Bitcoin Weekly 2016 June 13: Ubiquity real estate proof-of-transfer on blockchain, Stroj and Counterparty …

This week has seen numerous developments in the Bitcoin and blockchain industry. For example, blockchain-powered startup Ubiquity just used the Bitcoin blockchain and the Colored Coins protocol to securely record a real estate transfer. Storj and Counterparty have teamed up to work on an instant micropayment protocol called “picopayments” to level up microtransactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Do you play Pokémon GO and have a Bitcoin wallet on your phone? Keep reading for another reason to avoid non-official APKs downloaded from APK mirror sites for Android phones. (Spoiler: Malware infected Pokémon GO APKs in the wild could endanger your wallet.) Also, gamer interested in getting into the pre-release of No Man’s Sky, set for release in August, can use bitcoin to buy in.

Finally, Coinbase had a brief all-hands-outage last night, but everything is normal again.

As for the Bitcoin market, with Brexit and the Halvening, things are surprisingly calm. Bitcoin market value settled out today around $664 USD (BitcoinAverage.com) down from around $680 a week ago. The initial drop occurred around July 7 to a low of $620, but recovered quickly to stay around $650 for most of the week until a rise starting July 12 causing a brief peak near $675.

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photo credit: Austin via photopin (license)

Blockchain-powered real estate startup Ubiquity records first property ownership transfer

The blockchain-powered real estate startup Ubitquity LLC recorded its first property ownership transfer using the Bitcoin blockchain this week. Marina Reznik of Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty used the Ubiquity platform to record her most recent purchase onto the Bitcoin blockchain using the Colu Colored Coins protocol.

Ubiquity incorporated in September 2015 with the intent to become a blockchain-powered platform designed to record and provide proof-of-existence of contracts and transactions. In December 2015, Ubiquity launched its service Ubiquity notary BitNotarize for this purpose. The underlying platform records transactions (using proof-of-existence for notarization) to the Bitcoin blockchain.

“Our long-term goal is to digitize titles to all assets (in this case real estate) and provide an immutable record of clear ownership; in perpetuity, secured by blockchain technology. The first Real Property ownership transfer, facilitated by Ubitquity, can be easily viewed and publicly searched on the Colored Coins block explorer,” said Nathan Wosnack, Founder CEO at Ubitquity.

The approach Ubiquity is using is a space that business continues to explore how to use blockchain-powered applications to provide security for documents. Other companies attempting the same include Factom, who partnered with the government of Honduras to secure land ownership records (although those plans are currently stalled) and Guardtime AS partnered with the government of Estonia to secure one million e-health records. Nasdaq, the American stock exchange, has also looked into blockchain-powered technology to provide enterprise-level securities tracking.

Storj and Counterparty announce development of fast micropayments called “picopayments”

Using a proof-of-concept implementation of a payment channel called “picopayments” Storj (Storj Labs Inc.), a cloud-based secure file storage platform, will use its own SJCX token, or other Counterparty (a protocol that extends Bitcoin) assets, in order to allow instant payments. According to Bitcoin.com News, this mechanism is designed to permit instant payments between users while also making them fast, cheap and commonplace.

Instant payment channels are a big deal for blockchain-powered cryptocurrency and a potential “killer app” for the technology to allow people to make tiny payments on the fly in a number of circumstances. These opportunities may include pay-per-view websites that cost cents (or fractions of a cent) for each read, micropayments for “tipping” content creators and tiny payments for virtual items in online games.

The challenge with micropayments on blockchains (including the Bitcoin blockchain) to date have included the 10-minute confirmation time for payments and the application of transaction fees that would exceed any penny-fraction sent. Solutions to these problems have been floated by side-chain networks and outside payment processors such as the Lightning Network (which is being used by Storj/Counterparty “picopayments”), ChangeTip and Coinbase Tipping.

“Payment channels allow for instant, ‘streaming’ payments of SJCX,” said Storj CEO Shawn Wilkinson, “which is a Counterparty token, in exchange for storage space on our network.”

Storj is an encrypted, distributed storage platform designed to allow users to store anything in the cloud and retrieve it securely. Counterparty is a protocol and platform that extends Bitcoin to provide the capability to create crypto-assets and then use them as tokens of exchange.

Counterparty lead developer Ruben de Vries said about the collaboration, “This is a huge step forward that will truly allow for rapid, almost frictionless Counterparty token payments, as well as eventual use of Counterparty tokens on the Lightning Network.”

Pokemon GO

Image courtesy of The Pokemon Company

Another reason not to download unknown Pokémon GO APK files for Android

As the popularity of Pokémon GO skyrockets, players who otherwise could not install the game on their smartphones have been looking for ways to get into the game. This has led to the release of malware infected versions of Pokémon GO distributed through 3rd-party sites that place users in danger of security risks.

Amid these security risks, The Merkle reports, APKs downloaded from 3rd-party sites may also endanger Bitcoin wallets stored on phones that they are downloaded and installed on.

This is not unexpected. Backdoored malicious apps installed on a smartphone can gain access to contacts, keys pressed, stored data, anything sent over the network and install other more in-depth attacks. With this sort of access, it could become trivial to determine the cryptographic key used to secure the Bitcoin wallet on a phone.

John McAfee, cybersecurity expert and man-of-mystery, previously outlined how he himself would proceed with an attack against a Bitcoin wallet on a mobile device.

“I would first plant readily available spyware on the device,” McAfee told SiliconANGLE. “I could plant it through an email phishing scheme, or by inducing you to visit a website (A website drive-by is sufficient to set the ‘download unauthorized applications’ flag on Android for example. A subsequent click-through would plant the malware), or using any one of hundreds of other means.”

For his first step a maliciously infected APK would be a perfect entry and from there backdoor access would overcome a lot of modern security measures.

No Man’s Sky website accepts Bitcoin payments for pre-orders

In an unexpected move, much-anticipated upcoming video game release No Man’s Sky started accepting Bitcoin payments for pre-orders of the PC version of the game. The option appears when clicking on the No Man’s Sky about page and then clicking on the “More Options” under payments.

no-mans-sky-bitcoin-payment-screenshot

Screenshot from No Man’s Sky website.

No Man’s Sky has been hyped on the video game marketing scene since its announcement in 2013 by developer Hello Games, which promises to be a procedurally generated universe space simulation with almost limitless space to explore. It is a first-person, open world survival game where players act as planetary explorers in the above-mentioned unexplored universe.

The game has had its release date pushed back once already and is currently slated for release August 9, 2016.

Brief outage of Coinbase website, platform and API yesterday

Yesterday, major Bitcoin web wallet, exchange and merchant processor Coinbase, Inc. suffered a brief outage of its platform that lasted approximately fifteen minutes for some customers. The outage occurred on July 12, 2016 between 13:50 PDT and resolved completely by 14:04 PDT.

The nature of the issue has not yet been released by Coinbase representatives.

Featured image credit: via reddit member huevos_de_acero
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Kyt Dotson
Kyt Dotson

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