CYBORGISM: HANDSHAKE BETWEEN HUMANITY AND TECHNOLOGY, FROM REEL LIFE TO REAL LIFE

Science fiction movies and books have long depicted various future scenarios. Since the release of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Man That was Used Up’ in 1839, regarded as the oldest record of ‘man meets machine’, the idea of embedding technology into human behaviour has always intrigued the most curious minds. Movies and sci-fi tales have captured the audience’s imagination, blurring the lines between fiction and the ‘real’ future. It is therefore not surprising that the human desire to integrate with technology is now becoming a reality.

Playing around with ground-breaking technology concepts, cyborgs have established themselves as a part of pop culture’s collective consciousness. A cyborg is defined as a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations via mechanical elements built into the body.

Today, we have already started marching towards an era where the fine line separating science and fiction has started to erode. The millennials of the 21st century are bold enough to experiment with biomechatronic body parts, which has brought the concepts of ‘super powers’ and ‘super humans’ closer to reality.

Cyborgs are a prime example of technology’s integration with humanity. Desire for the ability to enhance one’s perceptions and the value of self-sovereignty have also contributed to an unprecedented rise in cyborgism over recent years.

It is a well-known fact that some animal species have highly developed and powerful sensory organs which can aid their survival: sharks can detect electromagnetic fields, dolphins can hear through their bones, bats can ‘see’ through sound and so on. In parallel, the surge in cyborgism gives hope to the belief that cyborgs may help increase the survival rate and adaptive qualities of humans in threatening conditions.

This week on the FinancialFox, our presenter Stefania Barbaglio is interviewing Manel Muñoz: a Catalan cyborg artist based in Barcelona, who has been credited with developing and installing barometric sensors in his body. The first of its kind in the world, he uses the sensors to detect atmospheric pressure changes through pressure variations felt in his skull.

Muñoz studied contemporary photography in Barcelona and became Cyborg Foundation’s artist in residence in 2016. In 2017, he co-founded the Transpecies Society, an association that offers the creation of new senses and new organs within a community, gives voice to people who do not identify as being 100% human, and raises awareness on issues they face.

The aim of extending human senses beyond the the physical barrier by introducing/integrating technology into our bodies is to deepen the human experience of reality. The goal is to reveal reality, which is distinct from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in that true reality is increasingly revealed to us through an enhanced body. You could call it ‘superpower’, but more accurately, it is the ability to create and shape our bodies and unlock opportunities towards a new generation of “improved humans”.

Cyborg art is based on the idea that a person is free to change their body and perceptions. More specifically, they are in charge of shaping their own perceptions.

Recently, there has also been a lot of activity in the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Elon Musk, the millionaire entrepreneur, has invested £100mln in Neuralink, a company which is developing electronic brain implants to facilitate direct communication between people and machines. Such has been the progress and advancement in the integration of humans with technology that it won’t be a surprise when, in a few years from now, people start taking examples from ‘reel’ life into real life.

With so many developments and innovations on the horizon, there is a need to regulate the protocols for such technology to evolve and be sustainable. At present, various challenges are faced by cyborgs and cyborgism. For instance, society at large may still not be ready to deal with the idea of installing foreign objects in one’s body. Moreover, it also raises questions around freedom of choice and progress, so it is valid to study and analyse more deeply the impacts of having technology interacting so closely with the human body. As with any ground-breaking technological development, information and educative material are needed to ensure society can enjoy the benefits and make progress.

There are a lot of blurred areas and unanswered questions in relation to cyborgism and technology being applied to humans. We will be trying our best to shed some light on and gain insight into this fascinating area. Please make sure you subscribe to our channel to watch the video on its release this Thursday, 5pm UK time.

CYBORGISM: HANDSHAKE BETWEEN HUMANITY AND TECHNOLOGY, FROM REEL LIFE TO REAL LIFE

Science fiction movies and books have long depicted various future scenarios. Since the release of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Man That was Used Up’ in 1839, regarded as the oldest record of ‘man meets machine’, the idea of embedding technology into human behaviour has always intrigued the most curious minds. Movies and sci-fi tales have captured the audience’s imagination, blurring the lines between fiction and the ‘real’ future. It is therefore not surprising that the human desire to integrate with technology is now becoming a reality.

