Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘blockchain’ Category

A Bit More Blockchain

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Happy Thursday.

According to a story from Fortune (who were reporting a story from The Times of London), Twiter CEO Jack Dorsey is on the record saying that Bitcoin (despite the recent bubble) will come to replace all currencies.

“The world ultimately will have a single currency, the Internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be Bitcoin.” But the timeline will be “probably over ten years, but it could go faster.”

Miners, start your computers (but watch that electricity bill!)

Meanwhile, also across the pond, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, was expected to announce a government “crypto assets task force,” along with a host of other fintech initiatives earlier today, according to a report in CoinDesk.

The initiative, part of the government’s larger Fintech Sector Strategy, “will help the U.K. to manage the risks around Cryptoassets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology,” he said in the statement.

Back here in the U.S., Blockchain Capital, which is an investor in fintech companies like Coinbase and Ripple, has raised $150 million for its fourth fund. 

According to a story from Axios, this new fund appears to be the largest venture capital fund raised to focus exclusively on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

So my logical question: Was the new round raised in Bitcoin or cash??!!

Inquiring minds want to know.

For those more interested in the crypto pick and shovel play, IBM Think this week in Vegas had a number of sessions focused on blockchain.  

If interested, check out this replay of IBM’s Jerry Cuomo, who lays out a number of actual blockchain use cases that do everything from save energy to cut food waste.

Written by turbotodd

March 22, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Posted in 2018, bitcoin, blockchain, ibm

Tagged with ,

Turning Up the Heat on Crypto

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The cryptocurrency juggernaut continues to build momentum. It seems as though there’s a new initial coin offering every day now.

Multicoin Capital is looking to raise $250 million in capital by the end of June, and Reuters is reporting that Marc Andreessen and a “slew of big individual and institutional investors” have invested thus far.

Multicoin views cryptocurrencies as a long-term investment (three to four years), as opposed to the short-termism we’ve been seeing in recent weeks.

Other investors include PayPay’s first COO, David Sacks, and Elad Gil, co-founder of genomic testing company Color Genomics. 

In related news, Bitcoin’s price has now settled down to around $9,000, and this as Japan suspended trading on two cryptocurrencies on Thursday following a reported $530 million cyber heist at Coincheck, one of the country’s largest crypto platforms.

According to a story in Fortune, Japan’s Financial Services Agency has ordered Bitstation and FSHO to suspend business for at least one month, the first due to an executive using customer funds for personal transactions, and the second for allegedly failing to shore up customer protection.

And finally, in the better cryptocurrency mousetrap category, French startup Qarnot has unveiled a new computing heater made specifically for cryptocurrency mining.

A heater. With a computer. Just for mining bitcoins. And heating you.

Three words, people: Picks and shovels.

Addendum: Check out Paul Ford’s Bloomberg story, “Bitcoin is Ridiculous, Blockchain is Dangerous” where he compares to the emerging crypto tulip-mania to the early days of the WWW. 

Written by turbotodd

March 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

Long on the Blockchain

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Bloomberg is reporting that the cryptocurrency market is headed south. Like beyond-the-boarder, deep into Mexico south.

The peak for Bitcoin was $19,511 on December 18th, soon after the introduction of regulated futures contacts in the U.S. 

But now, reports Bloomberg, Bitcoin has seen more than half its value wiped out after “waves of negative news,” including escalating regulatory threats from around the world (including in India, South Korea, China, and the U.S.), along with a record $500 million heist at Japanese exchange Coincheck Inc.

Nothing like a virtual coin bank heist in Tokyo to bring down a bull Bitcoin market! Quick, was George Clooney or Matt Damon anywhere in the vicinity??

Bitcoin was trading as low as $7,643, and overall down 21 percent on the week (and is bringing down other virtual coins, including Ripple, Ether, and Litecoin, all of which tumbled 28 percent).

Turbo’s Take: One, I wish I’d held on to those 7 Bitcoins I’d had in Coinbase and which I sold a year ago this month. I’d take $7K per coin. Two, this is all missing the larger plot — it’s not about Bitcoin, or even virtual currency — it’s about the underlying technology that powers these systems, the blockchain (see IBM’s blockchain overview here). It’s about the power to increase transparency and decrease friction in markets and transactions of all types. So, if you want to go short on Bitcoin, be my guest. But I would recommend you go long — very long — on the blockchain.

Written by turbotodd

February 2, 2018 at 10:59 am

Posted in 2018, bitcoin, blockchain

Tagged with , ,

IT Big Spender: AI, Blockchain, IoT

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Gartner Inc. presented its 2018 worldwide IT spending projections in a webinar yesterday, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

In its estimate, Gartner projected that worldwide IT spending this year would hit $3.7 trillion, up 4.5 percent over last year. Key areas that would help increase that spending included blockchain, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, among others.

