit” consent. Despite the debate and the final legal clarifications, there is no doubt that in the purposes of the healthcare the “explicit consent” must have the strongest agreement form listing in detail the use(s) of data and covering the cases of data transfers and storage.
Question 3: How can we use blockchain technology by the government in Africanflavored government, say by Ministry of health to have patient autonomy of medical records that can be accessed by any government hospital irrespective of the ailment and record printed by the previous hospital and doctor, such as referral cases without having to open a new file in the referred hospital.
Block.co Team Answer: Perhaps that would be an ideal implementation of the Block.co solution issuing a digital certificate of medical examination on an Open Public Blockchain such as the Bitcoin blockchain, that would be decentralized in nature, easy to validate online without any special wallets, and would be provided by the patient on-demand, to refer to treatments received in other hospitals or areas. But this would require that the practitioner is aware and can use the open-source code or use Block.co services to issue these certificates. Alternatively, there could be the use of a wallet to store these medical credentials to be submitted on demand to health practitioners. Moreover, there would need to be an alignment of regulation in the matter as decentralized repositories are not recognized at the moment.

Question 4: Is there any data breach threat in the blockchain using a poorly protected private key at communication?
Block.co Team Answer: Millions of health care records have already been breached, and in attempts to combat this issue, solutions often result in the inaccessibility of health records. Health providers often send information to other providers, and this often ends up in mishandling of data, losing records, or passing on inaccurate and old data. In some cases, only one copy of an updated health record exists, and this may result in the loss of information. Health records often contain personal information such as names, social security numbers, and home addresses. When it comes to Blockchain in Healthcare, a poorly protected private key is always a factor to consider. A private key allows us to sign a transaction and spend funds residing in an address (public key) by providing ownership with the signature. It is a unique string of information that represents proof of identification inside the blockchain, which includes the right to access and control the participant’s wallet. It must be kept secret, as it is effectively a personal password. In the case that that private key is poorly protected, there is always a data breach threat.
Question 5: The medical record of a patient is owned by the patient. What happens if a doctor accesses the record without the consent of the patient? Using the smart contract, could there be a governing body, say a legal system that can call the doctor to order?
Block.co Team Answer: Rather than having each physical and electronic copies of records, blockchains may enable the shift to electronic health records (EHR). When looking at Blockchain in Healthcare, medical records on the blockchain would be within the management of the patient rather than a third party, through the patients’ private and public keys. Patients may then control access to their health records, making transferring information less cumbersome. Because blockchain ledgers are immutable, health information may not be deleted or tampered with. Blockchain transactions would be accompanied by a timestamp, permitting those with access to maintain updated information. The doctor would not be able to access the record without the consent of the patient. A patient would need to sign the transaction in a smart contract in order to transfer patient details to the doctor.
Question 6: So, how are private data protected when the patient is simply notified that unauthorized access just took place on her medical record? and, how are the negative results of this breach rectified towards the patient?
Block.co Team Answer: The patient would be notified to sign a transaction enabling access to the party requesting access to the specific medical record. In other cases, there could be a multi-signature wallet requiring multiple transactions in the cases where the patient may need assistance, for example, when underage or when not in a healthy state of mind, or being non-responsive or in critical condition. The patient needs to be responsible for his own data and be empowered through awareness and know-how of this technology. With great power, comes also great responsibility, although it is yet a challenge to enable computer illiterate people to interact with this technology.
Question 7: Can the same record of a patient still be shared with private hospitals and say another government/private hospital abroad on the same blockchain?
Block.co Team Answer: Depending on whether the information is on a public blockchain or a private blockchain. When on a private blockchain, they will need to be granted permission to access the blockchain accordingly.
Question 8: No one has directly spoken about ownership where a large research institution/ consortium is working with the data – it is not solely the person who has said so…
Block.co Team Answer: Indeed, it is solely not the person who has a say so. Technology may be used in both evil and good ways and it is still the obligation and responsibility of people within governments to ensure human liberties and rights are preserved when utilizing such powerful technologies such as blockchain and sometimes the combination of blockchain with AI, IoT, and biometrics. Blockchain in Healthcare, in the same way, that it can empower individuals and increase their standard of living and prosperity, at the same time, it can also empower corrupt governments with alternative agendas and totalitarian states. Block.co believes it is most important for people to be educated around the matter and be able to form a voice and movement to safeguard their human liberties and rights, hence our continuous effort on discussing these matters with our community and providing education, powered by the pioneers in the space, the University of Nicosia.
We would like to thank everyone for attending our webcast and hoping to interact with you in future webinars. If you would like to watch the webinar again, then click here!
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Parallels between two disruptive technologies: Internet & Blockchain – Part I

Parallels between two disruptive technologies: Internet & Blockchain – Part I
[The original article appeared on: https://block.co/blog/]
The emergence of disruptive technologies is always complemented by the creation and development of new models, mostly resulting in new economic concepts and business structures. The rise of the internet over 30 years ago, laid the foundation for the creation of new markets, for instance, that book store that sells all publications from around the world — Amazon. Or new concepts like the ‘Instant gratification’ that contributed to the introduction of business models like Netflix, finally allowing consumers to get instant access to films and series.
Blockchain is bound to create new models in all fields that regulate our lives, from a financial perspective to the regulation of infrastructures facilitating interactions and transactions in a way that would not be possible without the internet. This is one of the reasons why it is often referred to as the next generation of the internet or Web3, where WWW revolutionized information, Web2 facilitated interactions and now Web3 has the potential to innovate agreement and value exchange structures using the internet in a decentralized manner.
From a technological perspective, the similarities between the two are impressive.
We are currently believed to be in what were the early stages of the internet, with similar challenges around scalability, costs, and education, limiting the development of breakthrough applications and mass adoption. These internet challenges were resolved over time, therefore we should expect a similar progression in Blockchain.

