BPSAA (Blockchain Privacy, Security Adoption Alliance) goes live assembling crypto gurus from multiple projects for the good of cryptomanity. BPSAA aims to bring collaboration through BPSAA verified projects in order to enhance Privacy, Security, Adoption for users in the crypto realm.
Projects in the Alliance:
Pirate Chain (Most Anonymous Crypto) https://bpsaa.vision/pirate-chain
Turtle Network (Interoperable DEX w/fiat) https://bpsaa.vision/turtlenetwork
Ether-1 (Decentralized Storage) https://bpsaa.vision/ether1
Sentinal (Decentralized VPN) https://bpsaa.vision/sentinel
UK Citizen Allegedly Used Bitcoin to Facilitate ISIS Members Prison Breaks
A 27-year old British citizen had appeared before a local court because of allegations that he had used Bitcoin to send money to help ISIS members escape Syrian prison camps. The man, Hisham Chaudhary, has reportedly been a member of the Islamic State for over four years.
Terrorist Prison Breaks Funded By Bitcoin
According to the Dailymail coverage, Chaudhary has been an accepted member of the Islamic State since early 2016 – an infamous terrorist organization banned under UK law since 2014.
Some of his responsibilities within the group included gathering and transferring funds abroad to assist captured ISIS militants to escape from prison camps in northern Syria, controlled by the Kurds. Chaudhary’s preferable currency was Bitcoin. He acquired and sent an undisclosed amount of BTC to facilitate the transactions and remain hidden from authorities.
The charges against the 27-year-old also include compiling and disseminating a terrorist publication called The Wholesome Fruit In The Virtues And Etiquettes Of Jihad last year.
In total, Chaudhary faces seven charges. Four of them are against the terrorist publication, one for his association with the organization, and two counts of entering a funding arrangement. However, he hadn’t plea to the charges during his video appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Crypto Connections With Terrorist Group Rise
Bitcoin’s involvement with terrorist organizations has been spiking in the past few months. Reports surfaced in early August that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) had seized over 300 cryptocurrency accounts linked or operated by three notorious groups – al-Qaeda, Hamas, and again – ISIS.
US law enforcement agencies followed the funds to the accounts on the Bitcoin blockchain, as everything is recorded on the network. They saw millions of dollars worth of transfers from fundraising campaigns and anonymous donation ending in the wallets.
Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin commented that “these individuals believe they operated anonymously in the digital space, but we have the skill and resolve to find, fix, and prosecute these actors under the full extent of the law.”
Additionally, French authorities arrested 29 people allegedly operating a sophisticated network of funding jihadists and al-Qaeda members with digital assets. The police found evidence that the accused purchased cryptocurrency coupons in France. They transferred the details by secure messaging to jihadists in Syria, who retrieved the funds through digital asset platforms.
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Report: Governance remains highly centralized on many DeFi projects
A new report jointly developed by DappRadar and Monday Capital analyzes the token distribution and governance proposals seen in major DeFi protocols. Despite efforts to decentralize control in the yield farming phase, the researchers maintain that many projects — especially those with strong venture capital roots — remain highly centralized.
The researchers analyzed projects like MakerDAO (MKR), Curve (CRV), Compound (COMP) and Uniswap (UNI).
All present a significantly skewed token distribution that favors large holders. The analysts noted that Maker governance appears to be the most mature of all, owing to its longer existence. The MakerDAO forum is where preliminary discussion and analysis is conducted by members of the community, and it is open to all irrespective of their MKR holdings.
Nevertheless, the actual on-chain voting process appears to be controlled primarily by large holders as the top 20 addresses hold about 24% of the total supply. Compared to some other projects analyzed, this distribution is still fairly equitable.
For Compound, researchers noted that the leaderboard of COMP holders primarily includes venture capitalists, team members and some other blockchain projects — notably Dharma and Gauntlet.
Only 2.3% of the addresses have delegation, a requirement to make proposals and vote. Thus, only a small portion of the community is engaged in governance, and the true percentage is likely even lower given the presence of aggregated exchange addresses. The total supply is also heavily skewed towards the top 20 addresses.
Curve and Uniswap have similar issues, with the former featuring a single address apparently holding 75% of the voting power, while the latter is suffering from scandals and allegations of governance takeover by insiders.
The researchers identified three main causes that have led to this centralization of power. The first is that users see the governance tokens as yield and not as a voting tool:
“Protocols started using their governance tokens as ‘rewards’ for users participating in the network. Although the idea sounds nice — governance goes to those who use the product — in reality the financial incentives have been stronger than the governance incentives.”
The second issue is that the systems are designed as plutocracies — where wealth defines power. There are no minimum participation requirements that could establish “sufficient decentralization” and large initial holders are able to exert their power largely uncontested. It is worth noting that there is no easy way of proving an identity on-chain, making plutocracy the only practical mechanism of governance so far.
Lastly, researchers noted that initial investment plays a large role in centralizing governance. Venture capitalists and other investors will often have large initial stakes, which may also discourage other users from trying to acquire governance power.
In their conclusion, the analysts assert that it’s the distribution mechanisms that encourage centralization of power, suggesting that the current outcome is no surprise.
