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Top 5 Blockchain Stocks

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This Article is Originally Posted On MintDice.com

Stock investment has always been a fantastic way for many people to make a passive income. Approximately33% of households in the United States own taxable investment accounts. While the traditional stock market is immensely profitable, a new way to invest has emerged.

The emergence of cryptocurrency has brought about a new, rapidly-developing form of investment. Bitcoin is fast becoming a household name, due to its status as the biggest cryptocurrency by market share and the fact that although there are currently over 1000 cryptocurrencies, it was the first to emerge. Since 2009, the buzz around digital currencies has continued to grow and reached an all-time high in 2017, when Bitcoin hit its peak price of $20,000.

Many people who were early investors in the asset became instant millionaires, and this attracted even more new investors looking for a piece of the cake. But despite its image, the cryptocurrency industry is not all glitz, glam, and Lamborghinis. As much as huge profits can be made, huge losses also plague the industry. The high market volatility, theft, and scams that have come to define the industry, make it a living hell for several investors.

However, what the industry lacks in regulation and stability, it more than makes up for in profit margins. In 2017, Ethereum saw a 10,000% jump in price between January and December, while Bitcoin saw a price increase of 1,500% within the same period. Compared to the best performing traditional stock in that same year, which recorded a 142% increase, the gap in margins is wide.

Unfortunately, while the past performance of these cryptocurrencies is exciting, 2018 has been filled with negative events in the industry that have hindered its performance. From the hacks of notable exchanges like Coinrail and Bithumb to the SEC ICO investigation and rejection of a Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund by the Winklevoss brothers, it has been a sad year for cryptocurrencies. Several prominent executives including Jack Ma and George Soros have also gone on record to call Bitcoin a fraud and bubble. This has led many others to admonish the asset while simultaneously praising blockchain, the technology behind it.

In anticipation of a bubble burst in the industry, people are now looking for more stable ways to invest. One of the best available options is to invest in companies that use blockchain technology for reasonable applications. Amidst the frenzy, this guarantees long-term returns and some stability since the stock performance is driven by more than just speculation.

Not only can blockchain technology support the functions of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Ripple, it has the potential to revolutionize marketplaces, and the way data is stored and transferred around the globe. Applied properly, and in innovative ways, blockchain may significantly change the future of money, finance and more. It may survive and thrive long after cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin cease to exist. Many different industries are looking into blockchain research and development in search of ways for better fraud prevention security, faster transmission confirmation, and potential cost savings.

According to a recent prediction, blockchain platforms will store 10% of global GDP within the next ten years. This is why it is critical to invest in the corporations with great use cases for it or large corporations that have partnered with blockchain platforms to offer one form of enterprise-facing technology or another. Identifying the companies with the most potential to generate revenue streams with the use of the technology will help investors minimize loss. Many companies employ this technology but based on application, performance, and partnerships, these are the top 5 blockchain stocks to watch:

1. NASDAQ

Nasdaq is one of the leading providers of securities trading, clearing, exchange technology, and listing services. With operations spanning across six continents and an impressive portfolio, the firm aids customers with the planning, execution, and improvement of their businesses. Using advanced financial technology solutions, Nasdaq provides these customers with the necessary insights, analytics and relevant metrics for them to successfully navigate global capital markets.

The New York-based firm currently acts as the powerhouse of over 70 marketplaces spanning across 50 countries and servicing more than 10,000 corporate clients. It also houses the world’s first electronic stock market which executes 10% of all global securities transactions. The Nasdaq platform currently lists over 3,600 companies with a combined market value of about $8.8 trillion.

Nasdaq operates at the intersection point between the finance and technology industries by helping investors with the navigation of the securities market. Known in every investment circle, Nasdaq has become an industry leader in the development of innovative securities methodologies. Apart from being the second largest stock exchange in the world, second only to the New York Stock Exchange, the firm has made waves recently for its use of blockchain technology.

NASDAQ BLOCKCHAIN APPLICATIONS

Although the stock market and cryptocurrency market are similar in many ways, they are still far apart regarding regulations and volatility. This hasn’t stopped Nasdaq from exploring and incorporating the use of the technology in its basic applications and operations. The company was one of the first to adopt and implement blockchain technology and is currently on the forefront of blockchain’s transformative potential. With their customers in mind, Nasdaq is gradually transforming the global capital markets through significant acquisitions.

NASDAQ LINQ

In December 2015, the company announced that Chain.com, a blockchain firm and inaugural Nasdaq Linq client was able to use the Nasdaq Linq blockchain for the successful completion of a private securities transaction. The ledger also recorded the transaction accurately, marking the first blockchain application of its kind.

In the transaction, the issuer (Chain.com) was able to successfully document a record of ownership digitally on the Nasdaq Linq platform. This significantly reduced the time taken to carry out traditional clearing and settling, while eliminating the need for issuance of paper stock certificates. Apart from equity management, Nasdaq Linq provides issuers and investors the opportunity to complete and execute subscription documents online.

Chain.com is one of the most prominent providers of blockchain infrastructure and support to enterprises, especially financial institutions. The firm provides businesses with a platform for the secure issuance and management of digital assets using blockchain technology. They service customers in various markets, including banking, payments, telecommunications, capital markets, and energy markets.  Based in San Francisco, CA, Chains.com has received funding from top venture firms and investors like Thrive Capital, Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures, Visa, Citi, Nasdaq, Capital One, Fiserv and Orange.

According to former Nasdaq CEO, Bob Greifield, the company believes that the success of the transaction is a huge milestone in the advancement of the global financial sector and blockchain as a whole. He stated that this initial application of blockchain technology serves as the beginning of a process that could disrupt the core infrastructure of capital market systems. It could also proffer positive outcomes for outdated settlement and administrative functions.

Adam Ludwin, the CEO of Chain.com also expressed positive sentiments over the partnership with Nasdaq, stating that the transaction met all objectives seamlessly, drastically reducing manual ownership transfer time in the process. Blockchain technology can potentially expedite clearing and settlement from the current time standard of three days to as little as ten or fifteen minutes. This way, exposure to risk can be reduced by more than 99%, lowering systemic risks and capital costs in the process.

BLOCKCHAIN FOR MUTUAL FUNDS

Nasdaq has also made plans to roll out its blockchain-for-mutual-funds solution in Nordic countries. The solution is designed to ease the brokerage issues generally associated with mutual funds. Normally, these transactions are carried out through a third party brokerage or the fund company directly. When the transaction involves buying a foreign mutual fund, things become even more complicated for the investor. To ensure that the transaction is verified, there has to be communication between all parties involved and the presence of intermediaries complicates the process.

As a result of the old methods used to verify transactions and track fund ownership, the process is inefficient. There are often errors, especially due to the country-specific record requirements. This often causes involved parties to start over, leading to a waste of time and resources. However, with blockchain technology, Nasdaq is working to solve these issues by eliminating most third-party involvement.

Due to the distributed nature of a blockchain, depending on Nasdaq’s specifications, country-specific requirements may be overruled. Overall, the application of this ledger technology will result in a more efficient process for issuers and investors. The platform has already been deployed among the Swedish mutual fund families and will be deployed to all Nordic countries soon.

CITIGROUP PARTNERSHIP

In 2017, Nasdaq announced a collaboration with CitiGroup which involved integrating the latter firm’s business payment service with the Nasdaq blockchain platform. Citi’s bank transfer system handles transactions associated with commerce including payroll, dividend, and interest. The union of both platforms gave rise to the first enterprise blockchain transactions using the CitiConnect tool. On the joint platform, Nasdaq Linq automatically reconciles Citi payment transactions in real-time.

Nasdaq’s latest blockchain venture came in June 2018, when the firm announced the successful testing of its blockchain-based Proof-of-Concept (PoC) protocol. The Proof-of-Concept was created in a collaborative effort with ABN AMRO Clearing, Euroclear and EuroCCP. It will provide efficient round-the-clock securities collateral solutions for issues associated with making margin calls after trading hours are over. This will eliminate potential losses and make the process easier.

WHY SHOULD YOU INVEST IN NASDAQ?

Nasdaq’s adoption of blockchain technology holds promise for the future of finance. Each partnership brings a different and more creative approach to so many problems faced by stock exchanges and investors. Even if cryptocurrencies cease to exist one day, Nasdaq will probably still be around, transforming the investment landscape as it has done since 1971.

2. IBM

Despite the popularity of International Business Machines (IBM) and the long string of blockchain partnerships the firm has accumulated, it is still considered old tech in the world of investment. This misconception stems partly from the fact that in the last five years, the company has only posted one-quarter of revenue growth. In that same amount of time, IBM has lost 20% of its value even though tech shares have more than doubled in price generally.

Despite its poorly performing stock, IBM is an excellent investment in one significant aspect: blockchain technology. The tech giant has managed to establish dominance in the cryptocurrency industry through a series of bold moves, centered around enterprise payment solutions. At this rate, IBM stock could see a major change in coming years.

Just like traditional financial institutions, Wall Street has not shown much acceptance towards cryptocurrency. This is mostly due to the lack of regulation that protects investors’ funds. It is also due to the theft and general insecurity in the industry. As a result, to some extent, IBM’s blockchain developments have not been fully recognized. While the idea of immutable digital public ledgers looks good on paper, the reality poses several complications. It also brings change, which the financial industry may not be ready for.

