What do you consider to be the most important use cases outside of crypto currencies?

The research project identified over 90 industry-specific use cases for the technology. In particular, applications in energy labelling (proof of origin), asset management, change of supplier and in the context of system and network services have proven to be promising.

Many current implementation projects in the context of the energy industry are dealing with the topic of peer-to-peer energy trading. At first glance, this appears to be a very obvious but also visionary use case, which, however, can only be implemented with „support wheels“ in the current legal-regulatory framework.

The vision of the news spy is to replace the traditional energy supply company

Its tasks, however, are complex and without safeguarding, for example, balance group loyalty and other legal obligations that prosumers face in P2P trading, a block-chain solution will not be able to replace the news spy and the energy supply company, but will be dependent on its services. The project has also identified synergies between different use cases that make it possible to handle several applications via a common blockchain infrastructure, which in turn does justice to the character of the blockchain as a platform technology.

The use case of energy labelling was demonstrated and tested at the FfE as part of a proof of concept using an Ethereum-based electricity labelling system. In the context of our research, optimization potentials were identified in the existing system with regard to the certification and designation of green electricity. The blockchain technology promises to provide added value here, especially against the background of an increasing integration of volatile renewable energy quantities. Different concepts are conceivable for an implementation.

So do you think cross-chain solutions make sense, for example? Or do you need a completely new concept?

Cross-chain solutions can be a sensible solution for specific applications. Ultimately, it is necessary to take a very specific look at the processes and requirements of a use case and select the appropriate technical solution depending on the design. With the help of standardization, such solutions would be much easier to implement or might not be absolutely necessary.

Are there further research efforts of the FfE?

On the basis of the knowledge from our current research project, we plan to go into an implementation project that we are currently preparing with our partners. On the one hand, we want to show that the technology can provide real added value in some applications, whose synergies on a blockchain platform can play out the strength of the technology, and on the other hand we want to identify practical limitations. This can also include integration into existing IT systems (e.g. SAP) or the iMSys infrastructure.

We see this as a major challenge, since the infrastructure (for good reason) is designed for security and leaves little scope for innovative technologies. This includes technical restrictions such as data integration from the Smart Metering PKI into a block chain, practical restrictions such as billing relevance and the temporal resolution of recorded measured values and legal restrictions, for example with regard to data protection. As scientists, we are of course also interested in the system repercussions of these solutions and the added value for the energy industry.

Labour market study: Germany among the world’s leading Bitcoin formula job providers

The job search engine Adzuna presents a new study on the share of blockchain employees in the international labour market. According to the study, Germany is well positioned when it comes to blockchain jobs: Approximately 0.15 percent of employees in this country work in the industry.

On Tuesday 4 December, BTC-ECHO will report on the status quo of the crypto-related job market. The investigation was conducted by the US job portal Glassdoor. As a result, the authors only examined the blockchain job market on the other side of the Atlantic.

A new study published by BTC-ECHO, however, shows how the block-chain-specific labour market is decided worldwide. In this labour market study, the job search engine Adzuna in cooperation with Robert Küfner of nakamo.to has searched a total of 348 million LinkedIn profiles against the background of listed blockchain skills. The results at a glance.

Bitcoin formula ranks third internationally

Only the Netherlands and Austria have more workers employed in Bitcoin formula and distributed systems than Germany in relation to total employment. In each of the two countries, 0.16 percent of employees are employed in Bitcoin formula, crypto currencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT). In Germany, the share of blockchain skilled workers is 0.15 percent and thus only just in third place.

Worth mentioning, however, is the placement of the USA. In terms of DLT, the world’s largest economy is a developing country. There, the accumulated labour force potential is around 151 million, of which only 90,420 are in gainful employment and claim to have DLT knowledge. This corresponds to a share of just 0.06 percent.

Land of milk and honey for skilled workers

According to the study, skilled workers in Germany now have a comparatively easy time finding a job. This is because – purely statistically – there are only 18 potential applicants for each vacancy. This is undercut only by France with 13 and Russia with nine skilled workers per vacant position.

Of a total of 598,370 job advertisements in Germany, exactly 699 are currently aimed at DLT specialists, i.e. 0.12 percent. Only India (0.16 percent) and France (0.15 percent) are slightly above this figure.

