News and Views from the World of Blockchain / Distributed Ledger Technology

News & Views

ICO's continue to dominate with another record breaking campaign completing (see below) and with two launches hacked - resulting in over $7m being stolen by hackers.  I always say that the real first mover innovators are the criminal fraternity and this continues to prove the case.  For the insurance market this creates a whole new class of cyber-liability opportunities.  It also further builds the case for proper governance and appropriate self-imposed regulation/best practices.

Training Courses

For details of Blockchain / Distributed Ledger Technology online training, take a look at the published courses provided by B9Lab:

Industry Projects & Initiatives
The manufacturing company behind Mercedes-Benz issued its first blockchain bond last month, the €100m bond, issued on a private version of the ethereum blockchain signals the first step in a much larger plan by Daimler AG to explore the technology. But it's the type of bond – called a Schuldschein – that gives the project a truly global scale.
In Canada, TD Bank Group has joined the executive committee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the leading global blockchain trade association, in order to foster the adoption of digital assets and related technologies with the goal of developing a pro-growth legal environment that promotes innovation, jobs, and investment.
Headquartered in Toronto, The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group. It offers a full range of financial products and services through its Canadian Retail, U.S. Retail, and Wholesale Banking.
Moeda, an innovative banking-as-a-service cooperative network that aims to empower underbanked entrepreneurs through Blockchain technology, is pleased to announce plans to relaunch its Moeda (MDA) digital token.
Data Exchange
DENT Wireless, a Hong Kong-based blockchain mobile data exchange, and Aquto, a sponsored data and data rewards platform, has entered into a partnership to unlock new ways for operators to monetize their networks. Smartphone penetration throughout the world is high, but mobile internet data is still a luxury for most consumers.
An innovative proposal from scientists at the University of Southampton to trace the origin of data has been named a winner of an international provenance challenge.
On June, 22 as a part of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference BMCHAIN platform has been announced. The project being developed by “Biznes Molodost” and “Analytics Insight” companies represents the decentralized platform for the biggest network of entrepreneurs in Russia and CIS. BMChain will unite the advantages of blockchain technologies for the development of social media resource allowing to monetize each participant’s activity.
In Thailand, Kasikornbank (KBank) has developed its Letter of Guarantee (L/G) service in the L/G market worth Bt1.35 trillion with the introduction of the world’s first blockchain-based L/Gs. Four state enterprises and private businesses have participated in the development of this innovation, which is aimed at an increase in L/G issuance via electronic channel to 35 per cent at the end of next year.
A new market intelligence report by BIS Research, titled ‘Blockchain Technology in Financial Services Market – Analysis and Forecast: 2017 to 2026’, has reached the conclusion that the application of blockchain could lead to a per-year cost savings of $6-8 billion in KYC/AML, $30-40 billion in trade finance, and $50-60 billion in capital markets.
Implementing blockchain technology could produce hefty cost savings in the billions of dollars annually for the financial services market, suggests a new report released Friday by Minnesota-based BIS Research.
Characterizing blockchain as a revolutionary development, its application “could lead to a per-year cost savings” of US$6 billion to US$8 billion in KYC/AML (know your customer/anti-money laundering), US$30 billion to US$40 billion in trade finance, and US$50 billion to US$60 billion in capital markets, BIS Research reports in issuing Blockchain Technology in Financial Services Market – Analysis and Forecast: 2017 to 2026.
SkinCoin is a cryptocurrency created specifically for the online gaming community. Skin tokens can be used to buy and sell in-game skins and make payments at third-party services. They represent visual appearance of a variety of objects belonging to characters. There are some services that let gamers use their skins in online gambling and for placing eSports bets.
IBM was awarded best “blockchain paper” by the US Department of Health and Human Services, landed a blockchain pilot with Smart Dubai, and published an interesting point-of-view on how blockchain can enable an open government.
InsureX hit the headlines recently when it’s ICO was scammed and 1100 ETH (approx. $200,000) was diverted into the clutches of a hacker who had sent a phishing message to the community with fake details. 