IBM BLOCKCHAIN APPLICATIONS

Since its decision to enter into the world of blockchain, IBM has made several significant partnerships that have sealed its place as a high roller in the industry. The firm’s foray into blockchain began with the development of a public cloud service known as IBM Blockchain which runs on the Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source platform created by the Linux Foundation.

IBM blockchain allows users to build their own blockchain networks for various applications in a safe and straightforward way. The firm’s partners have all brought their unique applications to its platform. Each one is a leading innovator with the aim of transforming the industry.

STELLAR LUMENS PARTNERSHIP

IBM announced its partnership with Stellar Lumens in October 2017. According to the announcement, the partnership is geared towards facilitating cross-border payments, especially in developing countries. At the time of the announcement, both partners along with KlickEx Group had tested the use of their technology in the South Pacific Region. Leveraging Stellar’s token, Lumens or XLM, which has a current market capitalization of over $3.6 billion, and KlickEx’s financial experience and prowess, IBM is making payments easier for South Pacific residents.

Stellar will act as the intermediary between participating banks by allowing them to convert their currency to Stellar Lumens before carrying out transactions. For example, a company in South Korea that wants to send money to another in Malaysia will convert South Korean Won to Lumens which will then be converted to Malaysian Ringgits in a few seconds, at a low cost.

The firm is currently working with twelve major banks in the region to process cross-border payments on its platform in real-time. This will make the process more efficient for all relevant stakeholders. Technically, IBM and Stellar Lumens are competitors in the blockchain space but have embraced an open-source approach which will benefit the industry in the long run.

VERDE BY VERIDIUM LABS

Veridium Labs has been a force for environmental change since it first emerged with a plan to reduce carbon footprint by making it easier to trade carbon credits. The company has already formed important partnerships with corporations like KPMG and Infinite Earth to see its mission through. However, one of its most recent partnerships is with IBM and was announced by the latter firm in May 2018.

To make the tracking and trade of carbon credits easier, Veridium Labs created its token called VERDE. Each token is embedded with a “carbon charge” which gives it an “Emissions Offset Capacity.” This functions as the digital form of a battery which carries a charge to power the token. When VERDE tokens are used in the process of conducting trades, they discharge parts of their carbon capacity. This mitigates the negative environmental impacts of products.

BATAVIA BY INTERNATIONAL BANK CONSORTIUM

IBM recently partnered with the International Bank Consortium, consisting of Bank of Montreal (BMO), CaixaBank, Erste Group, Commerzbank and UBS to create a blockchain-powered trade platform. The platform successfully concluded tests involving five live pilot transactions. Some of the transactions included textile trade between Austria and Spain as well as automobile trade between Germany and Spain.

The trade platform, known as Batavia, executes smart payments and closes trade agreements using blockchain ledger technology. The success of the pilot transactions show that the technology can potentially change commerce globally, making it a less expensive, more efficient process.

FOOD SAFETY ALLIANCE WITH WALMART & JD.COM

IBM also partnered with Walmart and  JD.com, a Chinese retailer, as well as Tsinghua University in Beijing to improve the food safety and tracking process in China. The partnership has given rise to the emergence of a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance for the food industry on a global scale. According to Walmart, blockchain can make the process of food tracking easier, while fixing the issues associated with the current supply chain in the process.

WHY INVEST IN IBM?

IBM is a staunch believer in the power of blockchain and is making significant investments to back up their belief. According to Marie Wieck, IBM general manager of blockchain initiatives, the adoption of blockchain by governments and businesses, may add an estimated $3.1 trillion of value to the global economy by 2030.

The firm has also expressed intentions to continuously pursue not just blockchain applications but those of Cloud and Artificial Intelligence technology as well. The drop in IBM stock has been attributed to the fact that many market players are focused on the long term. While this is not encouraging, there are many reasons to invest in IBM.

For now, the attention mostly focuses on the smaller blockchain startups that emerge regularly. Some of these companies provide sketchy whitepapers and promises of what they hope to achieve with their technology. On cue, investors troop in from all areas of the world to bet on such companies by participating in Initial Coin Offering (ICOs).

IBM however, is a better option than such companies because it offers the promise of long-term sustainability. If Bitcoin is indeed a bubble and the bubble bursts, most blockchain companies involving ICOs will take considerable hits and in some cases, cease to exist. On the other hand, a company with a solid tech background and years of experience like IBM will not take as much of a hit. If it does, it has a good chance of recovering. Apart from this, there are a few other reasons to add IBM stock to any investment portfolio:

  • IBM currently occupies the number one rank in blockchain according to a survey of 400 managers, executives and leading tech professionals, by Juniper Research, a digital commerce and financial technology research firm.
  • The firm was ranked first by 43% out of all the businesses either actively considering blockchain adoption or are in the process of deploying it in various forms. Microsoft was ranked second by 20%.
  • IBM is currently involved in heavy blockchain research and development initiatives, including its role in the development of Hyperledger Fabric. This technology will act as a launchpad and operation base for several business applications soon.
  • The firm has built an impressive list of Fortune-500 clients across various industries.
  • IBM beat Wall Street analysts’ earnings and revenue estimates for the fourth quarter of 2017. Operating earnings of at least $13.80 per share are expected from the company in 2018.
  • After a discouraging stagnation for 23 quarters, the company recorded a year-over-year revenue growth. New technologies showed a year-over-year growth rate of 11% and a quarterly growth rate of 17% for the quarter. This means that new technologies now constitute 46% of the company’s total sales. Cloud revenues also recorded a year-over-year growth rate of 24%, amounting to  $17billion in the last 12 months. These figures show that the company may finally be headed towards a positive growth trajectory.
  • The firm is constantly developing technologies that have excellent use cases and make adoption easier.

3. HITACHI

Being one of the biggest firms in Japan, it is not surprising that Hitachi has adopted blockchain technology. The multinational technology firm is known for its long string of enterprise solutions and its bullet trains. However, it has added blockchain to its diverse portfolio. The corporation is currently developing a financial solution that uses blockchain technology like smart contracts to make trading and payment processes more secure.

Hitachi’s foray into blockchain began in 2017 when the company became one of the founding members of Hyperledger. Its role in stabilizing Hyperledger operations, and creating the application development environment has contributed to the success of the hyperledger fabric which powers several blockchain applications including the IBM Blockchain.

HITACHI BLOCKCHAIN APPLICATIONS

Apart from its Hyperledger contributions, the company has made significant blockchain moves as far as innovation, and research and development are concerned. Currently, they are developing a solution to insure property and casualties. The solution uses blockchain technology to streamline communication in the event of an accident as well as purchase confirmations and verifications by making it easier to share information.

The company is also developing a trade solution which will manage most of the normal tasks in the trade flow. These tasks include contracts, clearing, and settlement. The platform synchronizes the status of contracts with the workflow and uses smart contracts to automate payment deposits and execution. This ensures that the tasks are performed more easily and efficiently.

Another project that the company is currently working on centers around payment traceability. Using this platform, users will be able to track the origin and destination of orders easily. It is specifically tailored to parts manufacturers and will solve a lot of supply chain problems. They aim to continue their committed research and development efforts to find and produce more use cases for blockchain technology.

WHY INVEST IN HITACHI?

Although the firm hasn’t been involved in blockchain development for as long as other companies like IBM, they’ve been actively working to close that gap. They have developed a 3-phase approach to blockchain applications as follows:

  • Development and standardization of the Blockchain: Hitachi has been working, through Hyperledger, to develop a global-standard blockchain functionality. The Hyperledger program is an international non-profit initiative for the standardization of blockchain technologies. It was established in the United States by the Linux Foundation and currently has almost 200 members in the form of various companies and organizations. The firm believes that the technology will have a high social impact and is dedicated to standardizing it, to maximize its benefits.
  • Research and development: The company is investing heavily in the research and development of more efficient functions for financial solutions. Their experience in creating such solutions is a solid foundation for the integration of blockchain technology. These functions also include security, a much-needed feature for any product within the industry. In light of recent hacks and thefts of cryptocurrency, Hitachi’s dedication to security is much needed. The company recently established the Financial Innovation Laboratory for FinTech R&D in Silicon Valley. The laboratory will serve as a base and accelerator for collaborative blockchain innovation with financial institutions.
  • Consideration of use cases for social infrastructure: Apart from financial services, Hitachi has been exploring service applications that center around other types of businesses. This way, the company hopes to leverage their expertise in a broader scope of domains and apply their use cases in a social domain. One way Hitachi is achieving this is by creating each of the blockchain prototypes discussed earlier, which use a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) testing protocol. This protocol connects different types of businesses with the use of a blockchain.

The problems that Hitachi is trying to solve, cut across almost every industry in a broader sense. The conglomerate also has more than a century of tech experience in its bag and investors can be assured that it will thrive in the long run.

4. DAIMLER AG

This German multinational automotive corporation has made a name for itself through ownership of shares in several prominent automotive companies including Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Fuso, Mercedes-AMG and Detroit Diesel amongst others. It is currently the thirteenth-largest car manufacturer in the world, selling a total of 3.3 million units in 2017 alone.

Despite its popularity for manufacturing cars, Daimler AG has also seen considerable success from Daimler Financial Services; it’s financial arm. The automotive giant is also known for its presence in the global tech industry and has made recent innovative moves within the space. One of the most recent projects the firm has embarked on involves the testing of Blockchain technology for financial purposes.

Daimler AG recently announced its partnership with Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) to execute a financial transaction using Blockchain. Every step of the transaction including origination, allocation, distribution, and execution were facilitated by the technology. The purpose of the test was to find out more about the new technology for the purpose of creating more efficient business models.

