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How the Web3 stack can automate your enterprise

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How the Web3 stack can automate your enterprise

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Web3 is not only informing entire verticals and industries but automating the core technology stack of enterprises, including those once deemed as the disruptors.

Blockchain skepticism has turned to curiosity. People who were at the forefront of blockchain technology dismissal, longing to find viable uses cases, have now accepted that they were wrong. One of them is Nigel Morris (Managing Partner, FinTech firm QED Investors, and Capital One cofounder). A blog , Morris admitted that he was a crypto skeptic two years ago and that he didn’t fully understand the concept. It was difficult for me to understand the uses of it, and I honestly didn’t know if it would gain global adoption. I was wrong.” He continues, saying that he believes all portfolio companies will need to develop a position on crypto and Web3 in a short time.

In a letter to shareholders, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon praised blockchain technology and DeFi, a striking contrast to his previous crypto statements. Dimon now believes there are “many uses where a blockchain can replace or improve contracts, data ownership and other enhancements.” Barclays Corporate & Investment Bank’s Ramsey El-Assal said at its March summit meeting:

” We see blockchain technology’s potential on a scale similar to the transformational, decades-long IT shifts that took place from mainframes and PCs to the web and mobile. We believe that FinTech will continue to move away from “centralized” to more “decentralized” technology over the next few decades.

Gartner estimates that blockchain could generate as much as $3.1 trillion in new business value by 2030 – this could come in the form of the launch of new products/services across B2B and B2C verticals around the world. Blockchain technologies are currently most impacting the financial sector because of its obvious application – enabling a safer, more transparent, and more efficient global economy. This infrastructure will not be enough. Blockchain technology will also permeate all business functions, allowing them to re-platform their processes and operations. Enterprises will need to understand how decentralized technologies compare with current systems in order to harness the power of these technologies.

Enterprises and FinTechs are keen to be at forefront of finance. They want to offer comprehensive digital capabilities in one place. 40% of FinTechs’ current customers are likely to trade crypto next year (Activate Consulting). As crypto popularity continues to rise among their users, so does the need to adapt their platform to be “Crypto Ready” quickly. Enterprises are focused on keeping current users happy by providing a great user experience and increasing the number of active users. They must provide a platform for users to find all types of financial products including crypto, in order to continue being innovative leaders.

Source: The Web3 Stack

In Web2, consumers increasingly see banking-as-a-service solutions embedded in consumer goods. Target partners with PayPal and the Buy Now,Pay Later service Affirm in order to offer point-of-sale financing. Through a partnership between Go2Bank and Uber Cash, Uber Cash houses the Uber Visa Debit Card. The Web3 stack is a combination of technologies that are usually connected via APIs. It includes every blockchain network as well as the apps and tools designed to interact with them. The Web3 stack includes multiple layers: Access to, Use Case, Infrastructure and Protocol. Web3 enablers will allow enterprises to generate new revenue streams and enhance customer experiences via the blockchain, regardless of their industry.

Web3 is only partially in existence within enterprises but is already making an incredible impact and altering strategies. Cross River Bank, which just raised $620 million at a $3 billion valuation, powers embedded payments, cards, lending, and crypto solutions for over 80 leading technology partners. Giles Gade, CEO of Cross River, plans to offer more crypto-related products or services. He is aiming for a crypto-first strategy. The opportunity is a great one for investors. “As Web3 continues to gain mindshare of consumers and businesses alike, we believe Cross River sits in a unique position to serve as the infrastructure and interconnective tissue between the traditional and regulated centralized financial system, as it transitions slowly to a decentralized one,” said Lior Prosor, General Partner and Co-founder of Hanaco Ventures in the Cross River press release.

In many ways, this is the same time as when financial institutions and VCs recognized the disruptive potential of investing in FinTech innovation – analog to digital – years ago. FinTech is the combination of finance and technology. Web3 is the merging crypto with the internet. This step-function is better than the current financial system, and is why Web3 is being integrated by enterprises via robust API solutions.

Below are some examples of how the Web3Stack automates the enterprise.

