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Tag: blockchain

What Does A Biz Dev Person Actually Do?

What Does A Biz Dev
Person Actually Do?

Theory of Business Development
According to the Grand Unified Theory of Business Development, Biz Dev is simply about pursuing opportunities for long-term growth from customers, markets, and relationships.  Sounds simple enough, but has anyone ever set out to describe what a “Biz Dev Person” actually does?  How do they spend their day?  What should you look for when hiring someone for a Biz Dev role?While Business Development may still mean many different things to many different people, at its core I believe a Biz Dev job is focused on 3 activities:
  • Customers: Find new ones and extract more value from current ones.
  • Markets: Figure out where new customers “live” (both geographically and in terms of "buying mindset") and find a way to reach them.
  • Relationships: Build and leverage relationships founded on trust and integrity to facilitate opportunities.

“Well,” you might say.  ”That sounds pretty straightforward.” Yes, it does sound that way.  In the simplest of terms, business development may be about figuring out how to sell more to customers or finding new customers to whom to sell.  But to suggest that “that’s all there is to it” is to suggest that running a marathon just requires putting one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles.  Of course, training for and running a marathon requires a unique approach to making sure you don’t peter out before the finish line.  Similarly, business development requires a unique combination of skills to ensure that the value you derive from an opportunity persists for the long haul:

The Biz Dev Skillsets: Strategy, Sales, and Relationship Management

  • Strategy: How should you go about pursuing an opportunity?  How do you know which path is best?  Just because an opportunity is in front of you, doesn’t mean it’s a good one.  Understanding the fundamental drivers of your business, and the business of your customers, partners, and competitors is critical to being able to make wise decisions in the pursuit of long-term value.  Being able to assess an opportunity for its potential to create long-term value, determine the paths available to you to pursue it, and understand the trade-offs and risks of one path vs. another, are core Biz Dev functions.
  • Sales: Whether you're selling a product or the idea of a partnership, almost every business development role has some element of sales.  The process of navigating through an organization, identifying decision-makers and uncovering their unmet needs, and concisely demonstrating the value of what you can offer are core sales skills needed whether you're selling a product, service, or partnership.
  • Relationship Management: From How to Win Friends and Influence People to Never Eat Alone, much ink has been spilled on the importance and value of strong, respect-based relationships.  Business development requires not only having an expansive network to help you facilitate a deal, but also a deep understanding of how to build and maintain new relationships to leverage them when needed.  Relationships with partners, customers, colleagues, and even the media, can all be crucial factors in not only getting in the door to a biz dev opportunity but keeping it open.

“Wait a second,” you’re asking.  ”You forgot about partnerships?  Isn’t business development all about partnerships?”  In short, no, it's not. Partnerships are a common course to pursue a given business development opportunity, but they are but one option amongst many when evaluating the path to creating long-term value.  And though scouting, signing, and developing partnerships is an everyday task in many business development roles, the skills required for partnerships are really an amalgam of all other Biz Dev skills — a mix of sales, relationship management, and strategy.  As frequently as they arise in the day job of business development, partnerships are only one potential outcome of Biz Dev done right.

How Biz Dev Roles Change by Company Size

Do the role of business development change as a company matures from a startup to enterprise?  Yes and no.  In the early stages of any company, the role of business development is often left to the founder, CEO, or an early hire.  The role of forging partnership deals does take on an increased priority, as the decision of which potential path to pursue an opportunity often favors the sharing of resources that's incumbent in partnerships.  But the day-to-day activities of business development remains the same: at a startup or a large company alike, whoever plays the role of "biz dev guy/gal" must be constantly evaluating the best path to create long-term value, whether it an option built in-house or pursued in partnership with others.

At larger companies, the role of business development may be divided across a broader array of individuals.  Sure, teams of people with "Business Development" on their business cards may focus on the full spectrum of activities, from sourcing business development opportunities to evaluating the opportunity's potential to create long-term value and following through on the execution.  But just as often, the individual functions of the business development role may be split across an organization: a member of the sales team may source feedback from customers, who passes along an opportunity to create a new product to the Product Management team, who works with Finance to size and evaluate an opportunity and Operations to assess the resources needed to pursue it.  Perhaps none of those individuals consider themselves to be serving a "Business Development" function, but in total they are a collective BD team that seeks to create long-term value for their organization in very much the same way as an individual who plays every part.

