SparkleCOIN Is Using the Blockchain to Make Cryptocurrencies Accessible for Everyone 3 252

Cryptocurrencies, along with the broader implications of blockchain technology, are poised to disrupt core pillars of our modern economy. By scaling adoption of these digital assets, we can sustain levels of accessibility, liquidity, and security that society has never before seen in a fiscal system.

SparkleCOIN, a hot blockchain startup, is on a mission to accelerate this shift by developing a platform to support and foster the rise of cryptocurrencies into mainstream business and consumer markets. At a high level, they do this through the creation of the SparkleCOIN ecosphere, a collection of companies that leverage the blockchain to solve for three of the biggest problems in crypto today: accessibility, consumer demand, and convenience.

Accessibility

One systemic problem plaguing the “crypto-economy” is the inaccessible nature of most popular exchanges. Without access to consumer insights, most new coin offerings never reach “true levels of liquidity” because they do not have sufficient market exposure. And even those lucky enough to time and negotiate the exchange correctly, are often unable to transact with fiat currency. These are both limiting factors that will delay, and in the worst case, prevent adoption of a decentralized monetary network.

Thus, the SparkleCOIN team has created the VCoin Exchange, a component of the Ecosphere, which resolves many of these issues by providing an “instantaneous trading platform for SparkleCOIN to be traded with US Dollars, as well as Bitcoin and Ether.” This lowers the barrier to entry for new blockchain projects and makes it easier for different parties to participate in this growing matrix.

Consumer Demand

Another big technical obstacle, stagnating growth, is that the mass market consumer cannot easily and conveniently acquire and spend cryptocurrencies. They are bounded by the supply of potential outlets to transact their capital, and therefore, are less incentivized to acquire the coins in the first place.

VCoinMall, another piece of the SparkleCOIN ecosphere of companies, enables customers to shop (and spend cryptocurrency) with a number of the biggest and most trusted online brands and websites. Massive players, like Walmart, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Staples, are all bought into the network, effectively making it so any consumer can spend their currency wherever and whenever they like, without facing extremely high fees, security risk, and long delays. This “peer-to-peer e-tailer” is the first universal marketplace for customers to find retailers who accept cryptocurrency.

Convenience

The final, and perhaps most critical element of SparkleCOIN’s ecosystem, is the VCoin Exchange’s payment gateway which has the potential to become the Paypal/Stripe of the blockchain generation.

Currently, there are no convenient and inexpensive services which empower startups with the ability to accept cryptocurrency transactions. The modern, yet still friction-ful answer is to build out a cumbersome engineering organization that can, after thousands of lines of code, provide a work-around solution. This is inefficient, non-standardized practice is not seamless enough to scale and support a global economy. And, as startups are all about moving quickly, has prevented many companies from offering a cryptocurrency payment service to their customers.

With the VCoin Exchange integration, partner retailers can, in just a few taps, open their stores to begin accepting payments via cryptocurrencies. It hinges on their payment gateway, which automatically integrates with most, if not all, of the existing ecommerce platforms and networks. Rather than provide a bulky solution, SparkleCOIN focused on pillars of convenience and simplicity, which prioritize ease of integration to ensure all retailers will be able to quickly integrate. Over time, as major players begin to endorse this system, the VCoin Exchange plug-in will become the standard means of accepting payments due to network effects.

In today’s world, the benefits of technology are far outpacing the ability for society to keep up. There are tangible, solvable answers to many of the world’s biggest problems, yet we are lagging behind due to our inability to focus on what is really important.

SparkleCOIN, with the support of their growing community, is effectively bridging the gap between the benefits of frontier blockchain technologies, mainstream businesses (who run on legacy systems) and the general consumer public by “enabling secure B2B and B2C transactions.” This is an important step towards a fairer future.

Though SparkleCOIN’s efforts to introduce a blockchain monetary ecosystem may be just one, of the many necessary steps needed for society to begin embracing the benefits of blockchain (as well as other popular cryptocurrencies), it is important to recognize the inevitable effects of the first mover advantage. If executed efficiently, and at scale, SparkleCOIN could be able to secure key partnerships in the industry, thereby building a moat around their technology and solution for years to come.

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post on December 4, 2017.

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Starting her career on Wall Street at just 19 years old, Danielle went on to be one of the youngest equity traders in the industry. After a successful career in Financial Planning, she went on to found her media company What Vibes Your Tribe, which connects the worlds of digital marketing and public relations. Her experience in brand strategy along with successfully developing the thought leadership of C -level executives has played an integral part in her client's achieving prestigious awards such as Inc 500, Forbes Next Billion Dollar Startup, Entrepreneur 360 among other top level recognition.

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Bitcoin Uses As Much Energy As Austria, Could Add 2°C to Earth’s Atmosphere 2,164 8094

Bitcoin mining, it turns out, damages the earth more than more traditional environmental assaults like actual mineral mining.

According to a paper published Monday in Nature Sustainability, the power-hungry Bitcoin mining process consumes more than triple the amount of energy needed to mine the equivalent amount of gold, more than quadruple what’s needed for copper, and more than double what it takes to mine platinum.

Other coins didn’t fare much better. By their measurements, Ethereum and Litecoin consume 7 megajoules of electricity to produce the equivalent of $1, the same energy expenditure as copper mining but more than that of platinum or gold. Monero eats up 14 megajoules to produce $1.

