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

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Říj 26

Money 20/20: Visa, Chain Expand on B2B Connect

Source: bitcoin

B2B Products

On Sunday afternoon’s lead-off keynote address at the Money 20/20 Conference in Las Vegas, Visa and Chain joined to collectively promote their new, blockchain-inspired payments platform, B2B Connect.

Also read: Altcoin Report: Monero Shutting Down Until January

Visa and Chain Use Blockchain for B2B Transactions

Leveraging benefits from shared infrastructural ledger technology, including global scale, transparency, and cryptographically-backed security, the Visa B2B Connect product is built on Chain’s proprietary Chain Core software. The product will go live with a pilot in early 2017, though successful tests have already been conducted.

Vicky Bindra, Global Head of Products and Solutions at Visa, began by telling the story of how international payments today are rather clumsy. The compartmentalized nature of payment systems makes it difficult to identify when payments arrive at corresponding banks.

Traditionally, payment systems need to wait on a complex web of signed messages to cascade through banks and record, process, clear, reconcile, and settle in order to complete a transaction.

Speaking to this, Bindra pointed out that “It can take weeks to solve that issue, and cause a headache for buyers and suppliers looking to engage in international trade. . .and this in an environment where business expectations have sped up. We want things faster, we want to engage with consumers more quickly.”

Coupled with a recent explosion in international trade volumes, updating payment rails will likely alleviate these pressures and unleash unrealized business potential.

Speaking second, Adam Lubin, CEO of Chain, explained blockchain technology as part of a larger story in the evolution around how technology has impacted the ways by which goods, communication, and money has changed over time.

For example, with music, there has been a transition from raw music, to recorded music, to digitally stored music, to cloud-based streaming. Under each scenario here, music was involved yet what changed was the medium through which this moved.

As Mr. Lubin succinctly stated, “A blockchain enables a new medium for money.”

This news follows Western Union’s April announcement of a global, B2B platform for settling payments. Seeing a shipped product in the permissioned blockchain space is exciting news, as prototypes are beginning to transition from theory to reality.

Visa and Chain’s collaboration shows the potential of collaboration between Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and it is evident that the initiative will effect a wide array of customers worldwide given the vast network Visa works with.

What do you think about the VISA B2B connect platform?  Can VISA and Chain’s collaboration demonstrate future wins for permissioned blockchains? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Visa.

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Kvě 01

CEX.IO Launches Instant Withdrawals to Visa, MasterCard

Source: bitcoin

CEX

Popular bitcoin exchange CEX.IO has announced the launch of instant withdrawals to Visa and MasterCard payment cards.

Disclaimer: This article was provided by Bitcoin PR Buzz. Bitcoinist is not affiliated with the firms represented by Bitcoin PR Buzz and is not responsible for their products and/or services.

Withdrawal Bitcoin Profits to Visa and MasterCard With CEX.IO

This move represents the exchange “completing the circle,” as they rose to  the top of the industry by enabling users to purchase bitcoins with their credit cards.

According to the exchange, payment card “withdrawal requests are processed automatically, right after their placement, which means that a user doesn’t need to log in to third party services.” The exchange also states that in most cases, withdrawals are completed instantly, allowing customers to use their funds immediately.

CEO and Co-Founder Oleksandr Lutskevych told press:

“We are proud to tell that there are currently no other exchanges offering instant

withdrawals of fiat funds to Visa/MasterCard at low commissions, except for CEX.IO.”

Withdrawals to payment cards are beneficial due to high speed or payment processing and low commissions. Once the card is linked to CEX.IO profile, a user is able to deposit and withdraw fiat funds to this card in just a few steps. PCI DSS certificate obtained by CEX.IO ensures strong safety of provided payment card data.

The exchange plans to continue expanding payment options and among other things will introduce Bitcoin debit cards enabling loading cards with Bitcoins directly.

To learn more please go to:

Media Contact

Name: Helga Danova, Communications Officer

Email: helga.d@cex.io

City and Country Location: London, UK

About Bitcoin PR Buzz

Bitcoin PR Buzz has been proudly serving the PR and marketing needs of Bitcoin and digital currency tech start-ups for over 2 years. Get your own professional Bitcoin and digital currency Press Release. Click here for more information.


Images courtesy of CEX.IO.

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Led 06

Fidelity Drops Long Time Partners to Bring in Bitcoin Competitors

Source: bitcoin

Fidelity

Financial services firm Fidelity Investments has dropped two of its long time partners during a process to integrate financial services that provide direct competition to bitcoin.

Also read: More Signs of Trouble in Asia: Barclays to Cut Investment Banking Jobs

Fidelity Moves into the FinTech Age With New Partnership

Fidelity is ending its partnership with credit card company American Express and the Bank of America Corporation, “a 12-year partnership that has generated billions of dollars in fees,” according to Reuters. This is another blow in a series of setbacks for American Express, which recently lost its partnership with Costco Wholesale Corporation. According to Reuters, American Express reported that the loss of the Costco partnership would hurt the credit card company’s profits for two years. Now, losing its deal with Fidelity, American Express’ future looks even more bleak. However, an American Express sokesperson claimed that Fidelity accounted for less than 1 percent of billings, hinting that the loss might not be so devastating. Furthermore, a spokesperson from Bank of America said that the termination of the partnership was a mutual decision.

In place of American Express and Bank of America, Fidelity will be teaming up with US Bancorp and Visa Inc. This new partnership will launch the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card and the Fidelity Card. With these programs, users can earn unlimited 2 percent cash back with no annual fees or caps when directing their rewards into eligible Fidelity accounts.

This partnership will also produce credit cards with chip security technology, which will provide users with access to digital payment methods such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. This move brings Fidelity in direct competition with bitcoin, which specializes in anonymous, online payments with low fees. Additionally, Samsung recently announced that it will expand its Samsung Pay to online shopping in 2016. Fidelity’s new partnership will extend Samsung’s digital wallet expansion to an even broader audience, further stiffening the competition against bitcoin.

Should Bitcoiners be Worried?

Bitcoin will see new competition in 2016, but it is unclear whether or not these traditional finance companies will manage to push bitcoin out of the digital payments industry. The bitcoin community is working to solve pressing issues with the digital currency in order to make it a more efficient and easier to use currency. Core developers are currently deliberating over the best course of action for achieving long-term scalability, which will allow the Bitcoin network to process transactions on a level comparable to Visa and other major payment networks. Bitcoin’s block reward will also undergo a halving this year, which many believe will cause the bitcoin price to soar. If this proves to be the case, then bitcoin will receive a boost that should draw investors and entrepreneurs into the bitcoin space, further accelerating growth and development.

What do you think about Fidelity’s new partnership? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of the Liberty Science Center, American Express

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