Playing around with ground-breaking technology concepts, cyborgs have established themselves as a part of pop culture’s collective consciousness. A cyborg is defined as a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations via mechanical elements built into the body.

Today, we have already started marching towards an era where the fine line separating science and fiction has started to erode. The millennials of the 21st century are bold enough to experiment with biomechatronic body parts, which has brought the concepts of ‘super powers’ and ‘super humans’ closer to reality.

Cyborgs are a prime example of technology’s integration with humanity. Desire for the ability to enhance one’s perceptions and the value of self-sovereignty have also contributed to an unprecedented rise in cyborgism over recent years.

It is a well-known fact that some animal species have highly developed and powerful sensory organs which can aid their survival: sharks can detect electromagnetic fields, dolphins can hear through their bones, bats can ‘see’ through sound and so on. In parallel, the surge in cyborgism gives hope to the belief that cyborgs may help increase the survival rate and adaptive qualities of humans in threatening conditions.

This week on the FinancialFox, our presenter Stefania Barbaglio is interviewing Manel Muñoz: a Catalan cyborg artist based in Barcelona, who has been credited with developing and installing barometric sensors in his body. The first of its kind in the world, he uses the sensors to detect atmospheric pressure changes through pressure variations felt in his skull.

Muñoz studied contemporary photography in Barcelona and became Cyborg Foundation’s artist in residence in 2016. In 2017, he co-founded the Transpecies Society, an association that offers the creation of new senses and new organs within a community, gives voice to people who do not identify as being 100% human, and raises awareness on issues they face.

The aim of extending human senses beyond the the physical barrier by introducing/integrating technology into our bodies is to deepen the human experience of reality. The goal is to reveal reality, which is distinct from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in that true reality is increasingly revealed to us through an enhanced body. You could call it ‘superpower’, but more accurately, it is the ability to create and shape our bodies and unlock opportunities towards a new generation of “improved humans”.

Cyborg art is based on the idea that a person is free to change their body and perceptions. More specifically, they are in charge of shaping their own perceptions.

Recently, there has also been a lot of activity in the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Elon Musk, the millionaire entrepreneur, has invested £100mln in Neuralink, a company which is developing electronic brain implants to facilitate direct communication between people and machines. Such has been the progress and advancement in the integration of humans with technology that it won’t be a surprise when, in a few years from now, people start taking examples from ‘reel’ life into real life.

With so many developments and innovations on the horizon, there is a need to regulate the protocols for such technology to evolve and be sustainable. At present, various challenges are faced by cyborgs and cyborgism. For instance, society at large may still not be ready to deal with the idea of installing foreign objects in one’s body. Moreover, it also raises questions around freedom of choice and progress, so it is valid to study and analyse more deeply the impacts of having technology interacting so closely with the human body. As with any ground-breaking technological development, information and educative material are needed to ensure society can enjoy the benefits and make progress.

There are a lot of blurred areas and unanswered questions in relation to cyborgism and technology being applied to humans. We will be trying our best to shed some light on and gain insight into this fascinating area. Please make sure you subscribe to our channel to watch the video on its release this Thursday, 5pm UK time.

World Ethical Data Forum announces it is partnering with Malta AI and Blockchain summit for the…

World Ethical Data Forum announces it is partnering with Malta AI and Blockchain summit for the Big Data Workshop

Cassiopeia Services, a London-based leading PR and IR agency and the official PR for World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), is pleased to announce that World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF) will be partnering with Malta AI and Blockchain summit, Winter edition for an exclusive workshop on big data. The summit will be held from the 7th to 8th November 2019, at the InterContinental Arena conference centre, St Julian’s, Malta.

The Big Data workshop during the AI and Blockchain Summit is scheduled to be divided into two parts for a total duration of 2 hours devoting an hour to each segment. The first half of the workshop will focus entirely on the immediate need to address the issues related to ethical big data. Following afterwards, the second half of the programme will concentrate majorly on a deep analysis of more technical issues such as machine learning and deep learning.