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In 1996, major internet service AOL could not manage a high volume of Internet users and went down for nineteen hours. Gradually the average internet speed in the US went from 50Kbps in 1999 to 18.7Mbps of 2017. Similarly, in 2017 the Ethereum blockchain failed to sustain the spike of on-chain transactions caused by the famous blockchain game CryptoKitties and the platform suffered the most serious network clog to date. These failures are necessary to the development of technology. Just like it was clear in 1996 that the internet had to face a scalability issue, it’s been evident for years now that blockchain also has to find ways to deal with the problem. Developers, programmers, experts, and academics are all working on the improvement of the system but there won’t be a definite solution, just like there wasn’t for the internet.
As popular Bitcoin expert and educator Andreas Antonopoulos mentioned in his book The Internet of Money, “Scale is not a goal to achieve; it is a definition of what you can do with the network today.” Scalability was built on the internet based on layers on top of the basic protocol and it looks like this will be the possible progression for the blockchain too. The Lightning Network, layer2 or off-chain protocol, is paving the way for Bitcoin fast and small payments along with a major focus on providing full privacy to transactions. Many believe in this respect we are still in 1994 Internet time, when the TCP/IP, HTML, and FTP were invented, leading to the successful business models represented by Facebook, Airbnb and Uber later. In the blockchain, breakthrough Dapps have yet to appear and will emerge in the coming years.
User Interface will help drive adoption in the same ways it helped the internet. At the time of the Arpanet, the technical foundation of the internet, the system was difficult to use for both nontechnical and technical people. The search functionality relied on an IP address and navigating the internet meant inserting a long string of numbers in order to find what you were looking for. It was easy to get confused, mistype numbers, etc. When the switch between the IP address and the URL happened, it became easier to navigate the web thanks to a more efficient and user-friendly experience overall.
Blockchain usage and benefit are still clunky. We still need a 12 or 24-word phrase to access a private cryptocurrency wallet and send a transaction to a long string of numbers (just like it happened with the early internet addresses) to validate it. All of this will disappear once user interfaces will be given the right attention and mass adoption will likely benefit from a system easier to use. It is clear that in the blockchain development more focus has been given so far to make the technology more secure, reliable, and robust at the expense of the user experience. Once the strength of the network/system is secured there will be a shift of interest in developing the interface with a resulting better user-friendly experience. Maybe it’s the right evolution and one that will bring a stronger technology structure overall.
Adoption is another important parallel we can highlight, not only with the Internet but with all the disruptive technologies previous to the World Wide Web. It took 46 years for electricity, 35 years for telephone, 14 years for TV, and 7 years for the Web to reach 25% of global market penetration. We can expect a similar growth trajectory to happen in the cryptocurrency/blockchain space, perhaps at a faster rate since the world is more connected now, thanks to the already existing internet interactions.
Stay tuned because in part two of this blog we will explore the parallels between the technologies in education, capitals, and start-ups and the decentralization of the blockchain as the main aspect that will revolutionize the Internet as well.
In the meantime, blockchain as a distributed ledger for a secure network of transactions is finding wide adoption as is the case for academic and ID credentials embraced by The University of Nicosia and Block.co. The University of Nicosia and Block.co can help provide the necessary technical expertise to follow the whole process from creation to publication on the blockchain where the document will be safely stored for life and where it can be independently verified by any third party. They were the first ones to do it globally as early as 2014.
For more info, contact [Block.co](mailto:Block.co) directly or email at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
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Ether Thief Remains Mystery Year After $55 Million Digital Heist

