Amazon: How E-Commerce Giant Chose Blockchain Over Bitcoin

On November 13, Amazon was granted with two crypto-related patents.

On November 13, Amazon was granted two crypto-related patents. While the American e-commerce pioneer, with a revenue of over $177 billion, has not chosen to accept Bitcoin (BTC) and major altcoins as a payment option despite public interest and competitors’ experience, it has not ignored the subject altogether. In fact, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud computing arm, has contributed to blockchain adoption.

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Amazon and cryptocurrencies: refusal to accept BTC, unfulfilled plans for Amazon Coin

Amazon has a complex relationship with crypto. In April 2014, the e-commerce giant decided not to accept Bitcoin (BTC) citing customer preferences. Amazon payments head Tom Taylor told Recode in an interview:

“Obviously it gets a lot of press and we have considered it, […] but we’re not hearing from customers that it’s right for them and don’t have any plans within Amazon to engage Bitcoin.”

Curiously, the move came just few months after Overstock.com, one of Amazon’s rivals, became the first major retail company to introduce BTC as a payment option and found initial success, as its CEO Patrick Byrne claimed that Amazon would have to “follow suit.”

Taylor’s comment could have meant that the e-commerce giant would turn to cryptocurrencies once they see more exposure. However, the 2014 decision stays to date, regardless of the overall improved market capitalization and adoption, public petitions addressed to CEO Jeff Bezos, and some businesses being built around serving as the middlemen for Amazon customers willing to pay with digital currencies.

Nevertheless, Amazon has not distanced itself from engaging with crypto altogether. In May 2014, not long after announcing it had no plans for crypto, Amazon was awarded a Bitcoin-related patent for the use of digital currencies as payment for cloud computing services on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is worth noting, however, that the patent was filed back in March 2012, and crypto was mentioned as only one possible form of payment there.

In November 2017, the e-commerce giant was reported purchasing a number of crypto-related domain names including “amazoncryptocurrencies.com,” “amazoncryptocurrency.com,” and “amazonethereum.com.” It was also noted at the time that “amazonbitcoin.com” redirects to the original Amazon URL.

However, it could have been an attempt to shield the Amazon brand or avoid confusion with Amazon Coin, the company’s digital currency that was introduced in 2013 for Kindle e-book owners. The coin has not seen extensive use despite the documented public interest.

In April 2018, Amazon won a patent for a subscription feed system described as a “streaming data marketplace.” Essentially, the company claimed, it could “identify [Bitcoin] transaction participants” for governments and law enforcement. The document was filled in June 2014 and showed that while the e-commerce giant might accept the idea of dealing with crypto, it put strong emphasis on the Know Your Customer (KYC) side of the business. That, in turn, would neglect a major part of Bitcoin’s ideology and design.

Thus, Amazon has not shown itself to be exactly a pro-Bitcoin company. Nevertheless, its relationship with the underlying technology, blockchain, has proven to be much more fruitful.

Amazon and cryptocurrencies

Amazon and blockchain: major collaborations, contribution to adoption

On December 5, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a partnership with R3 — a major blockchain consortium of over 200 members — to allow its Corda platform to become one of the first distributed ledger technology solutions (DLT) on the AWS marketplace. Corda is an open-source DLT platform designed to work within finance to operate complex transactions and restrict access to transaction data. Basically, it allowed users to deploy decentralized applications (dApps) onto the AWS platform and to create new apps directly.

The news came as a shock, granted that just a few days before the announcement, AWS CEO Andy Jassy essentially criticized blockchain for not having use cases “beyond the distributed ledger,” noting that even those had very limited capabilities. Moreover, he reiterated the company’s policy not to “build technology because we think it is cool.”

He did add, however, that AWS was interested in ways that blockchain could benefit their customers:

“We are very intrigued by what customers are ultimately going to do there.”

Still, there were at least three blockchain-based platforms on the AWS marketplace before Corda’s arrival and Jassy’s speech, which shows that Amazon’s initial interest in blockchain arose earlier in 2017.

