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Oasis Network mainnet launches touting privacy for loans and genomes

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Oasis Labs has announced the successful launch of its Oasis Network mainnet, with more than 70 independent validators already live.

Oasis is a privacy focused Layer 1 network that claims a throughput of 1000 transactions per second designed to support decentralized applications. In June 2018, Oasis raised $45 million from crypto venture heavyweights including A16z, Binance Labs, Pantera, and Polychain. Oasis allows data to be encrypted, and for privacy policies surrounding its use to be enforced through smart contracts

Oasis Labs says its “confidential compute” functionality enables encrypted data to be processed by the network’s nodes to ensure the privacy of a wide range of processes — from credit history checks to genetic research. An announcement on Nov. 19 explained:

“The Oasis Network can support a new breed of privacy-preserving applications that respect a user’s data preferences by design and ensure each individual is fairly compensated for their data. They can earn rewards by staking their data with apps that want to analyze it or control how their most sensitive information is consumed by the services they use.”

The Oasis team touts the network’s privacy protocols as facilitating the creation of under collateralized loan products within DeFi sector. The network is said to have a greater capacity to enable credit checks as it ensures the privacy of sensitive financial or personal data, allowing loan applicants to establish their creditworthiness to lenders. 

The majority of existing loan products within DeFi offer over collateralized lending, although efforts to introduce under collateralized loans are also being undertaken by projects including Mainframe.

The announcement notes that DeFi industry leaders Chainlink and Balancer recently joined Oasis Network. Oasis Labs also believes its secure architecture could also facilitate the creation of private decentralized exchange platforms, including automated market makers (AMMs) like Uniswap.

According to Oasis “hundreds” of partnership projects are already being built on the network, including a “privacy-first genome sequencing” venture with Nebula Genomics, and the Binance-led CryptoSafe Alliance (CSA).

Last month, Oasis announced that Nebula Genomics would be using its data governance API product “Parcel” to allow genomic data to be analyzed within an isolated computing environment.

The project is intended to reduce the risk of consumers’ genetic data being compromised through the breach of centralized databases. Parcel also offers secure data storage, and tamper-proof access history logs to consumers.

Announced in August, the CSA is a platform designed to facilitate the private sharing of threat intelligence data among cryptocurrency exchanges. The CSA uses Oasis’ confidential smart contracts to ensure that sensitive data belonging to participating entities is kept private within the network.



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Bitcoin and blockchain topics to discuss with the crypto curious this Thanksgiving

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With Bitcoin’s (BTC) recent price movements drawing fresh attention to the blockchain industry, conversations centered around cryptocurrency have once again begun to see an uptick. Google Trends data shows that searches for the term “Bitcoin” have increased to yearly highs following the asset’s rally above $19,000. 

Given the current circumstances, discussion centered around Bitcoin, general questions about blockchain and cryptocurrencies may come up at the Thanksgiving table. Yet while the crypto community has a lot to be thankful for this year, newcomers and the crypto curious may want to know more about the space than just the price of Bitcoin. With this in mind, leading experts shared some ways to explain certain Bitcoin and blockchain topics to friends and family this holiday.

Explaining Bitcoin as a currency

If you’ve ever ventured down the crypto rabbit hole, there is a good chance that your friends and family will ask you about Bitcoin and its function as a currency.

Tim Draper – the famous venture capitalist and legendary Bitcoin investor – told Cointelegraph that it’s best to let crypto newcomers know that Bitcoin is a trusted currency that isn’t subject to government control. “Bitcoin isn’t subject to the whims of a government that will freely flood the market with 13 trillion of them, diluting yours,” he said.

Draper further mentioned that retailers who accept Bitcoin don’t have to pay between 2% to 4% each time a debit card is swiped. Lower transaction fees are indeed one of the main benefits for retailers that accept cryptocurrency. According to findings from research firm Forrester and BitPay – a Bitcoin payment service provider – retailers that accept cryptocurrencies via BitPay only pay a 1% fee on purchases. The report states, “The composite merchant avoids 2.25% in transaction fees (based on primarily US rates) for every transaction completed using BitPay.”

