News Digest: May #3
Microsoft doubles down on blockchain with ID verification
Microsoft has announced an early preview of a distributed identity system, designed to be an alternative to “centralised” systems like Facebook Login. The open source project, Ion, could offer a different online identifier to common ones today such as Gmail addresses or usernames.
As Microsoft’s Alex Simons recently pointed out: “Presently, most of our digital identity and personal data is controlled by a few central service providers. These providers, generally corporations, control our data, including having the ability to deny or revoke access to it.” Instead, they envision using decentralised identity hubs rather than a central provider to store identity information and official paper documents, amongst others.
Ion combines these with a Decentralized Identifier, or DID, registered on a blockchain and linked to one or more public keys. Users prove ownership to their own data by possessing the corresponding private key. Ion is reported to allow for tens of thousands of operations per second on the bitcoin blockchain.
Facebook has also been reported to be exploring a similar route for Facebook logins.
Study: 376 people hold 1/3 of all Ether
According to new research by Chainalysis Inc, 376 people hold a third of all Ether, the cryptocurrency on the Ethereum blockchain. 448 people owned 20 percent of all Bitcoin in comparison, said Kim Grauer, a senior economist at Chainalysis.
In the crypto market, large holders are known as “whales” – which Chainalysis defines as individuals who hold their assets in digital wallets and not on an exchange. Chainalysis found that large holders rarely moved their cryptocurrency, instead preferring to hold. The study also found that the action of a “whale” moving Ether from a wallet to an exchange had a small but statistically significant effect on market volatility.
The study also found that the price and sentiment of Ether were tightly coupled with that of Bitcoin’s. During Bitcoin’s price rally from the start of May (as of the date of reporting), Ether rose 48% alongside Bitcoin’s 52%. This study’s data was collected from early 2016 to the end of April, which had the “unfortunate” effect of excluding the recent crypto bull run from the study’s analysis. However, Grauer also added that “the link between Bitcoin’s price and that of Ether backed up their existing findings”.
Budget Samsung phones may see crypto functionality as well
HTC has previously released blockchain phones, with Samsung joining in the fray through its flagship Samsung S10. Korean media outlet Business Korea has reported that Samsung plans to extend cryptocurrency features in its flagship mobile to its budget models as well.
Samsung’s phones with cryptocurrency features are currently available only in Korea, the United States, and Canada, according to a tweet in response to a user’s enquiry. However, Chae Won-Cheol, senior managing director of the product strategy team, was reported to have said that they were looking at expanding the wallet’s availability in other regions.