On this episode of “Bitcoin, Explained,” hosts Aaron van Wirdum and Sjors Provoost revisit the policy of a fee-for-replacement (RBF) contract. As they mentioned in Episode 65The upcoming Bitcoin Core release – Bitcoin Core 24.0 – includes the option to run “full RBF”, but this has since caused some uproar in the Bitcoin community. Van Wirdum and Provoost explain what the fuss is about and highlight some new arguments for and against full RBF.
Kazakhstan is pushing ahead with regulation that will further stifle the bitcoin mining industry.
The country’s federal parliamentary body has completed secondary school consent from billAbout digital assets in the Republic of KazakhstanWith a third approval, the legislation will introduce new licensing requirements for bitcoin miners based on their facility ownership and operating structure. It will also require that miners purchase electricity from power provider Korem at market rates.
Previously, specific reporting and tax preparation Requirements fulfilled, including registering names, locations, and quarterly reports to the government. This occurred as a result Big flow of mining Center lack of energy and protests, all while bitcoin miners fled China in response to the government’s ban on bitcoin.
Kazakhstan’s close proximity to China and previously very favorable access to energy has led to a migration of large amounts of hashrate into the country. After that, Kazakhstan went so far as to capture it $200 million in mining equipment who have not complied with the regulations, and the state continues to attempt to absorb the benefits of streaming into bitcoin mining using legislation such as this recently approved one.
Bitcoin Magazine Previously mentioned On regulation in Kazakhstan, citing A.I Report From the Russian media TASS. In the report, Ekaterina Smyshlieva, a member of the Committee on Economic Reform and Regional Development of the House of Representatives (Kazakhstan’s federal parliamentary body), detailed the government’s intentions, describing how, “Kazakhstan has been used as a raw material appendage for the blockchain industry. [Through] Invoices, we oblige miners to license in Kazakhstan, that is, to create legal entities and become taxable at full capacity.
One-quarter of the global populace is going to be spending at least an hour a day in the metaverse by 2026, according to tech consulting firm Gartner, for shopping, gaming, education and more. But at some point, people are going to have to demonstrate that it’s really them behind the avatar.
That’s just one reason many believe that decentralized identity (DI) is likely to play an increasingly important role in Web3’s evolution. And even if DI has been generally overlooked by mainstream media, recent events suggest that is about to change.
Consider that in July, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced a new standard for decentralized identifiers, culminating years of mostly quiet work and deliberations in this area. In August, Gartner proclaimed DI a “must-know” emerging technology, where people can “control their own digital identity by leveraging technologies such as blockchain […] along with digital wallets.” Earlier this year, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin proposed Soulbound Tokens (SBTs), which would include many DI elements in a non-transferable NFT format.
Sometimes called self-sovereign identity (SSI), decentralized identity can play a key role in mitigating fraud, data breaches, social engineering and theft in the expanding metaverse, say technologists, but perhaps more importantly, it may impact broad and diverse sectors of human endeavor, including education, healthcare, law, travel and employment.
“I believe that SSI will be revolutionizing how we perceive identity management in the upcoming years,” Adam Gągol, co-founder of Aleph Zero, tells Magazine, while others suggest it is on course to disrupt traditional identity management.
“I’m not sure I would say ‘disrupt’ as much as ‘catalyze,’” Scott Kominers, an associate professor at Harvard Business School who has written about DI, tells Magazine. “My hope is that decentralized identity solutions will make existing sources of information on individuals’ background, activity history and interests more powerful and useful than before.”
“An NFT of a diploma in your crypto wallet, for instance, would turn into a permanent academic certification,” Kominers and Jad Esber wrote recently in a Future article.
Decentralized identity won’t necessarily exclude a bit of fun along the way, either. “With public histories, it would be possible to prove that you were early to a trend or active in a project before it took off — like, say, being into Taylor Swift before she was popular,” Kominers and Esber noted.
Recent events, like the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange, suggest other possible uses for DI/SSI, which can be applied to organizations as well as people. Fraser Edwards, CEO and co-founder at Cheqd, envisions “audit opinions issued as VCs [verifiable credentials], where the focus is less on sovereignty and identity but more on trusted data and reputation — i.e., ‘Do I operate in good faith?’ Or simply, ‘Am I trustworthy?’” he tells Magazine.
Decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials
DI has two main components: decentralized identifiers (DIDs), which are like traditional identifiers — a legal name, an email address, a social security number, etc. — with the key difference that DIDs are controlled and sometimes even issued by individuals. An example would be an Ethereum account. You can create as many Ethereum accounts as you like and share them with whomever you like. There is no central repository. They reside on an encrypted decentralized digital ledger — i.e., a blockchain.
