As the Cryptoworld continues to spread its wings, with cryptocurrencies now facing the prospect of some form of regulatory oversight and even a possible consolidation, one nation has made quite significant strides in the blockchain industry, namely Israel.

Startup Bancor raised plenty of eyebrows from within the blockchain fraternity this year, as it managed to raise close to $150m through an initial coin (“ICO”) offering in June.


The ICO is reported to be one of the largest to have ever occurred in the Cryptoworld and in a nation that had barely been on the map, with China having dominated the ICO world until the latest ban by the Chinese government.

One things is for certain, the Bancor ICO will test the venture capital markets in Israel and may even bring the VC business to its knees. Furthermore, once the talk of bubbles and over-inflated ICOs abate, which is more than likely when considering the level of interest in ICOs, VC funds will strive for a piece of the pie.

How Blockchain Is Helping The Diamond Industry Look Beyond The 4Cs

ven legitimate diamonds have a reputation for being sold through back-room dealings with cash and a handshake. The problems surrounding these precious gems goes on. In the insurance sector, fraudulent claims for lost jewellery have resulted in billions in losses each year. “We see document tampering where one stone has been claimed across similar timelines with multiple insurers,” says Leanne Kemp, CEO and founder of Everledger, a company that's using blockchain to build a shared digital global ledger to track and protect valuable items. Using machine vision, they record 40 metadata points to create a unique thumbprint of each stone. It's “a forensic view like dental marks or iris scan,” compares Kemp.

How Blockchain Is Kickstarting the Financial Lives of Refugees

or a refugee in a new country, identity—at least in the official sense—can be among the hardest things to recover. And without an official ID it is nearly impossible to advance in society.

Finland, which like many European nations has recently seen a large influx of asylum seekers, is using a cryptographic ledger called blockchain to help them get on their feet faster.

EY teams with Microsoft, Maersk to use blockchain for marine insurance

Accounting giant EY said Wednesday that it plans to launch the first blockchain platform for marine insurance, alongside MicrosoftA.P Moller-Maersk and others.

The distributed ledger will be used to capture information about shipments, risk and liability, and to help firms comply with insurance regulations.

It will also ensure transparency across an interconnected network of clients, brokers, insurers and other third parties.

EY explained that its decision to secure marine insurance data with blockchain was due to a "complete inefficiency" in the sector.

A lithium-ion battery under development by Tesla in South Australia (SA) will be the world’s largest of its type when completed by the end of the year. 

Armored cars and facial recognition: Meet the startups securing California's pot industry

A pair of California business partners think they've found their niche in the burgeoning cannabis industry: Armored cars that move money and marijuana across the state.

Because marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, few banks will open accounts for marijuana businesses, meaning most operate entirely in cash. To buy supplies or pay taxes, they need to move that cash.

Then there's the products themselves — marijuana plants, edibles, CBD oil, associated equipment, all valuable in themselves.

"We're either going to triple or quadruple in size in 2018," when sales of recreational marijuana begin in California, Hardcar Security CEO Todd Kleperis said.

Venezuelans Are Seeking a Haven in Crypto Coins as Crisis Rages

Crypto coins’ gyrations require nerves of steel, but to an increasing number of Venezuelans, they’re the safest currency they can own.

Demand for digital coins is soaring in Venezuela amid an escalating political crisis that has protesters demanding that President Nicolas Maduro step down. Inflation has spiraled to the triple digits, debasing the bolivar and depleting savings, while citizens struggle to find everything from food to medicine on store shelves.

How the Booming Israeli Weed Industry Is Changing American Pot

Standing on the rear balcony of a gray factory building off the side of a highway, Tamir Gedo shields his eyes from the blazing sun. He points to the 23 acres of agricultural fields spread out before him. "We'll be able to produce more cannabis here than the entire state of Colorado," he says. Minutes later, walking past the 8,000 square-foot storage room, he adds, "We can store enough in this warehouse to supply medical marijuana for the whole United States."

Middle America Is Crazy in Love With Bitcoin

If you're not buying Bitcoin, you're not keeping up with the Joneses.

The American middle class is falling in love with the unregulated cryptocurrency's skyrocketing value, which hit a record-breaking $4,400 in August, a 600 percent year-over-year increase.

There are now more Google searches for Bitcoin than for Beyoncé. It's not just bankers and techno-nerds buying up this "digital gold," hoping to sell them for more later, but flight attendants, ironworkers, and small business owners.