Additionally, Draper mentioned how important it is that Bitcoin is borderless:

“Bitcoin can travel without restrictions from country-to-country. It’s also easier to send money quickly from anywhere in the world with Bitcoin. And with Bitcoin wallets and smart contracts, all the right people will be paid the right amount for their participation in a Hollywood movie, for example, even if the payments are worth fractions of a penny.”

The borderless nature of Bitcoin is extremely important, especially in countries suffering from high inflation rates and economic turmoil. For example, in countries like Argentina the demand for Bitcoin is on the rise as foreign debt accumulates.

Explaining why the price of Bitcoin is rising

While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are volatile by nature, many tend to think that crypto market prices are based purely on supply and demand. However, this is only part of the equation.

Bill Barhydt, the CEO of Abra — a peer-to-peer payments platform that supports over 70 cryptocurrencies — told Cointelegraph that the price of Bitcoin is currently going up because the supply is being outpaced by demand. However, Barhydt noted that Bitcoin’s price is also being influenced by institutional interest:

“On the institutional side we have Grayscale that is taking in insane amounts of capital. Not to mention major hedge fund players announcing exposure to Bitcoin in their portfolios. This is something I said would happen this year.”

Barhydt further noted that retail interest is growing and therefore the price of Bitcoin is increasing. For example, one of the most notable wins for crypto this year has been PayPal’s announcement of support for the technology. “The bottom line is that this combination of retail and institutional buying is eating up the supply of Bitcoin at an accelerating rate,” Barhydt said.

Explaining the difference between blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Oftentimes there is confusion regarding the differences between blockchain and cryptocurrencies when discussing the topic with newcomers.

Alistair Rennie, IBM Blockchain’s general manager, told Cointelegraph that the main difference between blockchain and cryptocurrency is that blockchain is a technology underpinning cryptocurrency, while cryptocurrency is a monetary asset.

Rennie further mentioned that blockchain as a technology enables trust to be established and maintained among different parties. According to Rennie, this is possible due to the unique capabilities of blockchain to independently verify data for everyone involved with a transaction. As such, this makes blockchain useful for solving business problems outside of the cryptocurrency realm. Rennie explained:

“Blockchain acts as an immutable record-keeping system to store information such as a user’s account balance. Unlike traditional databases though, multiple (encrypted) copies of the database are shared among users so that any changes are immediately apparent. This makes it incredibly hard for someone with malicious intent to tamper with the data.”

Due to blockchain’s unique capabilities, Rennie noted that all users can look towards the blockchain as a single source of truth. In addition, he pointed out that blockchains never rely on third-parties to mediate transactions, giving users more control over their data and who is allowed to see it. “Blockchain has numerous uses beyond cryptocurrency where trust and data accuracy are important,” he remarked.

In regards to cryptocurrency, Barhydt of Abra told Cointelegraph that it’s best to explain cryptocurrencies as the idea of decentralized software based systems for storing and moving value between people or entities. “Decentralized means that no one owns it, there is no centralized or trusted third party required in the middle of any transaction and there is no off switch except for the Internet itself,” he said.

In the case of Bitcoin and its blockchain network, Barhydt noted that blockchain helps address the double spend problem, ensuring that individuals cannot spend or send the same Bitcoin more than once. “A blockchain represents an immutable database of transactions throughout a cyrpotcurrency’s history,” he elaborated.

Crypto is slowly but surely gaining traction

A key thing worth mentioning this Thanksgiving is that cryptocurrency appears to be headed towards mainstream adoption. Recent statistics show that over 55 million crypto wallets have been created. It’s also been reported that millions of dollars have been spent using crypto debit cards.

Moreover, PayPal’s recent support for cryptocurrency could help bring digital currencies to the masses. PayPal chief executive Dan Schulman stated during an interview with CNBC that cryptocurrencies will eventually go mainstream as businesses and consumers flock to digital payments and digital forms of currency. Schulman also pointed out that the COVID19 pandemic has led to a decline in cash payments, noting that “40 to 70% of consumers no longer want to handle cash.”