The second component is verifiable credentials (VCs). These can be derived from familiar credentials such as diplomas, library cards and passports, but again, they are not held on a centralized repository with a single point of control or failure, but on a blockchain where they can be read by machines. They offer familiar benefits like persistence and accessibility, but also more technical ones like cryptographic verifiability (your identity is more secure because it is encrypted) and resolvability — i.e., it’s possible to discover metadata about a user from that person’s DID.
Kim Hamilton Duffy, director of identity and standards at Centre Consortium, offers this example of how decentralized identifiers and credentials might work in an education and employment context:
A fictional “Sally” earns a master’s degree from the University of Oxford for which she receives a “digital diploma that contains a decentralized identifier she provided. This digital diploma is signed using a decentralized identifier which has been published and verified by the University of Oxford.”
Over time, Sally updates the cryptographic material associated with her DID, adding biometric protections and also a quantum-resistant algorithm. “A decade after graduation, she applies for a job in Japan, for which she provides her digital diploma by uploading it to the prospective employee’s website.” A decentralized identifier authenticates that she is the actual recipient of the degree. Moreover:
“Cryptographic authentication provides a robust verification of her claim, allowing the employer to rely on Sally’s assertion that she earned a master’s degree from the stated university without having to contact the university directly.”
Generally speaking, DI has grown with the expansion of blockchain technology, and almost all DI use cases involve a cryptographically secure blockchain at some point. DI is also developing along with zero knowledge technologies that, for example, “enable individuals to prove they own or have done something without revealing what that thing is.” A person applying for a mortgage, for example, would be able to prove that their income falls within a certain approved band without revealing to the bank their actual salary.
An important milestone?
The DI movement has arguably been flying under the radar, but the recent agreement on DI standards makes for faster progress. “The announcement of DID Core as a W3C recommendation is a very important milestone, something that many DI and SSI projects have been waiting for,” Markus Sabadello, CEO at Danube Tech, tells Magazine. It’s a signal to the whole ecosystem that the technology is ready, “not just for experimentation and proofs of concept but for serious solutions to real-life projects.”
“The W3C DID standard’s importance is on par with phone numbers or email address standards’ vitality,” Rouven Heck, decentralized identity lead at ConsenSys Mesh and executive director at the Decentralized Identity Foundation, tells Magazine. “A high level of interoperability becomes possible once every provider uses the same specification.”
Today, Big Tech players like Microsoft are conducting pilots, and even some governments, including the United States, Canada the European Union, Germany and Finland, have been looking at DI “as a tool to improve state-backed identity solutions,” notes Heck.
Still, the movement is arguably waiting for its first big use case. Pilots are happening at the fringes and are often modest in scope.
Germany, for instance, recently launched a private/public DI pilot for the travel and hospitality sector. Data from government ID cards and employee certificates were extracted and merged to create a single verifiable credential so that when a company employee checked into one of the 120 German hotels participating in the project, the front desk operator learned immediately from a swipe of the QR code on the guest’s mobile device that “this is really a traveler from that corporation and is allowed to use whatever services we have in in the contract,” reports Florian Daniel, chief information officer of Deutsche Hospitality, who added that the trial will soon be expanded beyond Germany’s borders.
It may seem surprising that pilots like these are happening in areas like travel rather than in healthcare or education or other places where the need for DI/SSI solutions seems more urgent. But cases like the travel example “are more straightforward to pilot, as less sensitive data is involved,” Heck tells Magazine.
Distributed identity’s impact in healthcare
Healthcare is one sector where DI could really change things. It sometimes defies common sense that a person’s health records are stored for years within a single hospital. At a minimum, decentralized identifiers would make it easier for individuals to change health service providers and platforms, but challenges remain.
“For clinicians, DIDs are much more of a sure thing because they enable better reputation registries and reduce the dependence on hospitals and other institutions as keepers of a clinician’s reputation,” Adrian Gropper, a medical doctor and chief technology officer of Patient Privacy Rights — a national organization representing 10.3 million patients — tells Magazine.
How close is DI to mainstream adoption in the healthcare sector? “It will take many years,” says Gropper, explaining:
“The single biggest obstacle is that clinicians have allowed hospitals to control their access to patient records, and hospitals have little incentive to break their control… and risk disintermediation from the clinician-patient relationship.”