Crypto Valley Berlin
The results of the BTC-ECHO study on the state of the German blockchain ecosystem confirm the Adzuna study: Every fifth German blockchain expert comes from Berlin. In addition, 20 percent of the companies looking for blockchain experts are located in the German capital. Berlin is and remains the crypto capital par excellence.

Inja Schneider, Germany manager at Adzuna, summarizes the results as follows:

„The results of our study clearly show that there is also a need for workers in the blockchain sector in Germany. A major advantage for applicants is that Germany has comparatively low competition, as there is no surplus of skilled workers, as is already the case in India and the USA, for example. Those who deal with the topic at an early stage can look forward to the best chances for a job with future prospects“.

On the BTC-ECHO job portal there are also a number of employers who are looking for experts in blockchain and distributed systems. It’s worth taking a look.

Justin Sun: Disguised moon landing at TRON – The launch of the Mainnet

The TRON Mainnet went online on the night of 31 May. After the test phase the TRON team has big plans. The Mainnet can now be tested until 25 June – after which Justin Sun promises a moon landing. The Tron course (TRX) has not yet heard much about the moon ride.

TRON’s Mainnet has been live since tonight. This is supposed to bring an important innovation with it: The previous TRON tokens Tronix (TRX), which are based on the Ethereum ERC-20 standard, will be exchanged for „real“ tokens. But not until June 25th. Then the Genesis block will come. Until then you can still test it for errors. A Mainnet client on Github is available for this purpose – for errors found there should be a reward of up to 100,000 US dollars. If this test phase of the Mainnet is successful, the ERC-20 tokens can be exchanged for Tronix (TRX).

Justin Sun was very optimistic about this on Twitter. He called the launch of the Mainnet the „beginning of a new era“. The overall goals are optimistic. On Github the project describes itself accordingly:

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„TRON is a project that forms the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet. The Tron protocol, one of the largest blockchain-based operating systems in the world, provides scalable, widely available and huge support that underlies the decentralized applications in the Tron ecosystem. […] Free features and incentives allow developers to develop premium apps for users.“

With the Mainnet towards the moon?

To the moon? Justin Sun prepares the moon landing of TRON
In the presentation, which can be seen on Youtube, Justin Sun spoke of working twelve hours a day, six days a week on the current Mainnet. The ambitious goal: TRON wants to overtake Ethereum. Especially in terms of scalability, the Tron team claims to be significantly better than the Ethereum blockchain.

According to the announcement, the Tron network has 2,000 TPS (transactions per second). In contrast to Ethereum (25 TPS) and Bitcoin (7 TPS), the network is much more scalable. Justin Sun can (and wants) hardly curb his enthusiasm during the presentation of the Mainnet.

So he compares the launch of the Mainnet with the moon landing: „Odyssey 2.0: A small step for TRON, but a big step for the blockchain“ TRON wants to become the „most powerful public blockchain in the world“. Furthermore the 25th of June will be TRONs Independence Day – at the moment TRON is also the most represented crypto currency on the Ethereum-Blockchain.

Can Ethereum and Ethereum Classic coexist next to cryptosoft?

Looking at recent developments, this is not a simple question that unsettles many traders and market observers.

Due to the unplanned decision of the Ethereum community to implement a new version of the blockchain, two different Ethereum markets now have the value of a formerly identical platform.

How large is the cryptosoft market?

The planned technical transition quickly became quite confusing when an entire ecosystem of exchanges, miners and traders jumped onto cryptosoft. As a result, a market for two tokens of two different blockchains was created like this review about cryptosoft. The blockchain ethereum created by the hard fork has a current market capitalization of over $900 million. The market capitalisation of Ethereum Classic, on the other hand, is just USD 141 million. Ethereum Tokens (Ethers / ETH) currently stand at 11 US dollars, while Classic Ethers (ETC) stand at only 1.70 US dollars.

Chris Burniske, Blockchain product manager at ARK Invest, comments on the sudden popularity of Ethereum Classic as follows:

„Initially, it looked like ETC would die a quick death as there was hardly any value left and the vast majority of Miner supported ETH.“

After the hard fork was executed, big players in the digital currency market began to buy larger quantities of ETC. In addition, those who owned ETH were automatically credited the same amount of ETC, which increased trading volume and fuelled speculation.

„The market was not really liquid, so a small increase in demand could have a strong impact on the price,“ Burniske adds.