Ether Thief Remains Mystery Year After $55 Million Digital Heist 2017-06-13 08:00:18.224 GMT
By Matthew Leising (Bloomberg Markets) -- Summer colds are the worst, and Emin Gün Sirer had caught a wicked bug from his 1-year-old son. So it was with watering eyes and a stuffy nose that the associate professor of computer science at Cornell found himself working from his sickbed on Monday, June 13, 2016. Gün—everyone calls him Gün—couldn’t tear himself away from his laptop. He had another type of bug in his sights, a flaw in a line of computer code he feared put $250 million at risk of being stolen. It wasn’t just any code. It was the guts of the newest breakthrough in software design related to blockchain, the novel combination of decentralized computing and cryptography that gave life to the virtual currency bitcoin in 2009. Since then, the promise of blockchain to transform industries from finance to health care has captured imaginations in corporate boardrooms and governments alike. Yet what the Turkish-born professor was exploring that Monday was the next leap forward from bitcoin, what’s known as the ethereum blockchain. Rather than moving bitcoin from one user to another, the ethereum blockchain hosts fully functioning computer programs called smart contracts—essentially agreements that enforce themselves by means of code rather than courts. That means they can automate the life cycle of bond payments, say, or ensure that pharmaceutical companies can authenticate the sources of their drugs. Yet smart contracts are also new and mostly untested. Like all software, they are only as reliable as their coding—and Gün was pretty sure he’d found a big problem. In an email sent to one of his graduate students, Philip Daian, at 7:30 p.m., Gün noted that the smart contract he was looking at might have a problem—on line 666. (They say the devil is in the details.) Gün feared the bug could allow a hacker to make unlimited ATM-like withdrawals from the millions, even if the attacker, who’d have needed to be an investor, had only $10 in his account. This staggering amount of money lived inside a program called a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Dreamed up less than a year earlier and governed by a smart contract, the DAO was intended to democratize how ethereum projects are funded. Thousands of dreamers and schemers and developers who populate the cutting edge of computer science, most of them young, had invested in the DAO. This was real money, a quarter of a billion dollars, their money, meant to build a better version of the world, and every cent was at risk. Gün, who wears his dark hair short and looks a decade younger than his 45 years, had already been tracking and publicizing flaws in the DAO’s design. A few weeks earlier, on May 27, along with two colleagues, he’d urged investors to stop buying into the DAO until security issues could be fixed. It had been too late, however, and the program went live the next day. Smart contracts such as the DAO are built to be entirely reliant on their code once released on the ethereum blockchain. That meant the DAO code couldn’t be fixed. Other blockchain experts—including Peter Vessenes, co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation—had also pointed out security flaws in the smart contract, but Gün appears to be the first to pinpoint the flaw that put the money in jeopardy. The problem was the code was so new that no one knew what to ­expect—or even if there was actually a problem in the first place. Gün had his doubts, too. This wasn’t even his job. He does this for fun. Daian didn’t think they’d found anything either. Over email, he said, “We might be up the creek ;).” Later, when Gün pointed to the error in line 666, Daian replied, “Don’t think so.” Gün says, “We don’t sound the alarm bell every time we find a bug that seems suspicious.” Instead, he went to bed to try to kill his cold—the one bug he knew to be real. “I was too miserable to sort it out,” he says. Four days later, Christoph Jentzsch lay on the floor of his home office, taking deep breaths, trying not to panic. It was Friday morning, and software developers all over the Western world were waking up to the news that the DAO, which Jentzsch had created, was being attacked. Gün had been right. Jentzsch, who has dark hair and a perpetual five o’clock shadow, lives with his family in the Mittweida region of Germany, a rural spot not far from the Czech border. Mornings in the Jentzsch household are a whirlwind as he and his wife get their five children—age 2 to 9—fed and off to school. Yet today, after his brother Simon woke him with a call that the DAO was being hacked, Jentzsch had to ignore his familial duties. “You’ve got the kids,” he told his wife. “I have an emergency.”
This is the story of one of the largest digital heists in history. And while you may have heard last year that hackers breached Swift, the bank-to-bank messaging system, and stole $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank, the DAO attack is in a different category altogether. It played out in front of anyone who cared to watch and couldn’t be stopped. Just as the global WannaCry ransomware attack in May laid bare weaknesses in computer operating systems, the DAO hack exposed the early frailties of smart-contract security and left many in the community shaken because they hadn’t found the bug in time. The aftermath would eventually pit good hackers against bad ones—the white hats vs. the black hats—in the strange and futuristic- sounding DAO Wars. The roots of the DAO belong to an idea Jentzsch borrowed from another internet-fueled phenomenon: crowdfunding. The 32- year-old Jentzsch, a theoretical physicist by training, and a few colleagues started Slock.it in 2015. As they considered how to fund the company, Jentzsch approached it as many had—sell a digital currency, effectively a token, to raise cash. But why should each new startup have to program its own initial coin offering? Jentzsch wondered. What if one huge fund ruled them all? He introduced his idea to the world at DevCon 1 in London in November 2015. “What is the blockchain way of creating a company?” Jentzsch asked his audience. “Of course, it has to be a DAO.” It would work like this: Ether, a virtual currency like bitcoin, would be used to fund and develop applications on the ethereum blockchain—things such as making a music app similar to iTunes or a ride-sharing service along the lines of Uber. Investors would buy DAO tokens with their ether; the tokens would allow them to vote