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Humaniq Aims to Bank the Unbanked With its New App

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Humaniq

On April 6 2017, blockchain startup Humaniq launched their ICO (initial coin offering) that will run until April 27. The ICO is meant to raise funds for the Humaniq project, that aims to provide banking solutions to over 2.5 billion people globally, who don’t have access to financial services.

The ICO received plenty of attention from many publications, which gave it favorable reviews. So far, Humaniq has managed to raise over $4,000,000 during their ongoing crowdsale. Previously, the company received several inquiries from investors with pre-order reservations totaling to about 600 BTC. Early adopters will qualify for bonuses ranging from 12.5 to 49.9%, until the 22nd of April.

Creating new opportunities

In an interview, Humaniq CEO and Chief Strategy Officer Dinis Guardia stated,

“We are thankful to the world crypto community and all the individuals that choose to engage with our Humaniq ICO. There are very few organisations and technology apps doing this with all the new tech available. We are focused in creating solutions using decentralized ledger solutions, IOT and AI driven solutions but our aim is to use it in a simple way to tackle financial inclusion.”

In addition to connecting people from emerging economies to the power of the world economy, users will also be able to generate income by performing a variety of services for other users. This include, small business loans, P2P loans, pension and investment accounts, insurance, and document security. The money they earn can be converted into bitcoin or other altcoins like ether, or use mobile cashiers to exchange (HMQ) Humaniq tokens for fiat currencies.

What is Unique About Humaniq?

To put it simply, the Humaniq project integrates blockchain technology to promote financial inclusivity among the unbanked people in third world countries. This will happen through the use of a biometric identification process that requires the user to have a smartphone with an inbuilt camera.

The biometric identification process is mandatory for all users and takes less than 20 seconds to pass. In addition, you don’t need identification documents or an e-mail. Your identity will be verified through modern recognition software, thus the process will only involve the taking of photos, videos, facial gestures, and speech. Users will be able to tap into the Humaniq mobile app and have access to a global financial network to lend, borrow, save and make payments.

Once new users have passed the biometric identification phase, they will be rewarded with Humaniq wallets. Each wallet comes with free coins and users can also obtain more coins, by making transactions and inviting new users to the app.

The smartphone app will be able to work on the cheapest smartphone, as it will use universally recognizable symbols instead of words. Users will be able to tap into the Humaniq mobile app and have access to a global financial network to lend, borrow, save and make payments.

Proof of Concept’ Testing

HumaniqCurrently, the beta version of the smartphone app is available for users and has so far managed over 1000 downloads. This not only shows interest in the project but is also a valuable source of feedback to the company.

I have personally been testing the app and I can definitely see how a simple to use mobile money app could take off in developing countries where mobile phone adoption is high but access to financial services is low.

As stated in the Humaniq project whitepaper, the full product launch (mobile app and exchange app) will occur in July 2017. In September the company will begin expanding the project to underdeveloped regions and large cities such as London and Singapore. The company also plans to further decentralize its structure, with the integration of virtual cards and fintech start-ups in 2018.

If you still want to take part in Humaniq’s ICO you can do so here

 

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3 Ways Governments Could Use Blockchain Technology to Oppress its Citizens

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blockchain technology to oppress

The blockchain has many applications for the public sector that can improve the quality of government services, safeguard property rights, prevent fraud, and cut red tape while improving transparency. However, what is not often discussed, is that malicious governments could also use blockchain technology to oppress its citizens.

This article highlights how governments could potentially misuse the blockchain to reduce the individual liberties of its citizens and suppress those with opposing views.

When a Sovereign Digital Currency Means Tracking All Financial Transactions

Blockchain-based decentralised digital currencies have the potential to enable economic, political and social freedom. Conversely, the emergence of sovereign centralized “cryptocurrencies” – issued by central banks – contradicts everything that bitcoin and the blockchain stand for and hoped to fix.

agentThe main goal of cryptocurrencies was to decentralize power, not to boost existing authorities. With centralized state-run blockchains, power is heavily concentrated as governments maintain control over the entire network.

