Říj 26

Only Permissioned Blockchains Can Transform Finance, Says Chain’s Ludwin

Source: bitcoin

Governance chain

Who really understands what a blockchain is? Could you explain it to your mother? Chain CEO Adam Ludwin got down to fundamentals yesterday, as he explained his company’s intention to transform financial services by digitizing already-existing assets.

Also read: Visa Introduces Blockchain-based Solution for Payment Services

Ludwin spoke on a Tuesday afternoon panel with at the Money 20/20 Conference in Las Vegas.

Blockchains Transform Finance From the Bottom Up

Adam Ludwin

Assets including U.S. dollars and Starbucks points could move on blockchains with greater efficiency and security, he said.

“A blockchain is actually a new type of database,” he said, adding that it’s a “boring” topic that only fills conference halls because it involves money and wealth. These aspects still have the power to transform financial services and thus society though, he added.

“A blockchain is like a digital network of safety deposit boxes, in the sky.”

You don’t have physical possession of a safety deposit box but you do have a key, he said. Anyone can have control of those keys, individuals and institutions.

Other (non-blockchain) FinTech models are trying to transform financial services from the top down, connecting back into existing infrastructure like banks. Blockchain, on the other hand, starts at the bottom of the stack, with the creation of the asset itself. Then it works up from there.

Bitcoin seeks to build a financial system completely outside any existing network, Ludwin said. When Bitcoin proponents talk about moving away from the dollar completely it sounded like “I’m going to get shotguns and bitcoins and go live in the mountains,” he quipped, adding that he still thinks Bitcoin is “great”.

Ludwin: Chain to Focus on Results, Not Hype Cycle

Most of what you’ll hear about Chain from now on will be from partner firms like VISA, he said. The company is moving out of the “hype cycle” and wants to focus on real-world results.

A day earlier, Chain also announced it is open-sourcing its platform, and published its technology roadmap for the next five years.

Moderator Robert Hackett of Fortune asked if there is any “snake oil” in the industry. Ludwin replied it’s good to see a Darwinian-style winnowing-down of those projects focusing on hype more than real outcomes — which is common in all tech sectors.

How Chain Moved from Bitcoin to Asset Chain Development

Chain launched in April 2014 as a company building Bitcoin APIs. The intent was to build tools to make life easier for Bitcoin developers. After demonstrating the technology to clients, however, they asked fundamental questions about how blockchains actually move value. And in doing so, they opened the Chain team’s eyes about how financial networks functioned.

“There’s a real problem in the market around asset movement,and security and custody, and it’s a much bigger and harder problem,” Ludwin said. Neither Bitcoin, Ethereum nor even Ripple was designed to solve this. Chain then put its heads down for two years to develop the technology it’s releasing right now.

What the Financial Services Industry Really Needs

Chain has sat down with executive-level employees at financial services firms to get a better understanding of their needs.

Their companies have proprietary assets (such as loyalty points) and they want to control the networks those assets move on, Ludwin said. They don’t see open, public blockchains as a viable option.

It’s important for networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum to remain decentralized, he said, because that’s the whole reason they exist. Permissioned blockchains are more about finding the least amount of centralization its participating entities need. Each node can control a different function in the consensus process.

Chain sees itself as halfway between existing financial infrastructure and the Bitcoin network, he said. The aim is to integrate with what exists rather than trying to replace everything.

Is Ludwin right about the nature of blockchains and how they can transform our world? Let’s hear your thoughts.


Images via: Money 20/20, Chain 

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Říj 19

LaBITconf in Buenos Aires Shows Latin America Is Fertile Ground

Source: bitcoin

Buenos Aires laBITconf Bitcoin

As a sign of Bitcoin’s growing strength in Latin America, the fourth annual laBITconf returns to Buenos Aires from November 4-5. With over 60 high-profile speakers, the event is becoming one of the Bitcoin industry’s hottest tickets.