For both the sessions of the workshop there will be 2 panel discussions along with 2 keynote pitches. The comprehensive schedule of the first session dealing with ethical big data will include a keynote session on the value of data and the associated ethical problems in the present world scenario. The other keynote session will feature more on the issues related to censorship, data intelligence as well as government policies. The panel discussion of the first half will have a debate on the recent data breaches and their implications on the big technology conglomerates along with the type of regulations needed to stop data abuse. The second panel discussion will be dedicated to another aspect of ethical data such as fake news and the obligations for responsible journalism.

The itinerary for the second half of the session will be spread over the positive deconstruction of new data technologies and their applications. This session will also feature panel discussions and keynote addresses on data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the emerging trends in blockchain and related technology.

Stefania Barbaglio, Cassiopeia Services Director said: “We are excited to be partnering with the AIBC for the World Ethical Data Forum. Following on the last years monumental success of the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit, we are convinced of a phenomenal workshop on big data this November as well. The WEDF is a platform dealing with the wide spread adoption of positive rules and regulations for data protection and handling. AIBC on the other hand has established itself as a premier platform for organisations to exhibit, engage and debate and we are sure the merger of these two will be a grand success.”

Cassiopeia Services acts as the Official PR and Head of sponsorship and Partnerships for the World Ethical Data Forum. To express interest for speaking opportunities at the big data workshop and for partnership and sponsorship, please get in in touch with us via the contacts below.

Media Contact:

Cassiopeia Services

cassiopeia@worldethicaldata.org

Stefania Barbaglio

Stefania@worldethicaldata.org

Medicinal Cannabis: Growing opportunities for the world economy

Thanks to its medicinal properties, cannabis has been increasingly gaining popularity around the globe. While some countries have introduced legislations and set up strategies in order to decriminalise the consumption of medicinal cannabis, others have acknowledged its role but are still awaiting further research confirming its capabilities to ease conditions and treat symptoms.

Nonetheless, due to high demand for medicinal cannabis and CBD products, hemp seems to be the next emerging market consequently contributing to the growth of the global economy.

Europe setting standards in cannabis production

With the recent wave of legislation regarding cannabis-based products, it is believed that the European market holds a key position both in medicinal and retail cannabis. This is due to a combination of variables such as population growth, GDP, national healthcare, and tarditional use in many countries, making Europe an attractive market for global producers.

For instance, in 2017 Germany signed a law that allows the use of the cannabis plant. This would in turn allow healthcare professionals to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to patients suffering from severe health issues such as chronic pain, vomiting, and nausea.

In 2013, Czech Republic legalised medical marijuana for patients suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, chemotherapy induced side effects, and other severe disease indications. Moreover, the law allows patients with marijuana prescriptions to purchase the medicinal marijuana from pharmacies.

However, cultivation of marijuana in not allowed in the country, therefore suppliers need to import medicinal cannabis from other economies. This implies that a huge potential for growth of the medicinal cannabis industry in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

So far, the European Union national regulators have struggled to get to grips with the regulation of cannabidiol products, which has proven difficult given that CBD is not a scheduled controlled substance, hemp food products were historically consumed, and extracts of the plant were manipulated for use in medicines and many other applications.

The two cannabinoids — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are most often used in the treatment of certain diseases or easing of certain health conditions such as pain, blood pressure, memory, concentration, appetite, sensory stimulus, muscular problems, and seizures.

European standards are now the benchmark for market entry, and Europe has an opportunity to lead the way in establishing sensible regulatory systems that provide safe access to appropriate products, while not unnecessarily burdening what has been a historically widely-consumed product.

Medicinal Cannabis in UK: access to treatment still an ongoing issue

Although the government announced the legislation of medicinal cannabis for patients via NHS prescription in November last year, the high expectations among the public of the benefits of medicinal cannabis are not being met. Doctors are unwilling to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients based on the claim that there is still little evidence due to lack of clinical trials.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “Although the recent changes to government policy were welcomed, there was a failure to communicate what this would mean in practice for the availability of medicinal cannabis.”

Although the recent changes to government policy from schedule 1 to schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, making it far easier to carry out trials into medicinal cannabis were welcomed, there was a failure to communicate what this would mean in practice for the availability of medicinal cannabis.

She added: “Expectations were unfairly raised that these products would become widely and readily available, and there needs to be far clearer communication that this is not the case.”