Pure Biz Dev

In my view, a “pure” Biz Dev job will have some combination of all of the above skillsets — identifying and strategically assessing an opportunity to create long-term value and then executing on a path to pursue that value.  But whether you're playing Biz Dev as a team sport or an individual contributor, the interplay between Strategy, Sales, and Relationship Management informs the potential for a company's growth path.   Business Development is a function that is varied, complex, and exciting — although the nature of Biz Dev may be ambiguous to some,  the importance of the role should be clear to all.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency BitConnect Breaks Records in Value and Market Cap

Cryptocurrency BitConnect Breaks Records in Value and Market Cap

CryptoCurrency's Record Growth

ASHFORD, United Kingdom, March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — BitConnect Coin (BCC) has announced a new record high, in terms of value and market capitalization. The cryptocurrency's record growth, in a matter of few months, come as the development takes off with the introduction of a range of new apps and a bright outlook towards the future innovations in 2017.

BitConnect Coin (BCC) is an open source, peer-to-peer, community driven decentralized cryptocurrency that allows people to store, invest their wealth and even earn a substantial interest on the balance stored in the wallets. BitConnect Coin has only been a market currency since the 11th of January, 2017, but has already gained a significant global following. Starting from its conceptualization in the fourth quarter of 2016, BCC has just this week set a new record for value per coin and market capitalization.

According to the leading cryptocurrency market website CoinMarketCap, BCC breached the top 20 chart for alternative coins in total capitalization value. BCC's total market capitalization has surpassed the $10 million (USD) mark, to make it the fastest growing altcoin. This sharp increase in market cap has resulted in a matching growth in the coin's value, which passed the $2.00 mark at around the same time. BCC developers see the impressive growth rate as a very positive early sign. By comparison, even the most dominant and valuable cryptocurrency Bitcoin, took over two years to reach the same price.

BitConnect's Head of Development, Satao Nakamoto while describing the cryptocurrency's mission said, "BitConnect's mission is to provide crypto-education and multiple investment opportunities to empower people financially. There are many features and functions to come in 2017. BitConnect's mission is to become the leading crypto-community in the world when it comes to functionality and user base by the year 2020."

The official beta launch of BitConnect's application for Android and iOS mobile platforms will have a positive effect on BitConnect Coin, leading to a further increase in demand and price of the cryptocurrency. In the coming months, BCC will see more innovation, along with the addition of convenience features. The awaited developments in BCC ecosystem includes the launch of BCC Mining and Staking Pool that provides a way for the community to earn; BCC mining and minting rewards; brand new mobile and paper wallets; and BCC Smart Card to allow people use the cryptocurrency for daily use.

BitConnect Coin is designed to offer financial freedom to the masses by reducing if not eliminating the dependency on centralized banking and financial institutions. In addition, the cryptocurrency is also more secure than conventional financial instruments, eliminating the chances of identity theft and other issues that currently plague fiat based electronic payments infrastructure. BitConnect Coin offers a new level of empowerment to its community members. Members can connect socially and financially to a secure, protected community of investors and lenders. By connecting with the community, BCC users can increase the value of their coins in the wallets as the cryptocurrency's price increases.

In less than one year, the BitConnect online community has gained over 50,000 members around the world. It has also added a news department, engaged with online leaders like Kim Dotcom, successfully launched its own digital currency, added a proprietary Bitcoin wallet, launched an innovative global Bitcoin lending program, and surged from zero traffic to a top 100k Alexa ranking. BitConnect has become simply the world's fastest growing online Bitcoin community.