to fund projects they liked. If the app they backed made money, the token holder shared in the profit. In the six months he spent creating the DAO, Jentzsch thought it would raise $5 million. From April 30 to May 28, the DAO crowdfunding pulled in $150 million. That’s when ether traded just below $12. As the price of ether rose in the following weeks to $20.75 the day before the attack, so too did the value of the DAO, putting a $250 million target on this thing Jentzsch had unknowingly brought into the world with a fatal, original sin. “Our hope was it would be the center of a decentralized sharing economy,” says Jentzsch, who now regrets not capping the amount raised. “For such a big experiment, it was way too early.” In the weeks after the attack, Jentzsch and the rest of the ethereum community would come to grips with their own crisis that, writ small, echoed the bank bailouts and government rescues of 2008. “It became too big to fail,” he says. But why would anyone invest in the DAO in the first place? It has something to do with the strain of digital libertarianism at the heart of the ethereum community, much like the set of beliefs that led to the birth of bitcoin. Think of bitcoin as the first global currency whose use can’t be stopped by governments or corporations; on top of that, bitcoin is almost impossible to hack. Ethereum, then, is another level beyond. It’s an uncensorable global computer. As amazing and unprecedented as that is, it’s also a bit terrifying. Brought to life, the DAO ended up staggering off the table and turning on the community that wanted it so badly. Accustomed to working into the night to stay in touch with colleagues in North America, Jentzsch blows off steam by jogging or kayaking on the nearby Zschopau River. Yet on that Friday morning, he had the more pressing task of pulling himself up off the floor and dealing with the attack. “I went into emergency mode: Don’t try to save the DAO,” he says. “No, it’s over.”
It was far from over. Several hours later and half a world away from the Jentzsch household in Mittweida, Alex Van de Sande was waking up in his apartment in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. The baby-faced ethereum developer had been born in the small fishing village of Santa Cruz Cabrália in the Bahia region of Brazil and moved with his parents to Rio when he was about 3 years old. These days he’s known as “avsa” on Reddit and Twitter. After reaching for his phone to see why it was blowing up with Skype messages, he turned to his wife and said, “Remember when I was telling you about that huge unhackable pile of money?” She nodded. “It’s been hacked,” he told her. His first thought was to get his DAO tokens out. He owned about 100,000 of them, valued at about $15,000 at the time. He’s the lead designer of the Ethereum Wallet app, a program that allows him and anyone else to interact with the blockchain. Van de Sande scrambled to log in to it, but his password didn’t work. It was glitching, and as he worked to fix it, his panic subsided. He realized he shouldn’t be bailing on the DAO but trying to save it. And to do that, he needed Griff. Griff Green, who’s worked variously as a massage therapist in Los Angeles and a community organizer in Seattle, is one of only a handful of people in the world who holds a master’s degree in digital currencies. He got it online, natch, from the University of Nicosia. A self-described “dreamer,” the 32-year- old is the closest thing Ethereumville has to a mayor. Green knows everybody; in fact, he’d been the first to relay word of the attack to Simon, Jentzsch’s brother and a co-founder of Slock.it. Green had been working for Slock.it for about six months by then and woke up that morning in the house belonging to Jentzsch’s mom in Mittweida. Jentzsch is one of nine children, so his mother had a spare bedroom where she could put Green up for a few days. Using his extensive contacts, Green started identifying as many people as he could who were interacting with the DAO—going so far as to ask strangers to send pictures or scans of their IDs—in an attempt to sort friend from foe. And then something strange happened: The attack stopped working. In the six hours since the attack began, the thief had managed to steal 30 percent of the DAO’s 12 million ether—which that day equaled about $55 million. “We don’t even understand why the guy had stopped,” says Van de Sande. Now Green raced to protect the remaining 70 percent of the DAO the attacker hadn’t stolen. Once Van de Sande got in touch with Green in Germany, along with two or three others, the foundation was laid for what would become known as the Robin Hood group—white hat hackers who’d devise a bold good-guy plan to drain the remaining DAO. To save the DAO, they’d have to steal the remaining ether, then give it back to its rightful owners. And yet as they scrambled that Friday, qualms emerged within the group. “What does it even mean to hack something?” Van de Sande asks. No one knew if what they were about to do was legal. Also, wouldn’t their hack look just as bad as the theft they were trying to stop? Then there were the practical issues. “Who pushes the button?” he remembers wondering. Doing so would initiate their counterattack and alert the community. “Someone has to push the button.” The price of ether the night before the attack had hit an all-time high of just above $20. News of the hack sent it tumbling to $15 by the end of Friday, wiping out almost a half- billion dollars in market value. At that price, the DAO still held $125 million, and the Robin Hood group worried the attack would resume. They might be the only line of defense if it did, so Van de Sande agreed to use his DAO tokens to fuel their counterattack, thereby becoming a public face of the group. At this point, it might help to think of the DAO as the spacecraft in Alien after Ripley initiates the self-destruct sequence. To flee, she’s forced to use an escape pod. DAO investors had to initiate a similar sequence to deploy escape pods that would allow them to get their ether out of the DAO. The code that dictated the escape pods’ behavior is where the bug lived, so to steal the remaining DAO funds the Robin Hood group would have to be in a pod to exploit the flaw—and because of the way Jentzsch wrote the DAO, they had only a short window of time and just a few pods to choose from. A few minutes before launching the attack, Van de Sande joked on the group’s Skype chat, “Let’s go rob a bank!” No one laughed. “Not everyone really appreciated