On April 19, 2018, AWS’s journey into blockchain continued. The cloud platform introduced its blockchain framework for Ethereum (ETH) and Hyperledger Fabric, allowing users to build and manage their own blockchain-powered DApps. Called AWS CloudFormation Templates, the tool was designed to avoid the time-consuming manual setup of one’s own blockchain network.

Next month, in May, AWS partnered up with ConsenSys, a blockchain incubator started by Ethereum’s co-founder Joseph Lubin. Specifically, the e-commerce company collaborated with Kaleido — a blockchain business cloud that aims to help firms accelerate the “entire journey from experimentation and PoCs [proofs-of-concept] to pilots and production,” and is based on the Ethereum blockchain. Together, they aim to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients so that they can “focus on their scenario, [without having] to become PhDs in cryptography,” as Kaleido co-founder Steve Cerveny explained to CNBC.

Kaleido has since expanded to a full-stack platform dubbed “Kaleido Marketplace.” It reportedly “eliminates 80 percent of the custom code” needed to build a given blockchain project by providing an array of tools and protocols that are “plug-and-play,” spanning needs from back-end development to front-end app user interfaces.

Currently, there are around 25 blockchain-oriented platforms hosted on the AWS platform, some of which are also reporting promising results. For instance, in September, a blockchain system developed by Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO) and Sydney University claimed to have set a benchmark of 40,000 transactions per second during a test on Amazon Cloud — for comparison, BTC infrastructure normally scales up to eight transactions per second, while ETH blockchain capability is set at 15 transactions per second.

Amazon’s blockchain experiments have attracted recognition from mainstream players: for example, “Big Four” audit and consulting firm Deloitte has emphasized Amazon’s blockchain-related efforts in its October report, arguing that the e-commerce giant had been helping to stimulate technology adoption and contributing to improving the costs of operations on blockchain. Additionally, Bank of America (BoA) research analyst, Kash Rangan, told CNBC that blockchain is well-suited to some of the world’s largest corporations, noting:

“Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient.”

Amazon and blockchain

Amazon’s latest advancement: more blockchain patents, crypto-related job ads

While Amazon has been acquiring both cryptocurrencies and blockchain-related patents, it is fair to take them with a grain of salt — as the industry is still young, a lot of players, like the aforementioned Bank of America (BoA), which currently has the most of such patents, are merely trying to mark the field before the others get there. Consequently, not all patents (blockchain-related or not) are going to be put to use any time soon. For instance, in 2016 Amazon was awarded a patent for a system to deliver goods through a chain of underground tunnels, a highly ambitious and costful goal that is probably not the company’s top priority.

On November 13, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published two more Amazon patents related to methods for protecting the integrity of digital signatures and improving distributed data storage, filed in April 2018 and December 2015 respectively.

The first patent document outlines a “signature delegation” method for “protecting the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications,” by allowing for the generation, distribution, validation, and revocation of one-time-use cryptographic keys. In the proposed system, these keys are arranged in what is known in cryptography as the so-called “Merkle Tree” structure, which is essentially a binary tree of hashes constructed from the bottom up.

Amazon’s second patent, is related to distributed data storage. The filing proposes a “grid encoding technique,” using groups of collected “shards,” where each shard represents a logical distribution of data items stored in a given grid. The patent filing suggests this method can help minimize storage redundancy.

While Amazon might be having more patents coming, the e-commerce giant is nowhere to be seen in the main part of patents, occupied by the likes of its Chinese counterpart Alibaba and IBM. Nevertheless, Amazon is set to continue its explanation of the technology, as the AWS platform continues hosting blockchain solutions, and the company is looking to expand its staff with more blockchain engineers.

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Survey: Crypto Investors Lean Towards Innovation and Novel Thinking

Crypto Investors Lean Towards Innovation and Novel Thinking

A recent survey of over 1,000 Americans hoped to glean more about attitudes toward crypto. According to Clovr, the vast majority of virtual currency investors are young, male, and relatively wealthy. Clovr, a company focused on fostering mainstream adoption of blockchain, recently carried out a survey of 1,004 Americans vi the Amazon Mechanical Turk Platform. The survey focused on people’s thoughts about crypto and investing. The company said more than 75% of respondents indicated they

The post Survey: Crypto Investors Lean Towards Innovation and Novel Thinking appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Bank of America: Blockchain Market Could Hit $7 Bln, Will Give Boost to Amazon, Microsoft

The Bank of America has estimated that blockchain could be a $7 billion market and provide a major boost to corporate giants such as Microsoft and Amazon.