According to the Daimler website, the company has set up a €100 million 1 year loan instrument known as a Schuldschein through Landesbank Baden-Württemberg with several major savings banks acting as lenders. Due to the success of the test, Daimler has stated intentions to integrate blockchain technology into the full spectrum of its business activities.

The product of the partnership between Daimler AG and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, shows how various sectors interconnect where technology is concerned. The firm believes that this technology can disrupt the entire value chain including sales and marketing, customer relations, supplier management, financial services, and digital services.

WHY INVEST IN DAIMLER AG?

So far, the firm has been successful in the automotive industry. Its longevity and years of experience are a solid foundation for its adoption of Blockchain. Daimler has also been an active participant in the global technological innovation space, with an affinity for open source culture. The firm’s investors will get the chance to profit from a company that has already shown a significant history of past success and a willingness to innovate when necessary.

5. HIVE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGIES

This is currently one of the top blockchain stocks. It is also the only corporation on this list that has direct cryptocurrency and blockchain roots. It was founded in 2017 through a partnership between Genesis Mining and Foire Group. HIVE Blockchain was created with the purpose of accelerating the development of the blockchain industry. It is currently the largest blockchain infrastructure company and covers mining operations for up to 8 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Since its creation, the company has raised up to $115 million in funding.

Genesis Mining was founded by Marco Streng along with a team of early Bitcoin investors and is currently a global leader where mining is concerned. Mining involves a distributed network of computers that secure a Blockchain network by validating the transactions carried out on it.

So far, Genesis Mining has created several products and built their first large-scale Bitcoin mining farm in 2014. Two years later, the company established the largest Ethereum mining farm in the world. That same year, Genesis Mining launched the Logos Fund which caters to top-tier venture capitalists and has raised more than $100 million in assets to date. The company currently services more than 1 million customers and employs hundreds of staff globally.

HIVE Blockchain is working towards bridging the gap that currently exists between capital markets and Blockchain innovation. The company is achieving this through its multiple cryptocurrency mining farms. The farms, which have been placed at strategic locations, house equipment and miners who validate cryptocurrency transactions on various Blockchain networks, including Bitcoin.

They also recently announced plans to expand their mining operations and capabilities. To this effect, the company has secured an additional large-scale mining facility as well as $100 million in funding. HIVE Blockchain joined the Canadian TSX venture exchange in September 2017 and became the first publicly traded stock on a major stock exchange, which solely deals in cryptocurrency mining.

WHY INVEST IN HIVE BLOCKCHAIN?

Hive Blockchain leverages the experience of Genesis Mining Group to establish and maintain the infrastructure that users of Blockchain networks heavily benefit from. The company is currently at the forefront of global mining operations and plans to keep going. It’s plans for expansion, and it’s excellent use case are major reasons why this particular stock is one to watch.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Although the profits accrued from stock investment can be attractive, it is important to select stocks deliberately instead of rushing into it. Blockchain stocks are even tougher to predict because of the volatility of the industry and how quickly and drastically stocks can be affected by events.

However, when choosing a stock, long-term sustainability is an excellent place to start. Each of the stocks mentioned above have shown strong foundations in one sector or the other, coupled with experience and in some cases, competitive advantage. IBM has been around for a long time, just like Hitachi.

While the former has become a household name, it has seen revenue stagnation for the past few years. This means that apart from long-term sustainability, the potential to perform is something else to look out for. A good way to find out is by looking at the quality of the company’s newest products and how willing they are to innovate.

While ICOs seem like a quick way to get rich, some of them turn out to be scams. Investing in the stock of companies like Nasdaq may not bring overnight wealth, but the risk of loss is greatly minimized.

The Increasing Demand for Blockchain Bonds

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This Article is Originally Posted on CoinCentral.com and written by DELTON RHODES

World Bank Blockchain

In this article, we look at the World Bank blockchain initiative and the rising popularity of blockchain bonds. Even though this is a relatively new concept, banks and governments of all sizes are beginning to issue blockchain-based bonds and minibonds. Let’s examine these use cases and try to understand how these changes might impact the future of government fundraising.

Why Blockchain Bonds?

The first general government bonds were issued in the Netherlands in 1517. Since that time, this form of fundraising has played an integral role in public sector fundraising around the world. Traditional government bonds have served as a link between governments and citizens. Bonds of the past have usually been denominated in a given country’s own fiat currency. This, however, has already begun to change with the advent of blockchain bonds.

There are a number of reasons governments at all levels might want to use blockchain bonds over traditional bonds. For instance, utilizing blockchains can eliminate the need for third-party firms and financial institutions. In other words, blockchain technology has the potential to directly connect issuers (governments) and recipients (citizens). Now, let’s examine some relevant case studies.

World Bank Blockchain Bonds

In August 2018, The World Bank announced its plans to launch the world’s first blockchain bond. However, cryptocurrency will not be used as a form of payment. This is likely due to the fact that there isn’t a widely adopted, government-issued digital currency yet in existence.

Unfortunately, most of these options are regarded as Ponzi schemes. Therefore, fiat currency will be used. On August 10, 2018, the World Bank designated the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) as the sole arranger for a two-year bond. The organization aims to raise 50 million $AUD (the equivalent of $36 million).

Paul Snaith, manager of the World Bank’s Treasury Operations Capital Markets, has said that the institution is partnering with Microsoft in order to meet the technical demands necessary to create their software and platform. While World Bank blockchain bonds offer a promising step forward for investors, it’s important to note that anyone who purchases a bond will still follow the traditional path.

For instance, each individual purchaser still has to go through an official registration process. In addition, all cash will be transmitted separately from the blockchain through normal bond channels.

World Bank Group logo

World Bank Blockchain: The World Bank plans to become the first issuer of blockchain bonds.

BNP Paribas Minibonds

The World Bank blockchain effort to become the first global issuer of blockchain bonds is quite an accomplishment, but it isn’t the only large financial institution working on such an initiative. BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank and the 8th largest bank in the world, also has a similar program in the works. In 2016, this bank started building and testing a blockchain platform to allow private companies to issue minibonds.

BNP Paribas Securities Services, the bank’s custody arm, is actively developing a solution that can maintain records of all minibond issuances as well as ownership changes. The bank also partnered with three French companies to further its eventual goal of real-world implementation. These included two renewable energy companies as well as an investment platform called SmartAngels, which worked on creating the first pilot platform.

According to a February 2018 article, Johann Palychata, head of blockchain at BNP Paribas Securities Services’ digital transformation department, said that more improvements are needed to integrate blockchain with existing market practices and stakeholders. Palychata also cited the need for regulatory changes to make widespread adoption a reality.

There haven’t been many updates regarding the possibility of BNP Paribas’ real-world implementation of blockchain minibonds. Nonetheless, BNP Paribas is also bringing blockchain innovation to other areas of finance like asset management. In January 2018, BNP Paribas Asset Management announced that it had utilized BNP Paribas Securities Services’ blockchain technology to conduct the successful trial of blockchain-based fund distribution in Luxembourg.

BNP Paribas logo

BNP Paribas is testing a platform for blockchain minibonds.

Berkeley, California: First Blockchain Bond Municipality?

When it comes to bond issuance, most people likely first think of either international institutions like The World Bank or large banks like BNP Paribas. But local governments also have the authority and ability to issue bonds. Now, local and state governments across the globe are starting to implement a variety of blockchain solutions.

In May 2018, the city council of Berkeley, California voted to move forward on a project that would make it the first municipality to offer blockchain bonds. What makes this initiative interesting is the fact that it would lower the investment threshold for all investors. Typically, the minimum investment for municipal bonds is $5,000. In contrast, Berkeley’s program would allow people to buy bonds for much smaller amounts (i.e. $10 or $25) to support community projects.

This concept is similar to how cryptocurrency projects have reduced or even eliminated the minimum amount of funds required to participate in ICOs. Additionally, the city plans to issue the bonds in dollars. There is also the possibility that the city could create its own token, offering citizens two currency options.

Berkeley’s Vice Mayor Ben Bartlett told Bloomberg that circumventing Wall Street is one of the city’s motivating factors. If this initiative is successful, it could set a model where governments are no longer dependent on the services offered by traditional debt capital markets. For the city of Berkely, some possible initiatives include a muni-bond backed ICO for affordable housing. The city has already partnered up with a tech startup called Neighborly to make this vision a reality.

Photo of a building on the UC Berkeley campus

Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Berkeley is a university town known for its technical innovation.

Trends and Takeaways

Blockchain bonds and minibonds can change the future of bond financing. Governments and banks haven’t been quick to utilize cryptocurrencies in bond issuance or payments, but this could be a possibility in the future.

It’s yet to be determined whether governments and financial institutions are firmly in the “blockchain but not bitcoin” camp. Regardless if fiat or crypto is used, blockchain bonds create another potential use case for decentralized technologies. Most importantly, they represent a big step forward for the adoption of blockchain technology.

Maerki Baumann, One of Two Swiss Banks Accepting Crypto

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This Article is Originally Posted on MintDice.com

For a long time, Switzerland has been a major banking center for individuals and organizations globally. The term “Swiss account” is common among banking and investment circles for good reason. In Switzerland, it is illegal for the banks to reveal the names of their account holders, according to the Banking Law of 1934.

This law protects client privacy the same way doctors protect patient data and lawyers protect client information. This feature makes the option of Swiss banking attractive to people who want full anonymity and privacy. Now, the country is gradually opening its protective doors to cryptocurrency holders.

