Friday, February 27, 2015

Elaha’s letter to Bitcoin Rush: 

I graduated from Goharshad High school of Herat, and got a bachelor degree in Computer Science at Herat University in 2012. I started my social activities when I was a University student as a social activist in the field of women's empowerment through technology.
My sister Roya Mahboob, who was named in Time 100 most influential people in the world in 2013, and I, along with a group of IT women, created the first women-owned IT business company, Afghan Citadel. It provides services like software development, networking infrastructure, web designing and IT consulting in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, there were really few job opportunities for women, especially in IT because of lack of knowledge and experience. The companies and government preferred hiring men than women. Besides, there are a lot of families who do not let the girls go and work outside of the house. Because of all these issues, we decided to start our company and help those women. We were almost all women in the company, working in a safe environment. The families trusted us, and we were able to bring a big change.
In 2012, we started to create IT centers for female students in Afghanistan. We have built 13 IT centers with the sponsorship of Film Annex (now Bitlanders).
Later on, we created the Women’s Annex Foundation with the mission to empower women and children through Digital Literacy. We have the ongoing support of our 13 IT centers in female schools in Afghanistan, and an existing network of 55,000 female students connected to the World Wide Web.
In Afghanistan, where most people, especially women, do not have a bank account, Bitcoin is a great solution, also for online shopping.
This is why we are educating Afghan women about digital currencies such as Bitcoin, with the purpose to make them stand on their own feet and become financially independent.
As of today, we have a large number of bloggers from Afghanistan. Most of them are female students who are being rewarded with Bitcoin. One of then is Parisa Ahmady, whose story is mentioned in the book The Age of Cryptocurrency by Wall Street Journal reporters Paul Vigna and Michael Casey. The books preface starts with this:
"Even though Parisa Ahmadi was in the top of her class at the all-girls Hatifi High School in Herat, Afghanistan, her family was initially against her enrolling in classes being offered by a private venture that promised to teach young girls Internet and social media skills – and even pay them for their efforts. “"Here in Afghanistan a woman’s life is limited by her room’s walls and school,” she wrote in an email. In Afghanistan, girls are not exposed to the Internet, not at home and not at school. That’s the way it might have stayed, too, if Ahmadi hadn’t persisted. She was a top student, and she wanted to take even more classes. In her mind, that was reason enough. She pressed her family, by her own admission, “a lot.”

“The Women’s Annex sets up their classrooms in local high schools, and the classes are taught by women. Because of this last feature, Ahmadi’s family finally relented, and let her sign up.
Ahmadi started taking classes in 2013, and she and her classmates were learning about the World Wide Web, social media, and blogs. A movie lover who also loved to write about the movies that moved her, she began writing blog posts, and it turned out that its members responded positively to her reviews, earning her the first real income of her young life. “

“ Still, one of the other things most girls don’t have in Afghanistan is a bank account. If the Afghani teen ever had any money, she had to transfer it into her father or brothers’ bank accounts, and that’s simply the way it is for most girls where she lives. In this sense, she was lucky—many women from her background would have encountered male family members who outright blocked her from access to her funds and treated it as their own.”


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

OpalCoin announces release of Opal Drive 


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Opal Coin is happy to announce the release of Opal Drive, the latest addition to the Opal cryptocurrency. Encrypted with the same system used in Opacity, which allows a user to encrypt a file with another user’s private key using only their public key, Opal leverages Storj’s existing MetaDisk infrastructure. By using Storj’s MetaDisk infrastructure, users will be able to upload, transfer, and decrypt files all in the wallet via the Storj MetaDisk API. Opal announced Opal Drive February 24, 2015, and is expected to have a basic demo release within 2-3 days which will allow users to upload files with the ability to transfer data coming shortly after. 
Opal from the ground up was designed to be an all in one solution for anonymity online regardless. Receiving a 7/7 from Coins Source and a 5/5 from CryptoAsian, Opal is a well-known and trusted cryptocurrency in a competitive altcoin ecosystem. Opal announced the project several months ago, but recent headlines of sensitive information only served further to prove the need and accelerate the development of a decentralized files storage system. With encrypted messages as well as anonymous transactions fully functional, secure cloud storage was the next natural step. 
By implementing completely anonymous “push” security, Opal is applying a method first found in cryptocurrencies. By using “push” security, users can only access files that are marked retrievable, a crucial step that alone defends information from prying eyes. 
Opal expects that Opal Drive will be used by businesses and individuals alike to store confidential information safely in the cloud. In a digital world where centralized storage solutions are prone to hackers and government seizure, Opal offers a decentralized solution. 
Lead developer of Opal, Whit Jack, stated:  “Opal is excited for the potential applications of a decentralized file transfer protocol, based on the same technologies as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  We believe that we can greatly improve the file sharing industry by protecting against hacking, spying, and other nefarious situations.”
Opal has many other projects in the work, such as colored coins for example, which will allow cryptographic loyalty programs and provably fair gambling. Opal has many features planned out in its roadmap, with Opal Drive to be rolled out soon. 
About Opal 
Founded on September 11, 2014, Opal is a privacy-focused cryptocurrency that had no ICO, IPO, or premine. Consisting of a team of 10 members with skills ranging from marketing to coding and development, all expenses are covered by the development team. Opal is currently traded on 6 exchanges and offers a wallet for every major operating system.