Rather than postponing the ICO the continued for a day or so only to see their social media channels compromised which (finally!) caused them to introduce multi-factor authentication and lock down their website, slack and telegram channels.  They then terminated the crowdsale early citing the amount of hacking activity to be disruptive.  It’s been interesting to note how they have handled the event and they have generated a considerable amount of disappointment and disapproval from the crypto community for their lack of communications.  A positive outcome is that it is being used as a model of how not to go about a crowdfunding/ICO and other startups are keen to learn from Insurex’s mistakes.
Torque Market is planning an ICO in mid-August.  Pitched as “The insurance market built on a Blockchain”, the whitepaper is quite similar to that of InsureX in that it describes the global insurance market but doesn’t actually describe specifically how it’s solution will improve the situation.
Check out their position paper on their website:
Land Registry
A UK Government press release has announced that the Land Registry, which retains the official details of all real estate and land ownership, has indicated that it may ‘potentially explore blockchain’ technology.
Logistics/Supply Chain
Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and Concordia University in Quebec have introduced a Blockchain-based system which utilizes onion routing techniques to facilitate anonymous deliveries.
The immutable and transparent nature of blockchain technology makes it ideal for supply chain and logistics applications. Some of the leading shipping and logistics companies have already started exploring blockchain for its ability to improve traceability and transparency in logistics.
However, the ongoing blockchain-based supply chain projects are being built over existing generic blockchain protocols. Changing it is SLOGN, which stands for Smart Logistics Network. SLOGN is an AI blockchain coin for decentralized logistics. The SLOGN platform makes use of advanced technology to revolutionize a multi-billion dollar industry with an estimated annual worth of over $8 trillion.
The "agtech" startup bext360, a company that combines blockchain, AI and IoT to make supply chains in emerging economies transparent to consumers, has unveiled its first product for the coffee supply chain, the bextmachine, at TechCrunch's Sessions: Robotics at MIT in Boston on 17 July.
The startup, which came out of the bushes in April, uses public, open blockchain technology from to bring more transparency to the coffee supply chain and more equity to coffee farmers.
Export Portal has been perfecting its own private blockchain trade solution for the past seven years. 
After being frustrated with an online purchase from a well-known foreign e-Commerce site, Export Portal CEO Ally Spinu has diligently worked with her team to develop a safer and more secure ecosystem for global businesses to trade with peace of mind.
IMMLA’s mission is to provide multimodal deliveries service with decentralized control system of transportation, document flow and payments.
Its authors say, that new technology allows dramatically reduce trust deficit, information barriers and legal costs. This is to be achieved due to interaction of cargo owner and the transporter through IMMLA working on the base of Etherium blockchain and smart contracts. It will allow monitoring of cargo damage, time of delivery, cargo location, selection of suitable delivery route and other cool parameters.
RAC, a Grammy-winning producer and DJ, just made history. His new album, Ego, is the first in the world to be released and available for sale via blockchain.  This means fans can pay him directly for the album using cryptocurrency and a smart contract, creating a digital receipt and transaction that cannot be corrupted or refuted.
Viberate, a crowdsourced live music ecosystem and a blockchain-based marketplace backed by the European Commission, Republic of Slovenia and other well-respected experts including Charlie Shrem and Stanford professor Jure Leskovec, is challenging major music streaming service providers such as Spotify to a blockchain race.
Blockchain-based nanopayments company SatoshiPay has announced its partnership with the IOTA Foundation as it considers replacing bitcoin with IOTA as its settlement network.
Blockchain technology holds the potential to dramatically enhance global commerce and every supply chain. Unfortunately, the first real-world experience many organizations have had with it is using its implementation vis-à-vis Bitcoin to pay a ransom to cybercriminals who have encrypted their company’s files. The good news is that vendors like Nexsan see the upside of blockchain and are using it for more noble purposes: protecting files stored on its Unity Active Archive appliances.
Real Estate
REX brings the blockchain to real estate, and will empower the entire real estate industry. Conceived in 2016 and built on Ethereum, REX’s global, decentralized database of listings — the RexIndexer — will be free to anyone to view, while registered users are incentivized to provide accurate, complete, and verifiable data. Scaled globally on the Ethereum blockchain and utilizing the Interplanetary File System and ElasticSearch, REX is like every separate Multiple Listing Service in the world, rolled into one democratized marketplace.
Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange is using IBM blockchain technology to make small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe that are not listed on a stock exchange more transparent to potential lenders and investors.
Meanwhile, a response to a discussion paper on distributed ledger technology (DLT) proposed by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) paper cites jurisdictional issues as the biggest inherent challenge for the wider adoption of what are, by nature, decentralized, cross-border systems.
Export Portal, an e-Commerce website that facilitates transactions between buyers, sellers, manufacturers, and shipper, has announced its private blockchain trade solution which has been under development for the past seven years. Following frustration with online purchasing from e-Commerce sites, Export Portal CEO, Ally Spinu has worked to develop a safer and more secure ecosystem for global businesses.
Platform News
Enterprise software firm R3 is collaborating with Intel to improve data privacy and security for Corda, its distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. The collaboration will add support for key elements of Intel's security and privacy toolkit, as R3 continues to increase Corda's functionality in these areas.
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) has grown with a further 34 organizations joining the Blockchain industry group since late May. This brings the total membership to over 150 organizations added since the group’s launch in February of this year.
Microsoft is leading the charge to use blockchain technology to transform many industries. It’s been working on its Blockchain-as-a-Service on its Azure cloud platform since November 2015.
New protocols/designs
Blockchain software and infrastructure company BitFury Group has announced the launch of its enterprise distributed cryptographic ledger technology service.  The blockchain framework, named Exonum, is aimed at providing businesses and governments a secure and easy way to rapidly bring blockchain solutions online.
ICO Top score
In the last issue of the newsletter, the top ICO was Block.One which raised $185 Million in under five days.  This edition’s winner is Tezos a blockchain project which has completed its initial coin offering, or ICO, bringing in a record-smashing $232m-worth of bitcoin and ether.
At close, Tezos had netted 65,627 BTC (worth roughly $156m at current prices) and 361,122 ETH (worth about $76m). The crowdsale, which didn't have a cap on the total amount of tokens sold, began on July 1, and was timed with the passage of 2,000 transaction blocks on the bitcoin network.
Interesting to see the comment “People say ICOs are great for ethereum because, look at the price, but it’s a ticking time-bomb,” Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop ethereum, said in an interview. “There’s an over-tokenization of things as companies are issuing tokens when the same tasks can be achieved with existing blockchains. People are blinded by fast and easy money.”
ICO’s are also in the news for another reason – hacking!  Cryptocurrency is supposed to be much safer than fiat currency like dollars or pesos because blockchain tokens are harder to steal. But nothing is impossible for hackers. This week the Israeli blockchain startup CoinDash learned this lesson the hard way when hackers hijacked the company’s initial coin offering and stole $7 million worth of ether.
Useful resources
There are a number of forums, chats, groups etc. that you may find of interest:
Team Crypto - To discuss cryptocurrencies, exchanges, wallets, prices, etc:
Team Mining – Interested in mining rigs, pools, techniques?
Team ICO - All about Initial Coin Offerings:
ICO Meetup London – We’re planning to host physical events and webinars
Special Interest Groups / Foundations
NASSCOM, the premier trade organisation for the Indian IT and business processing outsourcing industry,  inaugurated a Special Interest Group (SIG) for Blockchain in the National Capital Region. This SIG is primarily powered by BlockSmiths, a Delhi NCR based firm that helps businesses leverage the Blockchain technology and Quatrro, a Global Fintech Service Provider.
In Netherlands, @xeroc has announced the launch of the “BitShares Blockchain Foundation.” The foundation is initially focused on offering three primary services: Public Announcements, Public and Private mailing lists, and BitUSD worker escrow management. It should be noted that the Bitshares DEX (Decentralized Exchange) is the world’s first decentralized digital currency exchange. Meanwhile, the value of Bitshares has increased by 1,000% since February 2017.
I hope you found this edition interesting.  Please forward it to friends, colleagues, etc.  Even better, tell them to subscribe directly. 
Copyright © 2017 Distlytics Ltd, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp