• Bitcoin high still short of USD 9,000 as bulls attempt to find strength
  • Coinbase begins testing of facial recognition technology with AI assistance from Clearview
  • Kaspersky suggests a blockchain voting system could solve US election woes

 

Bitcoin price continues to struggle to find momentum, with the daily high still short of USD 9,000 (CoinDesk). On the other hand, Bitcoin bears have been equally unable to plunge to fresh bottoms, so Bitcoin does look quite strong at these prices today.

The selling flurry is estimated to have been worth over USD 190 million, with shorts liquidated over derivatives exchange BitMEX, according to data analysis from Skew. In comparison, only USD 6.1 million worth of buy orders were fulfilled. This is possibly the main reason for the price falls, rather than vague coronavirus news the media has been feeding the market lately. This is BitMEX’s record volume of liquidations for the year so far.

But the news on Friday is actually almost all bullish (apart from Craig Wright news which is always a non-sentiment for us). We start off with US crypto exchange Coinbase, one of the largest in the world and certainly the most well known in the USA.

It has announced a pilot testing period for facial recognition technology called Clearview AI. With 30 million new accounts, Coinbase clearly has a reason to test such technology, but has denied that the tests involve data from customers. The software has actually been embroiled in past controversy when the New York Times expose blew the cover on Clearview’s database that had scraped more than 3 billion images from websites and social media without asking permission from the users or publishers.

Clearview AI in fact is facing litigation threats from some of these platforms that include Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Its CEO, Hoan Ton-That, had said in the past that it was only with law enforcement that it deployed the software, and with an exclusive focus on Canada and the US. An anonymous source, however, leaked the entire customer list to BuzzFeed, revealing thousands of entities across 26 countries, and included corporate clients including Walmart and Macy’s. A BuzzFeed spokesperson said:

“Our security and compliance teams tested Clearview AI to see if the service could meaningfully bolster our efforts to protect employees and offices against physical threats and investigate fraud. At this time, we have not made any commitments to use Clearview AI.”

Meanwhile, the public in the US could be happier to hear that other blockchain implementations are getting some traction. After the Iowa Democratic Caucus earlier in February caused such a fiasco with mobile voting, blockchain companies are now proposing alternative solutions that could prevent such issues and introduce even more benefits.

One such firm is Kaspersky Lab, who this week pulled the curtains to reveal a new type of voting machine that is based on blockchain. Called Polys, it was actually first shown off in November 2017 to be a new way to vote online effectively and securely.

Moscow-based Kaspersky will probably know that the US public remembers the recent Russian links that allegedly influenced the last Presidential elections, but as it has offices throughout the nation, it could hope that the public doesn’t view these innovations in a bad light.

In any case, blockchain-based votings aren’t new and have already been trialed with supposedly good success. In Sierra Leone, for example, some 70% of votes were cast on the blockchain in 2018 (although latter reports downplayed the significance). In India, where corruption and lack of transparency in elections are rife, the Chief Election Commissioner also announced blockchain voting for citizens.

But will Americans warm up to Polys, in the way that it allows them to conveniently vote and also have the security of crypto? Roman Aleshkin, Project Lead for Polys, believes the benefits certainly look far better than traditional methods, on paper at least:

“From speaking to our customers, we understand the issues and inconvenience they face when organising paper-based voting. As we see from our Polys platform, e-voting can solve some of these issues, allowing more possibilities for remote participation and even increasing turnout of younger people.”

 

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