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Litecoin Prices Surge Above $70 as Crypto Market Tops $175 Billion – CoinDesk

Via CoinMarketCap

The cryptocurrency markets continued to risetoday as the asset class observed strong gains, including most notably, perhaps, litecoin.

The digital assetonce dubbed “the silver to bitcoin’s gold”passed $78 to achieve a new all-time high at 06:54 UTC this morning, according to CoinMarketCap data. Standing at $75.57 at press time, litecoin has increased by 17.28percent overthe past 24 hours and an astonishing 49.37 percent overthe last week.

Long in the doldrums, litecoin has seen a resurgence since its community moved to activate Segregated Witness (SegWit) on its network early in May a scaling solution that also opens the doorto new features such as smart contracts going forward.

Once again, South Korean exchange Bithumb has seen the majority of the trading, hosting22 percent of the litecoin volumein the last 24 hours. Chinese exchanges OKCoin andHuobi are close behind, with 18 and 14 percent, respectively.

While not yet close to its record high of over $0.40 set back in May, Ripple Labs’ XRP token has also seen gains rising13.51 percent over the week to $0.25 today.

Dash and monero, too, have climbedthisweek, with press time prices at$382 (21.60 percent over seven days) and $140 (46.45 percent), respectively.

Taking a wider view,the combined market capitalization of all digital currencies attaineda new record high today, and had passed$175 billion at press time. That’s up from $170.8 billion just yesterday, also going by data from CoinMarketCap.

Disclaimer: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Ripple.

Formation flying image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [emailprotected].

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PayThink Custom tokens are the future of cryptocurrency – PaymentsSource

At more than 850 crytpocurrencies already in less than a decade, it is no wonder that explorations are now diverting to use of custom tokens to address the immediate needs of specific industries.

Major industries are grappling with major constraints in terms of quality and efficiency, and custom tokens could offer the ultimate solutions for specified market needs and demands.

The core principle of cryptocurrencies is decentralization, eliminating the middleman and central authorities by all means. In the principles of sales and marketing, this would translate to giving more power to the end user, the customer or the client.

Major industries like the music sector, health sector, education, agriculture, and so on, have a ton of issues to deal with, hence the establishment of specific Foundations, Companies, Welfare Groups and SACCOs, to try to pull resources and bring people together. Its important to note that the modern day service industries thrive on the premise of the feedback received from loyal customers.

Listening to trustworthy feedback from key stakeholders in an industry brings invaluable contribution that no single regulatory body or central institution can afford. And talking of feedback, many institutions have over the years tried to reach out to industry players, but that is only once in a long while.

Unfortunately, such communities do not exist for most industries, and there is therefore the lack of constant feedback. These are the very issues that custom tokens seek to address, and the best way is to ensure that the custom tokens are tailored for an entire industry, with specific tools to address specific concerns. The dynamics of every industry might be very unique, but that is for the developers to customize the tools.

Every time reviews or feedback is given on social media, whether positive or negative, it is upon the service providers and their site administrators to keep or pull down the comments, especially when they think that the reviews are extremely transparent, in a negative sense. But with a determination to uphold transparency, responsibility and accountability, reviews cannot be changed or manipulated once on the blockchain.

That is to say that market research value will go up, and players in the industry will be able to regularly access up-to-date data. Such platforms, tailored for an entire industry, will simply translate to optimal speed in service delivery, and safety in handling market research data.

To continuously build strong customer relationships, there should be an incentive structure within a custom token, where quality reviews by industry players are rewarded using the tokens.

As members fill in surveys and respond to treatment quality and market research questions, smart contracts will be used to facilitate payment of rewards using the custom tokens.

Consequently, the earnings will go a long way in making further payments in partnering institutions within the industry. In other words, members will not only earning the coins, but will also be provided with an opportunity to spend the same within the entire industry.

And because of mutual interests among community members, industries will be bound to tap and harness profound knowledge from either side. While at it, this approach will not be a preserve of persons who are already familiar with the use of cryptocurrencies, but a great extension of an olive branch to newcomers in the cryptospace, who may have never had a chance to use Bitcoins or either of the hundreds of altcoins. On the other hand, the coins earned as a reward need not necessarily be used to pay for services, because they could as well be used to buy products which are connected to specific industries.

The education industry should have a custom token that is not only open to teachers and parents but also to students, while one for the health industry should accommodate both doctors and patients, and so on. If adopted for every sector, the disruption experienced in the banking industry would trickle down to all industries around the world, connecting the global community in untold measures.