Government-controlled cryptocurrencies could impose dangerous limitations on citizen’s civil freedoms, including pervasive anti-privacy measures.

By being able to track every single financial transaction, citizens would lose their financial sovereignty and the personal freedom that comes with spending one’s money on whatever a citizen wants.

Having every single transaction tracked would inevitably lead to mass financial data collection to determine behavioural and spending patterns of each individual in the country, which could be used against them, should they become at odds with the government or someone with close government ties.

When Blockchain-based Digital Identities Are Used to Track Digital Footprints

One of the most impactful developments in the blockchain industry has been the advancement of secure digital identities. Identification is needed for everything from voting to health care. For the over one billion people worldwide who do not have a legal form of identity, digital identities can provide a much-needed solution.

Digital identities can be stored on a blockchain, which can then be used to handle information such as a patient’s medical records, which can be easily and safely accessed by a health care provider when they are seeking care.

However, if a malicious government has full control of the digital ID system and all its citizens’ data, it could use this to track each citizen’s digital footprints. For example, if the social media accounts, financial services, mobile payment firms accounts of citizens are bound to their digital identity, the government could very easily track individuals’ movements in real-time.

This already happens to a degree in countries like the U.S and U.K. as we learned from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks. Every day, intelligence agencies collect hundreds of millions of emails, texts, and phone calls and can collect and sift through billions more. The surveillance technology for tracking and identifying people is booming as is governments’ appetite for it. Add in the current digital tracking systems with facial recognition software and digital identities, and this endangers citizen’s right to privacy.

Blockchain-based digital identity systems thus need to be implemented with care and the oversight of the network should not be limited to the government as the potential for misuse is huge.

When Digital Identities Are Used to Create a Social Credit Scoring System

surveillance

Credit scores dictate a person’s involvement in the financial system, including loan or mortgage approvals, interest rates, and insurance rates. It can impact someone’s ability to rent an apartment or secure a credit card, for example.

China’s latest surveillance efforts include a social credit system that aims to rate each citizen’s social value according to their actions.

Drawing data from government agencies, court verdicts, and even mobile payment firms, the scheme assigns each person an individual score. Failure to repay debts or smoked on a train, you could land on a blacklist posted on a public website. The plan is to rate citizens by their financial and legal histories, their online behaviour, education records, and employment activities.

If such an oppressive social credit scoring system is implemented and interlinked with blockchain technology, the data stored on the system would become immutable and easily shareable with permissioned third parties, such as corporations, who could, in turn, limit low-ranking individuals’ ability to live freely even further.

Such a system could be used by governments to oppress its citizens especially those seen as having a lesser value or those that threaten its power. The blockchain could potentially amplify the oppressive nature of such a social credit scoring system.

Keep Your Leaders in Check

While the blockchain was created to decentralize power, the unfortunate reality is that as the technology has evolved, there are now ways it could be used to make oppressive governments more powerful.

Hence, it is important to stay mindful of how the blockchain can be misused when you hear of your government implementing a new blockchain initiative and to speak up if the initiative could go turn into a tool of oppression.

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Peer-to-Peer Exchange Remitano Introduces Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Support

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Remitano Introduces Bitcoin Cash
Image by Remitano

The peer-to-peer trading and remittance platform, Remitano, has introduced bitcoin cash (BCH) support on the grounds that it has cheaper transaction fees than bitcoin.

Remitano is based in Seychelles and operates in Nigeria, Kenya, the US, Cambodia, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. The exchange charges a trading fee of 0.5 percent and has managed to substantially grow its user base since it has entered the African market. Remitano also supports tether (USDT), ether (ETH), and bitcoin (BTC).