The popularity of digital currencies has been gathering momentum among the general public, especially since the fourth quarter of 2017. Currently, the Ethereum Network alone records activity from over 1 million different wallet addresses. As more people adopt cryptocurrency, more businesses looking to take advantage of the growing user base, emerge within the field.

These businesses need a way to securely store the money (fiat and cryptocurrency) generated from these businesses. Unfortunately, banks have been skeptical and unwelcoming towards cryptocurrency so far. This skepticism is largely due to the rate of theft and cases of fraud within the industry. Banks also find it difficult to trace and verify the exact source of these funds and as a result, compliance with anti-money laundering regulations becomes more difficult.

In a world where the Swiss financial market has always been more tolerant than the banking systems in other countries, it is generally expected that Switzerland’s banks should be open to accepting cryptocurrency and the privacy it affords investors. Unfortunately, it’s not the case as these banks are just as hesitant to handle any cryptocurrency-related funds as other banks. However, some of Switzerland’s banks, like Maerki Baumann, are defying the status quo by opening their doors to crypto asset storage.

MAERKI BAUMANN

Zurich-based private bank, Maerki Baumann recently announced that it will offer its services to cryptocurrency and blockchain firms. According to the bank, due to their limited knowledge of cryptocurrency prices and volatility, they will only offer a limited number of services. The statement reads:

“Maerki Baumann closely monitors the development of these investment vehicles and the underlying regulation without our commitment to engage in this area. This concerns investments in cryptocurrencies as well as the technologies required to trade and store these instruments. We currently see cryptocurrencies as alternative investment vehicles, but we have limited experience and data (prices, volatility, trading volumes) available in our house, ”

For now, the bank will not provide cryptocurrency investment services but will act as custodian for funds generated from blockchain-related businesses. Maerki Baumann will also work to connect experts in the field with clients who are in need of their services.

Maerki Baumann is not the first Swiss bank to offer banking services to cryptocurrency startups and investors. According to Bloomberg, Falcon Private Bank, another Zurich-based bank, announced that it will accept cryptocurrency-generated funds from investors. The bank also stated its intentions to screen all potential clients to avoid money-laundering activities.

By opening its doors to cryptocurrency, Maerki Baumann is giving a chance to crypto-holding Swiss citizens who were forced to carry out their banking activities elsewhere. In the absence of a Swiss banking option, most of these investors have been safely storing their funds with other financial institutions like the Bank Frick Liechtenstein.

BANK FRICK LIECHTENSTEIN

The Bank Frick Liechtenstein currently accepts crypto-related funds and even offers investment support to clients. The Balzers-based bank was the first one in Liechtenstein to open its doors to digital currency. Originally a custodian bank for financial intermediaries, Bank Frick Liechtenstein began offering trading and secure offline storage for five leading cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash(BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP).

The bank carries out its secure trading once a day according to a fully regulated bank process framework with an offering aimed at its regular user-base, professional market participants and financial intermediaries. This allows them to easily invest in any of the five cryptocurrencies that the bank supports.

Trading can also be carried out with US dollar, euro, and franc deposits. The bank is a particularly attractive option for investors, not just because it was the first bank in Liechtenstein to accept cryptocurrency funds, but because it offers high-level protection against theft of crypto assets. To achieve this type of security, the bank holds all digital assets in cold wallets that have no contact with the internet.

Bank Frick also claims to subject all cryptocurrency investments to the same measures as its traditional banking activities. This means that crypto-holding clients have to pass through the same verification processes as traditional banking clients. The bank has found ways to tailor its new services to financial intermediaries who can, in turn, offer better crypto services to their customers and diversify their portfolios in the process.

Among its various services, Bank Frick also launched a basket tracker based on the top two major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Since the launch, the bank has recorded value increases of up to 360%.

WHAT DOES CRYPTOCURRENCY ADOPTION FROM BOTH OF THESE BANKS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE?

The acceptance of cryptocurrency-related funds by Maerki Baumann is a huge step towards the evolution of the global banking system where Switzerland currently sits at the center of. This new development allows cryptocurrency investors access to top-tier banking services in a globally trusted system.

Bank Frick Liechtenstein is also creating a gateway for further acceptance of cryptocurrency within the CHF area. If clients feel protected by the banks’ policies, more customers will invest in digital assets because the security of their crypto fund is guaranteed. It may be instrumental in helping the industry achieve any of the following two things:

  • Encourage widespread global banking support for crypto-related funds: Banks exist to serve their customers and are always looking for new ways to do so. Despite the risks associated with the industry, the fact remains that there is a profitable market in cryptocurrency that the banks can find ways to benefit from. With Maerki Baumann leading the charge, banks may follow in their footsteps and work to mitigate the industrial risks.
  • As a result of a cause-effect relationship, provision of banking support as mentioned above will, in turn, encourage the emergence of more businesses. This will boost growth and increase the population of blockchain professionals who can work together to tackle the issues within the industry that hinder mainstream adoption.

In general, Switzerland is working on drafting regulations that are beneficial to both banks and investors. When these regulations are put in place, banks will be able to accept crypto accounts without the current skepticism and worry.

Due to the hesitance of Swiss banks to accept cryptocurrency, the country’s position on the ranking of ICO funds raised has dropped from second to sixth place. Currently, offshore financial centers like the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands occupy the leading positions.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While these banks are still widely unsupportive of cryptocurrency assets, the presence of proper regulations and pressure from customers who hold such assets may force a change of stance.

How Blockchain Will Combat Bias in News Reporting

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This Article is Originally Posted on CoinCentral.com written by 

Bias in News Reporting

We all know that news reporting is never truly objective. Political bias in news reporting is so well-known and entrenched that we even select our preferred news outlets based on our political views. Over recent years, it has also been increasingly evident that fake news is a problem.

However, there are far more insidious forces at work within the news media. These forces are not just at work online, and they affect even the most reputable outlets and publications. The advertising dollar funds most of the news media. Consequently, it has a scary level of influence over the news we see. Thankfully, blockchain solutions are emerging that will address this imbalance, by decentralizing the news itself.

The Problem – Advertising Pays for the Media

The Pew Research Centre reported in 2014 that advertising accounted for 58 percent of US printed news revenues. This figure does not reflect the increase in online media. The percentage of revenues generated from advertising dropped from 82 percent in 2005, when online news media was far less prevalent. Television advertising also created a significant proportion of revenues.

Advertising Times Square

Advertising is big business, and big money buys big influence

In the UK, the situation is no different. A study undertaken by Deloitte estimated that around half of UK newspaper revenues came from advertisers. Another report indicated that in Scandinavian countries, or Germany, where the state provided funding for public-service journalism, news outlets were less dependent on advertising and fared better in the age of online media. However, outlets in the UK and the US preferred not to move to a state-sponsored model. The reason? They were concerned about compromising editorial control over content.

Using that same logic, then, it stands to reason that in the US and the UK where advertisers fund the news, advertisers wield editorial control. This results in bias in news reporting which has had some startling effects over the years.

Examples of Media Bias in News Reporting

Tobacco advertising created a now-shocking bias in news reporting. Advertising of tobacco is now heavily regulated or banned in many countries because of the well-known risks that smoking causes to health.

During the 20th century, many news outlets were reluctant to publish the various studies and evidence to show that smoking causes fatal diseases. This reluctance was due to the advertising revenues they collected from the tobacco industry. Who knows how many fatal smoking-related disease cases could have been prevented if the media were truly objective?

Smoking

If the media had objectively reported the risks of smoking, would it even still be legal now?

The issue of climate change is also alleged to have been subject to bias in news reporting, in part to the significant advertising revenue generated by the automotive industry. When climate change has been reported, it has frequently not made calls for the level of substantial reforms in human behavior that are needed if we are ever to reverse climate change.

The move to a digital age has not resolved these issues. Although there is now a far more vast choice of news outlets and websites alongside digitized versions of more traditional print newspapers, most of the internet operates on ad-based publications. Using an ad-blocker makes the online experience more tolerable, but it does little to guarantee the quality of what we are reading.

The question is then, who can we trust? Advertising funds the news industry, so it’s an inevitable consequence that journalism will not remain entirely objective while publications are being supported by companies with corporate interests to protect. Decentralization creates democracy, so we turn to blockchain.

In Blockchain We Trust

Blockchain is already proving to help with the issue of fake news with the introduction of decentralized social networks. Now, blockchain is enabling decentralized, community-run media outlets that don’t rely on chasing advertising dollars to sustain themselves.

Two such projects are Civil, and DNN (Decentralized News Network) Media. Both are based on the Ethereum blockchain and have the goal of creating news outlets that are driven by journalistic integrity rather than revenues.

DNN Screenshot

With no central control over publication, members of the community manage promotion and censorship if something breaches guidelines. Network participants use their tokens to cast votes on content published on the networks. The news networks, therefore, self-govern in a similar way to Steemit.

Civil has allocated more than a million dollars in grants for on-boarding an initial group of full-time journalists. This ensures the publication of news content from day one of the platform launch.

Unlike centralized, ad-funded news, decentralized news outlets are not subject to advertiser bias. By handing control of news promotion and censorship to a decentralized blockchain community, Civil and DNN secure the news itself. In much the same way that Bitcoin and other blockchains are vulnerable to a potential 51% attack, the decentralized news would need 51% of its network to agree to promote “bad” news.

