Day: January 11, 2021
@FelixOHartmann should have known this tweet would age poorly
5WMA IS THE BOTTOM LORD HELP US ALL
LORD HELP US ALL https://t.co/5jKGfO67mV
Frankfurt School Blockchain Center Establishes DLT Learning Standard
The Frankfurt School Blockchain Center, or FSBC, is working towards improving the standard of digital ledger technology (DLT). Amid the expanding blockchain scene, several stakeholders are enacting modalities to ensure a continuous supply of skilled workforce in the novel sector.
FSBC Establishes DLT Education Consortium e.V.
According to a Medium blog post published on Monday (Jan. 11, 2021), the FSBC has co-founded the Swiss-based DLT Education Consortium (DEC) as well as the DEC Institute AG. Situated in Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley,’ the DEC will create a standardized blockchain learning curriculum for greater transparency in education and certification targeted at blockchain-based professionals.
Joining the FSBC in the DEC consortium are the Lucerne School of Information Technology, the University College London, and the International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad.
An excerpt from the announcement reads:
“Within its role, FSBC will provide the DLT Education Consortium (DEC) with its long-lasting and profound expertise in education and training in the blockchain sphere.”
For the DEC, the plan is to expand its membership base with seasoned academic and professional establishments that can offer robust blockchain examination standards for different educational institutions and other target clientele. As part of this effort, the DEC is looking towards consolidating the existing pool of DLT-based educators to create adequate certification standards for employers, job seekers, and universities alike.
Commenting on the DEC’s plans, Prof. Philip Sandner of the FSBC remarked:
“We already have commitments from large multinational consulting, audit and legal firms that plan to strengthen their teams’ knowledge and expertise through the DEC Institute.”
The DEC also plans to foster greater community engagement and networking among DLT educators, blockchain research and development centers, and academic institutions among others. For the DEC, such synergistic information flow within the blockchain education ecosystem will lead to the establishment of robust learning materials and in-depth knowledge bases for all participants.
Promoting Blockchain Education
Several stakeholders in the crypto and blockchain space have unveiled programs aimed at improving the standard of DLTeducation. According to some commentators, the massive spike in blockchain-related jobs could lead to a skills shortage in the industry if DLT education is not prioritized.
Back in August, major crypto market data provider CoinMarketCap launched an educational program with BAND tokens as rewards. Popular crypto exchanges like Binance have also joined blockchain-based education alliance initiatives to foster the spread of DLT knowledge.
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XRP tumbles despite former Amazon exec joining Ripple as engineering lead
Amid legal action from the SEC, Ripple has brought in fresh blood from Amazon to lead its engineering team.
In a statement released today, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse announced that former Amazon vice president of delivery experience, Devraj Varadhan, has joined Ripple as its new senior vice president of engineering.
Ripple’s all-star engineering team continues to grow – thrilled to welcome Dev as our new SVP of Engineering! https://t.co/OH5ceDOX4K
— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) January 11, 2021
Varadhan has 15 years’ experience at Amazon, where he worked on software development for more than a decade prior to becoming VP of delivery experience. He also spent two years developing cloud and enterprise software with Microsoft.
With Ripple, Varadhan plans to place an emphasis on building “architecturally sound systems aligned with customer and business needs.”
Though the price of XRP returned to the $0.30 range last week following a significant downturn in December, it has slipped below the critical support level again. At the time of writing, the token is trading for $0.28 after falling roughly 9% in the last 24 hours.
XRP’s volatility has been attributed to charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against Ripple, the firm’s co-founder Chris Larsen, and CEO Brad Garlinghouse in December.
The SEC accuses Ripple of conducting an “unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering” through its XRP sales, with the allegations prompting many crypto exchanges to delist or suspend trading of the token.
The commission’s case against Ripple will begin with a virtual pretrial conference on Feb. 22.
The Deplatforming of Parler Is a Boon for Bitcoin-friendly Gab
- Parler has been suspended by Amazon, Apple, and Google.
- With Parler offline, rival site Gab is seeing an influx of new users.
- Gab has spent the last few years making itself censorship-resistant.
With social media website Parler completely offline, rival social network Gab says it is picking up users in droves.
Because the two sites have analogous user bases—they lean heavily to the right and both call themselves “free speech” social networks—Gab is now absorbing new users and capitalizing on a years-long quest to remove its reliance on third parties and receive customer payments through Bitcoin. It reported 600,000 new users yesterday alone.
Meanwhile, Forbes is already writing Parler’s obituary.
On Friday, January 8, two days after pro-Trump protestors stormed the US Capitol, Google suspended social media app Parler from its Play Store, arguing the site had been used as a staging ground for the attacks and that it did not do enough to police violence. The next day, Apple did the same.
By doing so, they made the app more difficult to download, but not impossible to access. Then came the kicker. Amazon, which controls one-third of the world’s cloud infrastructure, cut off access to cloud hosting on Sunday night. (Parler today sued Amazon, alleging antitrust violations.)
If this invokes a sense of deja vu, that may be because “free speech” social network Gab weathered a similar onslaught from Silicon valley power brokers starting in 2018 after a verified Gab user (who included anti-Semitic messages in his bio) posted violent messages to the platform before attacking the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11.
The site was then dropped by web host GoDaddy and lost access to multiple payment processors.
To stay online, Gab has relied on Bitcoin over payment processors, built federated servers rather than shop for someone who will host the site, and, throughout it all, thumbed its nose at Big Tech’s gatekeepers.
In an interview today with WBRE in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Gab CEO Andrew Torba explained the steps the site has taken to remain online.
“We went out and bought our own servers. We own them. We cannot be banned from them. That’s how you’re going to take back control of the internet.”
It can, however, be overwhelmed. While signing on to Gab, Decrypt initially had some trouble:
As for funding, Torba said, “Thankfully, there’s Bitcoin, which is Free Speech Money….That’s one of the ways we’ve survived over these past [few] years is Bitcoin, we don’t have to ask permission to process payments from a bank or from a government or from another company.”
When the reporter asked whether Gab had vulnerabilities that could take it down, Torba replied:
“The FBI could seize our website. If the Communists get ahold of the FBI…they can seize our website, so that is a real possibility. Outside of that, we control our own destiny. We have our own servers, we built our own email system, we built our own social network, we built our own ‘YouTube’…We built our own web browser.”
Parler, however, doesn’t have the same infrastructure and has remained reliant on third parties, including Amazon Web Services, despite pitching itself to a similarly conservative market as Gab and maintaining loose moderation policies.
Indeed, Parler, which has been around since 2018, enjoyed a fast rise to fame last year as several prominent conservatives looked for an alternative to Twitter, which they accused of censoring right-wing content. But the site, laissez-faire and libertarian in spirit, appeared unready to handle the infrastructural requirements necessary to compete with Twitter and Facebook.
A December 2020 Washington Post report, for instance, noted that COO Jeffrey Wernick was ignorant of pornographic content on the site. “I don’t look for that content, so why should I know it exists?”
In other words, the operation seemed to be in startup mode and unready for the spotlight. Or for the hammer to come down on it.
Its CEO, John Matze, wrote in a (now-unavailable) Parler post:
“We will likely be down longer than expected. This is not due to software restrictions—we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well. And most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us. We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.”
If Gab can take hold, that may be too late.
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