The Bank of America (BoA) has estimated that blockchain could be a $7 billion market and provide a major boost to corporate giants such as Microsoft and Amazon, CNBC reports Oct. 2.

While BoA’s analysts refrained from putting “a time stamp” on the industry becoming a major, multi-billion dollar addressable market, they reportedly based their estimates on a ballpark figure that two percent of corporate servers would be used to run blockchain at a cost of $5,500 annually.

BoA research analyst Kash Rangan told CNBC that the technology is well-suited to some of the world’s largest corporations, noting for example that:

“Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from Blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient.”

Rangan emphasized, however, that while many potential use cases for blockchain have been widely recognized, “full products/services have not yet been built out and are not used in production,” leaving the technology’s capacity to generate real-world capital still unproven.

Rangan added that the innovation of distributed ledger systems could take so-called “software as a service” (SaaS) models to the next level by implementing “blockchain as a service” (BaaS). Rangan chose Microsoft’s popular blockchain-based Azure platform as a salient example, stating:

“BaaS on Azure offers services such as smart contracts and other third party apps, and should benefit as use of blockchain on Azure increases.”

Among other high-profile beneficiaries poised to benefit from blockchain, BoA included Oracle, IBM, Salesforce.com, and VMware, as well as major players from the real estate and mortgage industries such such as Redfin, Zillow, and Lendingtree.  

Notably, many of the firms recognized by BoA have already made major forays into the blockchain space.

Fresh data published late August revealed that IBM is vying with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for the top spot on a new list ranking global entities by the number of blockchain-related patents they have filed to date. This summer, tech giant IBM closed a seminal five-year $740 million deal with the Australian government to use blockchain to improve data security and automation across federal departments.

Microsoft, for its part, first announced the launch of its Ethereum-based Azure cloud computing platform as early as 2015, and continues to improve on the product. Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud platform this spring introduced a framework for Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric that allows users to build and manage their own blockchain-powered decentralized applications (DApps).

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Deloitte Outlines Five Major Obstacles to Blockchain’s Mainstream Adoption

Deloitte has outlined five major areas where blockchain needs to develop to achieve widespread adoption.

“Big Four” audit and consulting firm Deloitte has outlined five basic areas of development for blockchain technology in order achieve widespread adoption, according to a study published September 28.

According to Deloitte, in order to be adopted by enterprises on a mass scale, blockchain technology should overcome five major obstacles – the possibility of time-consuming operations, lack of standardization, high costs and complexity blockchain applications, regulatory uncertainty, as well as the absence of collaboration between blockchain-related firms.

Identifying the area that needs the most development, Deloitte singled out the problem of possible operational delays on a distributed ledger network. The company emphasized that slow transaction speed is one of the main reasons for many players to avoid considering blockchain as a technology that can be applied in “large-scale applications.”

Another major obstacle for blockchain on the path to widespread adoption is lack of standardization. Deloitte pointed out that the lack of standardization prevents technology disruptors from interact with each other. The consulting giant cites the fact that there are over 6,500 active blockchain projects on GitHub, with most of them based on different protocols, consensuses, privacy measures, as well as written in different coding languages.

Among the remaining areas for development, Deloitte listed the necessity to reduce both costs and complexity of network operations, the importance of innovation-supporting regulation, as well as the crucial role of collaboration between blockchain-related firms.

In terms of costs and complexity of the emerging technology, Deloitte referred to major technology giants such as Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft that have reportedly delivered less complicated implementations of blockchain by using cloud technology, as well as contributed to improving the costs of operations on blockchain.

Among the most complex issues around blockchain regulation, the company highlighted the difficulty of regulating smart contracts, which do not necessarily fit into existing frameworks.

The report’s final point stresses the importance of cooperation between blockchain-related firms in order to push forward the new deployments of the technology, as well as to provide better education in the sphere. The company says the increasing number of blockchain consortia, such as R3, is a “bullish sign,” because the “value of a blockchain network increases with the number of users.”