Civil and DNN are not the only players in the blockchain media space. However, they are the two that have taken the major step of allowing the submission and promotion of literally any news article to their platforms.

Other news platforms take a different approach of using blockchain for verifying content published by mass media. A decentralized network of checkers either confirm or deny news posted on the platform. Two such examples are Trive and MediaSifter. While these kinds of networks have value in calling out fake news, they don’t cover any gaps left by mainstream media.

The Value of Decentralized News Publications

Reporting what the mass media will not is why decentralization of the news publication process itself is so critical. Blockchain news publication platforms could prove essential for the removal of advertising-driven bias in news reporting. With a bias-free media, it’s possible that we may access news stories that damage corporate interests. But the job of the news should be to equip readers with facts and knowledge. Particularly when not doing so may cause more harm than good.

Thousands of Crypto Coins Dead: These are Top 5

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This article is Originally Posted on MintDice.com

 

Although digital currencies have shown a substantial amount of progress over the past few years, recent volatility in the crypto world is giving skeptics more reason to stay doubtful.

While we have seen a consistent stream of innovation with new currencies, particularly in the past 18 months, there are now more than 800 of them that have been pronounced dead. This means that the coins have no value, trading at less than 1 cent. Most commonly the failure of these coins is due to their lack of integrity — being a scam or a joke — or because the product did not materialize. Many of the obsolete cryptocurrencies are listed on the website Dead Coins, which describes itself as a “strategic partnership to clean up crypto.” Coinopsy is another site that has reported dead coins. When considering reports from both sources, the number of dead projects accumulates into the thousands, with reasons ranging from true abandonment to outright scams.

CREATING NEW TOKENS: RISKY BY NATURE

A process called an initial coin offering (ICO) can create new digital tokens. In this process, a start-up can issue a new currency that is available for purchase by investors. While the investor does not obtain an equity stake in the company, the purchased cryptocurrency can be used on the product of the company. Since the coins are cheap while holding potential for substantial returns down the line, people often buy into an ICO.

By their very nature, ICOs are highly risky. Moreover, these kinds of investments have been riddled with fraud. Just in 2018, a scam ICO called Giza was reported by CNBC. It was a fake startup that ran off with $2 million in investor money, giving plenty of fuel to skeptics to continue to doubt the legitimacy of this industry.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone expects the startups to fail. The problem is the massive amount of cash that floods into these projects before they are ready — this is the primary cause for concern. When startups receive more fuel than they can keep up with, the resulting conflagration ultimately consumes both the company and the founders, which is not helpful to the investors in return.

The conflagrations are, unfortunately, a global phenomenon. In 2017 alone, dead ICOs and scams raised $1 billion, and nearly 300 startups had been marked as questionable. The lock-ups and pricing scams within the ICO market are using greed rather than rational thinking, and are hurting the industry more than helping it. In the end, it is crucial to invest only what you can afford to lose and expect any token that you invest in to fail. Then if it succeeds, you will be pleasantly surprised, and if it fails, you will avoid devastation.

Even Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization or value, has had a tough year.

Although it hit a record high of nearly $20,000 last year, it has since decreased by nearly 70%, according to data from CoinDesk. While Bitcoin is still among the stronger of coins, many others have not been as fortunate. To note are five of the greatest failures in cryptocurrency history thus far.

THE BIGGEST CRYPTO TOKEN FAILURES

SPACEBIT

SpaceBit has long held the status of one of the most ambitious cryptocurrency projects thus far. And perhaps rightly so, as this is the company that wanted to launch several “nano-satellites” into orbit to provide a globally-accessible blockchain, which would be used for the storage of Bitcoin as well as helping unbanked regions access financial services. This announcement attracted much attention and enthusiasm from the public, gaining massive support behind them. However, the project ultimately disappeared. There was never any prototype or proof-of-concept, and eventually, all talk about SpaceBIT faded out completely. Supposedly the team behind SpaceBIT is now completely focused on a new project called BlockVerify, so SpaceBIT has been put on the shelf for good.

GEMS

Originally branded as “Gems” but now named “GetGems,” this was a social networking platform that uses cryptocurrency to pay members that view advertisements within the app. Having made grand claims in 2014 about disrupting social media, the result was somewhat disappointing with an underwhelmingly low crowdsale that year. Since then, GetGems has been overtaken by competitors, but they are still running; they have seen the most success in the country of Uzbekistan, ranking in 63rd place among apps.

DOGECOIN

Although this cryptocurrency began as a joke, it quickly evolved into a success with a passionate community behind it that became known for donating to charity with DOGE. After a successful streak, the Dogecoin collapsed. To make matters worse, founder Alex Green had disappeared with everyone’s money, shutting down the exchange. This led to the crashing of DOGE and disbandment of its community.

PAYCOIN

Launched in 2014, PayCoin grew to be one of the largest cryptocurrencies worldwide by market capitalization. The coin’s white paper presented a vision for new variations of blockchain technology that would produce a new breed of cryptocurrency. However, it quickly became evident that the coin would not live up to this vision when its founder converted PayCoin into a generic altcoin clone, which made it easier to push onto the market faster. As it lacked follow-through, people ultimately lost faith in the coin. By 2015, GAW shut down entirely and faced a federal investigation, with its founder fleeing the United States.

DAO

Taking first place in cryptocurrency failure is the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), an Ethereum-based coin. While its beginnings were met with great enthusiasm, including large purchases of the token, one incident had changed the entire course of this currency transactions. When an attacker exploited a vulnerability in the DAO smart contract, this led to a loss of more than $50 million. After information about the attack became well known, the token became abandoned by traders, throwing it into a downward spiral.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There has been intense pressure and skepticism placed on the crypto world, perpetuated by consistent news of novel scams or unsuccessful coins. However, optimism for the industry remains strong. Proponents of crypto expect regulators to learn to be more favorable towards the field, which could boost participation in the market. Similarly, there is a lot of optimism for the future of ICOs as an alternative to initial public offerings and venture capital funding. It is true that many coins have not survived, but there are also many coins that have. Every impactful innovation has its trials and tribulations, but that does not mean that it cannot evolve into a success that improves the way we live our lives.

Can Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Be Separated?

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This article was Originally Posted on CoinCentral.com authored by CHRISTINA COMBEN

 

Well into the second half of 2018 and it’s been a white-knuckle roller coaster ride for most. With Ether shedding 44 percent of its value in just two weeks and the media speaking of a Bitcoin bubble, is it possible to lose faith in crypto but remain bullish on blockchain? Apparently; if continued corporate statements like the UBS blockchain endorsement are anything to go by. But can you really separate cryptocurrency and blockchain?

UBS Bullish on Blockchain, Bearish on Bitcoin

CEO of Swiss investment banking giant UBS, Sergio Ermotti, came out with a bold claim recently. He said that blockchain was “almost a must” for business. UBS blockchain support is nothing new, however. Neither is their stance that cryptocurrencies are risky and will probably never become mainstream currencies.

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti

Yet, when it comes to blockchain, UBS changes their point of view. The bank believes that blockchain technology can help companies become more efficient and reduce their operating costs across the board, from healthcare to finance. This implies a separation between cryptocurrencies and the technology that they run on.

But is it possible to separate the two? Furthermore, since the original vision of Satoshi was to send peer-to-peer electronic payments without the need for a middleman, UBS blockchain support could be misplaced.

Disrupt or Be Disrupted

“While we are doubtful cryptocurrencies will ever become a mainstream means of exchange, the underlying technology, blockchain, is likely to have a significant impact in industries ranging from finance to manufacturing, health care, and utilities,” UBS wrote in October of 2017.

Adding that, “Just as [the] internet has transformed our lives with email, e-commerce, or smartphone apps, we believe blockchain as an infrastructure technology can power future disruptive technologies through distributive ledgers, smart contracts, tokens or identity management.”

So, what about cutting out the middleman? The centralized authority taking its fees? UBS blockchain research does acknowledge a certain level of risk, although they limit this to technological shortcomings and an uncertainty as to which application will benefit the industry most. They fail to mention whether digital currencies will threaten fiat ones, or if central authorities will be cut out of the loop.

In fact, within the financial sector, UBS predicts that blockchain technology will have irreversible and positive effects. And UBS blockchain support doesn’t stop at words. The bank is also investing in research into distributed ledgers and smart contracts in its business model.

UBS currently holds a number of blockchain patents. Yet, despite Ermotti’s bullish stance, their blockchain activities are dwarfed by other large banksand credit card companies. The list includes American Express, BBVA, Mizuho Financial Group, Goldman Sachs, BNP, and Bank of America (who’s buying up blockchain patents like they’re expecting a war). Is this a bid to disrupt or be disrupted? Or a defensive maneuver to protect themselves against blockchain innovation?

Blockchain and Bitcoin Are One and the Same

Plenty of people criticize Ermotti’s point of view, seeing it as a convenient way of taking a politically acceptable view and a safe position. Leaving the door open without scaring away existing clients. Others believe that more than just convenient, it misses the point completely. After all, blockchain and cryptocurrency are one and the same.

Consider the Bitcoin network for a moment. The way it was created requires miners to believe that the value of the Bitcoin they are rewarded will increase over time (or at least, not decrease in value). Otherwise, there is no incentive or rational reason to invest in expensive mining equipment, electricity, and time.

