Daily Archives: May 21, 2018

nChain Acquires Majority Stake in HandCash Wallet for Bitcoin Cash

LONDON, May 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — nChain Group, the leading blockchain research and development group, has closed deal terms to acquire a majority stake in HandCash.  HandCash is a Bitcoin Cash mobile wallet which uses near field communication (NFC) technology to make it as easy for users to send Bitcoin Cash to someone as if they were handing cash.  The deal was made through nChain Group’s investment entity, nChain Reaction Ltd.

HandCash was co-founded in Spain by Alejandro Pascual Agut and Rafael Jiménez Seibane. With NFC technology, the mobile application allows mobile wallets to complete instant transfer of Bitcoin Cash funds with each other through “contactless” means once users’ mobile devices are in close proximity to each other (similar to contactless credit card and Apple Pay functionality).

HandCash co-founder Alex Agut explains:  “Bitcoin was conceived to be peer-to-peer electronic cash.  We wondered why Bitcoin was not being used like cash.  That gave us the idea to create a wallet application that allows you to send Bitcoin in a way that resembles handing someone cash, by merely placing a sender’s mobile device close to the recipient’s device.  That’s why we named our project HandCash.  We also knew the application could only work on Bitcoin Cash, with its low fees and instant confirmations.”

HandCash also makes it easier to send Bitcoin Cash without having to ask for a complicated receipt address or even a QR code, as most current Bitcoin applications require.  Instead, users can identify and send funds to each other using “handle” names.  In addition, users can keep their funds safe with easy ways to back up their wallets on the cloud or inside any NFC chip.

HandCash also supports growth of Bitcoin Cash for merchant payments, with plans to create easy “contactless” payment mechanisms at the retailer point-of-sale. Its anticipated payment features will ignite greater merchant adoption of Bitcoin Cash.

HandCash co-founder Rafa Seibane remarks: “In addition to financial investment, nChain will provide us access to its research, intellectual property and deep Bitcoin Cash expertise.  We believe this technical support will give HandCash advantages in becoming a leading Bitcoin Cash wallet and payment system.”

nChain Group CEO Jimmy Nguyen comments: “For Bitcoin Cash to grow, user interfaces need to become better and easier to use.  We are impressed with HandCash and its vision for simplifying the Bitcoin Cash transaction process to a contactless approach.  nChain is thrilled to support HandCash on its journey to make Bitcoin Cash wallets and payment systems easy to use around the world, and to ignite global adoption of Bitcoin Cash.”

nChain’s deal with HandCash follows just days after the May 15, 2018 protocol upgrade for the Bitcoin Cash network.  This recent upgrade implements two key changes:

  • Increasing the default size of blocks on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain from 8MB to 32MB; and
  • Restoring certain OP_Codes for advanced functionality.

The BCH 32 MB default block size is significantly larger than Bitcoin Core (BTC)’s small 1 MB block.  This larger block size allows BCH network capacity to be over 8 million transactions per day, which is more than PayPal processes.   This ensures usage of BCH can rapidly grow while maintaining the capacity needed to process greater transaction volumes, at fast speeds, but keeping fees very low.   The upgrade validates HandCash’s vision in creating its wallet product for Bitcoin Cash.

Website:  nChain.com
Twitter:  @nChainGlobal

ABOUT NCHAIN GROUP: The nChain Group is the global leader in research and development of blockchain technologies.  Its mission is to enable massive growth and worldwide adoption of the Bitcoin network – focusing on Bitcoin Cash as the true Bitcoin.  The nChain Group includes these business units:  1) nChain Limited – a blockchain research and development service provider in London, United Kingdom; 2) nChain Holdings Limited – a intellectual property holding and commercialization company; 3) nChain Reaction – an investment entity which supports ventures that have Bitcoin Cash products or applications; 4) nCrypt – a Bitcoin wallet and exchange in Canada; and 5) BMG Operations – a Bitcoin Cash mining operation.

