Blockchain Technology Will Transform the Practice of Law

The term “blockchain” refers to a decentralized digital ledger that combines powerful cryptography algorithms with a system of decentralized computing power that redundantly verifies transactions, which are ultimately recorded on a public digital ledger available to the world. … In the future, transactional lawyers may draft contracts that resemble how developers code software applications. In fact, future lawyers will likely need basic-to-intermediate training in coding in order to implement smart contracts based on the blockchain — a phenomenon that is already taking hold in the general population. In addition, lawyers will need to understand the intricacies of how these systems work in order to counsel clients on potential pitfalls and best practices in utilizing these systems for their business. … While this technology is only in its infancy, its application to business is developing at a rapid pace. With Goldman Sachs, Nasdaq and many other leading financial firms and companies investing hundreds of millions of dollars into blockchain technologies, one thing is clear — the lasting legacy of the blockchain is likely to be far greater than Bitcoin or any other single cryptocurrency. This has significant implications for lawyers and the business of law. Ultimately, however, this technology offers a great opportunity for those firms who can innovate. Those firms that are willing to adapt and embrace this technology will be able to provide more effective and efficient services, which will lead to a competitive advantage over those firms who do not evolve.

Multiple Bitcoin debit card providers suspend service under orders of Visa

The Bitcoin community is reeling after several pre-paid crypto debit card providers abruptly suspended service. The companies affected include Bitwala, Cryptopay, Wirex, and TenX.

These services allow individuals to spend cryptocurrencies — predominantly Bitcoin — in traditional brick-and-mortar establishments through a debit card issued by one of the major providers, Visa and MasterCard.

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is looking into how it can use cryptocurrency

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg says one aspect of his yearly personal challenge will be to study cryptocurrency and explore how it can be used within Facebook.

Zuckerberg published a Facebook post Thursday in which he outlined his personal goal for 2018. The main goal is, essentially, to fix the problems within Facebook that have caused controversy. “We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools,” Zuckerberg wrote. “If we’re successful this year then we’ll end 2018 on a much better trajectory.”

But further on in his post, Zuckerberg outlined two areas of technology that he wanted to research in 2018: encryption and cryptocurrencies. He said both technologies led to decentralised power, which Zuckerberg saw as a positive move.

Zuckerberg wasn’t explicit in his post about Facebook’s plans regarding cryptocurrencies. He didn’t say the company would add bitcoin as a payment option, for example. But it shows that one of the world’s most powerful companies is looking closely at the technology.

Brazil may write new laws with data stored on the ethereum blockchain

Popular petitions are an integral, but impractical, part of Brazil’s already complex electoral system, which has been blamed for plunging the country into a political crisis. Such petitions in their current form present an intractable logistical problem: How to collect and verify signatures from 145 million voters across a landmass larger than the mainland United States?
Brazilian legislators now are turning to ethereum to solve that issue in one of the first uses of a cryptocurrency by a political system. The project is spearheaded by an unlikely pair: Ricardo Fernandes Paixão, a soft-spoken legislative adviser at the Brazilian congress and a university lecturer, and Everton Fraga, a nose-ring sporting designer and programmer with the Ethereum Foundation. Both were in Cancún last fall, attending the annual conference for programmers interested in the ethereum world, DevCon.

Bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing China because it is cracking down on cryptocurrencies

Two of China’s largest bitcoin mining operations are looking to set up shop elsewhere as the country expands its clampdown on cryptocurrencies to mining operations, Bloomberg news reported Friday.
Bitmain, which runs two exchanges, has set up a regional office in Singapore, as well as mining operations in the US and Canada, CEO Wu Jihan told the news channel in an interview. News of the impending crackdown was first reported Wednesday.

Bitcoin needs to prepare for the attack from banks and governments

“Bitcoin ought to be outlawed.” Those were the ominous words of economist Joseph Stiglitz in an interview with Bloomberg last week. He’s not the first to say it and he certainly won’t be the last. In its short lifetime, Bitcoin managed to survive against all odds It kept grinding through the collapse of Mt Gox. It outlasted critics and doubters …

Here’s a List of the Top 50 Wikipedia Searches of 2017

It’s that time of the year again: Wikipedia has once again revealed what we were all (some of us secretly) looking up over the past 12 months. The online encyclopedia shared their list of the top 50 searches of 2017, which is an interesting insight to the current state of pop culture.

The report includes blockbuster movies, political figures, historical events and…a certain dark entity that goes bump in the night. Topping the list is Deaths in 2017 with 37,387,010 views. It peaked on November 20 following Charles Manson’s death (he landed at No. 34). Donald Trump takes second place, getting 29,644,764 views while peaking on January 20 after his presidential inauguration. Rounding out the top five is Queen Elizabeth II who scored 19,290,956 views (she peaked when Netflix dropped the second season of The Crown), Game of Thrones Season 7 (18,792,746 views) and Meghan Markle (16,944,130 views).

After security disasters, banks using SWIFT messaging platform face new regulations in 2018

“In 2018, all banks using the SWIFT messaging platform will be required to comply with a new cybersecurity framework that aims to establish a baseline for security.
SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Banks use the closed network to communicate among themselves, sending approximately 25 million messages per day.
The requirements are in light of the string of cybercrimes against SWIFT member banks, most notably the Bangladesh bank which lost $81 million. Members will now be required to implement features such as multi-factor authentication, continuous monitoring and anomalous behavior detection, security awareness training, and incident response plans.”