Coin Tech Specifications/Details

BitConnect Coin is a Script (PoW/PoS) consensus algorithm based cryptocurrency with a finite number of tokens. The total number of BCCs are limited to 28 million. The limited number tokens ensure constant appreciation of value in the light of ever increasing demand. The algorithms used on BCC protects the decentralized nature of the platform. BitConnect Coin facilitates quick transactions between wallets allowing people to make instant transactions between each other or to pay for goods or services. Unlike Bitcoin, the block generation time on BCC platform is 2 minutes. These features prevent transaction backlogs and at the same time also proves to be more rewarding during the PoW phase, where miners stand to receive a block reward of 10 BCCs.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

COSS.IO — Introducing Simplicity to Cryptocurrencies

COSS.IO: Introducing Simplicity to Cryptocurrencies

 

Simplicity to CryptoCurrencies

A crypto-one-stop-solution platform, COSS for short, is officially deployed in beta today. The platform merges the most popular cryptocurrency services, e.g. a wallet service, an exchange, a merchants’ platform, into a shared virtual space, in which cryptocurrency customers and merchants can meet and interact. Developed by an international team headquartered in Singapore under C.O.S.S. PTE LTD license, the COSS platform was first introduced as a final examination project that the CEO of the company, Rune Evensen presented to the committee of the MIT Fintech course in 2016. That was the first draft of a gigantic project that would hardly see the light of day, if it hadn’t received the support of the participants and the experts of the course.

A very thorough plan for COSS was designed shortly after the course finished, with the project kickoff scheduled for December 2016 followed by the testing phase in the beginning of the year 2017. Since then, layer by layer, the platform came to live. The developers’ team nicknamed COSS the “living” project, as it has no end-destination point and can last forever like the internet itself, with more and more startups being added with the time.

In February 2017 the white paper was published on coss.io homepage outlining the technical specifics of the platform. Having learned from the mistakes of the cryptocurrency pioneers such as bitcoin, the developers of COSS focused on the security of the platform and implemented the platform on top of the Ethereum blockchain. The main idea behind COSS is the creation of a single user-friendly ecosystem suitable for mass adoption and non-technical users, which would combine crypto and fiat currency services, available for customers with a single registered account all in one place.

"Redefining simplicity has been on our mind since day one, and we truly believe that COSS can make it a lot simpler for any average Joe out there to enter the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain-related products and services,". Upon its soft launch in beta, the COSS platform has an exchange with payment gateway/POS system running. In the nearest future, the following features will be setup: a crowdfunding tool, an ICO platform, 3rd party provider plugins, market cap and coin overviews, a blockchain forum, a remittance and a payment gateway.

The native currency of the COSS platform VEROS, is implemented as an Ethereum smart contract, which governs the validation, the distribution, the value and the ownership of the tokens. Apart from VEROS, the platform will support the most widely-used cryptocurrencies that customers will be able to convert to fiat via the COSS exchange service. A lot more features will be added to the platform during the next phase of development. "I would like to personally thank all the involved parties that have contributed endless hours to this project. Although we are just getting started, it is a huge MILESTONE for us to finally go live,"

About

COSS stands for Crypto-One-Stop-Solution and represents a platform which encompasses all features of a digital economic system based on cryptocurrency. The COSS system consists of website payments, seller tools, a marketplace, financial module, e-wallets, coin facilities and a mobile platform. The platform unifies the most popular crypto and fiat currency services, e.g. exchanges, payrolls, wallets, acquisitions, and transactions. VEROS is a secure and transparent cryptocurrency, launched in October 2016, and implemented on the Ethereum blockchain as a smart contract. VEROS is designed specifically for massive adoption and everyday use.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Ledger grabs $7 million for its cryptocurrency hardware wallets

Ledger grabs $7 million for its cryptocurrency hardware wallets

If your following CryptoCurrencies

Things are going incredibly well for Ledger these days. People find bitcoins, ethers, and other cryptocurrencies exciting again. And the French startup just raised a $7 million Series A round to make hardware security devices ubiquitous. MAIF Avenir, XAnge, Wicklow Capital, GDTRE, Libertus Capital, Digital Currency Group, The Whittemore Collection, Kima Ventures, BHB Network and Nicolas Pinto participated in today’s funding round.

If you’ve been following cryptocurrencies for a while, you know that you shouldn’t trust bitcoin and ethereum startups that centralize everything. There have been many hacks, there will be more hacks. And you don’t want to trust some startup’s security team when you can do it yourself. Sure, you can run your own bitcoin wallet on your computer. But hackers could still access your computer and your bitcoin wallet, so it’s still a point of failure.

Ledger makes hardware wallets for multiple currencies. These tiny devices have a secure element. You might not even realize it, but your smartphone also has a secure element to handle fingerprint readers or NFC payments, such as Apple Pay or Android Pay.