Whichever way it goes, the near or distant future will experience token compensations for passive or active participations in various industries, for the public and private sectors will no longer need to use fiat currencies. The earlier industries open up to the reality of custom tokens, the better it will be for all stakeholders.

Mariam Nishanian is a representative for Dentacoin, a virtual currency for the dental industry.

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Legislation to limit smartphone encryption ‘may be necessary,’ deputy AG Rosenstein says – Washington Times

Legislation may be needed to solve the Justice Departments ongoing problem with uncrackable digital encryption, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Wednesday.

Speaking at the 10th Annual Utah National Security and Anti-Terrorism Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mr. Rosenstein called strong encryption one of the most significant and growing challenges currently faced by law enforcement and raised the possibility of passing laws limiting its use.

The use of encrypted services poses a novel threat to public safety. We can disrupt attacks only if we are able to learn about them, Mr. Rosenstein told attendees, according to remarks published by the Justice Department.

Robust, hard-to-crack encryption became a hot-button issue after a married couple killed more than a dozen people in San Bernardino, California, in Dec. 2015 and left behind a password-protected and purportedly impenetrable Apple iPhone. The Department of Justice sued Apple in federal court the following year in hopes of compelling their assistance with respect to cracking into the phone, but ultimately relented after seeking the help of an undisclosed, third-party security company at a hefty cost.

Investigators have continued to encounter issue attempting to glean evidence from safeguarded smartphones and eavesdrop on communication platforms increasingly protected with strong encryption in the wake of San Bernardino, and Mr. Rosenstein said Wednesday that lawmakers may have to intervene if their problems persist.

After a terrorist attack, obtaining stored electronic information is an effective and necessary law enforcement technique. But, as we saw after the San Bernardino attack, obtaining electronic data can be time-consuming, expensive, and uncertain if technology providers refuse to cooperate, Mr. Rosenstein said.

Unfortunately, some companies are unwilling to help enforce court orders to obtain evidence of criminal activity stored in electronic devices. I hope that technology companies will work with us to stop criminals from defeating law enforcement. Otherwise, legislation may be necessary, Mr. Rosenstein added.

Absent legislation, Mr. Rosenstein previously requested more than $20 million in federal funding back in June devoted entirely toward solving the governments inability to crack strong encryption a dilemma Washington for years has referred to as going dark.

The seriousness of this threat cannot be overstated, he testified on Capitol Hill at the time. This phenomenon is severely impairing our ability to conduct investigations and bring criminals to justice.

James Comey, the former FBI director ousted by President Trump in May, said during a congressional hearing days earlier that roughly 46 percent of the approximately 3,000 smartphones and other electronic devices seized by investigators during a recent six-month span were effectively impenetrable because of strong encryption.

That means half of the devices that we encounter in terrorism cases, in counterintelligence cases, in gang cases, in child pornography cases, cannot be opened with any technique, Mr. Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee. That is a big problem. And so the shadow continues to fall.

The Obama administration was not in a position where they were seeking legislation, Mr. Comey said at the time. I dont know yet how President Trump intends to approach this.

Tech companies including Apple and Google have previously opposed the governments attempts at weakening or bypassing strong encryptions on account of security and privacy repercussions and have fought in the past against efforts in the U.S. and abroad to outlaw encryption.

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Cloud Encryption Market by Component, Service Model, Organization Size, Vertical And Region – Global Forecast to … – Markets Insider

NEW YORK, Aug. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —

Stringent regulatory compliance and increasing concern for cloud data security are driving the cloud encryption marketThe cloud encryption market is expected to grow from USD 645.4 million in 2017 to USD 2,401.9 million by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.1%. The market is driven by factors, such as proliferation in the cloud adoption and virtualization, bigger risks on cloud environment due to big data analytics, and stringent regulations and compliances. However, the major hindrance faced by the enterprises while adopting cloud encryption are lack of budget for the adoption of best-in-class cloud encryption solution, and misbelief of performance issue caused by cloud encryption.

Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p05086553/Cloud-Encryption-Market-by-Component-Service-Model-Organization-Size-Vertical-And-Region-Global-Forecast-to.html

Software-as-a-Service model is expected to have the fastest growth rate during the forecast periodSoftware-as-a-Service (SaaS) service model in the cloud encryption market is expected to grow at the fastest rate, during the forecast period. The major reason for the high growth rate of SaaS among service models is the increased usage of the cloud-based applications from the cloud service providers. The SaaS applications might contain malicious activities that may cause significant data loss. Therefore, the cloud encryption solutions and services help in minimizing the loss of data by encrypting it and allowing only authorized a person to access the same with the help of encryption keys.