Enterprise software spending is projected to reach $389 billion, up from 9.5 percent in 2017, as corporate budgets channel more funds into software-as-a-service.

Other big gains included devices, which are expected to grow 5.6% over last year to $704 billion.

As to AI:

By 2021, spending on AI will generate an estimated $2.9 trillion in new business value, as businesses seek to use AI-powered tools to “drive efficiency gains, create insights that personalize the customer experience, entice engagement and commerce, and aid in expanding revenue-generating opportunities,” Mr. Lovelock said.
– via WSJ

Written by turbotodd

January 18, 2018 at 10:32 am

Maersk and IBM to Form Joint Venture On Blockchain

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Maersk and IBM today announced their intent to establish a joint venture to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.

The aim of the new company will be to offer a jointly developed global trade digitization platform built on open standards and designed for use by the entire global shipping ecosystem.

It will address the need to provide more transparency and simplicity in the movement of goods across borders and trading zones.

The cost and size of the world’s trading ecosystems continues to grow in complexity. More than $4 trillion in goods are shipped each year, and more than 80 percent of the goods consumers use daily are carried by the ocean shipping industry.

The maximum cost of the required trade documentation to process and administer many of these goods is estimated to reach one-fifth of the actual physical transportation costs. According to The World Economic Forum, by reducing barriers within the international supply chain, global trade could increase by nearly 15 percent, boosting economies and creating jobs.

The attributes of blockchain technology are ideally suited to large networks of disparate partners. A distributed ledger technology, blockchain establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time.

By applying the technology to digitize global trade processes, a new form of command and consent can be introduced into the flow of information, empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate and establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.

Maersk, a global leader in container logistics, and IBM, a leading provider of blockchain, supply chain visibility and interoperability solutions for the enterprise, will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and analytics, delivered via IBM Services, in order to help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders.

Manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators and customs authorities can all benefit from these new technologies –and ultimately consumers.

“This new company marks a milestone in our strategic efforts to drive the digitization of global trade. The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit,” said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture. “By joining our knowledge of trade with IBM’s capabilities in blockchain and enterprise technology, we are confident this new company can make a real difference in shaping the future of global trade.”

IBM’s blockchain platform is enabling hundreds of clients and thousands of developers to build and scale active networks across complex use cases, including cross border payments, supply chains, and digital identification.

IBM and Maersk began a collaboration in June 2016 to build new blockchain- and cloud-based technologies. Since then, multiple parties have piloted the platform including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The joint venture will now enable IBM and Maersk to commercialize and scale their solutions to a broader group of global corporations, many of whom have already expressed interest in the capabilities and are exploring ways to use the new platform, including: General Motors and Procter and Gamble to streamline the complex supply chains they operate; and freight forwarder and logistic company, Agility Logistics, to provide improved customer services including customs clearance brokerage.

Additional customs and government authorities, including Singapore Customs and Peruvian Customs, will explore collaborating with the platform to facilitate trade flows and enhance supply chain security.

The global terminal operators APM Terminals and PSA International will use the platform to enrich port collaboration and improve terminal planning. With support from Guangdong Inspection and Quarantine Bureau by connecting to its Global Quality Traceability System for import and export goods, the platform can also link users to important trade corridors in and out of China.

To address the specific needs of the industry, Maersk and IBM are establishing an advisory board of industry experts to help further shape the platform and services, provide guidance and feedback on important industry factors, and drive open standards.

The new company initially plans to commercialize two core capabilities aimed at digitizing the global supply chain from end-to-end:

– A shipping information pipeline will provide end-to-end supply chain visibility to enable all actors involved in managing a supply chain to securely and seamlessly exchange information about shipment events in real time.

– Paperless Trade will digitize and automate paperwork filings by enabling end-users to securely submit, validate and approve documents across organizational boundaries, ultimately helping to reduce the time and cost for clearance and cargo movement. Blockchain-based smart contracts ensure all required approvals are in place, helping speed up approvals and reducing mistakes.

Upon regulatory clearance, solutions from the joint venture are expected to become available within six months. The new company will be headquartered in the New York metropolitan area.

The platform is built on IBM Blockchain technology, which is provided through the IBM Cloud and powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by the Linux Foundation.

For more information about the joint venture visit: www.ibm.com/blogs/blockchain/2018/01/digitizing-global-trade-maersk-ibm.

Written by turbotodd

January 16, 2018 at 10:03 am

Posted in 2018, blockchain, shipping

You Can e-Pay Me Tuesday…

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Happy Monday.