Ledger runs some tasks directly on the secure element, making it much more secure than running an app on your phone or your computer exclusively. This way, you can easily protect your bitcoins without a lot of security knowledge. Nobody can access the private keys on the device. And the device constantly checks the integrity of the firmware.

The company also makes sure that nobody can compromise the device during the manufacturing process. “When we manufacture the devices, all chips receive a Ledger certificate,” co-founder and CEO Eric Larchevêque told me. “When the device boots up, the computer sends a security challenge and the device answers.”

The Ledger Nano S is the company’s most popular device. It’s the size of a USB key and has a tiny display. After initiating a transaction from your computer, you’ll have to confirm the transaction on the device itself and enter your PIN code. This way, even if your computer has been compromised, the transaction order won’t go through on the device and you won’t be able to confirm the transaction.

The company also makes a high-end device with a built-in touch screen called the Ledger Blue. The Ledger Nano S costs around €70 while the Blue costs €275. Ledger has sold more than 50,000 wallets so far, and the last few months have beat the company’s expectations by a wide margin. But cryptocurrency wallets are just the first step.

By running a secure operating system on a secure element, there are other potential applications. For instance, Ledger could sell chips so that companies working in sensitive industries can make sure their servers weren’t compromised. You can imagine hedge funds and financial institutions using Ledger products. Energy suppliers could also use Ledger’s technology to make sure that the consumption level is legit. That’s why the company is raising money to go beyond hardware wallets and find those industrial clients.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Examining Bitcoin’s ups and downs

Examining Bitcoin's ups and downs

 

  Bitcoin has progressed from being only a nerd's version of gold years ago.

Bitcoin has undergone a lot of ups and downs in its brief history. Online trading school Investoo.com has created an infographic detailing the major Bitcoin crashes since it was introduced. Bitcoin is both a cryptocurrency and an electronic payment system invented by an unidentified programmer, or group of programmers, under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. It was introduced on 31 October 2008 to a cryptography mailing list, and released as open source software in 2009.

Investoo.com notes Bitcoin's journey has been long, from the first Bitcoin transaction, which resulted in the kick-off of the Bitcoin blockchain on 3 January 2009, to the recent moves by Chinese authorities to restrict Bitcoin transactions.

Earlier this year, the People's Bank of China launched spot checks on the country's three largest Bitcoin exchanges to look into a range of possible rule violations, amid increasing government efforts to stem capital outflows and relieve pressure on the yuan. Stanko Saponja, an analyst at Investoo.com, notes that when Bitcoin was introduced in 2009, one Bitcoin was equivalent to $0.00076.

 In December last year, the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation hit a record high of above $14 billion. However, in January this year, the dramatic rally in digital currency came to a spectacular end with a plunge of up to 20% as China's yuan rose sharply. "In 2013, the price briefly exceeded $1 200, and this was followed by a crash in the price of Bitcoin, sending it down to below $250 soon after," Saponja notes. "This has led some skeptics to claim this price rise, too, is a bubble."

He points out the size and computing power of the Bitcoin mining network, which confirms and validates transactions, has risen exponentially since then, and the number of users, merchants, and exchange volume has grown similarly. According to Saponja, the rapid rise in 2013 is now attributed to fraudulent trading and price manipulation that exploited illiquid and immature markets, and which eventually led to the famous collapse of the primary, and corrupt, Bitcoin Exchange. "Bitcoin has gone from being just a nerd's version of gold years ago, to now being another thing people do to try to hold onto their wealth," he says.

Saponja says in 2015, Bitcoin rose modestly, from $313 to $431, a 37% rise, kicking off a year of steady growth throughout 2016. The price surged 122% in 2016, making it one of the top trades of the year (from around $400 to just under $1 000), he adds. Investoo.com notes 2016 saw relative price stability in Bitcoin, as its price rose steadily, and with lower volatility than had been experienced in the past, and it also gained wider acceptance and legitimacy as a means of payment.

Some analysts predict 2017 will be another banner year, while others are more skeptical, calling this recent rise a bubble that is waiting to burst (current price is 1 BTC = $1 023.38 — 27 March 2017). "My opinion is that demand for Bitcoin as a currency is also likely to continue to grow in 2017, again as China has promised to restrict capital outflows and to devalue its currency in order to protect exporters."