It remains to see whether the UK, like the rest of Europe, will take a more proactive stance on implementing the practical availability of medicinal cannabis.

Medical cannabis is gaining momentum in Asia

At the moment, many Asian countries are softening their approach to cannabis, but the plant remains illegal in the majority of Asian nations.

Seoul and Bangkok look to be leading the way in the normalisation and legalisation of medical marijuana with government licenses. However, after Thailand’s legalisation of medical cannabis in February, it is currently the only Asian country that has fully legalised medicinal cannabis.

Some experts predict that other Southeast Asian countries may move towards decriminalising the plant. South Korea surprised many by being the first East Asian nation to legalise medical marijuana last November.

In the same month, Japan approved clinical trials for the cannabis compound Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used in treating epileptic patients. Market experts argue that due to Japan’s increasing aging population, it is likely to become a big consumer of medicinal cannabis.

Even famously strict-on-drugs nations including Singapore and China have been involved in research into medical applications for cannabis. In fact, China is not only involved in the research but also heavily in production. Asia’s largest economy currently grows nearly half the world’s legal hemp, a strain of cannabis that contains almost no hallucinogens, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Hanma Investment Group (HMI) is the first company to receive permission to extract CBD in China. The country’s largest hemp production firm has been advocating for the benefits of the plant and trying to change the negative connotation most Chinese people hold towards it. The company currently exports 90% of its production, mostly to the United States, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, and increasingly to Japan.

”(Chinese) people’s perception of cannabis is no longer as negative as before. We have been reiterating the uses cannabis can be utilised in the medical and health sector,” Tan Xi, HMI’s president, told CNBC in a Chinese-language text message.

The global legal marijuana market — including recreational use — was estimated to be worth $13.8 billion last year and is projected to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025, according to a 2018 report from California-based market research firm Grand View Research, making medicinal cannabis an increasingly significant contributor to the world’s economy.

Facebook’s Libra: a coin-toss towards digital economy evolution and crypto’s mainstream status

Facebook’s announcement of its plans to introduce Libra, a global cryptocurrency focused on achieving the financial inclusion for unbanked people, spurred substantial backlash over data privacy and security issues from governments and their regulators. Libra has faced cynicism in relation to the social media giant’s controversial past regarding its failed attempts to protect users’ privacy.

While the governments’ main focus is on the regulatory issues, the industry experts believe Libra plays a more significant role for the crypto community in general and the development of the digital economy. Nonetheless, Facebook’s blockchain project seems to affect on every aspect of the modern digital economy and appears to have all-encompassing influence.

Mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and digital payments

This pessimistic approach of governments and regulators towards innovative technologies is however, nothing new. From an innovation aspect, Libra as a blockchain-based digital currency presents the next step in the evolution of money: an inflection point in the form of financial solution created not by governments and central banks, but the private companies which will ultimately disrupt the deeply ingrained monopoly set up by the mainstream money systems.

During the latest episode of Financial Fox, hosted by PR guru Stefania Barbaglio, Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, explained that Libra symbolises significant validation for the novel blockchain technology, and starts to forge a new path for the future of finance and the crypto technology. Due to its pre-existing association with a well-known name such as Facebook and its 2.5 billion users, Libra stands a chance of becoming successful, and is essentially expected to be an advocate for cryptocurrencies, encouraging a lot more people to step into the crypto space.

As such, even if deemed unsuccessful, Libra symbolises an important first step towards the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. It will allow for a large segment of the public to get familiar with the crypto space and educate them on fundamental concepts and the key idea of controlling their own funds, as claimed by the Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano, during his conversation with Stefania Barbaglio for the Financial Fox Crypto Show.

Issues on data privacy and the control of technology market

Due to its potential for mass-adoption, Libra raises serious questions on the aspect of regulation and as such has been greeted by backlash from the regulators and members of traditional financial institutions, mainly over serious concerns as to whether the digital currency threatens the stability of the US dollar and other government-backed currencies, or could infringe on consumers’ privacy.

Essentially, there is no limit on the type and the amount of data Libra will gather, and absolutely no guarantee on privacy. Facebook’s business model is based on how much it knows about you. As Libra itself is based on the permissioned blockchain, it means Facebook has full censorship power backed up by money that people, especially the unbanked, are going to need, said Jean Phillipe Beaudet, Director and CTO of ZeU Crypto network for the Financial Fox.