Also read: ‘GAME Changer’ Announced at Coinsbank Blockchain Summit in Turkey

Major speakers will include Andreas Antonopoulos, Peter Todd, Anthony Di Iorio, Erik Voorhees and Trace Mayer. Representatives from IBM and Microsoft will attend, along with five of the largest mining companies. Organizers said attendees represent “almost 50% of Bitcoin’s mining power.”

Argentina a Regional Bitcoin Leader

It’s Argentina’s second turn at holding the conference, having hosted the

Conference co-ordinator Rodolfo Andragnes said Argentina is a bitcoin leader in the region. The country’s recent history of economic hardship led it to become a haven for those looking for financial solutions.

“Numerous businesses, mostly hotels, began to use Bitcoin as a form of payment and ever since then, the rate of Bitcoin transactions continues to increase and the attention towards its underlying blockchain technology continues to grow,” Andragnes said.

“We chose Buenos Aires because the new government is open to understanding and promoting this technology.”

The 2014 Bitcoin Market Potential Index (BMPI) report agreed on Argentina’s importance. Moreover, it said the country tops the list of those with highest potential for Bitcoin adoption.

Looking at the Most Topical Issues

Organizers said laBITconf 2016 will look at those issues most affecting the region. These include implementing blockchain technology for global banking, plus regulation and compliance — and perhaps most importantly, cryptocurrences’ ever-growing impact on society.

Presentation titles include “The Trust Revolution,” “Types of Blockchains,” “Legal Challenges After Smart Contracts,” and “Modernization and Entrepreneurship in Argentina,” There will also be a pitch session for Argentinean startups, and a hackathon for budding developers to show off their blockchain talent.

Decentral founder and CEO Di Iorio will give the event’s keynote presentation. He praised the event for welcoming Bitcoin industry veterans and newcomers alike, saying the technology is “revolutionizing industries” and “paving the way for a brighter future powered by cryptocurrency.”

There’s also a strong Chinese contingent looking to build intercontinental bridges — represented by BitAngel’s Chandler Guo, BitKan‘s Fanny Yu, plus Jihan Wu and Yuan Zhang of Bitmain.

Privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Dash is an laBITconf platinum sponsor. Business development VP Daniel Diaz agreed Latin America’s politial and financial situation makes it “fertile ground for digital currencies”.

laBITconf Ticket Prices and Other Details

Early bird discounts to the event finished at the end of September, but tickets are still an affordable $150. There’s also a $400 VIP option and $800 for an “exclusive box”. The hackathon is free.

laBITconf will take place at Buenos Aires’ Piazzola Tango theatre, Florida 165, CABA, on November 4-5.

Will you attend laBITconf 2016 in Buenos Aires? Or are you kicking yourself for missing a Bitcoin event in one of the world’s party capitals? Either way, let us know.


Images courtesy of laBitconf 2016.

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Říj 18

Vanbex Founder Lisa Cheng a Panelist at VanFUNDING 2016 in Vancouver

Source: bitcoin

Vanbex Founder Lisa Cheng a Panelist at VanFUNDING 2016 in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The VanFUNDING 2016 conference is being held today (Oct. 18) at The Imperial on 319 Main Street where Vanbex Group founder and president Lisa Cheng will be a panelist.

Disclaimer: This is a press release.

Vanbex Founder Lisa Cheng to Speak at Vancouver Fintech Conference

Lisa Cheng, Vanbex founder

Director of the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, Craig Asano, said the event is about connecting innovators and key stakeholders in the financial technology and crowdfunding ecosystem in Western Canada and the Pacific North, to help startups and scale-ups accelerate access to capital to grow their ventures.

“Education and awareness are the greatest roadblocks to realizing the full potential of the crowdfunding industry,” said Asano. “Canada cannot be left behind other countries that are innovating in this sector and reaping great economic benefits and job creation.”

Cheng will discuss Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), the popular method of fundraising in the cryptographic currency and blockchain community, and will join other respected names from various areas of the finance and financial technology industries.

“VanFunding is a great opportunity to highlight the work Vanbex has done in the crypto-crowdfunding space,” said Cheng. “To date Vanbex has helped over 30 companies raise more than $20 million and we’re excited about the potential of the crowdfunding model and the capacity it has to help innovative companies grow faster.”