Describing the major drivers of Bitcoin, Saponja says increased demand came from China as capital controls tightened and regulators continued to devalue the yuan systematically. China and India have both been big buyers as part of a broader global landscape that has pushed Bitcoin's acceptance, further along, he notes.

"Chinese investors have bought Bitcoins as the yuan has lost its value, while the surge in India has been driven thanks to the government's decision to retire some currency denominations. In most countries, companies that trade Bitcoins onto the local currency would be regulated, as more and more larger corporations start offering Bitcoin as a payment alternative."

Nonetheless, he says Bitcoin has sometimes attracted the wrong types of people — those looking to prey on others who fall under the spell of a never-ending upward trend for Bitcoin's price. "Whether it's illegal online marketplaces, pump-and-dump schemes or shady crypto exchanges, they all create a black cloud over the industry. And, every time there is another Bitcoin robbery or scam, it draws attention from the mainstream.

"The bad actor problem creates a consumer protection issue for Bitcoin. When people learn about Bitcoin and are lured to products and services that do not follow best practices, as opaque as they may be in this industry, that's a problem. According to some analysts, the five biggest threats facing Bitcoin are the centralisation of Bitcoin, fraud, regulation, poor mobile platform support, and confidence."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Japan’s Bitcoin Law Goes Into Effect Tomorrow

Japan's Bitcoin Law Goes
Into Effect Tomorrow

 

Japan is recognizing bitcoin as a legal

Japan is set to begin recognizing bitcoin as a legal method of payment starting tomorrow. The country's legislature passed a law, following months of debate, that brought bitcoin exchanges under anti-money laundering/know-your-customer rules, while also categorizing bitcoin as a kind of prepaid payment instrument. It's a debate that began in the wake of the collapse of Mt Gox, the now-defunct bitcoin exchange that shuttered after months of growing complications and, in the end, revelations of insolvency and alleged fraud.

According to Japan’s Financial Services Agency, that law goes into effect on 1st April, putting in place capital requirements for exchanges as well as cybersecurity and operational stipulations. In addition, those exchanges will also be required to conduct employee training programs and submit to annual audits. Yet there may be more work to come in this area.

For example, Nomura Research Institute's Yasutake Okano indicated in a May 2016 report that other Japanese laws may need to change to account for the tech, including the Banking Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. Reports indicate that other groups in Japan are moving to plug some of those gaps as well. According to a report from Nikkei, the Accounting Standards Board of Japan decided earlier this week to begin developing standards for digital currencies like bitcoin. Its work mirrors other efforts being undertaken elsewhere, including Australia, which began pushing for such standards late last year.

Humaniq Opens ICO Pre-Orders for
Bank Transfers, Updates App

 

Launch of its Initial Coin

Humaniq, a revolutionary new mobile application, has announced the launch of its Initial Coin Offering, hereinafter ICO, a pre-order fund for bank transfers on their website in order to meet expected high demand. The cutting edge product combines the latest biometric, Blockchain and mobile technologies in order to bring a new solution to the global problems of global financial exclusion and financial illiteracy that keep some 2.5 bln people living in poverty.

The pre-ICO page was set up in order for those who want to use dollars, euros and pounds can also join the offering and to be able to send money ahead — before the expected rush — when the ICO officially starts on April 6, 2017. Humaniq CEO Alex Fork said that he was delighted by the positive attention that the platform has been receiving, which has received more than $300,000 in pledges from participants.

He explained to Cointelegraph:

“We’ve been contacted by quite a few people who expressed their desire to contribute significant sums of Bitcoin and Ether to our ICO but who also wanted guarantees that they would receive the correct bonus, which is based on the timing of the transaction. Bitcoin transactions are sometimes taking longer than usual to resolve right now, so I wanted to offer a solution.”

Those who join earlier in the ICO will receive larger discounts than those who participate later. During the first 48 hours of the ICO, there will be a 49.9 percent bonus. Then a 25 percent bonus will be offered from April 8-14, wrapping up with a final bonus period of 12.5 percent between April 15-21. Fork developed the platform in 2016 after speaking with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin during a conference while they were discussing how the blockchain can help improve the lives of underprivileged people.