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/694400/nChain_HandCash_Logo.jpg

MEC Debbie SchA�fer on allegations at Equal Education

MEC deeply concerned about allegations of sexual misconduct at Equal Education

Over the past week, allegations of sexual harassment have been made against three Equal Education (EE) employees: General Secretary, Tshepo Motsepe – who I believe recently resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment of female staffers – Luyolo Mazwembe, who is reportedly being investigated after he allegedly offered a job for sex to a volunteer, and Doron Isaacs, Co-founder and Treasurer of the organisation. This is most concerning.

Equal Education works in schools across the province, and whilst at least some of the allegations appear to be from people within the staff of the organisation, it is not clear whether any learners are involved. In addition, if the allegations are correct, this is hardly the type of person we need working in our schools.

I have therefore written to Equal Education requesting that they furnish me with the details regarding every interview or engagement conducted by Mr Motsepe, Mr Mazwembe or Mr Isaacs so far this year, with any female learner in the Western Cape. I have requested the names of learners, the school that the learners’ attend, the date of the interviews and who was present during the interviews. I require this information by this Friday, 25 May.

I have also demanded an undertaking by 5pm tomorrow, Tuesday 22 May, that they will cease operations in Western Cape schools until such time as we have had an opportunity to meet with them and discuss the way forward. Should we not receive such undertaking, we shall instruct our schools not to allow anybody from Equal Education, and who is not a learner at the school, onto school premises.

In addition, I want to know whether Equal Education conducts background checks on their staff and if so, whether Mr Motsepe, Mr Mazwembe and Mr Isaacs passed the relevant checks. If they do not, I would like to know why not, given that they have access to our learners.

Sexual abuse against young female learners is prevalent in our communities, as raised by Equal Education on a number of occasions, and it is distressing that such allegations have been made against high ranking members of their own organisation.

In the meantime, I have requested that our Chief Director for Districts immediately investigate what measures are taken by NGO’s working in our schools to vet their members, and put whatever processes are necessary, in place.

Source: Government of South Africa

MEC Debbie SchA�fer on allegations at Equal Education

MEC deeply concerned about allegations of sexual misconduct at Equal Education

Over the past week, allegations of sexual harassment have been made against three Equal Education (EE) employees: General Secretary, Tshepo Motsepe – who I believe recently resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment of female staffers – Luyolo Mazwembe, who is reportedly being investigated after he allegedly offered a job for sex to a volunteer, and Doron Isaacs, Co-founder and Treasurer of the organisation. This is most concerning.

Equal Education works in schools across the province, and whilst at least some of the allegations appear to be from people within the staff of the organisation, it is not clear whether any learners are involved. In addition, if the allegations are correct, this is hardly the type of person we need working in our schools.

I have therefore written to Equal Education requesting that they furnish me with the details regarding every interview or engagement conducted by Mr Motsepe, Mr Mazwembe or Mr Isaacs so far this year, with any female learner in the Western Cape. I have requested the names of learners, the school that the learners’ attend, the date of the interviews and who was present during the interviews. I require this information by this Friday, 25 May.

I have also demanded an undertaking by 5pm tomorrow, Tuesday 22 May, that they will cease operations in Western Cape schools until such time as we have had an opportunity to meet with them and discuss the way forward. Should we not receive such undertaking, we shall instruct our schools not to allow anybody from Equal Education, and who is not a learner at the school, onto school premises.

In addition, I want to know whether Equal Education conducts background checks on their staff and if so, whether Mr Motsepe, Mr Mazwembe and Mr Isaacs passed the relevant checks. If they do not, I would like to know why not, given that they have access to our learners.

Sexual abuse against young female learners is prevalent in our communities, as raised by Equal Education on a number of occasions, and it is distressing that such allegations have been made against high ranking members of their own organisation.

In the meantime, I have requested that our Chief Director for Districts immediately investigate what measures are taken by NGO’s working in our schools to vet their members, and put whatever processes are necessary, in place.

Source: Government of South Africa

Impregnated Southern White Rhino Could Save Nearly Extinct Relative

A southern white rhino at the San Diego Zoo in California has become pregnant as a result of artificial insemination with sperm from a male southern white rhino. The development increases hopes that a nearly extinct close relative, the northern white rhino, can be saved.