The one-day event starts at 7:30 a.m. and will run until 7 p.m. Throughout the day, attendees will listen to presentations and panels that span 23 different sessions, covering topics such as crowdfunding, research and innovation.

Cheng’s panel is scheduled to start at 11:35 a.m., and is titled “Investing in Fintech Ecosystems: New Pipes, New Plumbing, New Game…Old Principles.” She will be joined by representatives from Varshney Capital Corp. and the VANTEC Angel Network.

Visit vanfundingconf.ca for more information on the event.

About Vanbex Group
Established in 2013 as a strategic consulting firm to better tell the story of digital currency and blockchain-­based companies, Vanbex has since evolved into a blockchain-based products and services firm, specializing in all aspects of the industry. Visit Vanbex.com.

 

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Čvc 02

Education not Speculation: Message from the Blockchain Training Conference

Source: bitcoin

Education not Speculation: Message from the Blockchain Training Conference

In a conference at Toronto, the heart of the Canadian blockchain industry, technologist and author of Mastering Blockchain, Andreas Antonopoulos, gave a chilling keynote urging technologist to invest in core skills around blockchain and not to worry and speculate about price swings of virtual currencies.

Also read: Smart Guns on the Blockchain, Introducing Blocksafe

He made many parallels around past technologies, where technologists who invested in learning the core technologies like .NET, Java, and HTML made significant progress in their careers.

He speculated that a similar trend is happening now in the burgeoning blockchain industry, where startups are struggling to find talent to put to work to implement the use cases that would entrench blockchain and the ‘Internet of value’ into medium and large enterprises.

Antonopoulos writes:

When introduced to bitcoin, most people see it as a speculative asset, like a stock. But stocks have volatility and risk and the skills required to invest in them are highly specialized. Instead, I propose that these new inventions should be approached primarily as technical innovations. The primary focus should be investment in education, skills and career building. Those skills are transferrable across crypto-currencies, asset-tokens, smart contracts and the entire ecosystem.

Blockchain Training Conference: Education for Everyone

After the keynote speech by Antonopoulos, the conference was divided into two tracks: one technical (DevCore), and the other non-technical (Alliance).

The conference was collaboratively hosted by three nonprofit organizations: the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada,  Bitcoin Foundation and CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium.

MC Pamela Morgan and organizer Michael Perklin worked tirelessly to stage a conference that brought leaders together to educate, inspire, and connect enthusiasts in the blockchain industry. They not only ran the entire logistics of the conference, but also were speakers at the conference.

Technologists attending the conference were exposed to a broad range of topics in the Bitcoin and blockchain world — such as blockchain data structures, Segregated Witness, CLTV, and Lightning Network Channels. Many of the topics were hands on and were well attended by engineers from many vertical industries.

Non-technical attendees had many topics to choose from, including a talk on Ethereum and presentations about AML, “Systems of Record vs. Systems of Authority,” and “Accounting with Blockchains.” There were plenty of investment nuggets and ideas for non-technical attendees to think about and take it back to their employers.

Furthermore, arrangements were made on-site for anyone to take the examination for getting a “Certified Bitcoin Professional (CBP)” professional certification. Covering 75 questions from 33 topics in only 20 minutes, CBP is both rigorous and fast-paced.

The entire conference and the presentations will be made available for free on YouTube at a later date.

What are your thoughts Antonopoulos’ message? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Andreas Antonopoulos.

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Kvě 15

Aten Coin to Hold Conference on Digital Currency Compliance

Source: bitcoin

Aten Coin

Aten Coin, the “KYC/AML compliant digital currency,” is holding its 3rd conference in Chicago on May 27, 2016 at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Also read: Japanese Company Raising Funds Abuses Tech Bureau Corp. Credentials

Aten Coin: A Compliant Digital Currency?

