Clean Energy Technologies, RIP Passwords?, The dynamic duo, Blockchain-Based KYC Solutions, and Binance’s Transparency Exposed Red Flags

Reducing The Cost Of Clean Energy Technologies Key To A More Sustainable Future

Affordable pricing for clean energy technologies is the key to achieving a more sustainable and eventual net-zero emission economy by 2050, officials within the Biden administration said on Friday.

Speaking in a panel discussion hosted by Resources for the Future, four government leaders working within the clean energy technological development space identified some of the critical innovations required to deploy clean technology nationwide. 

The cost of new energy technologies, including new building and transportation design and systems, will determine how widespread the rollout can be.

“A lot of the work that we're doing around innovation is not just proving the technologies, but it's really commercializing them, getting them out the door,” Julie Cerqueira, the principal deputy assistant secretary for International Affairs at Energy said. “And then really focused on bringing down the cost of those technologies.”

Cerqueira said that some of the initiatives Energy is taking to support affordable clean energy tech include the Earthshot initiative to foster collaboration between academic, private, and public sectors––a key Biden administration initiative.

Leadership at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has a similar stance on developing clean energy technologies. Sally Benson, the office’s deputy director for energy and chief strategist for the energy transition, said job creation and bringing down utility costs can help get clean energy technologies launched.Read more...

RIP Passwords? Passkey support rolls out to Chrome stable

Passkeys are here to (try to) kill the password. Following Google's beta rollout of the feature in October, passkeys are now hitting Chrome stable M108. "Passkey" is built on industry standards and backed by all the big platform vendors—Google, Apple, Microsoft—along with the FIDO Alliance.

Google's latest blog says: "With the latest version of Chrome, we're enabling passkeys on Windows 11, macOS, and Android." The Google Password Manager on Android is ready to sync all your passkeys to the cloud, and if you can meet all the hardware requirements and find a supporting service, you can now sign-in to something with a passkey.

Passkeys are the next step in evolution of password managers. Today password managers are a bit of a hack—the password text box was originally meant for a human to manually type text into, and you were expected to remember your password. Then, password managers started automating that typing and memorisation, making it convenient to use longer, more secure passwords. Today, the right way to deal with a password field is to have your password manager generate a string of random, unmemorable junk characters to stick in the password field. The passkey gets rid of that legacy text box interface and instead stores a secret, passes that secret to a website, and if it matches, you're logged in.Read more...

The dynamic duo: Strong UI and bias-free AI technology 

As of 2021, 91.5% of businesses report an ongoing investment in artificial intelligence (AI). As organizations consider their next big AI solution, there are two key components that must be kept top of mind throughout this search: A strong user interface (UI) and bias-free results. 

Poor UI design is a leading reason why certain technology doesn’t gain high adoption rates within organizations. If the UI of an AI solution is easy to use, delivers strong performance, and has engaging branding and design features, its business impact and usage will skyrocket.

But, of course, it doesn’t stop with just looks and usability. Ensuring that organizations implement bias-free AI technology is key for ongoing success. AI algorithms are shaped by the data used to train them. That data, and the training process itself, can reflect biased human decisions or historical and social inequities — even if sensitive variables are removed. To maintain and build trust with new AI capabilities, companies must always value and enforce usability and accuracy while continuing to raise their expectations of such technology. Read more...

Blockchain-Based KYC Solutions Offer Privacy and Efficiency

Blockchain-based businesses, financial service providers and banks can't bypass Know Your Customer (KYC) processes. But existing KYC solutions that have been developed over the years—such as manual and online identity verification, video and biometrics—have their drawbacks: A high risk of error, effort duplication and more.

With the advent of blockchain technologies, companies are realizing that there are better, more efficient KYC solutions that let them avoid having to collect and store personal information.

Not your run-of-the-mill KYC solution

As blockchain technology matures, many people are looking toward decentralized identity or self-sovereign identity as an ideal—people will gain control over their digital identities and they'll avoid having to provide excessive, unwarranted information.

Mechanisms already exist to help us reach that ideal: In web3, physical assets will eventually be owned by someone, but a digital-only relationship between the buyer and seller won't suffice. There must also be a physical relationship so that a buyer has legal recourse to get this physical asset—a complexity most people are glossing over.

That's where blockchain can be used to improve on traditional KYC providers: Typical KYC processes require people to upload their proof of identity to a verifier. However, businesses working toward becoming more decentralised shouldn’t need this extent of information, nor should they require custody of a person’s tokens. Read more...

Binance’s Transparency Exposed Major Red Flags In Its Finances

Binance's transparency efforts exposed red flags in its financials, according to accounting and financial specialists consulted by The Wall Street Journal.

As noted by a former Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) member and investment manager, the report released by the audit firm Mazars gives not bring investors confidence about the exchange's finances, as it lacks information related to the quality of internal controls and how Binance's systems liquidate assets to cover margin loans.

Another red flag raised by the newspaper's sources regards the lack of information about Binance’s corporate structure. According to the report, Binance’s chief strategy officer, Patrick Hillmann, was unable name Binance’s parent company, as Binance has been going through a corporate reorganization for almost two years.

Differences between the total Bitcoin liabilities were also highlighted. The exchange's proof of reserves shows that Binance was 97% collateralised, excluding assets lended to users through loans or margin accounts, indicating that the 1:1 ratio of reserves to customer assets was not achieved."Read more...

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