Such concerns among experts regarding the Libra stable coin are predominantly rooted in the market dominance of its parent company, Facebook, and the latter’s controversial past regarding data handling. With that in mind, introducing Libra, a payment system powered by Facebook, raises serious political power and consumer privacy concerns.

Jean Philippe Beaudet, director of ZeU, argued that although cryptocurrencies are always seen as a decentralisation tool that will help people gain more freedom, they can also become the most effective control tool ever made, as this is smart money needed by everyone. “We are now at the point where we have to balance these requirements of being a bit regulated and not enabling the governments to control their populations. That is potentially going to be a great challenge and Libra is not helping on that front. I believe it’s just creating a scarier monopoly”, added Jean Philippe Beaudet for the Financial Fox.

Adoption of Libra in different countries

Libra’s main objective — to bank the unbanked in developing countries — seems to be running into obstacles already.

Jared Tate, Bill Barhydt, Jean-Philippe Beaudet, Ajeet Khurana and the host, Stefania Barbaglio

It appears that Libra’s mission could be undermined as some of the developing economies such as India, Libra’s largest potential market, seems to have adopted a hostile approach towards cryptocurrencies. Earlier in 2019, India introduced a bill on Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency, proposing a 10-year-long prison term for people who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies”, ultimately preventing Libra and any other innovative crypto-technology project from entering the Indian market.

Ajeet Kurana, Indian entrepreneur and former CEO of Zebpay India shares his hopes in the interview with Director of Financial Fox Stefania Barbaglio, in regards to Libra’s efforts in India: “If in such an environment, Facebook’s Libra succeeds in leading the way against the Indian government or in fact any such government hesitant towards cryptocurrencies, showing that the unbanked are truly the marginalised community in question, that would open the doors to all the other cryptocurrencies and digital assets to enter the Indian market.”

The future of Libra in China, the other leading emerging economy, does not seem much brighter. The media outlets Facebook and WhatsApp are already banned in China, the most restrictive country when it comes to ICO’s, prompting social media consumers to use WeChat, a similar app that allows the options of payment transfers and purchasing goods without ever leaving the app.

Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, believes that “If history is any sort of track record, the Chinese government will opt to do something very similar to Libra, creating their own digital currency”. The central bank of China is reportedly working on its own digital currency to stop Facebook from taking over the market.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem to expect other players, inspired by Facebook

Charles Hoskinson in an interview for the Financial Fox

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong, shared in his interview for the Financial Fox his prediction of the Crypto and Blockchain market: “The existence of Facebook in the market will be an invitation to the others to come in as well. It is kind of the next wave and a great competitive pressure to existing players such as Cardanos, Ethereums and Bitcoins to evolve more quickly. Ultimately it’s Darwinian technology and we have to be obsessed with usability, consumer experience and usefulness in order to survive. Facebook has certain advantages which other smaller players don’t.”

However, those advantages don’t seem to be stopping other big companies either. We are possibly expecting to see other big platform providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft entering the Blockchain and Crypto space. Samsung has already announced experiments on developing an Ethereum-based Blockchain , while Nestle announced its new Blockchain initiative to support its supply chain.

Decentralised technology

The decentralised nature of blockchain technology means that it doesn’t rely on a central point of control. A lack of a single authority makes the system fairer and considerably more secure. The way in which data is recorded onto a blockchain epitomises its most revolutionary quality: decentralisation.

Instead of relying on a central authority to securely transact with other users, blockchain utilises innovative consensus protocols across a network of nodes to validate transactions and record data in a manner that is incorruptible. However, that can’t really be said in the case of Libra, which is supposedly backed up by the pool of securities.

In that respect, Jared Tate, founder of Digibyte, believes that the truly decentralised projects out there really cannot be compared with these fiat currency-backed projects. Jared told Financial Fox that in the case of Libra, there needs to be a differentiation from the regulators’ perspective on how an everyday, transactional stable coin is operated versus a truly decentralised digital asset like Bitcoin or Digibyte. We can’t really compare the two as they don’t function in the same way, considering that the Libra project is pegged to the US dollar, which is subject to inflation.