The title of the conference is “Beyond Bitcoin: Privacy, Money, Crime, and a Better Digital Currency.” As the title suggests, the conference will focus on the crime-related problems associated with Bitcoin, and how Aten Coin can bring digital currency into compliance with criminal and financial laws. The conference website also states that it will address the privacy concerns raised when dealing with a digital currency designed to prevent criminal activity.

According to the website, “What Aten Coin offers is good for controlling money laundering, but raises concerns about privacy. The conflict reflects the dual nature of financial regulation.” The website continues, “Anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism law require identifying parties in financial transactions and filing reports on suspicious activity, but privacy regulations restrict the disclosure of personally identifying information.” Questioning the ability of digital currency to reconcile this conflict, the conference organizers ask, “Can we realize the gains from digital currencies in a coherent system of regulation that respects privacy while also taking adequate steps to [sic] against money laundering and terrorism?”

The conference will feature three panel discussions, which will come after an overview of the main issues to be addressed.

From the website regarding the three panel discussions:

(1) Money Laundering and Digital Currency will examine the current money laundering issues posed by the use of digital currency.

(2) Reaping Benefits, Respecting Privacy considers whether and how we can combine combatting money laundering with adequate respect for privacy.

(3) Securing Digital Currency examines technological requirements, psychological effects, and legal issues involved in providing adequate security for digital currency. The program concludes with an assessment of the extent that Aten Coin meets the challenges the previous sessions have identified.

In addition to the three main panels, the website provides the following timeline for the conference:

  • 8:45 AM-9:45 AM: Registration
  • 9:45 AM-10:00 AM: Welcome
  • 10:00 AM-10:30 AM: The Bank Secrecy Act, Money Laundering, and Digital Currency with Joseph Silvia, Senior Counsel Locke Lord, Chicago
  • 10:30 AM-11:30 AM: Panel — Digital Currency: Enforcement Needs and Issues
  • 11:30 AM-11:45 AM: Break
  • 11:45 AM-12:15 PM: Digital Currency vs Regulated Security with John Fahy, Whitaker Chalk Swindle & Shwartz PLLC
  • 12:15 PM-1:45 PM: Lunch
  • 1:45 PM-3:00 PM: Privacy/Security Tradeoffs with:
    • Ian Schick, Pillsbury Law
    • Martin Mushkin, Law Office of Martin Mushkin
    • Richard Warner, Professor, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • 3:00 PM-3:30 PM: Break
  • 3:30-4:00: Can Aten Coin Meet the challenges? With Konrad Bojar, NAC Foundation
  • 4:00 PM: Reception

Aten Coin was designed with regulatory compliance in mind. According to the official Aten Coin website, the digital currency has the following “regulatory features”:

  • US Patriot Act compliant
  • Anti-Money Laundering compliant
  • Know Your Customer compliant
  • Bank Secrecy Act compliant
  • US Office of Foreign Assets Control compliant
  • “Also compliant with many worldwide regulating requirements”

The Aten Coin conference is hosted by the Aten Coin Foundation in partnership with the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and its Office of Continuing Legal Education. Chicago-Kent students can earn up to 5.5 hours of general IL MCLE credit for attending the event. Additionally, admission to the conference is free, and is open to the public.

Are you attending the Aten Coin conference? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Aten Coin.

 

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Kvě 13

Web Summit to Host Two-Day FinTech Event in Madrid

Source: bitcoin

Madrid

On 21 and 22 June over 1,500 people from the world of fintech will come to Nave Boetticher, Madrid to take part in MoneyConf. This invite­ only event is being brought to Madrid by the organisers of the world’s largest startup event Web Summit.

Disclaimer: This is a press release. Bitcoinist is not responsible for this firm’s products and/or services.

Web Summit’s MoneyConf Coming to Madrid

MoneyConf is the most important global meeting place for leading financial institutions and disruptive startups ­ an event for entrepreneurs, investors, startups and the global financial powerhouses to gather in one intimate space.

Organisers moved the event to Madrid for 2016 from Belfast after seeing what a up and coming tech hub the city has become along with its importance in the world of finance.