Staking participation

Cryptocurrencies are more than assets that are being traded; they’re used to interact with blockchain networks and their app ecosystems. There are many uses for cryptocurrencies. Many people are aware that cryptocurrencies can be traded on an exchange, used to purchase products or pay for transactions. They can also be staked to generate income. You can also use cryptocurrencies for voting on code changes or to stake your network to gain access to restricted communities. An engineering team is not required to earn rewards for digital assets. Sometimes it makes economic sense to create your own node and stake crypto. No coding is required to spin up a node.

Trading & custody

For enterprises to adopt blockchain technology, it is crucial to be able to securely store, manage, and transact with cryptocurrency. Integrated solutions offer secure custody, advanced trading platforms and prime services, so that you can manage all your crypto assets from one location.

Analytics

A truly data-driven organization has yet to be created due to limitations in data access. Despite data being a core component of business processes, data access has remained bottlenecked by technical inefficiencies and the lack of interoperability and trust. Decentralized storage solutions or the ability to query, index, and transact data will unlock new value across many business functions. These solutions, along with smart contracts, will have huge implications for enterprise security and decision-making. These key products are built around AML. Analytics allows enterprises to connect crypto transactions with real-world entities by using public blockchain data attribution. This allows them to monitor risk and investigate fraudulent activity.

Commerce & payments

There is growing consumer demand for digital payment acceptance online and in retail. Transaction costs are embedded in legacy payment systems, which are passed on to the consumer. Both consumers and corporates are becoming more aware of the economics behind digital assets as an alternative means of exchanging. Merchants will be able to accept multiple currencies or offer consumers the ability to buy crypto from a crypto wallet. This will make it easier for everyone involved.

Data interaction

Enterprises can use Web3 APIs to explore the potential implementation of blockchain technology to perform accounting functions, improve IoT connectivity, access real time and verifiable information to automate decision-making, and take part in other networks. Enterprises can access blockchain-related data and insights quickly with read/write nodes. One API can save you and your engineering team time and money by allowing them to access data quicker and reducing development times.

Enterprises need to hire blockchain protocol specialists in order to fully understand how blockchain can improve their operations and provide insight into how they can benefit from participating in other networks. We saw a mobile app version of a website. Now we’ll see a Web3-version. This will include everything from Google and Salesforce to Facebook, Tiktok and Tiktok.

Some pieces to consider when evaluating the Web3 stack for automating your enterprise:

  • Leverage a third party’s combined crypto native and traditional finance experience.
  • Get your crypto offerings to market faster with flexible, mature, robust APIs and infrastructure.
  • Securely scale with standardized APIs to power and own the crypto experience via a range of fully integrated, white-labeled solutions.

Although there’s a general need for more regulatory guidance, crypto-first companies are working to best offer their partners a regulatory compliant framework while expanding their reach. Web3 products are gaining mainstream acceptance and will not be ignored. “As the FinTech sector continues to grow in tandem with cryptocurrency and blockchain popularity, businesses will continue to adopt digital asset technologies,” according to The Block Research.

Every Web2 service provider will have a Web3 version that allows enterprises to use their services. And that’s just the beginning.

Harry Alford manages institutional sales for Coinbase Cloud.

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Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are getting a built-in VPN at no extra cost

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Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are getting a built-in VPN at no extra cost
Google Pixel 7 Pro hands on front Snow



(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Users of the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro devices will be able to secure their data without the need to pay for an additional Android VPN after the company said it would be including its Google One VPN service at no extra cost. 

The move will make the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro the first smartphones to include a free VPN connection. 

The offer is restricted to just some countries, though – and what’s more, some data won’t be secured inside the VPN tunnel.  

Peace of mind when you connect online ✨Later this year, #Pixel7 and 7 Pro will be the only phones with a VPN by Google One—at no extra cost.¹#MadeByGoogle¹See image for more info pic.twitter.com/P7lzyoMdekOctober 6, 2022

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Google Pixel 7 VPN

Despite the aforementioned limits, the big tech giant assures that the VPN software won’t associate users’ app and browsing data with users’ accounts. 

Google One VPN typically costs around $10 per month as part of the company’s Premium One plan, which also comes with a 2TB of cloud storage on top. 

This decision is the latest move to bring Google’s mobile data security to the next level. Not too long ago, the company made Google One VPN available also for iOS devices, and also introduced the option of having an always-on VPN across its latest smartphones. 