Last month, Cointelegraph published an interview with Jeremy Gardner, founder of Blockchain Education Network and co-founder of blockchain prediction platform Augur. In the interview, the industry expert claimed that in order to achieve mass adoption, those developing in the industry must “include the people who have the most benefit” from blockchain technology – namely the world’s disenfranchised – commenting that “we haven’t done a great job doing that, yet.”

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Former Twitch Senior Vice President of Marketing Joins Crypto Startup Kin as CMO

The Kin Ecosystem Foundation has appointed a former executive of Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch as its chief marketing officer.

Former Twitch exec Matthew DiPietro has joined crypto startup Kin Ecosystem Foundation as chief marketing officer (CMO), PR Newswire reports September 18.

After serving eight years as senior vice president at the popular live streaming platform Twitch, DiPietro will now be responsible for developing marketing and brand strategies for Kin, the cryptocurrency launched by Kik Interactive, as specified on the expert’s LinkedIn profile.

According to PR Newswire, DiPietro drove brand development for Twitch, as well as led all marketing projects, including the launch of community convention TwitchCon that is devoted to Twitch and the culture of video game streaming.

Having started his career at Twitch as the only marketing specialist in 2010, DiPietro developed a department of more than 40 employees working on brand marketing, content marketing, creative initiatives, events, product marketing, and communications.

Following the new appointment, DiPietro commented on his new position at the crypto startup in a Reddit post, stating that assisting the “adoption of a transformative technology,” which is able to “fundamentally change the relationship between consumers and developers” is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Launched in 2011, the Twitch live streaming video service is now a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon, which acquired Twitch Interactive for around $970 million in August 2014. Also in 2014, Twitch first started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) payments, resuming the option through the Coinbase payment processing gateway in August 2016, following previous issues with Bitcoin payments via Xsolla.

Recently, Twitch streaming application Streamlabs announced it started accepting tips in cryptocurrency via Coinbase’s crypto exchange and wallet. The first coins available as tips are the ones supported by Coinbase, including Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). New coins will reportedly be added in the future along with new listings on Coinbase, as the crypto exchange and wallet announced it was examining the addition of five new coins in July.

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Amazon And ConsenSys’ Startup To Offer Simplified Blockchain Platforms

Amazon’s cloud computing arm is teaming up with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to develop simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the tech giant’s cloud computing arm, is partnering with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients, CNBC reports today, May 15.

Kaleido is a blockchain business cloud that helps enterprises build and manage blockchain platforms without having to start from scratch, and is based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is one of the emerging ventures supported by Joseph Lubin’s blockchain incubator ConsenSys, who introduced the project today in New York:

Lubin told CNBC that Amazon’s move “is a heavy duty, full stack way of getting the company into blockchain solutions.”

Kaleido is already listed on AWS marketplace, where it explains that the blockchain solution is designed to accelerate the “entire journey from experimentation and PoCs [proofs-of-concept] to pilots and production.” Clients can choose “between Ethereum protocol packages Geth and Quorum” as well as “consensus algorithms such as RAFT, IBFT, and POA.”

As Steve Cerveny, one of the founders of Kaleido, told CNBC, companies can therefore “focus on their scenario, [without having] to become PhDs in cryptography.”

Before its latest partnership with Kaleido, in April AWS released a blockchain framework for Ethereum (ETH) and Hyperledger Fabric, allowing its users to build and manage their own blockchain-powered decentralized applications (DApps). Last year, a petition directed at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos demanded that cryptocurrencies be accepted as a mode of payment on the e-commerce platform, but the company has to date not made this option available.

Ethereum is currently trading at $737.75 at press time, down 0.33 percent over a 24-hour period.

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Amazon And ConsenSys’ Startup To Offer Simplified Blockchain Platforms

Amazon’s cloud computing arm is teaming up with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to develop simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the tech giant’s cloud computing arm, is partnering with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients, CNBC reports today, May 15.

Kaleido is a blockchain business cloud that helps enterprises build and manage blockchain platforms without having to start from scratch, and is based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is one of the emerging ventures supported by Joseph Lubin’s blockchain incubator ConsenSys, who introduced the project today in New York:

Lubin told CNBC that Amazon’s move “is a heavy duty, full stack way of getting the company into blockchain solutions.”