Fintech has become a growing area in the world technology and Madrid, with homegrown fintech companies such as Kantox, peerTransfer and Coinffeine, is gaining visibility in the fintech world market.

Traditional banks have been slow to catch onto the fintech bandwagon, but Spanish banks have been some of the first to react.

In 2015 Santander launched a €24 million incubator for startups along with Monitise. Through its venture arm InnoVentures Fund, Santander invested $5 million in MyCheck, it has also invested in Cyanogen. ​Santander will be among the companies speaking and taking part in MoneyConf.

Other big names speakers that will be taking part in the event include:

  • ­ Taavet Hinrikus, Co­Founder & CEO, TransferWise ­
  • Alexander Graubner­Müller, Co­Founder & CEO, Kreditech ­
  • Kathryn Petralia, Co­Founder & COO, Kabbage, Inc ­
  • Al Goldstein, CEO & Founder, Avant ­
  • Jacob de Geer, Founder & CEO, iZettle ­
  • Ann Cairns, President ­ International Markets, MasterCard ­
  • Maria Gracheva, CEO, Yandex.Money ­
  • Claire Calmejane, Director of Innovation, Lloyds Banking Group

MoneyConf will see over 100 speakers take to the stage to discuss subjects like:

● Banking Infrastructure

● Big Data ● Cryptocurrencies

● Capital Markets

● Credit & Lending

● Cybersecurity

● Digital Commerce

● Enterprise Banking

● Insurance

● IoT & Wearables

Paddy Cosgrave, CEO of Web Summit and MoneyConf said:

“MoneyConf is Web Summit’s first vertical event, it was natural for us to focus on fintech as it is such an important area.

“We are extremely excited to host MoneyConf in our new location Madrid. Madrid is an important financial hub in Europe and is becoming one of the forerunners in fintech.

“With some great startups coming from Madrid like Kantox and peerTransfer along with some of the biggest banks in the world such as Santander, we are excited to be coming to Madrid.”


Images courtesy of World Cities via YouTube, MoneyConf.

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Kvě 06

Deloitte Announces Growing Blockchain Initiative and Services

Source: bitcoin

Deloitte Announces Growing Blockchain Initiative and Services

On Tuesday at the Consensus Conference in New York City, Deloitte announced a number of partnerships with companies in the blockchain space to develop 20 ongoing blockchain initiatives and prototypes, thereby signaling a commitment towards becoming an early mover in blockchain consulting services.

Also read: Craig Wright Exits The Bitcoin Stage With Weird Blog Post

Deloitte Making Big Industry Moves

The “Big 4” firm is scoping and leading development for blockchain-related solutions that span across digital identity, digital banking, cross-border payments, loyalty and rewards, investment management and insurance sectors. The timing of Deloitte’s announcement coincides with a rising interest and research from banks towards implementing blockchain technology. Given the emerging nature of these services, Deloitte is hoping to learn best practices quickly in hopes of generating increased revenue.

Speaking to the initiative, Joe Guastella, a principal with Deloitte Consulting and U.S. and global leader of the financial services practice, remarked, “Blockchain is proving to be a major disruptive force in financial services. The industry prototypes and pilots have shown this, and we continue to focus on helping our clients to make blockchain a reality for their businesses.”

An eye-catching component of Deloitte’s announcement is the partnerships with blockchain companies BlockCypher, Bloq, ConsenSys, Loyyal (formerly known as Ribbit.me) and the Stellar Development Foundation. Due to a steep learning curve and relative shortage of blockchain developers at Deloitte and beyond to meet the growing demand from clients, such partnerships with industry players are mutually beneficial and will shorten the timeframe towards the implementation of these projects for Deloitte’s clientele.

The traditional nature of Deloitte’s client base means that the solutions being developed are not specifically limited to blockchains. Rather, blockchain equivalents such as permissioned or private blockchains appear to be on the forefront of development efforts. For example, the Press Release claims “BlockCypher’s platform runs Ethereum, Bitcoin and custom private chains at-scale.” Additionally, “Deloitte and Bloq are working together to deliver blockchain-enabled technology designed to improve integrity and security, and reduce costs in the $1.1 trillion insurance industry.” With strict regulatory requirements around the banking, investment, and insurance spaces, fully public and open blockchains are not in alignment with the regulatory frameworks, data accessibility, and consumer protection goals. Therefore alternative, privatized solutions are being developed.