According to Fork’s whitepaper, more than three bln people live on less than $2.50 a day with around 80 percent of the population surviving on no more than $10 each day. The creation of Humaniq aims to bridge the gap through an easy-to-use application to help improve peoples’ lives.

App Upgrade

Despite their financial services app currently being in alpha (proof of concept phase for testing and collecting user interface feedback), it has been downloaded more than 1,000 times from a variety of users who are keen to take part. The simple-to-use app utilizes facial recognition for identity management and is aimed at people who don’t have access to documentation that traditional banks would require. Fork states that the team is working on two tracks: UI and backend.

Noted:

“For an app that is targeted at a worldwide demographic that speaks more than 2,000 languages, making sure the UI is as simple to use as possible while requiring minimal translation, is imperative.”

While dates for the next update have not been announced, expectations have been surpassed by the rapid growth of the idea to its successful pre-ICO. Humaniq is planning to release a live version in June or July, with a global rollout expected toward the end of 2017.

Expansion into London

Its quick growth has also seen the team expand their services after they opened their London office earlier this month. This is their third office location, including Moscow and Luxembourg. As a key strategic hub, London will provide the ideal location to develop partnerships with startups, emerging technology experts, humanitarian organizations and the philanthropic community.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Thoughts On What Bitcoin’s Rise In Value Mean

Thoughts On What Bitcoin's
Rise In Value Mean

The cryptocurrency bitcoin — money backed by mathematics rather than governments or precious metals — first came into existence around 2009. The digital currency, which is "mined" by computers, has since gained a solid number of adherents, and nearly as many questions.

 

The CryptoCurrency BitCoin

Bitcoin brags about their digital wallets, easy transfers, identity protection and minimal fees. Critics warn of the system's complexity to explain, as well as its volatility. Some question the use the money is put to, saying that anonymity can help criminals shift money safer.

But in early January, Bitcoin's value surpassed a record-high set in November 2013, and as of early March, the price continues to rise. Is this change a temporary one, coming from market influences, or does it signal broader acceptance for the currency? Members in the Forbes Technology Council have this to say about what 2017 will mean for bitcoin adoption:

Remember: Early Leaders Are Usually Not the Ultimate Winners 

I think the real question is less about how widespread bitcoin's adoption is going to be, and more about how long before other currencies adopt blockchain as their basis. The early leader in almost any technology is usually not the ultimate winner. There is already a lot of development and early exploration both into integrating blockchain into currency, but there is not clear standard — yet.

Governments Don't Want It 

You don't need to go far to recognize why bitcoin is back at record highs. Just look at the situation with China's economy right now. The SEC delayed their decision on the Winklevoss's bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which means we'll likely not see what happens for several more months under a new presidency. Governments around the world will never want a currency that is supply limited.

Adoption Set To Increase 

I think as long as it keeps going up and continues to stabilize in its pricing, more people and businesses will become interested and adopt it in the coming year. With more work being done on country regulations and standards, as well as further research on applications for blockchain, the comfort level for use will increase.

Cryptocurrency Will Grow 

The bitcoin era is halfway through its course, while cryptocurrency overall is still growing. The golden years are already gone, and only big mining pools will be able to thoroughly profit from it from now due to large investors bringing tons of technological and human resources to the table. However, cryptocurrency popularity will only increase based on Bitcoin’s success and others will emerge.

Volatility Driven By Multiple Factors 

Unlike fiat currencies, bitcoin volatility is influenced by regulation, politics and proposed technology changes. 2017 started with a record $18 billion market capitalization. With 90% of miners and 70% of trades in China, the recent regulatory moves created vast volatility. The rest of the year will see even more volatility with the political, economic and technical (such as block size debates) uncertainties.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Sweden Moves to Next Stage With Blockchain Land Registry

Sweden Moves to Next Stage With Blockchain Land Registry

  

Sweden’s land registry authority to trial blockchain technology

A project set up last year by Sweden’s land registry authority, the Lantmäteriet, to trial blockchain technology for recording property deals has just moved to its second phase. Conducted by blockchain startup ChromaWay and consultancy group Kairos Future, the initiative is also working in partnership with two banks: SBAB and Landshypotek.