Bitcoin Mining Equipment

 

So, for those like UBS that are skeptical on Bitcoin, but busy singing the praises of blockchain, they may not fully understand. In an interview with Malta’s Steve Tendon, a member of the country’s Blockchain Taskforce and author of Malta’s National Blockchain Strategy, he expressed his concern with viewpoints such as the UBS blockchain one.

He argued that many regulators and institutions tried to draw a distinction between blockchain and cryptocurrencies, viewing crypto as a bad thing because of its criminal associations and scams, but blockchain as a positive technology with infinite possibilities.

“There is no way you can have a smart contract platform that is as sophisticated as the one that Ethereum has implemented today (but there will be others in the future) unless you also have a cryptocurrency that is being used to “pay” for the computation. So the distinction between cryptocurrency and blockchains are really artificial: they are just two aspects of the same coin,” he said.

Final Thoughts

Ermotti and the UBS team may be making headlines with their views on the transformative technology. Calling blockchain “crucial and disruptive” is all well and good. But frowning on Bitcoin at the same time may just be missing a trick.

COSPLAY TOKEN: THE LATEST ANIME FANDOM CRYPTO?

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This Article is Originally on MintDice.com

Yet another novel cryptocurrency is preparing to launch, and this time it is making an appearance in a less expected industry; it is a world of cosplay costumes and role-playing known as “cosplaying,” but don’t be fooled in thinking that this playful hobby should not be taken seriously.

With its highly engaged cosplay community and an industry valuation of $45 billion, Cure WorldCosplay — a free website for submitting cosplay photos — is utilizing blockchain technology to build the world’s largest cosplay platform.

WHAT IS COSPLAY?

The term cosplay refers to costume role-playing. It is a very popular activity in which people wear costumes that represent fictional characters, and they act out the role and personality of their chosen character. These characters may come from video games, television, comic books, anime, and anything else that is dubbed as being “geeky.’

Cosplaying consists of four characteristics: narrative, clothing, play, and player. Far more than just any costume, cosplaying has been called an “art.” Players may devote much time and resources to designing their cosplay costumes, with great determination to capture the attire precisely as it is seen on the character, including anything from capes and wizard hats to armor and weapons.

The motivation behind cosplay varies, but most often it’s just fun and enjoyable to pretend to be a character that resonates with you, particularly from a world that you are drawn to — even if it is fictional. As one cosplay fan explained in an article, “Let’s face it, a lot of us wish we could live in video games/tv shows/movies/comic books/animes, because it’s so interesting. And it’s nice to devote a part of yourself to something. Making costume cosplay takes a ton of time but that’s half the fun for me. It sort of consumes your life for a bit.” And perhaps it offers a satisfying escape from real life.

It has also helped people feel more comfortable in their own skin, express the things they love, and socialize with like-minded people. As another fan explained: “It’s helped me be more comfortable not only with my outward appearance but more confident emotionally. It’s hard not to feel confident strutting around in Poison Ivy’s leaves or wearing your best pair of ass-kicking Black Canary boots.”

Needless to say, participants in anime cosplay are aficionados, and there is a highly engaged community around this whimsical hobby of cosplay games. Cosplayers come together at cosplay events and exchange ideas as well as materials with one another. Competitions grant opportunities to win prizes, with some of the top players earning $200,000 a year. According to China Research and Intelligence (CRI), money spent on just wigs and costumes were estimated to have reached $17.8 billion in 2017 alone. In practice, spending within the cosplay industry is far higher, involving merchandise, events, and cosplay-related material. Today, the industry is estimated to be worth approximately $45 billion.

This presents another grand opportunity for blockchain technology, and that’s where Cure WorldCosplay comes in.

WHAT IS CURE WORLDCOSPLAY?

Cure WorldCosplay (Cure) is a free website for submitting cosplay photos, and cosplayers use it across the globe. They have their own social network with around 700,000 users internationally, sharing millions of images between them. The platform has more than 400,000 social media followers in total across Facebook, Weibo, and Twitter, and the Cosplay Token project has over 200,000 telegram members.

Now, they are building the world’s largest cosplay platform that leverages blockchain technology. They have also created their own utility token for the Cosplay World, the cosplay token (COT), which is designed to be used within the system and to create smart tokens for cosplayers. Cure WorldCosplay aims to become the de-facto currency of the cosplay economy.

The cosplay industry presents a lucrative opportunity, but it also faces its own trials and tribulations, particularly when it comes to community transparency and revenue distribution. Cure WorldCosplay has identified five major challenges that it has set out to address:

  • Copyright and revenue sharing issues: because Cure uses blockchain, all records are stored.
  • Trust and harassment in the cosplay industry: every user of Cure is identifiable and held accountable
  • Not everyone has access to settlement accounts: the COT is accessible by all
  • There is little to no value recognition: Cure WorldCosplay increases exposure and connections
  • Cosplay content is not globalized: all information on Cure WorldCosplay is translated and globally accessible

THE COSPLAY TOKEN (COT): A NEW CRYPTOCURRENCY 

The Cosplay Token (COT) aims to be the top choice among all cryptocurrencies within the cosplay ecosystem. Based on the open-sourced Ethereum blockchain, COT will be used for buying goods and services anywhere that accepts this base crypto. These coins can be used to make purchases and tips, and to allow cosplayers to develop deeper relationships with their fans. The Bancor Protocol makes the creation of these custom coins possible.

As Cosplay Token spokesperson Ian Yun has explained, “In order to facilitate sustainable growth for creators and the industry as a whole, Cure is creating the Cure Protocol as well as a variety of other initiatives aimed at promoting growth within the industry and allowing cosplayers to realize their value.”

The coin was originated to let fans tip the cosplayers they admire and receive exclusive rewards without needing conventional payment methods. Also, players will be able to create and distribute their personalized coin once they have enough of their own COT in reserve. This allows them to monetize themselves by creating their own personalized Cosplay Player Coins. The value of the coin is determined by demand and the quantity that is bought; they can be traded back for COT easily. However, COT is expected to remain affordable because it is — and will continue to be — decentralized.

“The currencies and tokens themselves (COT, different Player Coins) will be decentralized and transferable the same as other decentralized currencies,” commented Yun. “Platform initiatives and direction will be chosen and developed by Cure WorldCosplay.”

The distributed Ledger Technology on which COT will be built allows for full transparency all throughout, which enhances trust among all members of the community by improving identification and evaluation. Information will be globalized, further increasing transparency. Distribution and management of revenue will be enhanced by using smart contracts. Moreover, feedback and market insights will be consistently available to participants to aid them in improving their work.

Cure is currently hosting the Cosplay Token crowdsale on their ICO Mission Control Platform on QRYPTOS. The crowdsale began on July 29th, with the QRYPTOS private sale running until August 11. The public sale will run on QRYPTOS from August 12 to August 25, 2018.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The adoption of Cure’s COT could hold interesting implications for broader adoption of cryptocurrency as a whole in various industries and, ultimately, in the daily life of the general public. Given that cryptocurrency is still a nascent industry, all digital assets face a notable amount of skepticism. Cure is taking a clever approach with its coin by targeting cosplayers who already use cryptocurrency. In Yun’s opinion, “As Ethereum is so widely used, many users have erc20-compliant wallets and already have prior experience storing erc20-compliant tokens.” By being laser-focused on a specific niche target, Cure can gradually build trust and expand its user base over time.

What is the Internet of Services Token (IOST)? | Beginner’s Guide

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what is Internet of Services Token IOST

What is the Internet of Services (IOS)?

The Internet of Services (IOS) is a blockchain infrastructure that’s aiming to solve maybe the biggest problem in blockchain today – scalability. The platform’s native token is the IOS token, IOST for short.

Market Problem: Current blockchain architecture has seemingly hit a plateau in which additional adoption only leads to exorbitant fees, slow transaction times, and poor throughput. Even though some second-layer scaling solutions are being implemented, they’re largely untested and may still not reach the level of scalability that an enterprise-level company like Amazon would need.

 

The IOS team believes that the current consensus protocols and blockchain architecture are the inherent causes of these scalability roadblocks. In this IOS beginner’s guide, we’ll look at all aspects of the blockchain infrastructure project including:

How does the Internet of Services (IOS) work?

The Internet of Services (IOS) utilizes five primary innovations to traditional blockchain architecture and consensus algorithms. Let’s take a closer look at each one individually. Warning: It’s going to get a little dense.

1. Efficient Distributed Sharding (EDS)

Before getting into EDS, you need to have an understanding of how sharding works. Sharding splits the nodes on a network into groups who then verify a proportional number of transactions. The groupings enable concurrent verifications to take place, increasing the network throughput.

This poses a few questions, though. How do you select which nodes are in which shard? How can you remain resistant to malicious nodes? What’s the node leader election process? (Bitcoin does this through mining.)

To answer these questions, IOS uses the Distributed Random Protocol (DRP). Simply put, this protocol implements client-server communication with non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs (NIZK) and publicly verifiable secret sharing (PVSS) to create an unforgeable, uniformly random value. That may not have been so simple… The IOS white paper spells out the protocol in more detail.

DRP works great if there are no malicious or failing nodes on the network. But, we know that often isn’t the case. To prevent the impact of the activity caused by these nodes, IOS elects leaders using Algorand and Omniledger. These mechanisms ensure that leader nodes run the DRP protocol, and if they don’t, are then excluded from participating on the network.

2. TransEpoch

IOS switches batches of nodes in and out when transitioning between epochs. To do so, it uses TransEpoch, a node-to-shard transition assignment protocol that allows remaining nodes to continue working while having new nodes bootstrap and download history data.