Work seems to be ongoing with clients outside of the United States, too. This is encouraging as globally spanning projects leverage the global nature inherent within blockchain technology. Remarking on the partnerships, Mr. Guastella added, “These five blockchain companies are collaborating with Deloitte’s teams not just in the U.S., but across key geographies as well. Each complements our deep industry experience and, together, we are harvesting the benefits of blockchain technologies — developing new revenue models, improving cost efficiencies and creating innovative solutions across the globe.”

With PWC’s recent announcement of a Blockchain Practice in Northern Ireland, Accenture’s partnership with Digital Asset Holdings, and EY’s partnership with the Post-Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group, interest from professional services firms in expanding revenues by offering blockchain related services is rising quickly. As traditional players look to implement solutions, the services provided by professional services firms will likely prove invaluable towards advancing initiatives in the space. In Deloitte’s case, their ability to bridge traditionally oriented clients with blockchain-focused startups is a unique value proposition. Whether or not the private solutions are truly a “blockchain” remains to be seen as projects are completed and technical details are made public.

What are your thoughts on Deloitte’s announcement? Will more professional services firms open a blockchain practice in coming months or years? Share your thoughts below!


 

Image Source: vtec.filmless.netdna-cdn

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Dub 05

Oliver Wyman Principal: Blockchain Exhibiting ‘Kardashian Effect’

Source: bitcoin

Kim Kardashian

Andrew Wiseman, a Swedish-based Principal at Oliver Wyman management consultancy, detailed his views on development trends in blockchain technology at the Money 20/20 conference in Copenhagen on Monday afternoon. Fascinatingly, Mr. Wiseman labeled blockchains as exhibiting a “Kardashian Effect,” in the sense that they are widely discussed and popular, but many who reference them do not understand why this may be the case. Unlike the Kardashian hype cycle, however, Mr. Wiseman believes that the Blockchain hype cycle is about to burst, with October or November 2016 as its likely transition towards a more realistic, calculated, and well-informed approach on strategies to best implement blockchain solutions.

Also read: First Secure DAO Web Marketplace Launches Massive Crowdsale

The Blockchain and Kim Kardashian: More Similar Than you Might Think

Mr. Wiseman sees the rise of “Blockchain” as merely a buzzword, first and foremost, because a definitive use case in the market for blockchain technology has not gone into effect or been widely implemented yet. In order to break into a more scalable and impactful realm, Mr. Wiseman asserts that consortiums of larger players can offer value, similar to the ongoing collaborative efforts as part of the Hyperledger project. Challenges arise, however, due to the nature of participants involved, as cultural and technical capabilities need to match in order to make an impact. Moreover, all efforts should navigate the tension between proprietary innovations and industry-wide adoption standards wisely.

Many organizations who reference blockchain are often risk averse towards implementation due to uncertainty on the regulatory side. The intersection between regulation and technology needs to be further addressed, and Mr. Wiseman believes that impending European regulation and more technically focused discussion will among larger finance circles in Europe will eventually impact “FRITO” (Financial Risk Information Technology Operations) guidelines.

“Now is when the real work starts,” asserted Mr. Wiseman, before presenting eight simple yet valuable bullet points to help guide new entrants in the space. Rather than focusing solely on softer discussion and research, suggestions were given to:

  • Work on concrete proofs of concept.
  • Understand the current needs of customers and anticipate their future needs.
  • Challenge the service providers to innovate.
  • Understand current qualification of operational costs, isolating what distributed ledgers could save.
  • Continue industry-wide engagement, turning hype into collective endeavor.
  • Participate in prototypes and embrace “learn by doing”.
  • Bring the “business mind” to technologist startups.
  • Think through and prepare the narrative for bank regulation and supervisory bodies.