So far, Facebook doesn’t have a very good record of decentralising things and giving power to the users. It is, like most Silicon Valley companies, the middleman of necessity and in occupying that position, has the enormous control over your privacy, your information and your autonomy. “They like being dictators in that respect”, said Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong in an interview for the Financial Fox.

That perhaps subjects Facebook’s decentralised technology to even more scrutiny, as calling it decentralised while in essence it is not, makes it even more controversial.

So where does that leave Libra? Ultimately, it is at the forefront of this paradigm shift towards a more developed digital economy of the future. But until further developments are completed and authorities start to warm to the idea of digital money, Libra’s near future depends on its collaboration with the financial sector, social impact organisations, regulators and experts across various industries. This is the way to ensure that a sustainable, secure and trusted framework underpins Libra’s system, allowing it to deliver a leap forward for economic empowerment on a global scale by ultimately encouraging the development of digital economy, as has been promised by Facebook.

To watch the debate about Libra and follow other related stories subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @financialfox for the upcoming updates.

Libra’s boundary pushing causes worldwide backlash

A month after the announcement of Libra’s proposed launch, Facebook’s cryptocurrency has faced considerable backlash from authorities, raising uncertainty around its future plans. The blockchain project has been greeted frostily by most regulators and financial institutions all over the world, as they collectively indicate that an unregulated digital currency available to billions of social media users globally would bring about significant financial disruption.

The negative response has prompted skepticism around the feasibility of bringing Libra to the market in 2020 — if ever. According to CNBC, the tech industry is expressing doubts over whether the cryptocurrency will become available next year, in light of the issues raised by US lawmakers.

The lack of public trust in the social media company is also a factor that could hinder further developments: “Facebook won’t get far with Libra if consumers are worried about their financial data being compromised or misused, and regulators don’t trust Facebook to keep that data secure,” Dimitri Sirota, CEO of BigID, a New York data privacy firm said to CNBC.

The US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the US central bank has “serious concerns” about Libra, the Wall Street Journal reported. Both the Federal Reserve System and the separate Financial Stability Oversight Council are meeting to discuss Libra alongside global policy makers.

Facebook faces pushback from regulators over Libra launch

The backlash, however, does not seem to have stopped Facebook from moving forward with their plans. In a letter addressed to the US Senate Banking Committee last Monday, Facebook blockchain lead and Libra project leader David Marcus attempted to ease concerns, stating that the social media company is open to collaboration with authorities and other regulatory bodies to make the Libra project work within the right framework:

“I want to give you my personal assurance that we are committed to taking the time to do this right. We understand that big ideas take time, that policymakers and others are raising important questions, and that we can’t do this alone. We want, and need, governments, central banks, regulators, non-profits, and other stakeholders at the table and value all of the feedback we have received,” Facebook’s blockchain lead stated.

David Marcus is scheduled to testify before the Banking Committee next week.

India and China not open to Libra, but China considers the benefits of crypto

If Facebook is facing problems with the US Senate, the international stance on Libra is no friendlier. In the biggest Asian markets, India and China, Facebook’s cryptocurrency seems to be an increasingly remote possibility.

Due to tight regulations, Facebook is currently locked out of the Indian market, one of the largest in the world. Since April 2018, all entities regulated by the Reserve Bank of India have been banned from dealing in cryptocurrencies and virtual coins, and the government is working on a draft to increase penalties for those who trade and use cryptocurrencies.

“Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained,” India’s Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg said in an interview in New Delhi on Saturday. “But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.”

Chinese authorities are reluctant to let Libra enter the market, but show interest in cryptocurrencies

Meanwhile in China, a senior official from the Central Bank stated that Libra must be “put under the oversight of monetary authorities” as reported by Bloomberg earlier this week.

Because as a cryptocurrency, Libra would be able to be transacted freely across borders, Chinese authorities are concerned that it “won’t be sustainable without the support and supervision of central banks,” Mu Changchun, deputy director of the People’s Bank of China’s payments department, told Bloomberg.

Mu has also expressed further concerns about the lack of clear commitment to counter money-laundering mechanisms, as well as clarification as to how Libra will protect its users’ privacy.

Nevertheless, Chinese authorities have not ruled out the use of digital currencies in their territory as they recognise the advantages of the technology in terms of improved efficiency.