Some e-pay and cryptocurrency news on today’s agenda.

First, TechCrunch is reporting that it is consolidating its different payment platforms under the Google Pay brand.

This inclues Android Pay (Google’s mobile payments and loyalty platform) and Google Wallet (it’s peer-to-peer payments app), and suggest that “this should make buying and paying through Google less confusing.”

“With Google Pay, it’ll be easier for you to use the payment information saved to your Google Account, so you can speed through checkout with peace of mind,” Bhat wrote. “Over the coming weeks, you’ll see Google Pay online, in store, and across Google products, as well as when you’re paying friends.”
– via TechCrunch

Meanwhile, they’re also reporting that encrypted messaging startup Telegram has plans to launch its own blockchain platform and native cryptocurrency (how many does that make across the industry, again??)

The launch will be funded with an enormous Initial Coin Offering, with forthcoming private pre-sales ranging into the hundreds of millions, potentially making it one of the largest ICOs to date. Demand is driven by the fact that rather than the ICO coming from a fresh startup, Telegram is a well-established messaging platform used around the world. Adopting a homegrown cryptocurrency could give Telegram’s payment system enormous independence from any government or bank — something Co-founder and CEO Pavel Durov is known to covet after investors took over his last company, Russian social network VK. Durov has not responded to TechCrunch’s several attempts to contact him regarding this story.
– via TechCrunch

TechCrunch further explains:

With cryptocurrency powered payments inside Telegram, users could bypass remittance fees when sending funds across international borders, move sums of money privately thanks to the app’s encryption, deliver micropayments that would incur too high of credit card fees, and more.
– via TechCrunch

But be forewarned, Investopedia is reporting that the market capitalization for cryptocurrencies crashed by more than $100 billion in 24 hours as authorities in South Korea, one of the largest markets for trading, announced that they were inspecting six of the country’s largest financial institutions for compliance with anti-money laundering laws.

One would expect a continued see-sawing of the pricing and adoption of cryptocurrencies as governments and regulators around the globe look to reconcile the opportunity crypocurrencies (and related technologies) present with the need to bring some order to this digital wild west.

Written by turbotodd

January 8, 2018 at 11:34 am

Walmart, JD.com, IBM and Tsinghua University Launch a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China

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Walmart, JD.com, IBM, and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies announced today they will work together in a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance that will kick off with a collaboration designed to enhance food tracking, traceability and safety in China,  to achieve greater transparency across the food supply chain.

The four companies will work together to create a standards-based method of collecting data about the origin, safety and authenticity of food, using blockchain technology to provide real-time traceability throughout the supply chain.

This will encourage accountability and give suppliers, regulators and consumers greater insight and transparency into how food is handled, from the farm to consumers. This has traditionally been challenging due to complex and fragmented data sharing systems that are often paper-based and can be error-prone.

Walmart, JD, IBM and Tsinghua University will work with food supply chain providers and regulators to develop the standards, solutions and partnerships to enable a broad-based food safety ecosystem in China.

IBM will provide its IBM Blockchain Platform and expertise, while Tsinghua University will act as a technical advisor sharing its expertise in the key technologies and the China food safety ecosystem. IBM and Tsinghua will collaborate with Walmart and JD to develop, optimize and roll out the technology to suppliers and retailers that join the alliance.

As a world leader in global food safety, Walmart works closely with suppliers, regulators, industry partners and the research community around the world. In China, it invests heavily in food safety research through the Walmart Food Safety and Collaboration Center and has promoted food safety, both through its own supplier network, as well as working with JD, which has rich omni-channel food supply chain management experience. The two have been able to leverage JD’s expertise in the application of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, big data and other new technologies to protect consumers.

Following IBM and Walmart’s announcement in August of a new consortium to enhance food safety, this collaboration brings IBM’s blockchain food safety expertise to China. IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University have piloted the use of blockchain to trace food items, including pork in China and mangoes in the U.S., as they move through the supply chain to store shelves. Recent testing by Walmart showed that applying blockchain reduced the time it took to trace a package of mangoes from the farm to the store from days or weeks to two seconds.

The collaboration is designed to help ensure brand owners’ data privacy while helping them integrate their online and offline traceability for food safety and quality management channels. Companies that join the alliance will be able to share information using blockchain technology, and plans include them being able to choose the standards-based traceability solution that best suits their needs and legacy systems. 

This will in turn bring greater transparency to the supply chain and introduce new technologies to the retail sector designed to create a safer food environment and enhance the consumer experience.

The insights gained from the work in China will shed light on how blockchain technology can help improve processes such as recalls and verifications and enhance consumer confidence due to greater transparency in China and around the world. 

Written by turbotodd

December 14, 2017 at 11:25 am

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