News that the female southern white rhino named Victoria is pregnant is seen as a breakthrough, and a step toward saving the northern white rhino species. The pregnancy was confirmed last week. If Victoria is able to carry the calf to term, it will be born in about a year.

The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research issued a statement that said confirmation of this pregnancy through artificial insemination represented a historic event for the organization and was a critical step in the effort to save the northern white rhino.

The world’s last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died after age-related complications in March at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, his home for 10 years after being transferred from a zoo in the Czech Republic. Sudan was 45 years old and had been in ailing health.

Sudan’s death was seen as a tragedy, as it marked the possible end of a species.

Researchers optimistic

Reproductive options for producing a northern white rhino include artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, with the southern white rhinos possibly serving as surrogates for northern white rhino embryos.

The statement from the institute said researchers were optimistic that a northern white rhino calf could be born from these procedures within 10 to 15 years.

Kenya is home to the last remaining northern white rhinos, Sudan’s daughter Najin, and granddaughter, Fatu.

The second-to-last male northern white rhino, Suni, died in 2014. Suni had also been brought back to Africa from the Czech Republic.

Sudan and Suni were too old to mate by the time they left Europe.

A team at Ol Pejeta is also working on a different project that seeks to save the northern white rhino from extinction.

Serve as surrogate

The plan is to harvest eggs from the two remaining northern white females. The animals cannot be artificially inseminated because they are infertile. Scientists intend to use an Ol Pejeta southern white rhino as a surrogate for northern white rhino eggs.

“Ol Pejeta is working on invitro fertilization,” said Richard Vigne, CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

There are two northern white rhino females left. Both are infertile � they cannot get pregnant. So, what we want to do is remove eggs from their ovaries. We want to take the eggs, and we want to fertilize them in a test tube with northern white rhino sperm to create an embryo which can then be implanted into southern white rhino females acting as surrogate mothers, to eventually produce a pure bred northern white rhino calf exactly as it happens in humans.

Paul Gathitu, a Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman, said any news toward wildlife conservation is good news.

Any indication that technology, science, will be able to propagate this creates hope, and particularly for animals that are on the extinction path, Gathitu said. For humanity, it’s a good sign. It means that there is a possibility we could turn to science and technology and see contributions toward conservation.

Human big part of problem

Vigne said people have a responsibility to help save endangered species because humans are the top reason for endangerment.

I think there is a bit of hope for the northern white rhino, but I think the important point that people need to understand is that it is not only the northern white rhino that is threatened by extinction, Vigne said.

There are thousands of other species across the planet that are currently facing extinction as a result of human activity. While we may be able to save the northern white rhino by spending a lot of money on it, the truth of the matter is, all of the other species that are threatened by extinction will go extinct unless the way that humans interact with our environment changes.

Poaching has escalated in recent years and is being driven by the demand for Ivory. Rhino populations worldwide, in the meantime, continue to dwindle due to poaching.

Source: Voice of America

Burundi Commission: Voters Backed Constitutional Changes

Voters in Burundi have approved changes to the constitution that could allow the president to stay in office until 2034.

The country’s electoral commission said Monday that 73 percent of voters backed the changes in last Thursday’s constitutional referendum.

The amendments extend presidential terms from five to seven years and effectively allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for two more terms after his current term expires in 2020.

They also create the position of prime minister and enable the government to do away with power-sharing agreements between Hutus and Tutsis.

In a statement Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the referendum process “was marred by a lack of transparency, the suspension of media outlets, and attempts to pressure voters.”

Burundi suspended broadcasts by Voice of America and the BBC ten days ahead of the vote.

Nauert also said some of the amendments “run counter to the power-sharing principles of the Arusha Agreement,” which ended Burundi’s civil war.

Supporters of the changes argued they are necessary for stability in the central African country, which is still recovering from a civil war and political unrest in 2015 that prompted hundreds of thousands to flee the country.

Opponents said the changes are anti-democratic and designed to keep Nkurunziza in power. The 2015 unrest was sparked when the president chose to seek a third term, defying critics who said he was violating term limits.

Source: Voice of America