BFSI vertical is expected to have the largest market size during the forecast periodWith strict regulations governing the BFSI sector and the pressure on IT teams to address the dynamic needs of the businesses, this sector is exploring possibilities of exploiting cloud computing as a mechanism to deliver faster services to the businesses and at the same time reduce the cost of delivering such services. However, with this evolution arises the need to protect sensitive data that is being acquired and transmitted. This can be achieved using the cloud encryption technology, encrypting confidential data in transit as well as at rest.

North America is expected to hold the largest market share, whereas Asia Pacific (APAC) is expected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast periodNorth America is the foremost potential market due to the presence of a large number of players offering the cloud encryption in this region. This region is expected to hold the largest market size during the forecast period, as organizations are more focused on securing the cloud data at rest as well as in transit. Furthermore, organizations have invested hugely in advanced technologies to gain competitive advantage and improve business operations. The APAC region is in the initial growth phase; however, it is the fastest growing region in the global cloud encryption market. The increasing adoption of cloud encryption solutions in this region is due to the wide-spread presence of SMEs that are implementing enhanced cloud encryption solutions to prevent unauthorized access to critical business data residing on the cloud and unethical use of such information.

The break-up profiles of primary participants are given below: By company: Tier 155%, Tier 220%, and Tier 325% By designation: C-level60%, Director level25%, and Others15% By region: North America15%, Europe25%, APAC30%, Latin America20%, and MEA10%

The following key cloud encryption providers are profiled in the report:1. Thales e-Security (La Defense, France) 2. Gemalto N.V. (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 3. Sophos Group plc (Abingdon, UK) 4. Symantec Corporation (California, US) 5. Skyhigh Networks (California, US) 6. Netskope Inc. (California, US) 7. CipherCloud (California, US) 8. HyTrust, Inc. (California, US) 9. Secomba GmbH (Augsburg, Germany) 10. IBM Corporation (New York, US) 11. Trend Micro Incorporated (Tokyo, Japan) 12. Vaultive, Inc. (Massachusetts, US) 13. TWD Industries AG (Unteriberg, Switzerland)

Research CoverageThe cloud encryption market has been segmented on the basis of components (solution and service), service models, organization sizes, verticals, and regions. A detailed analysis of the key industry players has been done to provide key insights into their business overviews, solutions and services, key strategies, new product launches, partnerships, agreements and collaborations, business expansions, and competitive landscape associated with the cloud encryption market.

The report will help the market leaders/new entrants in this market in the following ways: This report segments the cloud encryption market comprehensively and provides the closest approximations of the revenue numbers for the overall market and the subsegments across different regions. This report helps stakeholders understand the pulse of the market and provides them with information on key market drivers, restraints, challenges, and opportunities. This report will help stakeholders to better understand the competitors and gain more insights to enhance their position in the business. The competitive landscape section includes vendor comparison of top market players in the cloud encryption market.

Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p05086553/Cloud-Encryption-Market-by-Component-Service-Model-Organization-Size-Vertical-And-Region-Global-Forecast-to.html

About Reportlinker ReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need – instantly, in one place.

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Contact Clare: rel=”nofollow”>clare@reportlinker.comUS: (339)-368-6001Intl: +1 339-368-6001

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Cipher Suites: Ciphers, Algorithms and Negotiating Security Settings – Hashed Out by The SSL Store (registration) (blog)

Heres what you need to know about the algorithms behind SSL/TLS encryption.

If you study SSL and encryption long enough, eventually youre going to come across the word cipher. Aside from just generally being a cool word, ciphers are a very important part of encryption.

So, what are encryption ciphers?

Ciphers are algorithms, more specifically theyre a set of steps for both performing encryption as well as the corresponding decryption. Nowadays ciphers are dependent upon the advanced processing capabilities of computers. That hasnt always been the case though. One of the first, well-known historical ciphers belonged to Caesar emperor of Rome and purveyor of fancy appetizer salads who used it to communicate with his generals during military operations.

Over the years, ciphers have become more complex, but the logic behind them has stayed the same. Whether it was Caesar crossing the Rubicon, the infamous Enigma cipher of World War II or some of the algorithms of todaythe idea has always been to encode or encipher a message in such a way that only the intended party can read it.

For all intents and purposes, when we discuss ciphers as they relate specifically to SSL encryption, there are two kinds of algorithms: symmetric and asymmetric. This really comes down to the kind of encryption youre going to be performing, again, symmetric or asymmetric.