Given the amount of hype surrounding blockchains right now, it was important to hear a respected player in the space provide an alternative perspective. The evolution in the outlook of blockchains right now is not different than the evolution Bitcoin underwent in 2012 and 2013. Emerging technologies typically take time to integrate into business solutions, and rightfully so. Hopefully, Mr. Wiseman’s suggestions inspire a more pointed examination of Blockchains, and don’t continue “Blockchain” as simply a hypnotization or colloquialism, such as is evident through Kim Kardashian’s popularity.

Do you agree with Mr. Wiseman’s analogy? How can Blockchain development take the next step forward? Let us know your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Reuters, Money 20/20

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Dub 05

Money 20/20: Industry Leaders Weigh in on Blockchain Regulation

Source: bitcoin

Copenhagen

On Monday afternoon at the Money 20/20 conference in Copenhagen, a panel of industry leaders provided an update on their views of the current status of regulation in the Bitcoin and blockchain spaces in Europe. Of primary note was a statement around the short term future of digital currency regulation in Europe. Speaking on issues surrounding attention being placed on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) concerns, Monica Monaco of Trust EU Affairs made a bold yet not-surprising statement, given recent global affairs. “Brussels is paying attention”, asserted Mrs. Monaco. “There will be (European level) regulation between now and summer.”

Also read: Tesla 3 and Bitcoin Make the Difference Locally 

Fascinatingly, many European Bitcoin startups want to be regulated, claims Monaco, “especially the good guys.” Increased regulation helps bring legitimacy to the space, and the industry itself is growing up quickly. Increasingly, across Europe and beyond, digital currency and blockchain initiatives are attracting more experienced serial entrepreneurs who lived through the internet bubble and bring more experience and credibility to the space, which resonates with both investors and regulators alike.

Pioneers in Regulation

One region that has been friendly and will continue to be a leader in digital currency regulation is the Isle of Man. Brian Donegan of the Isle of Man Government wants his small nation to continue to lead the way. “Nothing will change until we have a standard that everyone can realize and work with. It paves the way for global acceptance, and has to happen,” remarked Mr. Donegan. Given the Isle of Man’s work on creating the Designated Businesses Act of 2015, he said that his region is happy to lead the charge and provide experiments on these initiatives.

Money 20/20: Regulating the Blockchain

With regards to blockchain regulation, specifically, Dr. Paolo Tasca of Deutche Bundesbank remarked on the challenges of finding regulation that involves many traditionally disparate parts. “Here, there are elements of payments, monetary transactions, and technology involved,” said Tasca. Mr. Tasca sees parallels with what’s happening now in the blockchain space to what happened in 2002 with home banking and personal finance, and how these presented similar challenges to the regulatory environment. Mrs. Monaco made a valuable point, adding that blockchains also challenge settlement risks and consumer protection concerns. “When you go to decentralized, who controls what, it’s a major shift for regulators. How can you centralize control of something that’s decentralized? Can you? Should you? This is not solved yet.”

Speaking to the general style of how innovation should occur within a blockchain, Veronica McGregor of Hogan Lovells echoed sentiment towards finding empowering yet safe regulatory frameworks.  Rather than having an overarching form of regulation, Mrs. McGregor sees use case specific regulation. For example, the recent R3 settlement test which leveraged blockchain technology will likely lead to further regulation in that realm.

Managing Potential for Anonymity

One topic which garnered significant attention was that of anonymity. Due to concerns of Anti-Money Laundering and potential terrorist financing, this repeatedly is a point of concern for regulators. Speaking to this, Brian Donegan:

“Banks really worry about the financial piece. The identity piece. They have sanctions compliance that they have to adhere to. They have to know who to sanction. The holy grail of the technology is the identity piece” A commonly heard sentiment, it seems to reign true; as soon as the identity piece is solved it’ll likely help regulators get onboard to the technology and Banks will follow quickly if governments get on board. “Banks need to ensure that their relationship with their local regulator isn’t damaged”, Mr. Donegan remarks.