“It could be a great benefit for economic growth,” said ChromaWay CEO Henrik Hjelte on the project's potential, further arguing that Sweden is the ideal place to test a blockchain system for land titles, as trust in public authorities is high and could influence agencies elsewhere to follow suit. Under the proposed system, a buyer and seller would open a contract where banks and the land registry can view the workflow of the deal, such as due dates for payments. “In the blockchain confirmation of each step in the workflow is made with a hash, like the blockchain normally,” said Magnus Kempe of Kairos Future, adding: “Everyone has the same information and you can check it yourself.”

Another use example is verifying the existence of the IOU issued by the bank to the property buyer. “That part is going to be hidden for the others in the contract. You will only have the hash confirming from the bank that the IOU has been signed,” said Kempe. The newly entered second phase involves examining how the technology can be integrated with banks’ existing processes when verifying contracts. The firms indicated that ChromaWay’s platform won’t be handling any payments on the system – those will remain separate.

SBAB Bank, however, said it has no immediate plans to implement the tech, saying:

"Our reason to participate in the project has not been to actually implement the solution in our current processes. But rather an opportunity for us to get a better understanding of the blockchain technology and how it might possibly fit in our future products/offerings."

Trusting the digital

There remains one major hurdle to fully integrating this blockchain system for selling a house from start to finish. “We want to work fully digitally, but the law requires, at the moment, physical signatures on the papers, which makes it difficult,” explained Kempe.

While trust in digital contracts has been lagging for a long time, he argued that blockchain tech can now provide the trust needed to move forward. “As soon as the legislator understands that this is possible, I think it will come true,” said Kempe. Helping that process, the EU passed a directive in 2016 that puts more weight behind digital signatures and could eventually influence Swedish policy.

For now, the land registry project is looking at ways of working around the issue. Kempe said:

“Actually, the land registry today, they don’t receive much physical paper, they get PDFs of the contracts which are signed electronically so they don’t store the physical contracts. What we are thinking of is, you can actually sign the contract digitally in the blockchain to the land registry, they can award the land titles and then you can throw away the paper so you’re not dependent on the physical archive."

Outside interest

ChromaWay and Kairos Future said that they have been approached by more than a dozen public authorities from other countries expressing interest in the project. The team explained that they don’t hold any patents for the platform, preferring to see other organizations work on similar schemes, eventually leading to more collaboration.

Sweden’s testing of the blockchain for land titles is possibly the most ambitious application of the technology in real estate thus far. Others are working on the concept, however. Early last year, the land registry authorities in Eurasian nation Georgia began working with blockchain startup BitFury, which, in February, signed a memorandum of understanding to extend the tests to other government agencies.

According to ChromaWay’s Henrik Hjelte, the use of blockchain could be transformative for developing countries in managing ownership of property and improving transparency in real estate sales. On the other hand, proof-of-concept tests in Honduras were put on the back-burner in late 2015 over an apparent breakdown in communications between the government and Factom, the company that was supposed to conduct the trials.

ChromaWay and Kairos Future are confident about the future, though. Kempe said:

“There’s very little reason to think that this won’t work."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What’s Blockchain and How Could It Impact Government?

What's Blockchain and How Could It Impact Government?

Blockchain technology is the latest system governments are considering in the long-standing effort to increase efficiency.

The source code was originally created to support bitcoin, a decentralized payment processing, and stock exchange system. Creators were attempting to solve the risk that an online currency such as bitcoin could be double spent. To maintain the decentralized system, the network works on a peer-to-peer model, creating locked records that redundantly save across multiple servers.

Similar to a shared document, one transaction can be viewed across multiple places. However, a block record cannot be changed once it is recorded, only referenced as new records are made. The diffuse system is meant to act as its own iterative confirmation service.

Many people are talking about how blockchain could change everything from health records management to identity verification. “It has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems. But while the impact will be enormous, it will take decades for blockchain to seep into our economic and social infrastructure,” an article in the Harvard Business Review says. Each recorded block of information represents a transaction and each transaction is redundantly recorded. Nearly 300,000 blockchain records are recorded daily for Bitcoin alone.

One UC Berkeley study expresses concern that the order of transactions is extremely important, and research firm Constellation says blockchain's main purpose is to prove entry order. Maintaining record order could be worked around if timestamps were applied by a vendor, but the necessity of this is still being debated. Blockchain has grown so much since its first mention in 2008 that an ID program and bank card were created to support refugees by an experimental Voluntary Nation program.

