Overstock CEO Jonathan Johnson has claimed that private, consumer-controlled immunity passports may be the killer-app that propels blockchain technology into the mainstream. In an interview with PYMNTS, he said that the company’s investment arm has turned to two startups creating blockchain-based apps allowing consumers to download and control their health records.
Johnson suggests that we must consider what will make an average consumer feel safe to use air travel, restaurants, or even stores again after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Ultimately, he believes this hinges on the knowledge that everyone around them is uninfected with the virus:
“An immunity passport is what that is going to look like for a lot of industries. If I can prove that I’ve got the antibodies or have steered clear of infection entirely, and I can show that on an immunity passport, that’s pretty powerful.”
A major hurdle with such an app is how to encourage adoption. Potential users may be put off amid concerns about data privacy or illicit usage. And stories about totalitarian regimes like China enforcing such a scheme on its citizens do nothing to calm fears. The key difference between the blockchain-based apps in which Overstock is investing, and a state-enforced scheme, says Johnson, is that of choice.
Consumers must choose to access their health data through the app, and can then choose who to share the information with. Johnson also thinks that adoption will improve when certain businesses start to require such an immunity passport, for example to watch a sports match, enter a plane, or dine at a restaurant. This will force consumers who want to participate in such events to sign up.
Overstock has been a long-time advocate of cryptocurrency and blockchain, but Johnson feels that the technology has so far been overshadowed by its first use case of digital payments. He says that a solution which enables consumers and businesses to regain confidence in transacting face-to-face, utilizing the secure and immutable transfer of data by blockchain, could bring the technology out of that shadow and into the mainstream consciousness — even if many don’t understand the technology behind it.
3 Big Blockchain Firms Working Together On A DeFi Product That Pays Passive Income
In a special announcement made at the Unitize conference on July 6, Cosmos, Polkadot, and Terra revealed a new DeFi savings product called Anchor that aims to offer dependable interest rates on stablecoins deposits. The companies involved in the creation of Anchor plan to launch it across their respective blockchains at the end of Q3 this year and scale across to other PoS blockchains in the future. Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terra, explained in a prepared statement:
“While DeFi staples such as Maker and Compound have been revolutionary in creating fully decentralized crypto money markets, the volatility of their interest rates makes them unsuitable to be used as a household savings product. DeFi mass adoption needs the creation of a fully decentralized savings account that offers dependable APR.”
Anchor’s smart contracts receive stablecoin deposits and use a portion of them to acquire staking positions on compatible Proof of Stake blockchains. Users will receive their passive income from these staking rewards. The initial governance for this platform will come from the Interchain Asset Association (IAA), a newly formed organization that sees Zaki Manian of Cosmos, Jack Platts of the Web3 Foundation, and Do Kwon of Terraform Labs collectively steering the ship.
Telegram Is Set To Shut Down The TON Testnet By August 2020
Although Telegram has terminated its blockchain project, Telegram Open Network (TON), in May 2020, the TON test net has been apparently running for almost one year. In a July 6 update, the official TON development group on Telegram announced that it would be discontinuing its support of the test network for TON. Remaining TON validators will be turned off by August 1. In the post, the TON official recommended network participants save all their relevant data and stop their testing processes. Despite the testnet being set to shut down less than a month from now, network participants will still be able to continue their experimentation after the testnet is terminated. In order to do that, users can install their own testnet validators, described in greater detail in three different how-to documents containing guidelines for the Full Node, the Validator, and Test Grams.
Telegram launched the TON testnet for explorer and node software on Sept. 6, 2019. In anticipation of its scheduled Oct. 31 launch last year, the company released an alpha version of an iOS wallet to work with its native token, the Gram. But Telegram’s TON plans were never fully realized, as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly deemed Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO illegal in mid-October. After a long-running legal battle with U.S. regulators, Telegram agreed to shut down its TON project, as well as return $1.2 billion to investors in line with a court-approved final settlement. As officially announced by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, the firm had already reimbursed more than $1.2 billion by June 25.
Brock Pierce Enters The 2020 US Presidential Race
Brock Pierce, entrepreneur, crypto venture capitalist, and child star, has announced his USA Presidential run on Twitter July 5. His tweet stated: “
“I, Brock Pierce, am running for President of the United States of America.”
Pierce’s campaign site states that he is a pioneer digital currency and has raised more than $5 billion for the companies he has founded. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin (first ICO). His website, sparse on details, does not say if he is seeking a nomination in a political party or if he is running as an Independent.