FUD-free Fridays: Time to decentralise Twitter?

We are fast approaching the end of another year, and there’s a lot to look forward to in 2020. You can check out our predictions for what’s to come here. In the meantime, the cryptoverse is still spinning on its axis and we’ve got headlines aplenty from the week that was. Here they are. Buckle up.

Jack Dorsey wants to decentralise Twitter

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced plans to support an independent team “of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralised standard for social media.”

The move is an attempt to address some of the problems that centralised social media sites face, such as misleading information and ‘fake news’. Dorsey explained that the team would help address “abuse and misleading information,” as global policy enforcement strategies are proving hard to scale.

The developer team, dubbed Blue Sky, will follow a model similar to Square Crypto, a Bitcoin-focused entity separate from Dorsey’s fintech unicorn Square.

One Chinese province controls 54% of Bitcoin’s hash rate

Its government may not have gone all-in on crypto yet, but China still leads the way in Bitcoin mining. According to CoinShares’ latest research, 65% of global Bitcoin mining takes place in China – up from 60% in June. It is the highest recorded by CoinShares since it started tracking Bitcoin‘s hash rate nearly two years ago.

The country’s Sichuan province alone produces 54% of global hash rate. The remaining 35% of bitcoin miners are spread from the U.S. to Russia and Kazakhstan.

“Out of the remaining 35% of [global] miners, we estimate that 31% of global [hash rate] production is evenly split between Washington, New York, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Siberian Federal District of Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Iran,” said CoinShares.

Bitcoin miners a boost for renewable energy?

One accusation commonly levelled against Bitcoin is that it’s damaging to the environment. Some have even gone so far as to claim that Bitcoin mining emissions could be responsible for the Earth’s temperature increasing 2°C over the next 10 years. However, such statistics don’t paint the whole picture and new research suggests that Bitcoin mining could in fact be positive for the environment.

According to CoinShares latest research, an estimated 73% of the electricity used by the world’s Bitcoin miners is renewable. This is primarily a question of location. Bitcoin mining facilities are concentrated in remote areas of China with rich hydro or wind resources (cheap electricity), with the Sichuan province which dominates the Chinese Bitcoin mining space heavily dependent on hydro.

The report explained that: “Overall, our findings reaffirm our view that Bitcoin mining is acting as a global electricity buyer of last resort and therefore tends to cluster around comparatively under-utilised renewables infrastructure.

“This could help turn loss making renewables projects profitable and in time — as the industry matures and settles as permanent in the public eye — could act as a driver of new renewables developments in locations that were previously uneconomical.”

Bitcoin bought during 2017’s bull run stays put

Are you buying or selling? According to the latest research, you’re probably holding, with 59% of BTC’s circulating supply not moving in at least one year.

The statistic was uncovered by research firm Delphi Digital, who also highlighted that 220,000 BTC (worth roughly $1.6 billion at current prices) bought way back in November 2017 – the start of the bull run and peak Bitcoin-mania – hasn’t moved at all since then.

Nike holds patent for blockchain-based sneakers called ‘CryptoKicks’

The US Patent Office has issued sportswear brand Nike a patent for its blockchain-compatible sneakers, dubbed “CryptoKicks.”

Blockchain technology can be used to attach cryptographically-secured digital assets to a physical product, in this case a sports shoe. The technology should allow users to exert more control over their shoes and shoe designs. It could also help root out fakes and counterfeit shoes.

“When a consumer buys a genuine pair of shoes – or colloquially known as ‘kicks’ – a digital representation of a shoe may be generated, linked with the consumer, and assigned a cryptographic token, where the digital shoe and cryptographic token collectively represent a ‘CryptoKick,'” the patent stated.

Nike states the token can also record the so-called genotype information of a digital shoe, including specific attributes, colours, styles, backgrounds. Owners can set limits on the number of copies of their proprietary shoes that can be made. There are also “surrogacy features” which grant others the ability to mix shoe designs and “parenting/nannying features” to allow third parties to take care of the shoes.

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