Symmetric encryption involves two keys that are the same, or as the name quite cleverly implies, symmetric. Both keys can perform both functions: encryption and decryption. You see this during an encrypted web connection between a browser and a server. After the SSL certificate has been authenticated and the SSL handshake is complete, the browser and server exchange symmetric session keys that allow them to communicate securely for the duration of the visit. While these session keys are in play, they are making use of a symmetric cipher.

Conversely, with asymmetric encryption, you are talking about different keys with different abilities. The most obvious example of this is the public/private key pair that is used during the SSL handshake. In this scenario, one key encrypts and the other key decrypts. This kind of encryption requires a different kind of cipheran asymmetric algorithm.

There are many different ciphers that are commonly used in encryption in conjunction with one another. Thats because, specifically as it relates to SSL, youre not using just a single algorithm but rather a set of algorithms that are grouped together in what is referred to as a Cipher Suite.

Were building towards that concept, so well get there in a little bit. But, now that weve got an understanding of the two types of algorithm symmetric and asymmetric we can look at some of the different ciphers and the functions they serverthen well talk about building a cipher suite.

Here are some examples of ciphers and other similar algorithms:

RSA

RSA is named after the gentlemen that created it: Rivest, Shamir and Adleman. This is a fairly common asymmetric cryptosystem that uses prime numbers and has a wide range of applications.

Diffie-Hellman

Named after Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, this is a public key protocol used primarily for exchanging cryptographic keys over public channels. Prior to methods like DH, keys had to be transmitted in physical form.

Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman

A key agreement protocol that gives two parties with elliptic curve public-private key pairs to establish a shared secret (used either directly as a key or to derive one) securely over a public channel.

PSK

Typically written as TLS-PSK, this is a cipher that provides secure communication based on pre-shared symmetric keys exchanged between parties in advance.

AES

Advanced Encryption Standard, a.k.a. Rijndael, is an NIST approved encryption cipher with a block size of 128 bit, and symmetric keys with lengths of either 128, 192 or 256 bits.

Camellia

A symmetric key block cipher with similar capabilities and key sizes to AES. It was developed in Japan by NTT and Mitsubishi and is approved by the ISO/IEC, EU and the Japanese CRYPTREC project.

ARIA

Another block cipher that is similar to AES, ARIA was developed by a group of researchers in South Korea in 2003.

Hash-Based Message Authentication Code (HMAC)

This is a type of message authentication that uses cryptographic hashes to both authenticate a message and ensure data integrity, think SHA-256.

Authenticated Encryption

AE or AEAD provides confidentiality, integrity and authentication assurances on data under a single programming interface. Typically used in conjunction with a block cipher.

Obviously, this is an incomplete list, there are dozens of other ciphers. But this should at least give you some more context when we begin discussing cipher suites in the next section.

A Cipher Suite is a combination of algorithms used to negotiate security settings during the SSL/TLS handshake. After the ClientHello and ServerHello messages are exchanged, the client sends a prioritized list of cipher suites it supports. The server then responds with the cipher suite it has selected from the list.

Cipher suites are named combinations of:

So, for instance, heres an example of a cipher suite:

Ive color-coated it to help you distinguish between the ciphers.

TLS is the protocol. Starting with ECDHE we can see that during the handshake the keys will be exchanged via ephemeral Elliptic Curve Diffie Hellman (ECDHE). RSA is the authentication algorithm. AES_128_GCM is the bulk encryption algorithm. Finally, SHA-256 is the hashing algorithm.

Most browsers and servers have a list of cipher suites that they support, the two will compare the lists in order of priority against one another during the handshake in order to determine the security settings that will be used.

Of course, as TLS 1.3 inches towards a final release, this is all going to change. While previous versions of SSL/TLS through TLS 1.2 used the version of cipher suites described here, in version 1.3 cipher suites will change structure as they will only be used to negotiate encryption and HMAC algorithms.

Because the structure of 1.3 cipher suites is different from its predecessors, they will not be interchangeable with older TLS versions.

For those that like to skim, here are the key takeaways from todays conversation:

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Cloud storage provider Box’s revenue rises as growth slows – Reuters

(Reuters) – Box Inc shares fell more than 3 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company reported slower quarterly growth in revenue compared with a year prior.

The cloud content company turned in revenue of $122.9 million and a loss of 11 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 13 cents and revenue of $121.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Despite beating expectations, Box saw its revenue growth slow. Revenue was up 28 percent, billings were up 31 percent and deferred revenue was up 32 percent year-to-year, but those figures were lower than the growth the company reported this time last year.

“Theres no question we can be driving pretty significant growth, and thats the opportunity that lays ahead of us,” Chief Executive Officer Aaron Levie told Reuters on Wednesday.

Levie emphasized the companys July hire of new Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Carullo, who he said will be tasked with helping the company accelerate growth.