Google promises that its secure VPN software will shield your phone against hackers on unsecure networks, like public Wi-Fi. It will also hide your IP address so that third parties won’t be able to track your location.

Shorter for virtual private network, a VPN is exactly the tool you want to shield your sensitive data as it masks your real location and encrypts all your data in transit. Beside privacy, it can allow you to bypass geo-restrictions and other online blocks. 

Chiara is a multimedia journalist, with a special eye for latest trends and issues in cybersecurity. She is a Staff Writer at Future with a focus on VPNs. She mainly writes news and features about data privacy, online censorship and digital rights for TechRadar, Tom’s Guide and T3. With a passion for digital storytelling in all its forms, she also loves photography, video making and podcasting. Originally from Milan in Italy, she is now based in Bristol, UK, since 2018.

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The Steam Deck dock is finally here and will ship faster than you think

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The Steam Deck dock is finally here and will ship faster than you think
a steam deck placed in a steam deck dock



(Image credit: Valve)

After months of waiting and delays, Valve has finally announced that the Steam Deck dock is available for purchase on its official site.

Not only that but, according to Valve, the dock will ship out in an incredibly fast one to two weeks, which pairs with the fact that the Steam Deck itself is now shipping with no wait time (not to mention that it’s incredibly easy to set up). The port selection is pretty solid as well, with the dock featuring three USB-A 3.1 gen 1 ports, one Ethernet port, a DisplayPort 1.4, and an HDMI 2.0 port. And for its power supply, it uses a USB-C passthrough delivery.

A Steam Deck dock will run you $90 (around £81 / AU$140), which is a bit steeper than most third-party options on the market right now. But for those waiting it out for an official product until now, price most likely will not be an issue.

Is it worth buying? 

Considering that even Steam Decks themselves are shipping without a queue and that the dock has such a quick turnaround to delivery, it seems that the supply chain issues that had been gripping Valve are loosening considerably.

However, the deck itself is far from perfect. Because of the fact that it uses USB-C for the display port, a third-party USB-C dock that uses its own power supply and video out will output the display of the official dock. 

And as mentioned before, the price of the official Steam Deck dock is steeper than many third-party options on the market, meaning that those who are on a budget might pass this product up in favor of a lower-priced one.

There are also some bugs that Valve is working on fixing at this time, including one involving compatibility with LG displays. According to the FAQ, if the “Docking Station is connected via HDMI, sleep/wake can result in visual noise.”

It might be worth waiting for Valve to work out the kinks of its dock before investing in one. And while you’re waiting, research other options that might better suit your needs.

Allisa has been freelancing at TechRadar for nine months before joining as a Computing Staff Writer. She mainly covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, and does reviews and featured articles for the site. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.

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Why doesn’t Bash’s `set -e` do what I expected?

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Why doesn’t set -e (or set -o errexit, or trap ERR) do what I expected?

set -e was an attempt to add “automatic error detection” to the shell. Its goal was to cause the shell to abort any time an error occurred, so you don’t have to put || exit 1 after each important command. This does not work well in practice.

The goal of automatic error detection is a noble one, but it requires the ability to tell when an error actually occurred. In modern high-level languages, most tasks are performed by using the language’s builtin commands or features. The language knows whether (for example) you tried to divide by zero, or open a file that you can’t open, and so on. It can take action based on this knowledge.

But in the shell, most of the tasks you actually care about are done by external programs. The shell can’t tell whether an external program encountered something that it considers an error — and even if it could, it wouldn’t know whether the error is an important one, worthy of aborting the entire program, or whether it should carry on.

The only information conveyed to the shell by the external program is an exit status — by convention, 0 for success, and non-zero for “some kind of error”. The developers of the original Bourne shell decided that they would create a feature that would allow the shell to check the exit status of every command that it runs, and abort if one of them returns non-zero. Thus, set -e was born.

But many commands return non-zero even when there wasn’t an error. For example,

if [ -d /foo ]; then ...; else ...; fi

If the directory doesn’t exist, the [ command returns non-zero. Clearly we don’t want to abort when that happens — our script wants to handle that in the else part. So the shell implementors made a bunch of special rules, like “commands that are part of an if test are immune”, and “commands in a pipeline, other than the last one, are immune”.