JPM Coin debut marks start of blockchain’s value-driven adoption cycle
On the heels of PayPal announcing its decision to enter the crypto sector early next year, Bitcoin (BTC) has continued its strong performance and has been hovering around the $13,500 mark for nearly a week now. In this regard, the payment giant’s foray into the crypto market has been hailed as a game changer, especially when it comes to improving the mainstream perception of the digital asset industry as a whole.
Not only that, JPMorgan Chase announced that its native digital currency offering — the JPM Coin — has finally been deployed for mainstream use by one of the firm’s technical associates. The token is designed to facilitate JPMorgan Chase’s various cross-border monetary transactions.
The origins of the JPM Coin can be traced back to early 2019, when the banking giant announced its plans to release a dollar-backed cryptocurrency that would eventually be used to process its internal and international transfers. Now, JP Morgan seems to have finally delivered on its promise of building a solution that could potentially save the global finance industry hundreds of millions of dollars in peripheral costs such as processing charges, high tax fees and more.
Making an impact
As things stand, JPMorgan is one of the largest players operating within the global payments landscape, with the firm reportedly facilitating transfers in excess of $6 trillion across more than 100 countries on a daily basis. Brian Behlendorf, executive director at Hyperledger, an enterprise-grade permissioned blockchain framework, told Cointelegraph that, in his estimation, the move will most likely fail to have any sort of major impact on market, especially since JPMorgan’s payment network is sealed off from those not fungible with them:
“Consumers likely won’t even be aware of them — it’ll show up perhaps as reduced fees to move money between accounts or other kinds of trades, etc. Professional investors may notice they have new kinds of assets available in their portfolios in the form of these stablecoins, but they’re not really ‘investments’ so much as more convenient ways to move money.”
However, Behlendorf did concede that, by and large, the move does represent an additional step toward the mainstream adoption of crypto and technology that is now ready for prime-time, industrialized use.
With a centralized token being deployed, it stands to reason that blockchain technology is finally ready to generate some serious returns for its users. Paul Brody, principal and global innovation leader for blockchain technology at Ernst & Young, told Cointelegraph that even though people may be just beginning to realize the financial potential of this technology, blockchain has quietly been generating substantial value for many companies over the last few years.
Additionally, Brody believes that trusted payments for enterprise users from big-brand-name banks will have a positive impact on the market at large because much of the work being done on-chain so far is operational, but payments are still being completed off-chain. Furthermore, the entry of JPM Coin could help “more enterprises get comfortable with the idea of closing the loop and running an entire business process on-chain.” He added:
“The market for global, cross-border payments has not had much competition until recently, so I think the addition of new players, regardless of their technology, will have a positive impact. What does matter a great deal is that for business to business payments, if you can make payments a part of a fully digital business contract, you can hugely reduce the cost of running a cross-border deal for enterprises, and that is quite revolutionary.
Behlendorf also pointed out that private commercial tokens similar to JPM Coin have been in production for a few years, primarily as settlement mechanisms for trade finance. Not only that, he stated they have also been implemented across other banking, securities and bond markets in Asia and Europe: “U.S. business blockchain networks have been generating business value in other ways as well, from supply chain traceability to KYC and regulatory compliance, and so on, even JPM’s own IIN network.”
JPMorgan sets up a dedicated blockchain outfit
In a recent interview, JP Morgan’s global head of wholesale payments stated that the launch of JPM Coin as well as certain other “behind the scenes moves” prompted the banking giant to create a new business outfit called Onyx. The unit will allow the company to spur its focus on its various ongoing blockchain and digital currency efforts.
Onyx reportedly has more than 100 staff members and has been established with the goal of commercializing JP Morgan’s various envisioned blockchain and crypto projects, moving existing ideas from their research and development phase to something more tangible.
When asked about their future plans and if crypto factors majorly into the company’s upcoming scheme of things, a media relations representative for J.P. Morgan told Cointelegraph that there are no additional announcements on top of what was already unveiled recently.
Lastly, on Oct. 28, the bank announced that it was going to rebrand its blockchain-based Interbank Information Network, or IIN, to “Liink” as well as introduce two new applications — Confirm and Format — that have been developed for specific purposes of account validation and fraud elimination for its clients. Liink will be a part of the Onyx ecosystem and will enable participants (over 400 financial institutions) to collaborate with one another in a seamless fashion.
Blockchain tech and banking go together
It’s not far-fetched to think that the marriage of blockchain technology and the banking sector could completely revolutionize the way in which day-to-day business transactions are facilitated by financial institutions across the globe. For example, decentralized transaction frameworks cannot only make cross border transactions cheaper but can also substantially improve on the transparency aspect.
However, Behlendorf said that the banking industry has largely been digital for decades, with very few organizations shipping around physical hard currency or other hard assets as a way of settling payments between financial institutions anymore, adding:
“What’s new is using a DLT as the settlement layer rather than relying upon human audits and regulatory trust. The digitization of cash is a very different matter, and Alipay/Wechat Pay and Paypal and Venmo etc. has likely done far more to hasten the end of physical cash than any blockchain today or likely will over the next ten years.”
However, he then proceeded to add that as convenient as these digital payment mediums may be, there are some drawbacks due to their underlying architecture: “We should be very wary of giving up the anonymity that physical cash provides.”
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