One of the core reasons we brought her in is to help Box go to $1 billion and beyond in revenue as quickly as possible, Levie said.

Despite slower revenue, Levie highlighted Boxs top deals in the quarter, saying the company closed eight deals over $500,000 and four over $1 million. By comparison, Box closed just five deals worth more than $500,000 and one over $1 million in the same period last year. These included deals with Amazon.com Inc and Delta Global Services, he said.

“We’re seeing a significant migration from large enterprises,” Levie said. “They’re starting to move to the cloud.”

Box’s success with large customers is a good sign for the company going forward, said analyst Richard Davis of Canaccord Genuity.

That’s the most important thing,” Davis said. “That’s what will help them become a big business.”

Reporting by Salvador Rodriguez in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Grant McCool and Lisa Shumaker

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As bitcoin surges in price and popularity, so do the complaints – CNBC

Virtual currencies such as bitcoin are becoming more and more popular as an alternative investment thanks to their rising value, but as more consumers engage with it, so are the number of complaints against tech companies offering digital currency products.

The number of complaints about virtual currencies filed with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has increased from seven last year to a projected 425 this year, according to a report from online loan refinancing marketplace LendEDU, published on Tuesday.

“In 2017, virtual currency transactions account for 0.0019 percent of the total complaints received by the CFPB. The CFPB is on pace to receive 425 complaints in 2017, up 5,971 percent from the seven complaints received in 2016,” Jeff Gitlen, content marketing analyst at LendEDU, said in the report.

The report analyzed 145,948 complaints made against 2,731 different companies this year. Complaints to the CFPB cover a range of personal finance issues, including bank accounts and services, credit cards, debt collection and money transfers. The report did say it was possible that some complaints related to digital currency transactions could be tagged with a different category, such as “bank account.”

The report highlighted Coinbase, a market-leading wallet provider for cryptocurrencies in the U.S., as being behind a number of the complaints. Six complaints were filed against Coinbase in 2016 and 288 complaints have been filed so far this year. LendEDU predicts it will receive 442 complaints this year, for various reasons and in various categories.

These are just complaints filed with the CFPB. Coinbase enjoys a marking leading position with nearly 10 million users, according to its website, but a scan of complaints made against the company on social media indicates a number of dissatisfied customers: Posts on Twitter to the company’s customer support account shows some users attempting to resolve issues raised weeks ago.

Many of the complaints raised concern problems regarding verifying accounts, withdrawing money and making transactions.

Part of the problem, according to the report, is that regulators have placed greater restrictions on companies such as Coinbase in order to prevent money-laundering and other crimes, which have a knock-on effect for consumers.

“Regulators have forced exchanges, like Coinbase, to place tight restrictions and limits on users due to anti-money laundering concerns. Coinbase, and other exchanges, now require an in-depth verification process to withdraw money,” Tyson Cross, an attorney with Cross Law and a specialist in bitcoin, said in the report.

Coinbase did not immediately respond to requests for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Regulations have tightened as cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have become more popular. Bitcoin’s price reached a fresh all-time high of $4,703.42 on Tuesday, up nearly 70 percent for the month of August. It is currently trading at around $4,598 for one bitcoin.

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Here is how Indians are minting a fortune in bitcoins – Economic Times

BENGALURU: When 32-year-old Harshad Gawde first invested in bitcoins in 2013, he couldn’t have expected the returns from it to sponsor an all-India tour, beginning with a six-month trip through Roopkund hills in Uttarakhand. He will be living off $15 daily payouts from that investment.

“I invested in bitcoin when one coin was worth Rs 28,000, one-tenth of what it is today,” the Mumbai-based Gawde said. On August 30, one bitcoin was worth Rs 2,91,822its value skyrocketing since Donald Trump’s election as the US president in November and spawning an industry of auxiliary services for people rushing in to find gold in the virtual currency.

Bitcoin is a decentralised, paperless cryptocurrency invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, an alias for an anonymous programmer in 2009.

Unlike traditional currencies, crypto coins are not produced by a central authority like a bank or a consortium. It is a mathematical formula. These coins are produced by massively souped-up computers, called ‘mining rigs’, that solve complex math problems to obtain these virtual currencies. A ledger records all the transactions. A typical crypto currency mining rig runs round-the-clock, its performance depending on the high-end graphic cards and cooling systems used not an inexpensive proposition at an average Rs 3 lakh a machine. Even so, several online vendors as well as individuals are investing in these machines to mine crypto currencies.