the humor,” he says. In his Copacabana apartment, Van de Sande readied to push the button on his laptop. Then, suddenly, he lost his internet connection. His router was down. “I was like, What the f--- is going on here?” he says. He had less than 30 minutes left to execute the Robin Hood hack. He frantically called NET, his Brazilian internet service provider, but couldn’t get past the automated customer ­service experience. He says the robotic voice told him, “We see there’s an internet issue in your neighborhood.” The irony was not lost on him: Here he was trying to steal millions of dollars from a robot but was being waylaid by another robot. “Then we missed,” he says. The window closed. He went from the high of feeling like they were about to come to the rescue of the vulnerable DAO to the crushing low of having their international connection severed by NET’s breakdown. He took his dog, Sapic—named after the one in Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother—for a walk, then crawled into bed, defeated. The next morning was Saturday, and Van de Sande tried to reconvene the Robin Hood group to infiltrate ­another escape pod. But folks were busy and couldn’t get together. “We felt like the worst hackers in history,” Van de Sande says. “We were foiled by bad internet and family commitments.”
Who, exactly, were they at war with? No one really knows, but there are some clues. One address the attacker used is 0xF35e2cC8E6523d683eD44870f5B7c C785051a77D. Got that? Like everything else in a blockchain, a user’s address is an anonymous string of characters. But every address leaves behind a history on the blockchain that’s open for examination. Not that it makes sense to 99.9 percent of humankind, but Green gets it. To pull off his heist, the attacker needed to create a contract that would interact with the DAO. He did so on June 15 and deployed it in the early morning hours two days later, according to Green. Once activated, the attack contract started sending about $4,000 worth of ether through the attacker’s account every three or four minutes to drain the DAO. But where did the original money to fund the attack come from? To interact with the ethereum blockchain, every contract must be funded by an amount of ether. This attack contract was funded by two addresses, but tracing it further back becomes tricky. That’s because the second address used an exchange called ShapeShift to send 52 ether into its account on June 14. ShapeShift doesn’t collect any information on its users and says it turns one virtual currency, such as bitcoin, into another, like ether, in less than 10 seconds. While there are valid reasons for using ShapeShift, it’s also a great way to launder digital assets and ­cover your tracks. After the attack contract stopped working, the thief needed to deploy it again, says Green. He tried but failed, and after a few more transactions, the hack whimpered to an end. (One possible reason the attack stopped, Green says, is that the hacker’s tokens became corrupted, which means he had no way to exploit the bug.) We know this limited amount of one-sided information from the blockchain’s public record. Digital asset exchanges see both sides. An internal investigation by one such exchange concluded that the DAO attacker was likely part of a group, not a lone wolf, based in Switzerland, according to an executive there who wouldn’t speak on the record or allow the company’s name to be used. ­Exchanges are in the unique position of being able to analyze the trading activity of their customers because they know who they are, even if they’re anonymous on the blockchain. The executive says the exchange shared the analysis with the Boston office of the FBI, though there’s been no further contact since October of last year. Cornell’s Gün says he also spoke to the Boston office of the FBI—and to agents in the New York office and to the New York State Attorney General’s Office. “It’s very difficult to coordinate an attack of this kind without leaving breadcrumbs behind,” Gün says. He encouraged the FBI to look at the ethereum testnet, where programmers can run their code in a safe environment to work out kinks. The attacker wouldn’t just launch such a complicated hack without testing it, Gün says he told federal officials, and the feds might be able to get clues to his identity there. Gün says he also pointed them to addresses linked to the attacker, such as the one described above, that were listed by his grad student Daian on his blog. (The FBI declined to comment.) “I’m absolutely amazed. Why has no one traced this back and found out who did it?” asks Stephan Tual, the third co-founder of Slock.it. “It still bugs me to this day, because what that person has done is incredibly unethical.”
On Tuesday, four days after the initial attack, the hacker returned and somehow resumed the heist. The Robin Hood group had feared this moment would come and was ready. Early Sunday morning they’d finally managed to convene online and successfully infiltrate an escape pod, but had held off their counterattack. Now they had no choice. One strike against the group was their distance from one another—one in Rio, others scattered about Europe. (Some of the group’s members didn’t want to be identified for this story.) It was important that they coordinate their activities because, like in Charlie’s Angels, they all had different specialties: Green the community organizer, Van de Sande the public face, others who wrote the Robin Hood group attack contracts. So Van de Sande needed to be walked through the step-by-step hacking process they were about to unleash, because that wasn’t his area of expertise. “I’ll be honest, I was excited,” Green says. “This is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me. This is the craziest thing that’s almost ever happened to anyone.” Whether it was legal remains an unanswered question. “You literally have cyber ninjas warring on the blockchain,” says Vessenes, the programming expert. “What they’re doing is almost certainly illegal, but they’re claiming it’s for the greater good.” And now it was Van de Sande’s job to let the community know that the Robin Hood group counterattack was benign. He took to Twitter, where he wrote “DAO IS BEING SECURELY DRAINED. DO NOT PANIC.” A nod to the classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, his plea to not panic was met with all the snark and real-life concern Twitter can handle. “NOTHING SAYS DO NOT PANIC LIKE ALL CAPS,” one user responded. “#RealLife is more exciting than