The TransEpoch algorithm keeps the Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus on each shard. This essentially means that malicious nodes shouldn’t be able to take over the shard during the transition.

3. Atomix

With any sharding system, there’s the likelihood that you’ll need to make transactions across shards. This causes an extra layer of complexity that opens the network up to double spend hacks and inaccuracies between the transaction ledgers of different shards.

IOS’s implementation of the Byzantine Shard Atomic Commit (Atomix) protocol should make those problems a non-issue. Here’s how it works:

  1. Node in shard A wants to send funds to node in shard B.
  2. If the nodes in approve the transaction, they’ll log it in A’s blockchain.
  3. Simultaneously, the client will lock the funds into a transaction message and send it to B.
  4. sends the transaction to B’s blockchain for validation.
  5. If the nodes in B approve the transaction, receives the funds.
  6. If at any point in the process the nodes reject the transaction, the funds return to a.

4. Proof-of-Believability (PoB)

Proof-of-Believability separates all of the IOS nodes into two leagues: believable and normal. First, nodes from the believable league quickly process transactions. After that, the normal nodes validate samples of the transactions and provide verifiability.

The likelihood of a node being selected for the believable league is based on its believability score. This score is comprised of the token balance, reviews, and community contributions, among other things.

The purpose of the normal nodes is to ensure that the believable nodes are acting honestly. If a normal node catches a believable node acting dishonestly, that believable node will lose all of its tokens and its believability score will return to zero.

5. Micro State Block (MSB)

Having each node in a network store the entire blockchain is great for security and immutability. However, as more transactions attach to the chain, this process becomes time and resource intensive. Instead, IOS prunes blockchain storage through Micro State Blocks (MSBs).

With this strategy, each shard only stores the headers of previous blocks and the blockchain state is dispersed across multiple shards. Because of the MSB generation protocol, nodes only need to validate the last part of the blockchain as opposed to checking the entire thing.

IOS token (IOST) and Servi

IOS token (IOST)

The IOS token (IOST) is the medium of exchange on the IOS network and a factor into a node’s believability score. Additionally, you receive IOST by validating transactions and contributing computing power for services such as smart contract execution.

The team minted the entire supply of IOST (21 million) during the private ICO event. They distributed the tokens accordingly:

  • 40%: Token Sale
  • 35%: IOS Foundation
  • 12.5%: Community Building
  • 10%: Team
  • 2.5%: Investors and Advisors

IOS token IOST uses

Servi

The amount of Servi is another main factor in a node’s believability score calculation. You receive Servi when you provide services to the community, evaluate third-party services, and/or help out in other ways.

You’re unable to trade or exchange Servi, and your Servi balance resets to zero when you validate a block.

IOS team & progress

The IOS team consists of over 30 members spread across Asia and North America. Resumes include CoinLang creator, EtherCap CTO, Forbes 30 under 30, National Olympiad in Informatics Gold Medalist, and numerous other roles. IOS also has an advisory board that includes names such as Yusen Dai (Jumei co-founder), Ryan Bubinski (Codecademy co-founder), and Robert Neivert (500 Startups venture partner).

An impressive amount of companies and venture capital firms have partnered with and invested in the project as well. The list includes Huobi, FBG Capital, and Sequoia Capital.

IOS token IOST investors and partners

With a focus on scalability and enterprise-level usage, IOS is competing with decentralized application (dapp) platforms that have the same focuses. Obviously, IOS’s biggest competitor is Ethereum. However, EOS and NEO have come out with announcements that they also plan to solve the scaling issues that have plagued other blockchain projects.

ICONLisk, and VeChain also aim to provide blockchain solutions to enterprise clients. In the end, there are plenty (and will probably be plenty more) dapp platforms that IOS competes with.

Trading

The IOST price saw one sharp spike shortly after the ICO but hasn’t had much volatility since – a rarity in the cryptocurrency space. It’s unclear what may have caused that initial spike to the all-time high of ~$0.13 (~0.00001 BTC), but it could’ve just been investors simply finding out about the project.

After the end of the January pump, the IOST price immediately dropped down to almost ICO price levels. It continued to slowly drop through most of March before turning around. Starting at the end of March, the price steadily rose and is now at ~$0.05 (0.000006 BTC).

USDEURCNYGBP
Value$0.01338
Jul 28AugAug 05Aug 09Aug 13Aug 17Aug 210.0050.0100.0150.0200.0250.0300.035
Volume$5,920.830000000001
Jul 28AugAug 05Aug 09Aug 13Aug 17Aug 210100,000
Jul 28AugAug 05Aug 09Aug 13Aug 17Aug 21

This project has a long roadmap ahead of it, so it’s difficult to say what may affect the price. Overall market conditions will most likely be the biggest influencer. Partnership announcements could lead to some positive price actions as well.

Where to buy IOST

You can purchase IOST on Huobi, Binance, or OKEx with BTC or ETH. However, the coin has the largest trading volume as a trading pair with Bitcoin on all three exchanges.

If you don’t own any cryptocurrency, you can first pick up some Bitcoin on an exchange like Gemini or GDAX.

Where to store IOST

Because IOST is currently on the Ethereum network, you can store it in any wallet with ERC20 support. MyEtherWallet is a great online choice while the Ledger Nano S is a solid hardware wallet you can use.

Once the team launches the mainnet, you’ll want to store your coins in the official wallet that they provide. This launch isn’t scheduled until Q3 2019, though, so the team hasn’t released that wallet yet.

Conclusion

IOS is attempting to build a more scalable blockchain infrastructure. Easily one of the more complex projects in the space, it’ll be at least a year before we’ll be able to measure the success of it.

If the team can achieve the ambitious goals they’ve set for themselves, we may see an entirely new blockchain infrastructure conquer the space. However, with the number of developers working on scaling solutions for projects that are much further along, it may be too late.

Additional IOS resources

Twitter

Telegram

Reddit

Medium

Github

IBM & AUSTRALIA PARTNER TO USE BLOCKCHAIN FOR DATA SECURITY

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This Article is Originally posted on MintDice.com

 

IBM, in its continuous efforts to position itself as one of the most reputable government technology partners, has signed a five-year, $740 million (AU$1 billion) deal with the Australian government to use blockchain technology and improve sensitive data security among other aspects of the country ‘down under.’

RECORD-BREAKING CONTRACT HINTS HOW CARDINAL A TRANSFORMATION IS

The multimillion-dollar contract with the Australian government, by which the country will have access to IBM’s proprietary technology, signals the openness of the country to adapt to a new changing landscape.

The business agreement, spearheaded by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), marks the highest paid contract by the Australian Government on record, suggesting that the collaboration is a significant ‘milestone,’ perceived as offering major, mid-to-long term value for the interest of the country.

The deal comprises the application of IBM’s revolutionary technology in quantum, cybersecurity, and research, achieved through IBM’s state-of-the-art hardware, software and cloud-based solutions.

The ultimate aim is to fulfill a pressing need by governments around the world to go, as Harriett Green, IBM’s Asia Pacific Head, puts it, “paperless.”

In fact, the Australian government has very ambitious goals and is currently embarked upon a transformational period to become one of the most prominent global users in digital technology. According to Green, following an interview via Bloomberg, the new partnership will propel Australia to “the top three of digital governments in the world,” she confidently said.

Sandra McMullan, Head of Communications for IBM in Australia/New Zealand, said, “Some of the leading-edge work that will be done by IBM’s R&D teams in Australia include the engagement of a Melbourne-based research team to accelerate the application of blockchain, AI and quantum computing in government. Separate units of expert computer engineers and developers will also be based on the Gold Coast and Canberra to work on world-leading cybersecurity solutions for data protection and the application of supercomputing for government services.”

THE AGREEMENT ENTAILS A WIN-WIN AS CITIZENS REQUIRE ENHANCED DATA SECURITY

This partnership will provide substantial benefits to both internal government employees as well as Australian citizens. The technological upgrades will result in Australian agencies working in a much more time-efficient manner by gradually transitioning into self-service, automation, and digitization of all government agencies.

Most notably, the deal will be particularly fitting for the most essential insider bureaus such as the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and the Department of Defence (DOD), set to benefit the most and have the greatest cost-saving impact. This will be achieved via the vast array of technological improvements IBM will integrate via artificial intelligence, blockchain, and quantum and will enable the agencies to accelerate the deployment of digital services that are smarter, more resilient and better integrated for Australians.

As per users, while IBM and the DTA have yet to elaborate on the type of specific technologies that will be accessible to make everyday life protection more efficient, productive and secure, additional insights will soon be obtained, as a group made up of government, and industry leaders are scheduled to regularly gather to set a list of priorities in terms of the introduction of these technologies to citizen services.

The re-engineering of Australia’s government platforms to provide extra layers of security measures through the technologies of immutability and encrypted ledgers offers a robust solution to protect citizens’ data against the growing number of cyber threats and risk via IBM’s encryption technology, certainly a most welcomed development.

Back in November 2017, almost 50,000 Australian employees were affected by a data breach due to a misconfigured Amazon S3 which led to the compromise of data stored by employees via Amazon’s cloud storage services. Data owned by Insurer AMP along with Utility UGL were the most severely affected. This episode follows the well known ‘Red Cross Leak, where a Red Cross Blood Service data breach in Australia exposed the personal data of over 550,000 blood donors between 2010 and 2016 by an ‘unauthorised person.’