A Chandigarh-based online vendor, who calls himself Letsmine, is one such ‘miner.’ He has built and sold 90 mining rigs through eBay at a base price of Rs 3,00,000 each.

Letsmine has been selling rigs for the past one year, assuring customers that the investment can be recovered in 8-9 months.

Not just building rigs, “we even host rig of others at a monthly cost. We will install your rig at our location in a temperature-controlled room and charge monthly,” said a spokesperson for Delhi-based Gadgets Deal India, which also sells on eBay.

Bitcoins saw explosive growth in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled high-denomination banknotes in November. Indian bitcoin exchanges have received a lot of traction in the past few months with more than 1 million active crypto-currency users.

“We recently crossed 100,000 active users on our platform, and are adding 10,000-20,000 users a month,” said Hesham Rehman, chief executive of bitcoin exchange Bitxoxo.

The rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies has enabled techies like Saket Nalegaonkar to build services around it. The 28-year-old Internet-of-Things engineer spends his spare time travelling around the country helping enthusiasts set up rigs for mining.

“I saw an opportunity in building rigs,” he said. “So far, I have helped more than 10 people in India build rigs and charge them on a permonth basis for upgrade and maintenance.” Kumar Badgujar, a management graduate, had other ideas for mining crypto-currencies. The 26-year-old rewired five computers in his college lab, making them work in tandem to mine ethereum (another crypto-currency that is on the rise).

“Assimilate the computing powers of five personal computers helps me mine faster,” said Badgujar, who has been clustered mining the past four months to produce both bitcoins and ethereum.

CLOUD MINING Some companies Hashflare, Genesis and Bitconnect among them have even set up so-called farms to collectively mine crypto currencies for individuals unable to assemble their own machines, for a fee. “Cloud-mining is the in-thing now,” said Gwade, who runs a bitcoin support website, bitcoinsupport24* 7, that receives about 10 email enquiries a day related to investments in bitcoin.

Individuals can now spend as low as $2 to start with for mining, and these companies assure fixed returns every month. “These give out fixed payouts… which is what I am going to spend during my trip,” Gawde said.

Given the massive surge in the value of crypto-currencies, real-estate developers, too, are seeking a piece of the action.

Bengaluru-based Nalegaonkar, who helps set up rigs for mining, has been contracted by real estate developers to convert entire floors into mining farms. In the last two months, “I have gotten contracts from two real estate developers to create in-house mining farms in Indore and New Delhi,” he said.

The lack of regulations, though, has cast a shadow over the bitcoin universe.

“Over the last six months, the (Reserve Bank of India) has issued several statements warning consumers about financial and regulatory risks associated with virtual currencies,” said Kannan Sivasubramanian, co-chief of research and advisory firm Aranca.

“Considering the rise in usage of such currencies across the world and in India, the government should look at putting a policy framework in place immediately.”

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Heads in the cloud: banks inch closer to cloud take-up – Risk.net (subscription)

The attractions are obvious: in todays data-saturated world, cloud computing allows large institutions to rapidly expand their IT capacity, boost efficiency and slash infrastructure costs. The downside? New security threats, amplified by stricter rules on protecting customer data, and a dependence on third-party providers for potentially vitalservices.

It is with an eye on the downside that banks have been slow in adopting cloud computing, which involves on-demand access to a shared pool of computing resources, such as servers andapplications.

Earlier this year, the European Banking Authority (EBA) set out to change this in Europe, publishing draft recommendations for firms to enable them to reap the benefits of cloud computing, while ensuring that risks are appropriately identified and managed. The second objective is to harmonise, across the European Union, supervisors expectations of banks using the cloud. The EBA tells Risk.net it plans to publish final guidance in the fourth quarter of thisyear.

Cloud enthusiasts say such measures as well as ongoing work by cloud providers to meet banks unique needs are all steps in the rightdirection.

Luke Scanlon, Pinsent Masons

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and this [EBA] consultation will help a lot, says Luke Scanlon, who advises clients at law firm Pinsent Masons on newtechnologies.

The proverbial tunnel islong.

Take cyber security. On the one hand, cloud providers such as the leader of the pack, Amazon Web Services are likely to have security processes and technology that are at least as advanced as those of their banking clients, thanks to their technical expertise and economies of scale. On the other hand, providers can pass on a banks data or system management to yet another contractor, increasing security risks present in traditionaloutsourcing.

The EUs General Data Protection Regulation, coming into force next year, will up the ante on data security. The new rules require, among other things, that bank customers are able to request that their personal data held is deleted. One practical outcome, say lawyers, is that banks will have to clarify to cloud providers exactly how they should handle and categorise data to ensure it can be easily isolated and deleted ifrequired.

Of more concern are potentially punitive fines up to 4% of annual global turnover for firms found guilty of data breaches caused by neglect. The size of the potential fines is attracting a lot of attention from both clients and cloud service providers, says Peter George, partner at law firm Baker McKenzie, and responsible for the firms annual cloud computing survey. There will be contractual disagreements over where liabilitylies.

One way to spot and mitigate such outsourcing risks is to undertake regular audits of third-party providers, as banks in most EU countries are already required to do. The EBAs consultation now closed sets out similar guidance with a specific focus on cloud suppliers, and Scanlon at Pinsent Masons welcomes what he sees as a flexible approach to a difficulttask.

Cloud computing involves distributing data across any number of physical locations. Scanlon says that, given the largest cloud providers host services for thousands of banks, regular physical audits would be inefficient, costly and would create risks for other banking clients, related to the security of theirdata.

Rahul Prabhakar, in charge of regulatory compliance for financial services in Europe, Middle East and Africa at Amazon Web Services, puts it another way: A constant stream of people walking through our premises presents securityrisks.

Peter George, Baker McKenzie

The EBA recognises these challenges in its document and endorses alternative options where an outsourcing institution does not employ its own audit resources. These options are pooled audits, performed jointly with other banking clients, and third-party certifications or audits, provided they conform to widely recognised standards and meet the needs of the outsourcingbank.

This is a really positive step, Scanlonsays.

Prabhakar also welcomes the EBAs stance on audits but says the order of preference should be reversed. The EBA and other regulators should consider clearly stating that, one, logical [de-facto] access is more appropriate than physical access and, two, that third-party reports and certifications or pooled audits are more preferable than individualaudits.

Some regulators have been more prescriptive. Canadas Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions insists on being able to audit banks across their functions, says Robert Paolino, the former chief risk officer for Canada at Japanese bank MUFG. This effectively requires that data is stored within the country especially data considered as sensitive under Canadas PrivacyAct.

Oversight of cloud providers is even harder if they employ subcontractors. This may keep costs low but banking clients may not have a direct relationship with the provider of significant parts of the cloud service as a result. Its been a struggle to square that circle, says Jonathan Kirsop, partner at law firm Stephenson Harwood in London.

One solution has been for cloud providers to give notice that they are appointing a subcontractor and give clients the right to terminate that particular service. This does provide theoretical control over the supply chain, saysKirsop.

The EBAs draft advice on what it calls chain outsourcing says banks dont need to pre-approve every subcontractor, and providers can simply give clients notice of any subcontractor changes rather than require each change to be approved by all clients.

The EBA also proposes that the outsourcing institution should carefully delineate which activities can be subcontracted, and that any subcontractors fully comply with the obligations placed on the original cloud provider. The outsourcing agreement should also require the cloud provider to notify any changes to subcontracting arrangements in time for its clients to carry out a riskassessment.

A strategy for severing the relationship with a provider is another hurdle banks have to clear before cloud computing can properly take off in theindustry.

How do you extricate yourself from a cloud computing contract when youre dependent on the provider? asks George at BakerMcKenzie.

Guidance on outsourcing to the cloud released by the UKs Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last year suggests that banks should ensure exit plans are documented, understood by appropriate staff and fully tested. It says banks should monitor concentration risk and consider how they would respond if a service provider were tofail.

Peter George, BakerMcKenzie

However, the details remain largely untested. No bank has ever exited from a significant public cloud technology arrangement, the BBA, a UK banking trade body, and Pinsent Masons wrote in a January discussion paper. The report focuses on the cloud model that is available to the general public, with Amazon Web Services the best-knownexample.

As a result, frictions arise as to the contractual terms between banks and cloud service providers and other third parties leveraging public cloud. There is added pressure as parties do not have the benefit of experience to call upon, the paper continues. The BBA is therefore calling on the FCA to work with the banking industry to produce a due diligence checklist for banks migrating from cloudcontracts.

The draft EBA guidance also acknowledges concentration risk inherent in cloud computing, not only from the point of view of individual institution but also at industry level where large suppliers of cloud services can become a single point of failure when many institutions rely onthem.

Among other recommendations, the EBA advises banks to develop key risk indicators to spot deterioration in the cloud service to unacceptable levels, and to prepare alternative solutions and plans for transitioning to them from the out-of-favour cloudprovider.

Not only will a smooth transition to another provider ensure the banks services are unaffected, but it will also spare the bank reputational damage from a failure by a thirdparty.

Neither the EBA nor the FCA guidance contains tips on negotiating contracts with cloud providers, which comes with its own unique challenges.