Naturally, these measurements refer to the notoriously variable dollar valuations of such tokens. “While the market prices of the coins are quite volatile,” write researchers Max J. Krause and Thabet Tolaymat, “the network hashrates for three of the four cryptocurrencies have trended consistently upward, suggesting that energy requirements will continue to increase.”

Bitcoin’s Growing Electricity Bill is Bigger Than Some Countries

We’ve long known that Bitcoin is unsustainable. In a 2015 article for Motherboard, Christopher Malmo pointed out that a single Bitcoin transaction used 5,033 times as much energy as a Visa swipe, and could power 1.5 American homes for a day.

The electricity used to crunch Bitcoin code—and its environmental cost—has been growing with its increasing popularity. Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index shows Bitcoin currently consuming 73.12 terawatt hours (or 263.232 billion megajoules) of electricity annually. To put that in context, it’s comparable to the amount of energy it takes to power Austria for a year.

That means there are 175ish countries on earth using less energy than Bitcoin (to say nothing of crypto on the whole), while 66 countries consume less energy per capita than one Bitcoin transaction (it takes 94 thousand kilowatt hours of electricity to mine a single Bitcoin).

Iceland, a major hub of Bitcoin mining farms, spends nearly as much energy on Bitcoin as it does powering its residential homes. In this case, the damage is mitigated because most of Iceland’s power comes from renewable energy.

Canada’s Bitcoin emissions are also on the lower end due to renewable energy sources. They’re using this to court mining companies from China, where mining emissions are about four times that of Canada’s. Montreal International attracts foreign investment by calling Quebec the land of “green bitcoin”. This has caught the eye of some Chinese mining companies looking to go overseas as the Chinese government has discouraged expansion and shut down some mining operations altogether.

Depending on Bitcoin’s growth, some have projected that it could use as much energy as the entire world by 2020.

Digital Currency Has a Real Carbon Footprint

Krause’s and Tolaymat’s research reminds us of the sobering reality that all this invisible wealth has real world costs.

For the 30 months they measured between January 2016 and June 2018, they estimate their four featured tokens collectively belched out at least 3 million tons of CO2 emissions, possibly as much as 15 million tons.

These findings follow another study, published last month, which determined Bitcoin alone could add two degrees Celcius to global warming within the next three decades. That’s enough to raise ocean acidity by 29 percent.

Solving Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption Crisis

So what is the solution? If the world were to switch to 100 percent renewable energy overnight, the problem would be moot. But we can’t hold our breath for that. There could be ways of incentivizing clean energy so greener mines reap more coins, or of implementing clean energy in other ways.

It’s also possible to adopt less computationally intensive mining algorithms so the mining computers don’t guzzle as much juice. This would disappoint a lot of old school Bitcoiners who have invested in hardware, but their feelings don’t really outweigh that 2 degrees celcius that everyone will have to live with (or die by).

Whatever the best solution turns out to be, something needs to change soon. Bitcoin is growing up, and it’s time for it to mature into something more sustainable.

Kenya Looks to Blockchain for Affordable Housing Project 9 380

The “Silicon Savannah” is moving deeper in direction of tech. The Kenyan government has announced a plan to manage the property allocation and funding of 500,000 affordable housing units with blockchain technology.

The units, which the government aims to build by 2022, will be set aside for households with an annual income below 100,000 Kenyan Shillings, about $990 USD. The World Bank estimates Kenya’s gross national income per capita at $1,290, according to Business Daily.

Blockchain will help ensure that the affordable housing is in fact going to those who fall below the average income bracket. Land title fraud has caused problems for Kenyans, as land grabbers target homes and even schools for illegal sales and development. Blockchain’s ability to store verifiable proof of title could help safeguard against fraudsters.

“Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government funded housing projects,” said Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga, speaking with the World Bank on Monday.

Hinga said the plan will be financed by the National Housing Fund, which will raise over $59.5 million per month to get the project underway. But Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia said it will take $31.7 billion to build a million homes, each of which will cost between $3,000 and $30,000. Macharia called for support from private sector financing.

Under the financing plan, working Kenyans will contribute 1.5 percent of their salary, which will be matched by their employers. “On affordable housing one should not spend more than 30% of their disposable income for housing,” Hinga tweeted yesterday. “Anything above 30% is not affordable.”

A Trustless Relationship Between People and Government

The initiative represents a considerable push to solve housing and title problems for the nation’s lower income families. But how will the government decide to whom the housing units will go? With so much talk about financing underway, people are already calling on the government to outline a plan for how they’ll distribute the affordable housing units.

The government will need to deliver the housing projects in a time when, Hinga acknowledges, the public is skeptical. Earlier this year $78 million went missing in a corruption scandal involving the National Youth Services. Where there is little trust between the people and their government, Kenya hopes to establish transparency through the blockchain’s distributed ledger system.

Kenya’s Move Toward Tech

In March, Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology appointed a blockchain taskforce to explore the ways the nation could use blockchain technology in the public and private sectors. They called it the Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence taskforce, and by September its chairman, Bitange Ndemo, was calling on the government to tokenize the economy.

Ndemo also proposed government implementation of blockchain to certify the authenticity of retail goods, so consumers can be sure of where their food is coming from, for example.

Governor of Kenya’s central bank Patrick Njoroge has also voiced support for the use of blockchain technology to strengthen service delivery, although he’s opposed the use of tokens and digital currencies.

But the affordable housing initiative could be the Kenyan government’s first real world implementation of the blockchain.

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