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

News & Views

Initial Coin Offerings (ICO's) are dominating the news lately as startups adopt this new form of capital raising.  Currently ICO's are unregulated and are not a recognised financial instrument.  Regulators worldwide in watching this space with interest.

Training Courses

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

Industry Projects & Initiatives

University of Sydney scientists have created an optimised version of blockchain they say is safer and substantially faster than current versions of the distributed ledger technology.
The concurrent systems research group's 'Red Belly Blockchain' aims to be highly scalable.
Tests on Amazon Web Services' Elastic Cloud Compute platform indicated Red Belly Blockchain could scale to over 440,000 transactions per second, using 100 compute instances, they said.
Goldman Sachs, one of the leading financial institutions in the world has come out of the closet to embrace the technology openly. The institution has done so by dedicating an entire web page for distributed ledger technology.
The page on Blockchain technology has enough content to offer a crash course on distributed ledger and its various applications. The user-friendly web page allows the visitor to scroll through the “slides” accompanied by graphic representations to offer a clear understanding of the concept of blocks, blockchain, its use in record keeping, smart contracts and of course, the security features.
Seven major banks, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Société Générale and UniCredit, have announced their decision to use IBM to build their new blockchain-based international trading system, the Digital Trade Chain (DTC).
The DTC platform is designed to streamline domestic and international trade for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) throughout Europe. According to the release, IBM won the bid after completing a global competitive bidding process.
Synereo Ltd., a Tel-Aviv based blockchain startup, has announced the release of the beta version of its first product, WildSpark.
With this new platform, the startup aims to address the existing mundane monetization methods and strict guidelines found on modern content hosting sites. The solution allows users to send currency directly to content creators, regardless of the publication platform, as well as be rewarded for helping others discover great content.
The Hive Project, a cryptocurrency invoice financing platform focusing on providing new financial liquidity for small businesses will on Monday, July 3rd begin its ICO. Driven by the risk-lowering technology offered by blockchain, the Hive Project aims to bring cryptocurrency invoice financing into the mainstream. Despite acting as the backbone of every economy, SMEs have traditionally been poorly served by the forms of finance available to them. Long waits for bureaucratic processes to complete and the high levels of collateral required by banks present unreasonable hurdles for SMEs to overcome when trying to source the financing they need to survive.
The DAO.Casino token sale campaign has had a very successful start on June 29, 2017 after it raised over $9 million in under half an hour. The blockchain based betting platform is offering this unique opportunity to investors and cryptocurrency community members who are interested in supporting further development of a decentralized protocol for the gambling industry.
The Nikkei Asian Review has reported that the Japanese government is moving forward with plans to begin testing blockchain technology for its public procurement process. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will be conducting the trials to assess the technology’s usefulness for streamlining the tendering process though improved interagency data-sharing. The test is reportedly part of a broader government effort to improve e-government efficiency and security, and is expected to conclude in March 2018.
The United States Congress is worried about Bitcoin’s rise and its potential use in illegal activities including terrorist funding. This has led to a series of discussions so far, and the recent hearing of the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee of the House of Financial Services Committee is one of them.
A blockchain project aiming to push the perimeters of ownership and protection of genomics data has raised around $824,000 in an ongoing ICO round.
Gene-Chain, as the project is titled, demonstrates a blockchain which a) secures personal genomic data from cloud breaches, and b) enables the sharing of genomic data among researchers and medical practitioners.
The leading Japanese Bitcoin exchange platform, bitFlyer has come up with a solution for merchants and businesses in the country. The company has partnered with one of the leading Japanese insurance firms, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance to provide retailers with a unique Bitcoin insurance. The new insurance is custom made to address the merchants’ apprehensions about failed cryptocurrency transactions.
Two new ICO’s for Insurance Startups are underway – Insurex and AIGang.  Watch this space for more details!

Approved by the Bank of Thailand, Krungsri (Bank of Ayudhya Pcl.) has developed financial innovations under the Regulatory Sandbox guidelines and becomes the first bank in Thailand to introduce a real-time |global funds transfer service based on the Blockchain’s Interledger technology for the business and industry sector.
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), in collaboration with Japan’s SBI Remit, is using Ripple’s blockchain enterprise solution to power real-time remittance payments between Japan and Thailand. Claimed as the first such application of blockchain in the Japan-Thailand remittance corridor, Ripple’s cross-border payments network solution is helping remittances from Japan reach SCB retail customers easily and faster than ever before.
Legislators in Illinois have advanced a bill that aims to create a task force that will explore the benefits accruing from a transition to a blockchain-based system for recordkeeping and service delivery for the local governments.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently pushed out a staff discussion note called “Fintech and Financial Services: Initial Considerations” which provides a wealth of detail in how the organisation takes view on the current rise of cryptocurrencies.
The IMF paper focusses largely on the role DLT can play in cross-border payments and ends on the role that the organisation feels they can play on a global scale to coordinate and regulate digital assets, largely, it appears, by supporting the role of central banks in their quest for creating their own CBDCs and assisting in designing the future regulatory environment.
Other interesting stuff in the news
A new blockchain advocacy group has been formed in Germany which aims to bring private and public institutions together to connect with the innovative technology.
ICO Top score
This week, the biggest raise of interest was………
Block.One which raised $185 Million in under five days
Useful resource

We have a number of active Groups which we use to encourage discussion, share news, ideas, information, education and occasionally even inspiration.
We've named the groups with the associated topics for which they're intended. We try to encourage everyone to post in the "right" group but accept that this doesn't always work as the topics sometimes inter relate.  Groups, and associated invite links are below. Please feel free to subscribe and join in the conversation.
Team Crypto - To discuss cryptocurrencies, exchanges, wallets, prices, etc:
Please don’t ask group members for their recommendations on specific crypto though – If you are putting your money in then it’s your responsibility to DYOR (Do Your Own Research).  However you’ll find plenty of fellow members willing to share information about how to do research, etc.
Team Mining – Interested in mining rigs, pools, techniques?
This covers mining methods, hardware, software, pools, rigs, etc.
Team ICO - All about Initial Coin Offerings:
As the group’s name suggests, this is really focussed on ICO’s.  If you’re thinking of running an ICO, researching them or investigating them then this is THE group to join.  If you’re thinking of putting money into cryptocurrency then please join Team Crypto instead.
You can only have so much fun with ICO’s in a virtual discussion group, so we have a physical one too:
ICO Meetup London – We’re planning to host physical events and webinars
If any of the links don't work (Telegram seems to expire them quite often!  Then just send a note and I'll generate a new link.

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