In traditional bespoke outsourcing, financial services clients tend to have a lot of bargaining power and are able to use their own master services agreements, says Kirsop at Stephenson Harwood. With a cloud service, its a one-to-many solution. Suppliers cant have lots of different terms or policies for different clients. Clients have to get comfortable with standard terms, with limited ability to negotiate around them. Thats the fundamentaldifference.

Finally, as with most banking activities in the post-financial crisis era, regulation can be a key determinant of the spread of innovativepractices.

The EBA wrote in its draft guidance that uncertainty among banks about how supervisors expect them to handle cloud computing poses a barrier to its adoption.

In Indonesia, banks are blocked outright from migrating to the cloud due to their regulators requirement that all critical services be hosted within the countrys borders. For banks, who could they find in Indonesia that could host those services? The big [cloud] providers dont want to set up data centres in Indonesia; its not viable for them right now, says Manish Chawda, partner at Singapore consulting firm Pragma, which specialises in cyber and technologyrisks.

Differences in rules between jurisdictions present another headache for banks.

Jonathan Scott-Lee, Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered, for example, has operations in 68 emerging markets. As the bank is ramping up its use of cloud computing, the answer is not as might be assumed to take a highest common denominator approach, says Jonathan Scott-Lee, the Singapore-based global head of compliance, data, technology, operations and outsourcing at StandardChartered.

For a start, a gold-plated cloud strategy would eliminate most if not all of the cost efficiencies of the cloud. Second, even the highest specifications can fall foul of some regulatory environments: China, for example, mandates specific regulatory standards on the commercial use ofencryption.

I advise our digital teams to develop technology as globally as possible but that is flexible enough to allow software to be deployed in local environments, Scott-Lee says. For example, a cloud-based system could be linked to a locally housed database for client information for jurisdictions where the regulator requires data on clients to be heldlocally.

However, the trend is now towards ironing out regulatory differences around cloud computing, as illustrated by the EBAinitiative.

Jeroen Prins, a London-based financial services technology risk expert at PwC, sums up: For key jurisdictions we believe that similar principles apply and it is now feasible for the larger banks to adopt cloud servicesglobally.

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Heads in the cloud: banks inch closer to cloud take-up – Risk.net (subscription)

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Walmart Taps Nvidia for Massive Cloud to Take on Amazon – Fortune

Walmart, which is building its own cloud-based data centers, will be using morea lot moreNvidia chips going forward, according to a research note from Global Equities Research.

In doing so, the retail giant joins a number of cloud computing providers like Amazon Web Services that are using more of what’s known as graphical processing units, or GPUs, to crunch data for machine learning. GPUs, the thinking goes, are better suited for analyzing huge data sets or controlling autonomous cars than more general-purpose chips that are used for more typical computing.

Over the next six months, Walmart (wmt) will go “full steam” into deep neural networks, using clusters of Nvidia chips, Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdhry says in a note released Tuesday, which Barrons first spotted. Neural networks, a subset of artificial intelligence (AI), are sophisticated computing systems that mimic how the human brain learns.

Chowdhry says that Walmart is building a “GPU farm” that will be about a tenth of the size of rival Amazon Web Services “GPU” cloud. He does not identify any sources.

Related: Walmart Gears Up Anti-Amazon Stance After Whole Foods Deal

The business context here is important. Walmart has seen AWS parent company Amazon (amzn) eat into its business for years and is thus loathe to use AWS cloud services for its own computing needs. That’s one big reason it built its own OneOps cloud while also making that OneOps core technology available for other companies to use.

Walmart is not the only retailer wary of putting its IT budget into AWS services. On Tuesday, the day after Amazon closed its $13.7 billion acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods, CNBC reported that Target is scaling back its own use of AWS. What was most surprising to many about that report was the notion that Target used AWS to begin with. But then again, software developers at big companies often AWS to build test versions of their software without their bosses knowing.

A Target spokesman said that company has used and will continue to use multiple cloud providerswhich he did not name. Early this year it evaluated that lineup and decided to make some changes, he added, without additional detail.

Neither Walmart nor Amazon could be reached for comment.

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Going further back, in June after the Whole Foods deal was announced, Walmart reportedly told its partners and suppliers to stop using AWS services. The good news for retailers that are wary of using a competitor’s cloud services is that Microsoft (msft) Azure and Google (goog) Cloud Platform are now seen as viable alternatives for many customers.

Note: (August 30, 2017 4:49 p.m. EDT) This story was updated to add comments from Target.

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Walmart Taps Nvidia for Massive Cloud to Take on Amazon – Fortune

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