Data security is a global concern, proof of that is the worsening trend seen by the U.S., which happens to embody such aggravating trends like no other country. According to a 2018 Thales Data Threat Report, in the U.S., federal agencies are exposed to an increasing number of security breaches in recent years as cyber hackers become more sophisticated. According to the survey, a mind-blowing 57% of federal agencies suffered a data breach in the last 12 months vs. 24% of non-US governmental agencies.

The Australian Digital Transformation Agency was recently awarded a budget worth $530,000 (roughly $700,000 AUD) for the 2018-2019 period, specifically assigned to the research of blockchain technology and its applications to improve processes. The initiative by the Australian government to branch out and explore innovative blockchain-based applications comes with the blessings of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

According to Australian local website IT News: “The Prime Minister wrote to our minister [assistant minister for digital transformation Michael Keenan] and asked us to have a look at blockchain, which evolved into this particular piece of work,” said DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander.

IBM LAYING THE FOUNDATION AS TOP PLAYER IN THE CRYPTO SPACE

IBM is making steady headways in the crypto industry, currently seen as an authority in the area of technological innovation via the application of blockchain technology, AI, and quantum.

IBM has been slowly but surely taking a more outspoken public stance by endorsing the many benefits of blockchain as part of a strategic move to position itself as a global blockchain technology provider, with government partnerships an essential part of its growth blueprint.

In fact, IBM, as reported by CoinDesk, has been meeting with senior-level and management boards of brokerage firms, commodities trading platforms, large enterprises, and even central banks, to examine what new venues may exist that can provide cost-saving solutions to increase a company’s or agency’s bottom-line.

Attesting to the progress made by IBM through 2018, via its proprietary Blockchain Platform, on July 3rd we learned that the European-based blockchain trading platform we.trade successfully completed its first live operations by engaging twenty companies and five major banks, in order to transact in a manner that is more efficient and cost-effective for all parties involved.

The platform has attracted the interest of various banks, currently testing the waters, which including Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Nordea, Rabobank, Santander, Société Générale and UniCredit. “These trade(s) represent a great example of traditional banks innovating to meet their clients’ needs by working with we.trade,” said Rabobank’s chief digital transformation officer Bart Leurs.

AUSTRALIA PIONEERS THE DIGITALIZATION OF SERVICES

In a similar move seen in other locations such as Switzerland, specifically in the town of Zug (‘Crypto Valley’), where a large number of blockchain foundations are set-up, including Ethereum’s, or in Malta, another example, where Binance CEO has praised due to the embracement of blockchain and crypto friendly regulations, this same pattern is expanding across the globe, and it applies in Australia as well.

In fact, to such an extent that in the small town of Agnes Water in Queensland, they claim to be in such alignment with the values of blockchain, that they are now claiming to be Australia’s First ‘Digital Currency Town’, a term that illustrates the current trend that exists towards digitalization by communities, obviously also partly interested to use the ‘blockchain’ buzzword as a tool to promote its dominant industry, tourism.

More than 30 local businesses accept a range of cryptocurrencies in a town of just over 2,000 residents. Other mainstream stories in Australia have also made headlines in recent months, such as the introduction of cryptocurrencies (BTC, DASH, ETH, NEM, STEEM) as a method of payment in the Brisbane airport, making it one of the friendliest cryptocurrency airports in the world, if not the most.

Another sign that the adoption of all things crypto is blending well into the Australian landscape is the announcement that the Chinese exchange Huobi, one of the top cryptocurrency venues by trading volumes – currently in fourth position averaging over $700 million a day -, began operations in Australian back on July 5. The registration by Huobi in Australia depicts the flexible approach by the government in terms of regulations, moving away from some other countries’ unreasonable, rigid and to some extent archaic entrance barriers.

However, nothing speaks louder and clearer on Australia’s commitment towards a more progressive and dynamically forward-looking society than the partnership signed with IBM.

Blockchain and the Insurance Industry: The Coming Revolution

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blockchain insurance industry

Blockchain and the Insurance Industry

Blockchain and the insurance industry show compatibilities in such a way that you can expect blockchainto significantly alter the way insurance companies do business. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin says as much. In an interview with Simon Phipps of KPMG China on November 27, 2016, Buterin states:

“I think insurance actually is one of those areas in finance that could be relatively easy to apply to blockchains. I think the reason is that it’s an area where it’s basically just about finance and data. So fairly simple building blocks and I think data has been fairly freely available ever since the internet. And the finance side, you know, is becoming more and more accessible, especially with blockchain technology coming in. So there’s a fairly natural combination, and I think we’re seeing like both individual companies starting to develop some applications like those like flight insurance pilots, no pun intended, and like some fairly large insurance companies just getting interested in the technologies, just dipping their feet.”

Vitalik also declared his support on Twitter for blockchain development in insurance processing.

Cryptocurrency Tool Kit for only $7

Vitalik Non-giver of Ether

@VitalikButerin

Yes, I’m an advisor of wetrust. No, I do not have tokens. No, my interest in decentralized insurance should NOT be construed….

The History of Insurance

In ancient China, merchants indemnified themselves against loss by distributing cargo over multiple vessels. So if one vessel sank, the rest of the shipment remained safe. Here, we already see the value of decentralization in insurance.

Danger at Sea

Historians often pinpoint the origin of modern insurance in western culture to a London coffee house in the late 1680’s. Edward Lloyd opened Lloyd’s Coffee House at this time on Tower Street in London, and this provided a gathering place for ship owners, merchants, and seafaring men.

The insurance industry grew out of the deals made to spread risk among multiple parties and bet on a favorable outcome of a trading voyage. Edward Lloyd established Lloyd’s of London as a result of his success in this business.

These beginnings show insurance to be a catalyst for business development. Without insurance, some successful voyages would never have started. Consider the development of emerging technology as a modern equivalent.

Gambler’s Odds

Then in 1654, mathematician Blaise Pascal contacted fellow French mathematician Pierre de Fermat. Together, they developed a theory of probability. Probability theory gives insurers a rigorous tool for calculating the amount of risk involved in a given venture. Pascal’s work provided the basis for the first actuarial tables, and this approach continues to be used by the insurance industry today.

So, in the history of insurance, we clearly see significant areas where blockchain and the insurance industry coincide. Decentralization spreads risk. And mathematics provides smart contracts for the basis of transactions.

Blockchain Benefits to the Insurance Industry

Trust

Throughout the world, trust declines in established powers, whether they are governments or business. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer documents this decline. Blockchain technology, at its core, creates a system of trust regardless of whether parties involved in a transaction trust each other or not.

Edelman Financial Services Trust Barometer Highlights

Edelman Financial Services Trust Barometer Highlights

Transparency

In the United States alone, around $7.4 billion remains unclaimed through life insurance where people died, but their funds fall through the cracks. Blockchain technology and smart contracts enforce payment, and transaction data appear openly on the blockchain.

Efficiency

As an established industry, insurance companies use mainframes, outdated database technology, and incompatible systems that experience great difficulty in communicating with each other. Data on a blockchain alleviates these problems. Emerging economies such as those in Asia present opportunities to explore new systems based on blockchain because these economies exist free of established and outdated systems.

Immutable Record of Truth

Insurance depends on knowing the facts properly. When you insure valuables, the insurance company needs to know the condition of those valuables, their location, and even simple proof of their existence. Blockchain provides an immutable record of truth capable of storing all this data and tracking any change of ownership.

Transactions

The insurance industry essentially makes contractual obligations between parties. One party pays the other, and circumstances obligate the other party to pay when conditions meet the proper criteria. Blockchain technology provides a system for contracts to be honored and payments to be made efficiently.

Fraud Prevention

As an immutable record of truth, blockchain’s capabilities include the ability to reduce fraud. Transactions on a blockchain provide information relevant to uncovering suspicious claims and suspicious persons.

Auditing

The transparency of blockchain technology enables improved auditing. Blockchain provides ready access to the criteria used for establishing the price of premiums and how these criteria changed over various timeframes. Consequently, proof of compliance with governmental regulations grows simpler.

The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative (B3i)

The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative (B3i) formed in Europe in late 2016. B3i represents a collective of insurance companies collaborating to research the opportunities of blockchain and the insurance industry. After a successful first couple of years, B3i Services AG incorporated in Zurich in March of 2018. As its own organization, B3i Services AG looks to develop and test commercial blockchain solutions for insurance.

The organization released a blockchain prototype for property catastrophe excess of loss reinsurance contracts as its first product. Providing the simplest form of an insurance contract, this also paved the way for common standards to operate going forward.

blockchain and the insurance industry image

B3i is researching ways in which the insurance industry can benefit from blockchain technology.

Final Thoughts

Blockchain and the insurance industry present a myriad of opportunities. Blockchain transparency and transaction processing give both customers and vendors better data and trust. Improved efficiency of the existing industry provides only one path forward. Aspects of blockchain technology expose new ways to think about the business itself. The insurance industry grew out of a need to reduce risk, and it accomplished this by spreading risk over multiple parties. Consequently, the dangers of maritime trade initiated the modern Western insurance industry we know today.

You can see in the decentralization of blockchain the possibility of spreading risk over multiple parties in new ways. Blockchain enables people to insure ventures in a way similar to crowdfunding. And while the cost of overhead of outdated systems limits established insurance companies, blockchain enables microfinance. Therefore, profit from smaller ventures that would normally fly under the radar of the existing industry waits to be found.

A brave new world of possibility exists for those willing to set sail on the adventure of a new insurance industry.

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