Native American Tribes Eye Lucrative Marijuana Market

An increasing number of Native American tribes are looking to the marijuana business to break the poverty on reservations, but they are treading quietly over uncertainties in federal policy, which could shift under President Donald Trump.

Cannabis is big business in states that have legalized its medical or recreational use. Arcview, a California cannabis investor network, says the U.S. marijuana market earned $6.7 billion in 2016.

Blockchains, Diamonds And The New Transparency

If anyone has been paying attention to the tech world they’ll know blockchain is the flavour of the year. In fact, Sir Richard Branson and Bill Tai hosted a summit on the topic on Necker Island just last month, with others hosting events in Shanghai next month and many more around the world to follow. It looks like it’s going to be the new disruptive technology, but who is it going to disrupt and why?

For those who think blockchain is something that belongs in a toolbox in a shed, here is a simplified explanation of the concept:

Where the internet revolution has up until now given us lots of ways of sharing information, distributing that information in a more controlled way has so far been elusive.

In other words if you want to ensure that there is just one true copy of something that everyone can easily share and no one can alter, this control hasn't been possible.

Officials In Legal-Weed States Push Back Against Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Criticisms

Government officials from Alaska and Washington have pushed back against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who sent threatening letters to the states and questioned the efficacy of their marijuana legalization and regulatory programs. 

In letters obtained by HuffPost that are dated Aug. 1 and Aug. 14, Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker and Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, both Independents, defend their state’s marijuana law and the voters who approved legalization in the state. They also ask the Department of Justice to not interfere with state-legal programs and refute some of Sessions’ assertions about their law.

Blockchain Is Now Aiming to Disrupt Social Networks in a Major Way

Recent news of Bitcoin going over $4,300 has a lot of people talking. Blockchain disruption has seen a major shift this year in the eyes of the mainstream, from a weird basement project to something that they literally can't take their hands (and wallets) off of. People from all walks of life are getting involved either in buying cryptocurrency or supporting various blockchain projects (EthereumNEO, Bitcoin, Siacoin, and others) aimed at disrupting old, centralized industries.

One of those industries or business models ripe and primed for disruption is social networks themselves. The same small number of players have been at it for over a decade now, with only a few exceptions. The power and control is centralized in just a few hands.

California finds 'pot of gold' in wine and weed

On a warm summer evening at a vineyard in Sonoma, California, a group of well-heeled guests gathered at a local Sonoma vineyard sipping rose, feasting on food... and smoking cannabis.

The event was hosted by marijuana entrepreneurs looking to build bridges with longtime winemakers.

"I think that as we see it become more socially acceptable, you will see more and more people open to giving it a try," said Sam Edwards, president of the Sonoma Cannabis Company.

Nearby, vintner Dennis De La Montanya is mingling with guests. The sixth-generation winemaker says he doesn't "indulge" in marijuana, but is curious about the financial opportunities that go along with the crop.

Record Bitcoin Gains Indicate High Times Ahead for Cannabis Cryptocurrency

Within America's explosive legal cannabis market-projected to potentially reach a staggering $50 billion valuation by 2026[1]-legal uncertainties and blockades continue to pose challenges. One of these challenges is a lack of banking options for marijuana merchants, who are largely forced to conduct cash transactions, as cannabis businesses currently do not have the backing of the FDIC and, consequently, do not have access to traditional banking options. Necessity is the mother of invention, and enterprising companies are endeavoring to skirt federal restrictions and provide cannabis companies with innovative financial transaction options to meet their growing needs. One company racing to fill this cannabis payment options void is standout player SinglePoint, Inc. (OTC: SING) (SING Profile), which is currently on the fast-track to debuting a payment processing solution utilizing cryptocurrency. 

Public support for medical and recreational marijuana legalization hits all-time high

An increasing number of Americans are in favor of national legalization of recreational and medical marijuana, and few support a federal crackdown in states that have legalized marijuana for either purpose.

A new Quinnipiac poll released August 3 reported that medical marijuana in particular has broad support: 94 percent of Americans support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it,” up from 93 percent 5 months ago, and up 5 points in the last year.

Non-medicinal marijuana is growing in support as well, with 61 percent agreeing that “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States,” up from 59 percent in February 2017, and up 10 points since December 2012.