MrRobot !!” tweeted another. Yet as the Robin Hood group attack

gained steam, they noticed something strange and worrisome—the attacker was with them in every escape pod. “We escaped the mother ship, but now we’re alone in space with the alien we were trying to escape,” says Van de Sande. This was a big problem. Because of how Jentzsch wrote his code, the Robin Hood group would have to wait several weeks before they could secure the ether they recovered. Yet if the attacker was in that escape pod with the group, he could just follow them—what’s known as a stalking attack. If the hacker stalked the Robin Hood group, the ether wasn’t really safe after all. “The game only ends when one of these parties doesn’t show up to fight,” Van de Sande says. This, in essence, is the heart of the DAO Wars, the never-ending battle that would have to be waged to keep the recovered ether safe. If only there were a way to reverse the theft once and for all.
What happened next is one of the strangest and most contentious episodes in blockchain’s early history. The morning of July 20 dawned cool and clear in Ithaca, N.Y., the home of Cornell. A weeklong ethereum boot camp on campus had brought developers and programmers from all over the world to town. The mood was anxious, but not because the workshops were about to begin. This was the day the ethereum community would decide to rewrite the past. The weeks since the DAO hack had been filled with acrimonious debate as developers, coders, investors, and other community members considered their options to undo the theft. As the Robin Hood group battled the attacker mostly in private, a public debate was raging. The white hat hackers weren’t the only ones trying to save the DAO. Jentzsch worked almost around the clock, fielding hundreds of requests from DAO investors on what they should do. Vitalik Buterin, 23, who created the ethereum blockchain before he was 20, became a focal point as he led the community through their options. In short, what they could do was change the ethereum blockchain to fix the DAO, but only if they got a majority of computers running the network to agree to a software update. Pull that off, and it’s as though the attack never happened. This is known as a hard fork. The decision stirred such strong reactions that it remains controversial a year later, both within the ethereum community and with bitcoin users who insist a blockchain’s history is never to be tampered with. In an interview in October, Buterin was unapologetic about pushing for the change. “Some bitcoin users see the hard fork as in some ways violating their most fundamental values,” said Buterin, who didn’t respond to requests to speak specifically about this story. “I personally think these fundamental values, pushed to such extremes, are silly.” Within the ethereum community, at least, Buterin’s views won the day, and computer nodes all over the world accepted the fork. Contained in block 1,920,000, the fix to the DAO was simple and did only one thing—if you had ether invested in it, you could now get it out. But why hadn’t the attacker made off with his money? It had been more than a month. The same code that exposed the DAO to the theft, in the end, enabled the ether to be returned. Everything to do with the DAO is a parameter: rules, if-then statements, and more rules that are all finalized before the program is set loose. One of these parameters stated that anyone wanting to get their ether out of the DAO had to wait a certain amount of time—27 days after the initial request, then another seven days. This fail-safe, written by Jentzsch, applied to the attacker as well. So even though somebody had effectively robbed a bank, he then had to wait 34 days before crossing the street to make his getaway. While he was waiting, the money was stolen back. A month after the original heist, the ether thief now had nothing to show for his caper. Back on the Cornell campus, ethereum boot camp attendees celebrated. The next day, Gün brought Champagne to the session he was teaching. He’d pasted makeshift labels on the Chandon bottles with a picture of the utensil that said, “Congratulations on the successful fork.” Then something else unexpected happened. The original ethereum blockchain, the one with the DAO attack in it, kept growing. Imagine a hard fork is a branch of a tree that sprouts in a different direction at the end of the main limb. The end of that limb is supposed to wither after a hard fork, but here it continued to grow as a small group of users continued to process transactions on that version of the blockchain. Instead of dying, this became a second form of ethereum, quickly dubbed ethereum classic, complete with a digital currency that now had value. Even in the ­science fiction world of blockchain, this was an unprecedented turn of events. It meant the DAO attacker suddenly had about 3.6 million ethereum classic coins in his DAO account, known as the DarkDAO, which were slowly gaining in value. The Robin Hood group held about 8.4 million, because in this parallel universe they still controlled 70 percent of the DAO funds they had recovered. The Robin Hood group couldn’t believe it. “We did everything to avoid this, but now we’re being dragged back into this fight,” Van de Sande says. Now, the bitcoin supporters who viewed the hard fork as a violation of the core values of blockchain could back up their belief by buying ethereum classic. That’s exactly what entrepreneur Barry Silbert, a heavyweight in bitcoin circles, did. “Keep in mind, the original chain is ethereum classic,” he says. “The fork is ethereum.” Putting his money where his mouth is, Silbert’s firm, Grayscale Investments, recently issued an investment thesis outlining the benefits to ethereum classic over ethereum. A section heading sums up the rationale: “The DAO and the Death of Principles.” Alexis Roussel, co-founder of Bity.com, a digital currency broker in Switzerland, still marvels at the aftereffects of the hard fork and the wild world of the blockchain. “This is something that doesn’t happen in traditional finance,” he says. “If something happens with Apple, you don’t suddenly have a clone of Apple.”
It’s been about a year since the DAO attack, enough time to take stock of what went wrong. Van de Sande is eager to move on. “It was really just a blip,” he says. “We are ready to move past it and leave the DAO story behind us.” Green, who’s organizing an ethereum conference at this summer’s Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, has kept a sense of humor about it. “The Robin Hood group was just a s--- show,” he says with a laugh. “I hope the movie portrays it better than it actually was.” As for the bug itself, apparently many smart people looked at the code before Gün but missed one major flaw. The order of commands in the code allowed DAO token holders to withdraw any profit they’d made from their investments. It reads “withdrawRewardFor(msg.sender)” and adds, almost improbably, a note to anyone reading the code that says, “be nice, and get his rewards.” That’s line 667—let’s call it “The Neighbor of the Beast Bug.” If the withdraw line had come after these lines:
totalSupply -= balances[msg.sender]; balances[msg.sender] = 0; paidOut[msg.sender] = 0; return true;
the attack wouldn’t have been possible, Jentzsch says. But if the code had been in the correct order, the reward parameter wouldn’t have worked. As for the note, this line of code was meant to allow investors to withdraw any profit—“Reward”—their investments had earned. Instead it became one of the biggest backdoors in hacking history. It would have been better to not pay rewards during the split function from the DAO, what we’ve been referring to here as the escape pods, according to Jentzsch. Another decision he made when he had no idea of the bug shows how quirky and unforgiving code can be. “If the capital ‘T’ in line 666 had been a small ‘t,’ that would also have prevented the hack,” he says. Jentzsch has many regrets but insists no one was aware of the specific problems in lines 666-667 (other observers had pointed to flaws in other lines, just not here). Had more people looked, “it would have made no difference at all,” he says. “If you don’t know what to look for in a security audit, you won’t find it.” Even Gün, who had it in his grasp, let it go. “I still missed it,” he says. Green’s emotions are still raw related to Gün. “I actually got really pissed at him about this,” Green says. “He started bragging about how he found the bug.” He adds that it was “very irresponsible of him to not tell anyone of his inkling.” Still, Green “respects the hell out of Gün” and says they’ve since made amends. Asked to recount that night last June as he lay sick in bed, Gün says, “I came away from this thinking there’s potentially an issue.” But he’d consulted Daian, his grad student (“whom I trust”). Daian had said it’s “not exploitable.” Gün says that had he been certain of the danger, “I would have told people.” In a blog post that explained the mechanics of the DAO heist Daian published the night of the attack, he gave a shoutout to his professor in the acknowledgments. “Gün, we were so damn close—sorry it wasn’t quite enough this time :),” Daian wrote. As for the attacker (whoever he or she or they are) and the ethereum classic booty, Gün says, “Great, wonderful, he should cash out.” The hard fork proved it wasn’t just the DAO that needed to be fixed, but the ethereum blockchain itself. He says: “The fault lies somewhere on the system side as well.” But the fear that smart contracts are too clever by half and that by extension so is the ethereum blockchain itself—prevalent in the days following the DAO attack—has dissipated. At least that’s the market’s verdict, judging by the price of ether. After the attack, it traded from $10 to $12 for about nine months. Then in March it took off; it’s valued at $341.19 as of June 12. (That would have valued the DAO at $4.1 billion, but let’s not even go there.) Ethereum classic has risen as well, and it now trades for $18.71. Both versions of ether remain viable, in other words. The thief holds one; the revisionists, the other. Going forward, the choice is really: Whom would you rather believe? Since the hard fork, the attacker ended up making off with his ethereum classic. That means he got away with about $67.4 million, assuming the stash hasn’t been sold. Not too shabby, 0xF35e2cC8E6523d683eD44870f5B7cC785051a77D.
Leising covers market structure at Bloomberg News in New York.
To contact the author of this story: Matthew Leising inNew York at [email protected] To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joel Weber at [email protected]
submitted by Degoony to ethereum [link] [comments]

NEOBEE Update 2014-01-22

Update taken from NEOBEE page on Havelock Investments and formatted for easier readability.

Flagship Branch

We are pleased to announce that Neo's flagship branch is scheduled to launch on February 24, 2014.
As part of the launch, we will also release the following three products:

Instant-Access BTC Wallet

This wallet will function as a standard Bitcoin wallet which utilizes the multi-signature process. Neo will earn revenue from these accounts through the fees paid when exchanging Euros for Bitcoin. Account holders will receive a Bee card, allowing them to make purchases at retailers around the island of Cyprus, and through existing Bitcoin payment gateways.

Time-Locked Wallets

This wallet will allow the customer to hold Bitcoins over a predetermined time period in their own wallet with multi-signature functionality. These wallets will enable the customer to execute an exchange back to Euros on the predetermined date for either the original Euro amount or for the value of the Bitcoin that is held in the wallet at the time of the exchange, however the maximum amount of gains the customer will receive will be limited to an agreed level. Neo will derive income from this type of wallet through gains made in the value of Bitcoin over an above the agreed percentage.

Merchant Wallet

This wallet will enable merchants to accept Bitcoin payments from anyone. Merchants will have the ability to determine the exact percentage of revenue they wish to retain as Bitcoins and how much they wish to convert instantly to Euros as settlement. Merchants may accept payments into their bank account through electronic transfer, or collect as cash from one of the Neo branches. Should the merchant choose to access their money through one of our branches, they will have access to those funds within one minute of accepting the payment.
We have decided to delay the second branch in Nicosia to ensure the flagship branch opening goes smoothly. The second branch will tentatively launch within the first quarter of 2014.

Bee Payment Network

We have taken delivery of the first batch of POS terminals. We are now finalizing the integration with Neo applications.
Bee will not charge transaction fees to merchants. This ensures the lowest barrier to entry. Bee will instead derive income from the rental of POS terminals and monthly fees for online payment gateways.
We have been working closely with a number of POS and Stock Management System developers to ensure compatibility and ease of integration with their systems and the Bee network. This will enable thousands of Cypriot and international merchants to easily integrate our terminals with existing infrastructure.

Neo EasyCoin

Neo EasyCoin is nearing the completion of beta testing. We are waiting for some locations to go online with different payment service providers. We are also working with other payment service providers in Europe to enable Neo EasyCoin to service additional European countries.
Neo EasyCoin will provide service to the United States once we are in possession of a written clarification from FinCEN regarding our business model. Our lawyers are working on this daily. While we are confident in our plan, we also want to ensure long-term stability.

Media Exposure

We have received consistent and positive attention from local news outlets, including newspapers, television, magazines and news websites.
Here are some examples:
We held a dinner event with the management and owners of several media companies based in Cyprus.

Marketing

Neo's first advertising campaign is now underway. The first television advertisement will premiere on February 1st. Radio advertisements and a new Neo & Bee website will be launched in support of this campaign. The website will include detailed information about our personal and merchant wallet service offerings.

Regulations

We continue to make progress in establishing clear regulations for the operation of Bitcoin-based businesses in Cyprus. We have taken the necessary steps to obtain a Cyprus investment firm license, which would enable us to offer time-locked wallets to customers. We will offer these wallets when we open the first branch.

Neo Xchange

Neo Xchange is a new venture in which Neo will act as a brokerage and trade on a new Bitcoin exchange under development. The Neo Xchange platform will offer trade derivatives and other financial instruments. This requires the platform to be regulated. We are working towards obtaining the required licenses from CySEC to operate this platform. More information will be provided as available.
Once this platform has been launched, Neo will have greater ability to hedge the instant-access pegged wallets.

Neo Portals

We are now developing our own ATM hardware that will enable customers to have access to all subsidiaries in many countries. This development will enable global expansion. By increasing our footprint in this manner, we can assess the data from these portals to determine optimal locations for expansion of the Neo network of branch locations.
The Neo Portals project is being managed by Brad Vaivoda. Brad Vaivoda graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.Sc in mechanical engineering. After beginning his career performing brake rotor design and analysis in Formula 1, he accepted a position aiding orthopedic surgeons during operations whilst working for Zimmer Holdings Inc., a medical device manufacturer in the orthopedic industry. Most recently, Brad was employed by The Boeing Company as a Test & Evaluation Engineer working across Boeing's commercial aircraft product lines.
Brad has since turned his focus to Bitcoin and Bitcoin-related ventures. He has considerable experience with bleeding-edge technology and is familiar with working in fast-paced environments.
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Neo meets w/ Parliament of Cyprus (English translation).