These rules are extremely convoluted, and they still fail to catch even some remarkably simple cases. Even worse, the rules change from one Bash version to another, as Bash attempts to track the extremely slippery POSIX definition of this “feature”. When a SubShell is involved, it gets worse still — the behavior changes depending on whether Bash is invoked in POSIX mode. Another wiki has a page that covers this in more detail. Be sure to check the caveats.

A reference comparing behavior across various historical shells also exists.

Story time

Consider this allegory, originally posted to bug-bash:

Once upon a time, a man with a dirty lab coat and long, uncombed hair
showed up at the town police station, demanding to see the chief of
police.  "I've done it!" he exclaimed.  "I've built the perfect
criminal-catching robot!"

The police chief was skeptical, but decided that it might be worth
the time to see what the man had invented.  Also, he secretly thought,
it might be a somewhat unwise move to completely alienate the mad
scientist and his army of hunter robots.

So, the man explained to the police chief how his invention could tell
the difference between a criminal and law-abiding citizen using a
series of heuristics.  "It's especially good at spotting recently
escaped prisoners!" he said.  "Guaranteed non-lethal restraints!"

Frowning and increasingly skeptical, the police chief nevertheless
allowed the man to demonstrate one robot for a week.  They decided that
the robot should patrol around the jail.  Sure enough, there was a
jailbreak a few days later, and an inmate digging up through the
ground outside of the prison facility was grabbed by the robot and
carried back inside the prison.

The surprised police chief allowed the robot to patrol a wider area.
The next day, the chief received an angry call from the zookeeper.
It seems the robot had cut through the bars of one of the animal cages,
grabbed the animal, and delivered it to the prison.

The chief confronted the robot's inventor, who asked what animal it
was.  "A zebra," replied the police chief.  The man slapped his head and
exclaimed, "Curses!  It was fooled by the black and white stripes!
I shall have to recalibrate!"  And so the man set about rewriting the
robot's code.  Black and white stripes would indicate an escaped
inmate UNLESS the inmate had more than two legs.  Then it should be
left alone.

The robot was redeployed with the updated code, and seemed to be
operating well enough for a few days.  Then on Saturday, a mob of
children in soccer clothing, followed by their parents, descended
on the police station.  After the chaos subsided, the chief was told
that the robot had absconded with the referee right in the middle of
a soccer game.

Scowling, the chief reported this to the scientist, who performed a
second calibration.  Black and white stripes would indicate an escaped
inmate UNLESS the inmate had more than two legs OR had a whistle on
a necklace.

Despite the second calibration, the police chief declared that the robot
would no longer be allowed to operate in his town.  However, the news
of the robot had spread, and requests from many larger cities were
pouring in.  The inventor made dozens more robots, and shipped them off
to eager police stations around the nation.  Every time a robot grabbed
something that wasn't an escaped inmate, the scientist was consulted,
and the robot was recalibrated.

Unfortunately, the inventor was just one man, and he didn't have the
time or the resources to recalibrate EVERY robot whenever one of them
went awry.  The robot in Shangri-La was recalibrated not to grab a
grave-digger working on a cold winter night while wearing a ski mask,
and the robot in Xanadu was recalibrated not to capture a black and
white television set that showed a movie about a prison break, and so
on.  But the robot in Xanadu would still grab grave-diggers with ski
masks (which it turns out was not common due to Xanadu's warmer climate),
and the robot in Shangri-La was still a menace to old televisions (of
which there were very few, the people of Shangri-La being on the average
more wealthy than those of Xanadu).

So, after a few years, there were different revisions of the
criminal-catching robot in most of the major cities.  In some places,
a clever criminal could avoid capture by wearing a whistle on a string
around the neck.  In others, one would be well-advised not to wear orange
clothing in certain rural areas, no matter how close to the Harvest
Festival it was, unless one also wore the traditional black triangular
eye-paint of the Pumpkin King.

Many people thought, "This is lunacy!"  But others thought the robots
did more good than harm, all things considered, and so in some places
the robots are used, while in other places they are shunned.

The end.

Exercises

Or, “so you think set -e is OK, huh?”

Exercise 1: why doesn’t this example print anything?

   1 
   2 set -e
   3 i=0
   4 let i++
   5 echo "i is $i"

Exercise 2: why does this one sometimes appear to work? In which versions of bash does it work, and in which versions does it fail?