Kaleido is already listed on AWS marketplace, where it explains that the blockchain solution is designed to accelerate the “entire journey from experimentation and PoCs [proofs-of-concept] to pilots and production.” Clients can choose “between Ethereum protocol packages Geth and Quorum” as well as “consensus algorithms such as RAFT, IBFT, and POA.”

As Steve Cerveny, one of the founders of Kaleido, told CNBC, companies can therefore “focus on their scenario, [without having] to become PhDs in cryptography.”

Before its latest partnership with Kaleido, in April AWS released a blockchain framework for Ethereum (ETH) and Hyperledger Fabric, allowing its users to build and manage their own blockchain-powered decentralized applications (DApps). Last year, a petition directed at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos demanded that cryptocurrencies be accepted as a mode of payment on the e-commerce platform, but the company has to date not made this option available.

Ethereum is currently trading at $737.75 at press time, down 0.33 percent over a 24-hour period.

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Amazon And ConsenSys’ Startup To Offer Simplified Blockchain Platforms

Amazon’s cloud computing arm is teaming up with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to develop simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the tech giant’s cloud computing arm, is partnering with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients, CNBC reports today, May 15.

Kaleido is a blockchain business cloud that helps enterprises build and manage blockchain platforms without having to start from scratch, and is based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is one of the emerging ventures supported by Joseph Lubin’s blockchain incubator ConsenSys, who introduced the project today in New York:

Lubin told CNBC that Amazon’s move “is a heavy duty, full stack way of getting the company into blockchain solutions.”

Kaleido is already listed on AWS marketplace, where it explains that the blockchain solution is designed to accelerate the “entire journey from experimentation and PoCs [proofs-of-concept] to pilots and production.” Clients can choose “between Ethereum protocol packages Geth and Quorum” as well as “consensus algorithms such as RAFT, IBFT, and POA.”

As Steve Cerveny, one of the founders of Kaleido, told CNBC, companies can therefore “focus on their scenario, [without having] to become PhDs in cryptography.”

Before its latest partnership with Kaleido, in April AWS released a blockchain framework for Ethereum (ETH) and Hyperledger Fabric, allowing its users to build and manage their own blockchain-powered decentralized applications (DApps). Last year, a petition directed at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos demanded that cryptocurrencies be accepted as a mode of payment on the e-commerce platform, but the company has to date not made this option available.

Ethereum is currently trading at $737.75 at press time, down 0.33 percent over a 24-hour period.

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Amazon And ConsenSys’ Startup To Offer Simplified Blockchain Platforms

Amazon’s cloud computing arm is teaming up with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to develop simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the tech giant’s cloud computing arm, is partnering with ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms for its clients, CNBC reports today, May 15.

Kaleido is a blockchain business cloud that helps enterprises build and manage blockchain platforms without having to start from scratch, and is based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is one of the emerging ventures supported by Joseph Lubin’s blockchain incubator ConsenSys, who introduced the project today in New York:

Lubin told CNBC that Amazon’s move “is a heavy duty, full stack way of getting the company into blockchain solutions.”

Kaleido is already listed on AWS marketplace, where it explains that the blockchain solution is designed to accelerate the “entire journey from experimentation and PoCs [proofs-of-concept] to pilots and production.” Clients can choose “between Ethereum protocol packages Geth and Quorum” as well as “consensus algorithms such as RAFT, IBFT, and POA.”

As Steve Cerveny, one of the founders of Kaleido, told CNBC, companies can therefore “focus on their scenario, [without having] to become PhDs in cryptography.”

Before its latest partnership with Kaleido, in April AWS released a blockchain framework for Ethereum (ETH) and Hyperledger Fabric, allowing its users to build and manage their own blockchain-powered decentralized applications (DApps). Last year, a petition directed at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos demanded that cryptocurrencies be accepted as a mode of payment on the e-commerce platform, but the company has to date not made this option available.

Ethereum is currently trading at $737.75 at press time, down 0.33 percent over a 24-hour period.

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