Libra’s announcement has prompted the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) to look into plans to introduce a government-backed digital currency, aiming to secure China’s position in the global cryptocurrency race, as reported by the China Daily.

“A digital currency issued by the central bank can improve the efficiency of monetary policy, and help to optimise the payment system,” said Wang Xin, director of the PBOC Research Bureau.

Don't miss Cassiopeia live debate about Libra with crypto experts. SUNDAY 7PM UK TIME. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @stefixy @financialfox for participating link.

Cardano: Blockchain-powered economic development

Technology has proved to be of the greatest propellers of economic development in recent years. The advent of innovative technologies such as blockchain has offered new solutions to old problems in the global economy. One of the main projects acting in this space is Cardano, a blockchain enterprise based on human-centered approach to innovation with the aim of providing financial services and technological infrastructure to developing countries and to the three billion people who are excluded from mainstream banking services.

Cassiopeia Services is pleased to introduce you to the first in a series of industry-focused articles and interviews featuring IOHK’s founder Charles Hoskinson, and the cryptocurrency Cardano ̶ a decentralised public blockchain aiming to provide financial services and ultimately help individuals in developing countries achieve financial inclusion.

Founded in 2015, Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) is a technology engendering company that, through innovative solutions such as their blockchain platform Cardano, aims to provide financial services to the three billion people worldwide who are currently excluded from mainstream banking, ultimately helping them achieve financial inclusion. Through building solutions, IOHK aims to push for a fairer and more transparent order that would help a great number of people, by means of bringing back trust into the systems.

The company recognises the high potential in future Blockchain studies, as well as its rapidly developing market. As such, education presents a core element of IOHK’s philosophy, consequently shaping its mission: to establish a reputation as a leading institution in the academic study of blockchain by tackling difficult research questions and building a strong foundation in the blockchain industry.

Research Based Approach to identifying and testing solutions

Confirming that education is truly the backbone of its approach, IOHK employs decentralised research teams across the globe, comprised of academic experts in specific fields. The teams work together to bringing innovation and development through collective effort.

In addition, besides bringing innovation to the market, IOHK aims to teach the local talented individuals on the uses and implications of such technologies, thus contributing much more to the field than just a “finalised product”.

IOHK’s Director of Education Lars Brünjes, a Pure Mathematics PhD, explains: “We strive to offer the highest quality teaching to selected students who will become the next generation of young talent in the industry.”

Speculatively, this can have larger implications on further development and growth of the specific market IOHK operates within, as it enables individuals to fully grasp the uses and opportunities the innovation bears.

Cardano: A deconstructed cryptocurrency concept focused on the Emerging Economies

By deconstructing the concept of cryptocurrency, IOHK team created the blockchain platform Cardano. Cardano is home to the ADA cryptocurrency, which can be used to send and receive digital funds. This digital cash represents the future of money, making possible fast, direct transfers that are guaranteed to be secure through the use of cryptography.

Cardano is more than just a cryptocurrency, however: it is a technological platform that will be capable of running the financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organisations and governments all around the world. Cardano will also run decentralised applications, or dapps ̶ services not controlled by any single party but instead operating on a blockchain.

This is the first blockchain project to be developed from a scientific philosophy, and the only one to be designed and built by a global team of leading academics and engineers. It is essential that the technology is secure, flexible and scalable for use by many millions of users.

David Esser, the IOHK’s product manager focusing on Cardano explains the research process in detail: “IOHK employs an evidence-based approach that requires a lot of research upfront by scientists and academics researching on how we might approach something and try to write mathematically provable specifications. When you’re building a brand new technology it’s the things that never existed before, and so during that process we discover the details in how it would fit better for the market. We have to adjust to the realities of the technologies. We spend a lot of time on research and theory before putting down the work.”

A major innovation by Cardano is that it will balance the needs of users with those of regulators, and in doing so combines privacy with regulation. The vision for Cardano is that its new style of regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access to fair financial services for all.

Cardano’s main focus is to apply academic research and evidence-based solution to provide technological infrastructure for the developing world, where blockchain can have a transformational impact: “Emerging markets are where cryptocurrencies matter,” says founder Charles Hoskinson.

