Latest Articles

Blockchain-Powered Drones and Natural Disaster Management

In the past few years, the strength and frequency of hurricanes hitting U.S. coastlines have increased dramatically. Just this month, Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm, tore through Florida and South Carolina, leaving scores dead and causing property damage costing billions of dollars.

Climate scientists are warning that this is the new norm and are calling for disaster management teams to ensure community preparedness. Communities and authorities in hurricane-prone areas seem to be adapting quickly and adopting cutting-edge technologies to weather these storms. Recently, drones have become critical tools for mapping affected disaster zones, finding trapped survivors and delivering food and medical supplies. They’re also enabling local communities to participate in rescue efforts alongside disaster management authorities. 

Drones are cheap to operate, and anyone can own them provided they get a license from the Federal Aviation Administration, which means that in times of disasters, licensed volunteers can join hands with authorities to identify areas requiring rapid response. Traditionally, rescue teams rely on satellite images and footage from helicopters to identify hot-spot areas.

While satellite images are less detailed, obtaining footage from a manned aircraft is tedious and very costly. Drones, on the other hand, are more reliable because they can take closer shots and usually come with high-resolution cameras and mapping tools. Some are even made to withstand harsh weather conditions such as hurricanes and can, therefore, be used to give a minute-by-minute account of a disaster as it unfolds.

And the usage of unmanned vehicles in disaster management could soon transform, thanks to blockchain, AI and machine learning innovations. AI and machine learning enable drones to navigate accurately without requiring human intervention. And blockchain technology ensures security and full transparency for parties within a given drone network. A major goal here is to ensure that drones do not inadvertently interfere with rescue operations.

When all drones within a given area are registered on a blockchain network, it becomes possible to monitor their whereabouts without disclosing personal details. What this means is that in times of disaster, authorities can identify and stop those operating illegally. Blockchains also provide an opportunity for private drone operators to get paid for their work. 

When it comes to disaster management, incentivizing volunteer drone operators attracts expertise and encourages fast response. A blockchain-based project known as Soar is already exploring opportunities in this area through its Skymap token. Drone operators can upload their video content and data onto the Soar marketplace and get paid in tokens when other users purchase their work.

Soar is seeking to use satellite, aerial and drone imagery to create a detailed world “super map” that regularly updates as drone operators across the globe upload new images. Drone operators whose images are selected to update the map will get remunerated through smart contracts. A highly detailed and regularly updated map would be very helpful in emergency management, from planning through response and recovery to the mitigation of future events.

A project known as Distributed Sky is also exploring the use of blockchain technology and AI in the drones industry. The Distributed Sky project aims to create an air traffic control system for unmanned aircraft across the globe. It will achieve this by enabling transparent and highly secure peer-to-peer communication between drones, their operators and other parties within the network.

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges in the use of drones in disaster management is traffic management. With Distributed Sky, this will be a concern of the past, given that different drone operators will be able to coordinate with each other and with emergency agencies.

During Michael, the recent hurricane to hit the Southeast, authorities have been so worried about uncoordinated drones interfering with rescue missions that the FAA has imposed a $20,000 fine on anyone caught operating a drone without a license. With projects such as Distributed Sky, the authorities can track every drone in their area and do not have to worry about these devices getting in the way of help or restricted areas. 

The entry of blockchain technology in the drones industry is still in its earliest stages, with more promising developments yet to come. Undoubtedly, disaster management is among the biggest beneficiaries of the union between drones, blockchains and AI. 

Google Adds Bitcoin Symbol to iOS Keyboard

Source: Reddit

Google has added the Bitcoin symbol to its keyboard on iOS, making it one of several alternative currency symbols available when users hold down the dollar symbol key.

Germany Opens Industry Consultation Process for Blockchain Strategy

Source: Reuters

Ahead of announcing an official strategy for leveraging blockchain technology more widely, the German government has opened a process for receiving recommendations around the technology from local companies and industry groups. Germany is Europe's largest economy and Berlin is home to numerous blockchain startups. The solicited recommendations could lead to official legislative action in the near future.

In the Post ICO World, CoinList Prepares Crypto Projects for Investment

ICOs emerged quickly as a popular model for crypto startups to raise funds, exposure and customer interest. But the world of ICOs took a nasty turn in 2018, with many projects that used the model unable to deliver on their promises to investors or turning out to be downright phony.

NFTs: How They Work and How They’re Bridging Blockchains and the Collectibles Industry

The upcoming NFT.NYC event highlights the growing role that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are playing in the crypto industry — and a growing intersection between crypto assets and collectibles.