   1 
   2 set -e
   3 i=0
   4 ((i++))
   5 echo "i is $i"

Exercise 3: why aren’t these two scripts identical?

   1 
   2 set -e
   3 test -d nosuchdir && echo no dir
   4 echo survived
   1 
   2 set -e
   3 f() { test -d nosuchdir && echo no dir; }
   4 f
   5 echo survived

Exercise 4: why aren’t these two scripts identical?

   1 set -e
   2 f() { test -d nosuchdir && echo no dir; }
   3 f
   4 echo survived
   1 set -e
   2 f() { if test -d nosuchdir; then echo no dir; fi; }
   3 f
   4 echo survived

Exercise 5: under what conditions will this fail?

   1 set -e
   2 read -r foo < configfile

(Answers)

But wait, there’s more!

Even if you use expr(1) (which we do not recommend — use arithmetic expressions instead), you still run into the same problem:

   1 set -e
   2 foo=$(expr 1 - 1)
   3 
   4 echo survived

Subshells from command substitution unset set -e, however (unless inherit_errexit is set with Bash 4.4):

   1 set -e
   2 foo=$(expr 1 - 1; true)
   3 
   4 echo survived

Note that set -e is not unset for commands that are run asynchronously, for example with process substitution:

   1 set -e
   2 mapfile foo < <(true; echo foo)
   3 echo ${foo[-1]} 
   4 mapfile foo < <(false; echo foo)
   5 echo ${foo[-1]} 

Another pitfall associated with set -e occurs when you use commands that look like assignments but aren’t, such as export, declare, typeset or local.

   1 set -e
   2 f() { local var=$(somecommand that fails); }
   3 f    
   4 
   5 g() { local var; var=$(somecommand that fails); }
   6 g    

In function f, the exit status of somecommand is discarded. It won’t trigger the set -e because the exit status of local masks it (the assignment to the variable succeeds, so local returns status 0). In function g, the set -e is triggered because it uses a real assignment which returns the exit status of somecommand.

A particularly dangerous pitfall with set -e is combining functions with conditionals. The following snippets will not behave the same way:

   1 set -e
   2 f() { false; echo "This won't run, right?"; }
   3 f
   4 echo survived
   1 set -e
   2 f() { false; echo "This won't run, right?"; }
   3 if f; then  
   4     echo survived
   5 fi

As soon as a function is used as a conditional (in a list or with a conditional test or loop) set -e stops being applied within the function. This may not only cause code to unexpectedly start executing in the function but also change its return status!

Using Process substitution, the exit code is also discarded as it is not visible from the main script:

   1 set -e
   2 cat <(somecommand that fails)
   3 echo survived

Using a pipe makes no difference, as only the rightmost process is considered:

   1 set -e
   2 somecommand that fails | cat -
   3 echo survived

set -o pipefail is a workaround by returning the exit code of the first failed process:

   1 set -e -o pipefail
   2 failcmd1 | failcmd2 | cat -
   3 
   4 echo survived

though with pipefail in effect, code like this will sometimes cause an error, depending on whether the output of somecmd exceeds the size of the pipe buffer or not:

   1 set -e -o pipefail
   2 somecmd | head -n1
   3 
   4 echo survived

So-called strict mode

In the mid 2010s, some people decided that the combination of set -e, set -u and set -o pipefail should be used by default in all new shell scripts. They call this unofficial bash strict mode, and they claim that it “makes many classes of subtle bugs impossible” and that if you follow this policy, you will “spend much less time debugging, and also avoid having unexpected complications in production”.

As we’ve already seen in the exercises above, these claims are dubious at best. The behavior of set -e is quite unpredictable. If you choose to use it, you will have to be hyper-aware of all the false positives that can cause it to trigger, and work around them by “marking” every line that’s allowed to fail with something like ||true.

Conclusions

GreyCat‘s personal recommendation is simple: don’t use set -e. Add your own error checking instead.

rking’s personal recommendation is to go ahead and use set -e, but beware of possible gotchas. It has useful semantics, so to exclude it from the toolbox is to give into FUD.

geirha’s personal recommendation is to handle errors properly and not rely on the unreliable set -e.

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