October 13, 2017

Market Activity and Trends

IBM, Hyperledger Join Blockchain Identity Consortium
IBM Think Blog | October 10, 2017 | https://goo.gl/7MEL4J

IBM and Hyperledger have signed on with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), a consortium formed earlier this year in a bid to promote interoperability and standards for blockchain-based ID systems. The two enterprise blockchain heavyweights join a diverse group of organizations, including big corporates like Microsoft and Accenture, startups such as Civic and Gem, as well as open-source projects like uPort and Sovrin.
According to Jerry Cuomo, IBM VP of Blockchain Technologies, “IBM joined DIF because we believe it will take open community and standards to achieve the vision of self-sovereign identity.” IBM is already pioneering new digital identity and attribute sharing networks built on open standards through its partnership with SecureKey in Canada.

CoinShares Launches New Investment Product on Nasdaq
Coin Desk | October 11, 2017 | https://goo.gl/cTC8D3

CoinShares, lead by Daniel Maters, is launching an exchange-traded note (ETN) for ether, the cryptocurrency that drives Ethereum. This first-of-its-kind investment product is now open to investors on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange. Exchange-traded-funds and ETNs function similarly, except ETNs give investors exposure to a single asset, as opposed to access to a basket of assets. This attracts more conservative investors who are wary about putting their money in funds that invest in multiple cryptocurrencies, some of which that have yet to prove their use case.
The ETNs are based on a derivative product, thus the price of notes and ether may not be the same concurrently. When investors sell their ether ETNs in the open market, they can realize their profits or losses. Maters explained that his firm’s ether-based ETN does not use any leverage, although it may be possible to apply leverage depending on which platform an investor uses to purchase the ETN. This option hasn’t been very available, and shows the growing interest in sophisticated investment mechanisms.

Fujitsu to Pilot Peer-to-Peer Money Transfer System
Coin Desk | October 11, 2017 | https://goo.gl/GNTjis

IT giant Fujitsu has partnered with Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to pilot a blockchain powered, peer-to-peer money transfer system. The pilot will trial a cloud-based platform for sending funds between individuals, and will test value transfer, test clearing, and settlement functionalities. The customers’ fiat accounts at the three banks will be linked through the blockchain platform.
Fujitsu elaborated more on the pilot scheme, stating it will be used to, “evaluate the system’s application of the series of processes involved in monetary transfers between individuals, including transferring funds from the money transfer account for individuals and the actual bank account linked with it.” The platform development is already in the works, and the completed system is expected to begin trials in early 2018.

Featured Education

IBM Blockchain Foundation Consulting Course
Continue to follow the IBM framework, please take this course building upon your consulting knowledge. Stay tuned for more courses and sessions coming in the next couple weeks!

BlogChain: Reframing Blockchain Paradigms with Clients Outside of FSS
By Glenn Wolfe & Russell Naumann
It isn’t news that Blockchain is one of the newer tech offerings in IBM’s portfolio of services. Bitcoin’s introduction in 2009 was the first widespread application of the technology and brought the disruptive potential to the forefront. However, while Bitcoin opened the door for the emergence of a whole new industry surrounding Blockchain, it also created a lasting paradigm that Blockchain can only be applied for currency transactions. Since then, many innovations in the technology have been made — most notably, the ability to run programming languages directly on top of a Blockchain protocol;enabling an potentially infinite number of use cases. Only 8 years later, IBM has staked itself as a major industry player of the enterprise space — collaborating on the Hyperledger Fabric to deliver a permissionable enterprise friendly platform across many different industries. Despite this technological development, when people think of Blockchain, they still think of payments; coins and money.

“Realizing the Potential of Blockchain” by World Economic Forum (WEF)
Take a look at the WEF’s foundational survey of blockchain governance, the challenges faced in the industry, and the opportunities for multi-stakeholder cooperation using distributed ledger technology.

“The Ceremony” by Radiolab
How do you launch a cryptocurrency? What are the security measures you might take? How do you protect the genesis block? Listen to Radiolab’s episode called “The Ceremony” for an outsiders POV into launching a cryptocurrency (ZCash) to gain a different persepctive on blockchain technology.

Blockchain @ IBM Storytelling Team

Blockchain Part I: Evaluate, Engineer, Execute
Pramod Achanta | August 24, 2017

Blockchain Part II: Engineering Transformation; Building out the Blueprint
Pramod Achanta | September 8, 2017

Blockchain Part III: Execution; Breathing Life into Blueprints
Pramod Achanta | September 15, 2017

Blockchain @ IBM Institute for Business Value

An expanding market
Central banks and financial system regulators around the world are asking themselves how blockchain is going to change their technology underpinnings and those of the commercial banks and financial institutions they regulate. These executives are especially concerned about the non-functional requirements for blockchain.

Tuned to trust
The current model for managing identity is quickly becoming unsustainable — costly, disjointed and all too fallible. Blockchain, the technology underlying distributed ledgers shared across a scalable group of individuals and institutions, takes a new approach. How should organizations approach this new opportunity?

Transparency that engenders trust
There is no doubt that blockchain is about bringing trust to transactions. For almost any supply chain — be it food, medical records, precious gems and minerals, real estate or credit default swaps, to name a few — success depends on the promise of transparency and auditability for all participants.

Fast forward
For centuries, global trade has been the single greatest creator of wealth in human history and market friction the greatest obstacle to wealth. Blockchain technology –which creates a permanent and transparent record of transactions –has the potential to obviate intractable frictions across industries.

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