Aside from banking and identification confirmation, blockchain can also create smart contracts that automate transactions between parties and verify ownership of assets before the exchange is finalized by referencing older block records. Similar systems have been suggested for health-care records management and banking security where estimates of cost savings differ, anywhere from $12 billion to $15 billion.

Using a system that can decrease risk, is auditable and maintains real-time settlements could minimize the need for many record-based positions such as notaries and contract lawyers, leading to predicted savings. The multiple uses for blockchain is what concerns many stakeholders, especially as many rush to find use cases for the tech.

“When discussing blockchain technology, it is important to remember Amara's Law (named after Roy Amara, co-founder of Institute for the Future): ‘We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.’ Anytime a technology goes through a hype cycle as is happening with blockchain, I find this maxim useful to reference,” Rachel Hatch, research director at Institute for the Future, wrote in an email to Techwire.

Startups like Ascribe remove the middle man from digital art, transferring more of the profit to the artist and the art to the buyer in one series of records. Many vendors agree that as more things become connected, more records are necessary. “The Internet of Everything needs a Ledger of Everything,” the Harvard Business Review said.

Hatch referred to this as a space for opportunities for change and growth. With a similar eye on change, Congress created a Blockchain Caucus to study use cases, and Delaware is considering it for its corporate registry. Many stakeholders agree that adoption will be a long time coming because the technology is the kind to build off of, not the kind that turns a business model upside-down. “The process of adoption will be gradual and steady, not sudden, as waves of technological and institutional change gain momentum,” the Harvard article said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Blockchain Platform MultiChain Enters Beta with 15 New Partners

Blockchain Platform MultiChain Enters Beta with 15 New Partners

New Industry Partners are Joining

MultiChain, the private blockchain platform launched by Coin Sciences Ltd, has entered beta phase with the release of MultiChain 1.0 for Linux and Windows. The platform has also revealed that 15 new industry partners are joining its Platform Partner Program — a consultancy group originally backed by financial services giant Accenture.

Notably, the new members of the program include three multinationals — Boston Consulting Group, PwC, and Worldline – as well as 11 smaller companies. The MultiChain platform was set up with the aim of helping organizations more easily build applications using blockchains and distributed ledgers.

CEO Shinam Arora of Primechain Technologies, a new member of the partner program, explained some of MultiChain’s use cases, saying:

"We are using MultiChain for building several blockchain-powered solutions, including shared KYC/AML, syndication of loans and consortium lending, trade finance, asset registry, asset re-hypothecation, secure documents, cross-border payments and peer-to-peer payments.”

The platform said it plans to release a final version of the software this summer. In related news, Seal Software, a contract discovery and analytics platform, has said it will integrate MultiChain into its platform. The marriage will enable a machine-learning framework based on what the company called "intelligent contracts" to be used in conjunction with MultiChain's blockchain functionality.

Chain and Thales Interlock for
Blockchain Key Security Solution

 

A new Integration with Blockchain

French cyber-defense and aerospace firm Thales has launched a new integration with blockchain startup Chain aimed to boost blockchain security. The partnership will see Chain bridging its enterprise-focused blockchain software capabilities with the nShield hardware security module (HSM) developed by Thales. The move comes shortly after Thales unveiled a blockchain offering in conjunction with professional services firm Accenture.

Thales’ HSM is a hardware solution for securely storing private keys — the all-important strings of data that, for example, protect a user's bitcoin or other blockchain-tied tokens. As these pieces of information are critical in the context of digital asset management, the hardware offering has been positioned as one that would alleviate security concerns among enterprises and other organizations.

Jon Geater, CTO for Thales' cybersecurity arm, said in a statement:

"Blockchain is a game-changer in the financial services industry, with the potential to enhance security, speed and operational efficiency. Our integration with Chain provides a strong root of trust and ensures the integrity of the underlying blockchain operations that enables organizations to build, deploy, and operate blockchain-based transaction networks with confidence."

Regulators are also likely to cheer the advance of security measures in the blockchain space. In February, the European Securities and Markets Authority proclaimed that distributed ledger technology regulations would be premature, given the state of the tech and a lack of market-wide cybersecurity standards.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member