HTC's Exodus1 blockchain phone will reportedly be using the Brave browser, which is known for its high degree of privacy and ad blocking functions. Photo: HTC Corp

HTC’s blockchain phone to use Brave browser: The Exodus1, a blockchain phone from Taiwanese manufacturer HTC that has received a somewhat tepid reception from tech media, will reportedly be using the Brave browser. Brave, known for its high degree of privacy and ad blocking functions, should in theory link with the phone’s offer that includes interoperability between blockchains, a suite of DApps (decentralized applications) and a universal crypto-currency wallet. Chief executive Brendan Eich, co-founder of San Francisco-based Brave, tweeted the “happy” news at the weekend, which might see this niche browser start to hit the mainstream.

Korea legislature debates blockchain: Korea has just held its first parliamentary debate on cryptocurrency. Aside from lawmakers, attendees included the likes of UBS Securities, the Korea Financial Investment Association, Clifford Chance and the country’s Financial Services Commission. Reports indicate the meeting came at the request of local cryptocurrency exchanges that include Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Gopax, and Coinone.

Chinese miner Bitmain to shut Israeli operations: Bitmaintech Israel has become the latest victim of the cryptocurrency bear market, according to local media reports. “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation,” Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmaintech Israel, reportedly said in a note to employees. Bitmain, as well as fellow coin mining equipment maker Ebang, also recently put their Hong Kong IPO ambitions on hold.

Facebook moving towards blockchain? Social media giant Facebook recently posted a number of ads for blockchain professionals, including two software engineer roles, a data scientist post and a data engineer. “The blockchain team is a start-up within Facebook” read one of the ads, “with a vision to make blockchain technology work at Facebook scale… Our ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now – that could be things like equitable financial services, new ways to save, or new ways to share information.” It will be more than interesting to see how Facebook, which has faced a global barrage of criticism over its alleged past data sharing practices, works with blockchain in the future.

UNICEF explores uses of distributed ledger: 
A UNICEF Innovation Fund is investing up to $100,000 in six companies that are working to “solve global challenges using blockchain technology.” The six – Atix Labs, Onesmart, Prescrypto, Statwig, Utopixar and W3 Engineers – have been asked to deliver open-source prototypes of blockchain applications within 12 months. Core issues for UNICEF include transparency in healthcare delivery, affordable access to mobile phone connectivity and the ability to direct finances and resources to social-impact projects.