By employing a public-private partnership approach with the governments of developing countries, Cardano employs Blockchain, as it is believed to be the best way to rebuild fraudulent systems, looking to enable fraud-free land registration, fairer voting systems and improved supply chains.

Cardano is currently working with projects in 25 developing economies worldwide such as Ethiopia, Mongolia, Georgia, and hopes to be present in 52 African countries by 2020.

Part-1 of our in-depht interview with founder Charles Hoskinson will be live on Friday on our FinancialFox channel. Follow us on @Cassiopeia_ltd @_FinancialFox. Stay tuned!

The economic power shift: New global dynamics powered by technology and innovation in emerging…

The economic power shift: New global dynamics powered by technology and innovation in emerging markets

The global economy has undergone fundamental changes over the last 20 years. The financial crisis in 2007–8, technology boom, and fast growth in emerging economies like China and India have all reshaped the economic dynamics around the world.

Commodities have lost their relevance in the global market, opening the way for technology to set new market rules. As a result, IT and consumer-driven stocks have predominantly become the backbone of the new economy.

In the 2007 MSCI Emerging Market Index, energy represented 18 percent and materials 15 percent, and together accounted fully for one third of the total shares, showing that commodities were still highly valuable for the global economy.

However, ten years later, the economic reality has shifted. The 2017 Index shows that those two sectors combined account for only 14 percent. Meanwhile, information technology has risen to 28 percent of the index, from 10 percent a decade ago.

One of the greatest drivers of the technology boom was the shift in mindset that followed the global economic crisis. People and society have become more conscious and as such have geared towards products and services that can provide an added value and have a positive lasting impact in society. Technology is the enabler to build tools and systems that contribute to a more balanced economy, clearly reflected in the market value of technology products.

Technology has challenged the status quo in virtually every sphere — from digital banking to personal virtual assistants, and will continue to do so as it develops. McKinsey estimates that applications of the disruptive technologies technologies could have a potential economic impact of between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year in 2025. More than creating something new, these technologies are highly focused on increasing consumer and social value, especially in areas such as financial services, healthcare and access to information.

From McKinsey, Disruptive Technologies

The shift to a digital economy also propelled a shift in the global economic power dynamics, which used to be well established in the advanced nations in the north-western corner of the map. This is no longer true: emerging markets may quickly outperform developed nations in Europe and North America, largely due to their strategic economic planning, openness to innovative technologies, and large consumer market.

The PwC World in 2050 report shows that global economic power has been shifting towards Asia for a few years now, a process set to continue over the next few decades. China and India, the largest countries in the world by population, are leading this shift.

According to PwC, these two nations are well placed to lead the way in key areas of innovation linked to new digital technologies.

In the case of China, digital technologies are estimated to contribute anything up to 26% of its GDP by 2030, as compared to a global average of 14% of GDP. This reflects the country’s leading position in areas like mobile technology and e-commerce, its large domestic market and its increasingly highly educated workforce.

At the end of 2007, China accounted for 16 per cent of the Emerging Market Index, and Chinese tech companies 0.3 per cent, whereas by 2017 China had a 30 per cent allocation and China tech accounted for 12.3 per cent of the index.

Neighbouring India is also a tech-savvy nation, nurturing an old tradition of producing world- class computer programmers and technologists who contribute significantly to technological developments around the world.

China and India are just two prime examples of the economic potential held by the populations in developing nations and the vast scope for technologies and services to succeed in those markets. By 2030, 80% of the world’s middle class will be found in developing countries, and they have increasingly more purchasing power. Developing countries are where technology can have a bigger social impact and makegreater contribution to the economy.

Over the coming years, there will be a restructuring of the global economy with non-OECD economies expected to account for 57 percent of the world GDP by 2030. By 2040, the economies of E7 countries, the group of greatest emerging economies China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey, will be double that of G7 countries.

Of course, such a drastic change in the economic scenario has prompted paradigm shifts and some unwanted consequences, so the need to understanding the opportunities and challenges is urgent.

In order to create a more balanced global economy, governments and organisations are attempting to tackle the aftermath of this power shift, such as the rise of political extremes and inequality, as well as debating how to shape rules and regulations for an economy that is founded on the flow of data and information.