DI solutions may be closer to fruition in areas like retail business. The convenience store sector has developed a DI solution called TruAge that’s aimed at curtailing underage purchases of products like alcohol and also restricting the amount of certain other products that can be purchased, Peter Steele, vice president of research at The Pinnacle Corporation, tells Magazine.
The system allows consumers to carry digital proof of their age on their mobile phones, “which can be scanned at a POS [point of sale] to approve age-restricted purchases,” says Steele, adding:
“It might be possible for an ‘adult’ to purchase a large number of vape products and then give them to kids. But with TruAge, they will be restricted from purchasing a large quantity — and that restriction is across all stores, not just one type of store, or a single store.”
TruAge is now being implemented by POS suppliers, adds Steele, but “it will take a few years before it becomes ubiquitous.”
Government’s role in decentralized identity
Many governments are also following DI progress. State agencies are likely to remain the primary issuers of many identifiers like driver’s licenses, birth certificates and social security numbers, even though DIDs and related technologies will eventually give governments less control over them, says Sabadello.
“I think it will take a few more years, but there are already several governments investing into DID technology,” he says. “The EU Commission has been promoting the EBSI/ESSIF infrastructure — which is based on DIDs — as a key building block of a European digital identity framework.”
The U.S. government is also looking into DI solutions. As reported, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security contracted with Danube Tech several years back to develop blockchain security solutions for digital documents like passports and green cards. Eventually, military commanders could send orders to troops in the field across decentralized digital networks, Sabadello tells Cointelegraph, and the soldiers could verify the order using DI solutions.
“In many EU countries, we already see the exploding popularity of gov-tech solutions allowing users to identify themselves using a smartphone app,” says Gągol. One-time Know Your Customer protocols replacing repeated uploads of passports, drivers licenses, health certificates, etc. should prove popular, though this will require “much more privacy-aware solutions, as typically a lot of sensitive data is passed around in the KYC process,” Gągol adds.
Questions about SBTs
Buterin created something of a stir in SSI quarters with his May paper on non-transferable “soulbound” tokens. Does the future belong to privately controlled digital wallets that contain one’s education and employment credentials, but also some social identifiers like “fanships” and recent travel destinations?
After the World Gold Council (WGC) third quarter report showing central banks buying a record amount of gold, data released by the World Gold Council shows central banks buying more gold during the fourth quarter of 2022. Statistics show that the gold they hold The world’s central banks are at the highest level since 1974.
Central banks continue to acquire gold in the fourth quarter, and the United Arab Emirates buys the largest amount of gold bars in October
Central banks around the world buy massive amounts of gold and during the first week of November, the World Gold Council (WGC) Report It showed that central banks bought a record amount of bullion. WGC data for the third quarter of 2022 indicated that central banks accumulated nearly 400 tons in the third quarter, the highest quarter ever in terms of gold purchases.
WGC also noticed a mysterious gold buyer during the third quarter and China as well Suspect To be the secret buyer of gold. New stats From the WGC, published after the Q3 2022 report, it shows that during the month of October, central banks around the world acquired 31 tons of gold. The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) bought most of the gold in October, adding another 9 tons of gold to the country’s stockpile.
Data from the World Gold Council indicates that the UAE obtained 18 tons of gold during 2022. At present, the total amount of gold obtained by central banks around the world is at its highest level in 47 years, or since 1974. Measures show that Uzbekistan has accumulated another 9 tons of gold to its reserves after buying the precious metal for seven consecutive months. Uzbekistan bought 37 tons of gold this year and gold represents 60% of the country’s total reserves.
The data also shows that the National Bank of Cambodia managed to buy two tons of gold in September, and Kazakhstan acquired three tons of the precious yellow metal in October. Central banks obtain the precious metal gold to diversify their foreign reserves. Basically, it is believed that the precious metal can reduce the overall risk of its reserves because gold has been considered a safe-haven asset for thousands of years.
The central banks of the world traditionally obtain gold from large commercial banks or directly from gold mining companies. Gold has performed well over the past two weeks, and as of Wednesday, an ounce is currently trading for $1,778 per unit. Since November 3, 2022, gold has increased by 9.15% against the US dollar, from $1,629 an ounce to the current value of $1,778 an ounce on Wednesday, December 7, 2022.
What do you think about central banks buying record amounts of gold in 2022? What do you think of the recent central bank purchases of gold in October? Tell us what you think about it in the comments section below.
Jamie Redman is the Chief News Officer at Bitcoin.com News and a financial and technology journalist based in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about disruptive protocols emerging today.
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