Now that the fog has subsided, many market observers are asking themselves how long ETC and ETH can coexist alongside each other. Will the Ethereum blockchain be abandoned by the developers? Will the new chain prevail? Or will both continue to coexist stubbornly? So far, the experts do not seem to agree.

Driven by ideology

Although the two blockchains are almost identical, some believe that the ideological differences leave room for different price dynamics.

Petar Zivkovski, Trade Director of Bitcoin’s trading platform Whaleclub, spoke about how the desire for an incorrigible ideology contributed to the creation of Ethereum Classic.

He argues that by rejecting the decision – to restore the stolen deposits by the so-called DAO hackers – ETC has established itself as a blockchain that preserves the finality of the transactions.

So he says:

„The emergence of ETC is proof of the power of a decentralized, non-governmental blockchain system that, despite its design flaws, clearly rejects ETH. The advocates of ETC see ETH as a centrally controllable system that is controlled by a few enlightened developers.“

In addition, some miners saw a lucrative business in the mines of the old blockchain version after the hard fork, with the increase in trading volume.

What about demand?
The question is how sustainable the current situation is. Will both markets provide the necessary fundamentals?

Zivkovski emphasises that the volatility of ETH trading pairs will remain high, as has been the case at ETH for a year now. The decisive factor here is whether the demand will also be sustained.

So he adds:

„In the past, the volumes of ETH and ETC were predominantly speculative and we all know that speculatively driven demand can quickly come to an end.

Zivkovski claims that both currencies still have to assert themselves as unique, like Bitcoin, as they have so far had only a limited use as a store of value.

Artuhr Hayes, CEO of Bitcoin’s trading platform BitMEX, says that both markets can be sustainable if they prove profitable for traders.

„ETH (pre-fork) owners have currently been able to increase their assets, since the hard fork, by combining the current prices of ETH and ETC,“ says Hayes.

Technical concerns
Some market observers point to the potential technical limitations of two platforms. After all, both tokens are designed to enable decentralized Ethereum applications, and it is currently not clear how the developers will deal with two versions.

Jacob Eliosoff of Calibrated Markets says that it is very cumbersome for end users to have two different markets.

„The different ideologies may have their appeal, but for those who are

„We have no plans to introduce KYC“ – Interview with LocalMonero co-founder

Until recently, LocalBitcoins was the marketplace for the easy acquisition of Bitcoin. However, the platform recently introduced Know Your Cusomter guidelines. LocalMonero is the counterpart to the anonymous crypto currency Monero. In line with the privacy of the currency, LocalMonero does not require any authentication of customers. BTC-ECHO met LocalMonero co-founder Alex in an interview and asked him the important questions.

How did it happen that you started the Bitcoin news?

The desire to launch LocalMonero stemmed from the fact that the Monero ecosystem did not have a good gateway between Fiat currencies and Monero – a gateway that does not require a know-your-customer etiquette; a Bitcoin news gateway that is essentially peer-to-peer.

Until recently, the main advantage of LocalBitcoins was that you don’t have to go through the traditional banking route. Instead, people can choose their preferred payment method and trade Bitcoin that way. We wanted to create the same for Monero. We also believe that this is very important for Monero because the crypto currency focuses on privacy. We believe that a peer-to-peer over-the-counter market is a good fit for Monero. After all, we saw a gap in the market and filled it.

What was the biggest challenge so far? And how did you overcome it?

I think the biggest challenge is to win the trust of the users – that’s probably the case for all crypto companies. You can do that by doing your best at work: For example, we always try to implement customer feedback as quickly as possible. We respond to the tickets as quickly as we can. We are very active on Reddit, Twitter and other social networks. In addition, we try to keep track of where we are mentioned in order to be as responsive as possible. Ultimately, we believe that our commitment can win the trust of our users.

LocalMonero has been around for over half a year – I think it’s now the seventh or eighth month we’ve been online – and the community is trusting us now. The initial lack of trust can be overcome by consistently doing the customer good and not letting anyone down. I think we’ve done a good job there. Of course, we also want to continue this in the future.

The company is currently based in Hong Kong – what are the reasons for this? Are you tied to the location?

We are currently located in Hong Kong because we are actually physically in Hong Kong. Apart from that, Hong Kong is a great jurisdiction. For the readers who do not yet know that: Hong Kong and China are separate zones and have completely different legal systems. Of course, there is some dependence on military protection, but Hong Kong has its own parliament and independent judges. Hong Kong is to some extent democratic and simply offers a different economic playing field from China. Even the borders are controlled when you enter or leave the country. In other words, Hong Kong is one of the freest economic areas in the world and has an excellent business environment.