“While Bitcoin has been suffering from high transaction fees, Bitcoin Cash offers a far cheaper transaction fee. It can, therefore, be more easily used as daily, P2P electronic cash,” Dung Huynh, Remitano’s co-founder said.

“We believe that Bitcoin Cash can foster crypto payment to the next level and are, therefore, proud to be the first major P2P exchange that offers this to our users.”

Remitano has joined other companies that have been embracing bitcoin cash (BCH) such as Cointext, which allows users to send BCH through text message without an Internet connection and the bitcoin cash Tipprbot, whose use has been increasing in popularity among the bitcoin cash community in recent weeks.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to Fork Again

Bitcoin cash (BCH) is expected to fork again on May 15, 2018, where its block size will be increased to 32MB compared to bitcoin’s limit of 1MB. By increasing the block size, transaction speeds will increase and transaction fees will be kept low.

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Golix Plans to Launch ICO but Zimbabwean Regulator Rings Alarm Bells

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Golix ICO

The Securities Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SecZim) has warned investors against investing money in unregulated exchanges and securities following plans by Golix to issue a multi-million dollar initial coin offering (ICO). According to sources, the Harare-based cryptocurrency exchange is seeking to raise a minimum of $10 million. The company would be the first bitcoin startup in Zimbabwe to use this innovative way to raise funds.

The ICO Boom

An initial coin offering (ICO) is a revolutionary way to raise the capital needed for new cryptocurrency projects by issuing a percentage of the initial coins supply among early-stage investors. Similar to investing in a company’s stock, the value of the new coin linked to the digital currency project has the potential to gain in value as the project performs well. Once successfully launched, the new coins or tokens can be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Globally, ICOs have appealed to blockchain companies as the next big thing in corporate fundraising and speculative investing. In 2017 alone, over $4 billion dollars were raised through this new form of fundraising.

However, ICOs have faced hurdles in the form of financial regulators, central banks, and governments which are concerned about the disruptive nature of cryptocurrency technologies and their potential for illegal uses. Last year, both China and South Korea banned ICOs.

ICO to Fund Regional Expansion Amidst Regulatory Pressure

Golix, which traded over $1 million worth of bitcoin last month, is looking to launch its ICO by the end of March, or latest in the second quarter, according to sources. The company which recently enabled Ether and Bitcoin Gold trading on its digital currency exchange intends to raise money to fund its entry into other African markets.

However, Securities Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SecZim) CEO, Tafadzwa Chinamo cautioned the public against dealing with unregulated exchanges and securities as there is no legal recourse in case of mishaps.

“Investing in cryptocurrencies in Zimbabwe is a personal decision. The SecZim advises against investing in securities that are not regulated for a few obvious reasons. Investment in cryptos in Zimbabwe is not protected by any law in any way,” Chinamo stated.

According to Chinamo, unlike IPOs which are governed by strict rules that foster transparency and disclosure and ensure investors are not misled by fraudulent persons who float worthless securities, ICOs usually operate in a legal grey area, though this is largely in part due to the lack of cryptocurrency regulation in Zimbabwe.

Locally, companies launched IPOs are required to submit registration statements, financial statements dating back five years, and are also required to undergo valuation by independent financial advisors to determine the fairness of the quoted IPO share price. These disclosures are subject to review for compliance by the market regulator.

ICOs, on the other hand, operate on the fringes with little or no regulatory oversight. Usually, startups launching ICOs will release a technical whitepaper explaining their project and will market their token sale in the hope that prospective investors will buy into the project.

Having said that, many Zimbabweans may choose to ignore the warnings as the cryptocurrency mania takes root in the country. A few months ago the high demand for bitcoin on the local exchange drove the price to almost double of where it was trading at on international exchanges. The demand was buoyed by a debilitating liquidity crunch and acute cash shortage in the country that has affected individuals and businesses who want to engage in commerce and international trade. Hence, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin remain popular among Zimbabweans as an alternative currency and as an investment, which could, in turn, help Golix’s ICO funding ambitions.

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