Lightning Network: What State Is the Technology Currently in?

The last time we talked about the Lightning Network of Bitcoin, it showed massive increases in development. It was in December of last year. We remind you:

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Is Growing: 500 BTC Has Been Passed

Let’s see what happened with the Network in a month or so.

According to the analytical data from the site 1ML, the number of the channels in the Lightning Network has grown by approximately 36% since last month and is now more than 22 thousand.

Visually, the Networks looks like this:

Source: https://1ml.com/visual/network

As for the active nodes in the Network, they also increased in quantity and are approaching the point of 6 thousand ones.

The technology was first launched back in March of 2018. It was created as a solution to the major problem of Bitcoin blockchain – the infamous scalability problem. The Lightning Network is maintained by 6 teams of specialists all over the world. Since the very launch date, it has been gaining momentum and expanding massively.

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Chinese Fudan University Opens Up a Research Center Devoted to Blockchain

One of the oldest and most prestigious educational establishments in China, Fudan University, located in Shanghai, is moving with the times. Just like their colleagues from universities in Tokyo, Stanford and other cities around the world, Fudan scientists decided to try out the potential of the blockchain technology.

The university partnered up with a couple major companies in Shanghai, one of them being Shanghai Zhongren Information Technology Co., Ltd, and launched Shanghai Blockchain Engineering Technology Research Center.

The new blockchain hub will function not only to benefit Fudan University, but also for the sake of the whole city.

Professor Lu Haibin, the newly appointed Director of the Blockchain Research Center of Fudan University, introduced it during the official opening:

The Blockchain Research Center will carry out basic research, demonstration of possible application and training talented people with the help of the blockchain technology, strengthen the combination of production, study and research, and serve Shanghai’s economic development.

Frankly speaking, this is not the first time that a Chinese higher educational establishment opened up a similar center. The fintech research department of the Tsinghua University in Beijing cooperated with the blockchain payment solution producer Ripple and established a special scholarship for gifted students in this area called the Blockchain Technology Research Scholarship Program.

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The Recent Filing of Apple to SEC Suggests Its Interest in the Blockchain Technology

It has been detected that one of the latest listing of Apple submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission called “Conflict Minerals Report” mentioned the blockchain technology as one of the methods to deal with the issue stated there.

The issue itself regarded the mining, production and shipment of minerals used to produce smartphones and other electronic devices.

We have covered the topic earlier and informed you about the company Ford that cooperated with IBM and other giants in order to combat child labor in Africa. Their primary goal was to focus on cobalt mines in Congo, where minors were and maybe still are working illegally.

Meanwhile, Apple has some big plans on that cobalt, since this mineral is crucial for the company to manufacture their devices. However, using cobalt from the infamous mines in Congo would mean direct support of the human rights abuse.

Many experts have repeatedly pointed out that the supply chains of Apple were involved in multiple scandals involving the violation of human basic rights. Thus, the company had to make sure it got rid of the “dirty” reputation.

Apple is deeply committed to upholding human rights across its global network of suppliers that support the manufacturing of its mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and related accessories. Apple works to safeguard the well-being of people involved in its supply chain and to protect the places where materials are sourced,” the filing reads.

Conflict Minerals Report was mainly about the work ethics of Apple and the possible ways to ensure the legitimacy of supply chains, using the blockchain technology, as well as educating other businesses how to use blockchain for security purposes.

Thus, we might draw a conclusion that Apple is getting closer to using the blockchain technology, even though it is indirect so far. Bigger step towards using the potential of blockchain might follow soon.

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Cryptocurrency Rate Today, February 18: Bitcoin Overcame $3700, and Ethereum Is At $140

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, Dash, Monero: Cryptocurrency Rate

According to the Coingecko online platform, Bitcoin (BTC) added 2.8% in the past 24 hours. The price at the time of writing is $3747 per coin.

Cryptocurrencies moved to the green zone:

Bitcoin Cash added 6.49% over the past 24 hours and costs $130 per coin;

Ripple increased by 3.99% and costs $0.31;

EOS raised by 5.99% and its price is $3.01;

Litecoin became more expensive by 1.38% and its value is $44;

Cardano added 3.66% and its cost is $0.042;

Stellar lost 1.68% and costs $0.079;

IOTA added 1.84% and its value is $0.28;

Dash raised by 2.79% and its price is $81;

Monero became more expensive at 5.33% and costs $49.

Over the past 24 hours, Ethereum has added a record-high 12%. The coin rate is $140 per coin.

The total market capitalization is $126 billion. Bitcoin accounts for 52.1% of the total. In monetary terms, it is $65 billion.

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A Major Japanese Bank Is Developing a Blockchain-Based Payment Network Due in 2020

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) is on the most prominent financial institutions in Japan, moreover, it is the world’s fifth largest bank in the world. Located in Tokyo, MUFG has branches in 50 countries all over the globe and over 150 thousand employees.

The financial group provides services in the various fields like leasing, asset management, commercial banking, credit cards, securities and others. It also constantly collaborates with the largest banking establishments in America, Europe and Asia.

MUFG and blockchain

Following the example of its competitors and partners, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group decided to involve innovative technologies in order to upgrade and advance its payment systems.

According to the official press release of the bank, it is partnering up with the Massachusetts-based company Akamai Technologies, which is a leading provider of content delivery and site accelerating services.

MUFG and Akamai Technologies, Inc. (“Akamai”) announced today that they have agreed to strengthen their strategic alliance towards the full-scale launch of a new payment network business and establishment of a joint venture, Global Open Network, Inc.,” is mentioned in the press release.

The main purpose of the collaboration, the development of a blockchain network for payments, is planned to be launched in 2020.

As stated by the bank representatives, they want to experiment with “diverse payment schemes” which will allow to expand their range of services.

We remind you that another global financial establishment, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, is also working on implementing cutting-edge technologies and launched a financial management app.

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Cryptocurrency Prices Today, February 14: Cryptocurrency Did Not Catch The Romantic Atmosphere And Began To Fall In Price

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, Dash, Monero: Cryptocurrency Rate

According to the Coingecko online platform, Bitcoin (BTC) lost 0.35% over the past 24 hours after a period of growth. The price at the time of writing is $3607 per coin.

Cryptocurrencies have returned to the red zone:

Bitcoin Cash lost 0.6% over the past 24 hours and costs $121 per coin;

Ripple fell by 1% and costs $0.30;

EOS decreased by 4.1% and its price is $2.78;

Litecoin dropped by 3.2% and its value is $41;

Cardano lost 2.5% and its cost is $0.040;

Stellar fell by 1.1% and costs $0.076;

IOTA decreased by 1.6% and its value is $0.26;

Dash lost 1.9% and its price is $78;

Monero dropped by 2.5% and costs $47.

Over the past 24 hours, Ethereum has lost 0.7%. The rate of the coin is $122.

The total market capitalization fell to $120 billion. Bitcoin accounts for 52.5% of the total. In monetary terms, it is $63 billion.

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Report: Blockchain Investments Cannot Overcome Fintech Funding

European blockchain companies set a record in 2018, however, they are unable to overcome funding that comes to financial technology companies.

Blockchain boom in 2018

At the end of 2017, the rate of Bitcoin skyrocketed to incredible price of $19,000. As the first cryptocurrency began gaining popularity, people started to wonder about the technology that stayed behind. After that people understood that blockchain can be used not only in crypto, but also in other spheres of life.

Some companies began to create their own blockchain and implement it into financial sector, political sector, etc. For example, Western Union supports cryptocurrency and blockchain, and it seeks the ways of their implementation; LG Uplus released a blockchain cross-border payment system.

After the cryptocurrency prices collapsed, the blockchain technology remains to be quite popular topic on different IT conferences and summits.

Blockchain investments cannot overcome fintech funding

According to Innovate Finance’s ‘2018 FinTech VC Investment Landscape‘ report, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry in Europe has witnessed a series of significant deals, but notably just four deals amounted to over $300 million. These deals include such projects, as Paxos (Bankchain), Dfinity, SEBA Crypto, Bitfury. They raised from $65 million to $103 million in different periods of the year.

Analysis shows that fintech companies are much more popular among investors than blockchain. European challenger banks Revolut and N26 alone raised $461 million across 7 deals. They closely followed by personal finance and wealth management ($333.61 million), and alternative lending and finance ($306.64 million) industries.

Fintech’s big picture

If we take the investments of all financial companies all over the world, we will see that they raised $36.6 billion from venture capital investors.

The leader in fintech investments is China, Chinese company Ant Financial set a record for  both fintech and venture capital, raising $14 billion. In overall, China led with $18.9 billion invested across 90 deals.

Next place is taken by the United States; it has raised $10.6 billion across 1,042 deals. The United Kingdom followed on in third place with $1.7 billion invested across 261 deals.

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