With this in mind, and the fact that we live here, our decision was made to create LocalMonero in Hong Kong. It is convenient and easy to start a business. On the other hand, if there are signs of hostility to crypto currencies, we will move immediately. In short, we have not taken root here and can build our legal entity in another place – even if we ourselves physically stay in Hong Kong.

KYC is not an option for LocalMonero
In light of LocalBitcoins‘ recent demand for Customer Identification (KYC), does LocalMonero plan to take similar steps?

We have no plans to integrate know-your-customer guidelines. In addition, we have no legal obligation to do so. Should we ever come under legal pressure, our first reaction will be to look for another area of responsibility instead of imposing KYC on our customers. Because the know-your-customer requirements slow us and our customers down and create unnecessary costs. Especially for a young, growing company like ours, these costs are fatal. That’s why we prefer not to carry out any KYCs, as long as this is legally possible. I believe there will always be a place in the world for LocalMonero. We don’t deal in Fiat currencies, we just provide a platform for customers to publish their own ads. We also offer mediation and escrow services to our clients.

Switzerland founds Blockchain Task Force – Germany remains on the waiting track

The Swiss Federal Council has set up a blockchain task force to promote their adaptation in the country, the Handelszeitung reported in December. This Friday, 12 January, the working group will meet for the first time. Its task will be to clarify the legal need for action in the course of the rushing use of blockchain and crypto currencies. Thus the federal authorities react to the boom of Bitcoin and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the country.

Hoping for the Digital Ministry?

In order to advance the public potential of blockchain use and at the same time to reveal the consequences of the emerging technologies for the Alpine country, the Federal Council, the government of Switzerland, set up a task force in December tailored to blockchain technology.

Led by Finance Minister Ueli Maurer and Economics and Education Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, the working group is made up of representatives of the Confederation, the cantons and Swiss-based Blockchain start-ups. Together with the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters, the Task Force is to examine the legal structure of initial coin offerings and block-chain companies and clarify any urgent need for action.

The reason for this is that the blockchain is becoming increasingly important for many economic sectors, Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann told the Neue Züricher Zeitung. This calls for a liberal government „which opens up opportunities for Switzerland as a business location and at the same time reduces risks“. In doing so, one is particularly dependent on legal security. This is to be created by the task force.

Schneider-Ammann also praised the participation of the Blockchain companies in the run-up to the initial meeting as a special achievement.

The Blockchain model pupil

However, the establishment of the Taskforce is only a symptom of a crypto and blockchain boom in the Swiss Confederation that has been boiling for some time. As a result, Switzerland is maturing more and more into a pioneering state on the European continent. Numerous examples of successful blockchain adaptations and crypto enthusiasm can be found in the Alpine country. Especially with regard to the acceptance of Bitcoin & Co., the Swiss are on the advance.

Numerous towns throughout the country are struggling for the primacy of the „Blockchain capital“. The small town of Zug, known as „Krypto-Valley“, for example, is now known throughout Europe and has developed into one of the most attractive locations for Fintech companies. The Krypto Valley Association, among others, is based here and, with the support of the Federal Council, pursues the goal of establishing a globally leading blockchain ecosystem in Switzerland.

Other Swiss communities are following suit, such as Chiasso on the Italian border. According to local media, tax payments will soon be possible in Bitcoin, as in Zug.

Another example comes from the medieval city of Lucerne. Since recently, students here can pay their bills by Bitcoin. Although the university is the first in Switzerland to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, many more are likely to follow.

While Switzerland is showing how successful blockchain adaptation can be, the motto here is: wait and see. Following the failure of the Jamaica coalition, exploratory talks are currently underway on a relaunch of the Grand Coalition of the Union and the SPD. Both parties have little elaborate ideas about the future shape of Germany as a land for digitisation. However, both parties have taken up the cause of the birth of a central office for digital political expertise – for example in the form of a digital ministry or a digital minister of state in the chancellery.

Last year, however, the Federal Association Blockchain (Bundesverband Blockchain) was founded to ensure that the keyword „blockchain“ will not fall by the wayside. It wants to put the issue on the agenda of forming a government and strengthen the Blockchain ecosystem in Germany. Whether he will be successful in his project, however, remains to be seen in the coming months.