Thank you Zambetis!
[–]zambetis 1 point 1 hour ago
A slightly more polished translation:
The House Commerce Committee reviewed the issue of bitcoin, which in recent months has drawn the attention of the entire planet with respect to its role, the regulation that will need to be considered and the dangers that exist for anyone who deals with the currency. Institutional representatives, the Central Bank, the SEC and representatives from NEO, the company that brought bitcoin to Cyprus, were present.
Central Bank: Stelios Giorgakis of the Central Bank stated before the Commerce Committee that it is not under the CBC's authority to regulate bitcoin. "Since we're not talking about a currency, it is not something that concerns us. In legal terms, bitcoin is not a currency and therefore it is not something we are considering. Neither is it electronic money, so even in that respect we are not considering it. But it should be reviewed as a payments system. Therefore we must wait from the European authorities to see what is bitcoin exactly and who should regulate it. We might eventually conclude that bitcoin is an asset such as oil or gold."
University of Nicosia: On behalf of the university which accepts bitcoin, Christos Vlachos said: "We have many students from abroad studying online. Many foreign students have asked us to pay their fees in bitcoin. This made ​​us review and ultimately decide to adopt bitcoin at our university." Moreover, the representative of the University of Nicosia said: "We are the first university worldwide that accepts payments with bitcoin, we are the first to offer a post-graduate degree for digital currencies and submitted concrete proposals for the role bitcoin can play in Cyprus." "Bitcoin is a decentralized global asset. At times various attempts were made to create something similar, but only bitcoin managed to evolve so much. Many have adopted it, but it is still nascent and has not reached the general public. Just as Google and Yahoo tried to bring the internet to the masses, several companies are trying to bring bitcoin to the world", said the representative of the University of Nicosia. Additionally, Mr Vlachos said: "Think of two people who do not know each other and do not trust each other. Bitcoin brings the two sides together without intermediaries from anywhere in the world. As a university we accept it as payment. As a means of payment, one of bitcoin's many applications, it has many advantages: it is cheaper, faster and easier for transactions." "The university does not express any position on bitcoin as an investment. There are risks as with all investments," the representative of the University of Nicosia noted. Indeed, it was reported that three months ago the University of Nicosia filed a complete proposal to the government to create an industry with many jobs and revenue for Cyprus, with minimal investment by the state.
Kostas Kosta of AKEL (Communist Party) asked the representative of the University of Nicosia: "How come so many universities in the world do not adopt bitcoin and only in Cyprus there is such a move?". Christos Vlachos of the University of Nicosia said: "You can see many articles in renowned media such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Reuters. We studied and read about bitcoin and took our decision to adopt the currency as payment at our university. Within the next years there will be big changes and research on the subject from universities and companies around the world."
SEC: SEC President Demetra Kalogirou, taking the floor, said: "It will take a long time before we can decide how much the virtual currency should concern us. As a means of investment it concerns us but not as a means of payment. As a means of payments it mainly concerns the Central Bank. For the SEC and at a European level it is something that concerns us because bitcoin is already used as an investment. Since it is not classified as a currency or other security, the SEC can not give permission to companies to make derivatives with bitcoin. It is premature for us to take a position. Nevertheless, we have issued some warnings for investors to know what risks exist from trading and investing in bitcoin. There are also large fluctuations in the price of bitcoin and this is a risk. For example, it was worth over $1,000 at some time and then the value fell to 400, and therefore someone suddenly lost a lot of money. We are also concerned with the potential problem of money laundering. For example, if someone goes to a bitcoin exchange with a black bag full of euros and gets bitcoins and then buys cars in another country, no one knows where the money came from. Anonymity is a big issue regarding the bitcoin».
Angelos Votsis of the Democratic Party asked the President of the SEC "Who determines how many bitcoins are in the market? Until now there is a specific number of the product so if someone creates more of them, will the price of the existing number drop sharply?" Ms. Kalogirou replied that this is a matter of the university that accepts these payments, but they should probably convert their bitcoins directly into euros in order to avoid risk. The representative of the University of Nicosia agreed with this, explaining how the payment process works, saying that the institution simply uses bitcoin as a means of payment.
A representative of NEO at the Commerce Committee said: "If you came to our store with the knowledge that you now have, I would say that you should spend two weeks reading about bitcoin and then come back again. In our store we talk about all parameters and all the risks associated with bitcoin. We do not give investment advice, we only suggest an alternative payment system. Bitcoin has no issuing authority and is merely a contract between the persons dealing with bitcoin». Ever since the NEO store opened in Nicosia, about 100 people have expressed an interest in bitcoin, the NEO representative said, adding that: "There is great interest from companies and we are in contact with them to resolve the questions regarding bitcoin».
On behalf of the Hotel and Tourism Industry , Zacharias Ioannides said: "Change always frightens and worries people. We see something new in the world market. As a sector we operate in a global economy and would like to have this payment option available to our Customers. Already there are requests from people who want to book hotel rooms for the summer with bitcoins. We want the institutions of Cyprus to give us answers so we can use safeguards that will protect both businesses and consumers. We want protection from wallet thefts."
The Association of Cyprus Travel Agents said: "We are concernced about bitcoin because there is demand for it as a payment option. At the same time, we see competition from foreign platforms that already accept payments with bitcoin». A representative of the Ministry of Finance had this to say about bitcoin: «The MOF is in contact with European authorities and other ministries of the EU to adopt any European level decision on bitcoin»
A VAT representative stated that there is no taxation and that is something that troubles the European countries. The Banks Association stated: "We do not offer this product but we are concerned about it, because a client of ours could be a provider or user of bitcoin. However, we need to know where a certain deposit comes from and so there is interest in the issue. When there is a deposit in excess of 10,000, we as banks monitor the deposit." Furthermore, an explanation was given on how deposits from customers are monitored. "If I know that a client of mine makes a 10,000 deposit and suddenly makes a 30,000 deposit, then we look into where the money came from. Moreover, the anonymity of digital currencies concerns us and we are looking ways out of such situations."
The general manager of the Cyprus Stock Exchange Nodas Metaxas said: "By definition, these electronic products are not currencies. However, they are something we will come across and will have to study and decide upon soon. We need to institutionalize a dialogue to see how we move forward".
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Bitcoin Q&A: Wallet design and mass adoption Degree in Blockchain - University of Nicosia Cyprus, MSc in Digital Currency Bitcoin Hard Wallet explained in Greek MOOC 12, S4, Oct 4th, 2019, with Andreas Antonopoulos: Bitcoin in Practice I MSc in Digital Currency - University of Nicosia - YouTube

The University of Nicosia (UNic), in Chipre, has just announced it’s allowing students to pay their tuition and other fees with Bitcoin from now on.. Besides, the university, the largest in the country, will also offer a Master’s of Science Degree in Digital Currency, which will be available online and on-campus starting in 2014. “We are acutely aware that digital currency is an ... Nick Assimenos Of University Of Nicosia Talks About Importance Of Blockchain Education. University Of Nicosia, the Cyprus based university which is the first in the world to offer formal education in blockchain and digital currency, has a specific department named the Institute for the Future, which offers initiatives in the blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented ... The University of Nicosia and the University of Cyprus are the first higher education institutes to accept the digital currency. For now, only students of Science postgraduate courses can avail of this opportunity. ... Paying through bitcoin wallet is a reliable choice to make when dealing with people who acknowledge bitcoin technology. Order a ... University of Cumbria This is one of the first universities in the world to accept digital currency and to allow a part of tuition fees to be paid using bitcoin. University of Nicosia The University of Nicosia has received its first tuition payment from a student using bitcoin. Back in November, the Cypriot university announced it would accept the cryptocurrency for tuition and fee payments, becoming the world’s first accredited university to do so.. By late November the university had received a payment from Francois Rossouw, a South African student.

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Bitcoin Q&A: Wallet design and mass adoption

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