Regulating Ethereum and Smart Contracts

Lastly, addressing a question around Ethereum and smart contracts, the panel seemed to feel that regulators would need to take a similar approach to that taken towards some of the first Bitcoin startups, that being to apply regulation at the entry and exit points. As Mrs. McGregor, “We have to regulate the entry points. In a smart contract, whoever has oversight over those persons will face regulation. Additionally, Mrs. Monaco added, “Smart contracts could be very good for consumers and their use could be very good for society as long as we protect users for their use. Must be compatible on the rules of the country their sitting.”

In summary, the panel today certainly proved to be wide ranging, informative, and stimulating. It seems that, over the past 2-3 years, the increased interest which regulators have taken in Bitcoin and Blockchains has given rise to a much stronger understanding of and valuable discussion around the issues at hand. The views and concerns in America are quite similar to those in Europe, and the two will likely look towards one another for answers and the technologies continue to develop and evolve.

What are your thoughts on the remarks by the panel members above? How does Bitcoin, Blockchain, and smart contractual regulation inter-relate? Will regulators be able to put forth meaningful frameworks without stifling innovation? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of The Telegraph, Money 20/20.

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Úno 17

Kogarah Technology Centre Showcases Robotics and Blockchains

Source: bitcoin

Kogarah

The Australian bank Westpac had showcased its technology centre at Kogarah in Sydney last week. The local Financial Review (AFR) reported that the financial-service provider continues to promote blockchain technology. Not only does the legacy institution believe in distributed ledgers they are also pretty fascinated with artificial intelligence helping the process.

Also read: AirTM Currency Conversion Success Hinges on Bitcoin Integration

Westpac’s Kogarah Technology Centre

The first thing the corporate firm gave insight to during the event was a robot named Tess (Test Enabling Super Simulator) in the hour-long discussion about technology and blockchains. The bank’s chief information officer Dave Curran showed off the robot, which performed regression testing. The task is the process of finding issues in software and introduce a fix without causing further problems with the codes operations. The bank details that Tess executes thirty days of human testers in a three-day period. Then, Curran explained the importance of blockchain technology to staff and board members. Westpac’s Curran states:   

“Blockchain is a technology that is clearly disruptive, but what it will be we don’t know. We do know that $970 million has been spent on blockchain by fintech.”

Westpac is Australia’s largest asset holding bank and wants to hold a place in this emerging technology race towards the future. Many believe blockchains will have a significant role by saving finance management firms substantial costs by removing intermediaries.

In the summer of 2015 Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said they were testing out the Ripple Labs protocol for payment processing services. It was also mentioned that Bitcoin’s blockchain was not chosen due to concerns about regulation.

Recently, the bank’s general manager Rachel Slade also had positive things to say about distributed ledger technology and thought it was very possible for it to give the region benefits. Slade said, “The solution we’ve developed is faster than other alternatives in the market today, providing same or next-day payment. This technology could be very beneficial to all Australians, providing a low-cost and fast method of sending low-value payments overseas.”

In December 2015, Westpac became the 43rd bank to join in with R3’s blockchain consortium. Now, at the technology centre at Kogarah, Curran says 2016 will be a “big delivery year” for the financial institution. Tess will be testing new software and helping out with updates in certain technical protocol implemented within the company.

Curran ended the showing to his staff and board — which also consisted of members from IBM, Infosys, and Tata Consultancy — by saying the bank is taking a modern approach to finances. The financial service provider seems very interested in these technologies and wants to take a lead in research and development. The technology centre at Kogarah is a proven testament to the bank’s hunger for fintech, and blockchains are playing an important role within the industry. With blockchain technology, Westpac believes the protocol has the potential to lower infrastructure costs and make international payments faster. To the Australian bank, robots and distributed ledgers working as a team may be the solution.  

What do you think about Westpac’s interest in robots and blockchains? Let us know in the comments below!  


Images courtesy of Pixbay, Shutterstock, and Wiki Commons

The post Kogarah Technology Centre Showcases Robotics and Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Kogarah Technology Centre Showcases Robotics and Blockchains

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