THE FUTURE IS NOW: Forbes top 50 Blockchain giants!

Willem De Kooning – Untitled. For me it looks like spring.

Article by Forbes, Michael del Castillo – edited and supplemented by [CryptoRobby]

Although still #CryptoWinter, it’s early spring for new business applications using #blockchain technology.

Walmart is using blockchain technology to track shipments from its suppliers and reduce the risks of food spoilage and contamination. It has already filed 50 blockchain-related patents. 

Seagate, a hard drive producer is using the tech to catch and prevent counterfeiters.

Metlife can now pay claims instantly to its expectant mothers who test positive for diabetes.

According to International Data Corp, total corporate and government spending on blockchain should hit €2.6 billion in 2019, an increase of 89% over the previous year, and reach € 10.6 billion by 2022. When PwC surveyed 600 execs last year, 84% (!!!) said their companies are involved with blockchain.

Allianz SE Germany

The insurance giant has been testing blockchain for a variety of products. For example, a joint venture that sells flight-delay insurance has used a smart contract that initiates a claim as soon as a flight is delayed by a set period of time. The customer gets a notification on his smartphone, enters his bank account details and payment is made.

Amazon US Seattle

Amazon Web Services offers blockchain tools to help companies that want to use distributed ledger technology but don’t want to develop it themselves. It’s a clever way to maintain its dominance in cloud computing, Amazon’s most profitable business line, with a 2018 operating profit of $7.3 billion. Cloud clients using its tools include Change Healthcare, which helps manage payments among hospitals, insurers and patients; Guardian Life Insurance; HR software provider Workday; and securities clearinghouse DTCC.

Key leader: Rahul Pathak, general manager of Amazon Managed Blockchain at AWS

Anheuser-Busch InBev – Belgium

The brewing giant is involved in a pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area where consumers upload their driver’s license information to a blockchain and can then buy beer at a vending machine simply by scanning their phone. In Africa, the world’s fastest-growing beer market, AB InBev has a partnership with BanQu that uses blockchain to provide pricing info and payments to farmers lacking bank accounts. That could make it possible for the company to work faster, and with more farmers, to ramp up its African operations.

Key leader: Tassilo Festetics, VP of global solutions

Ant Financial, Hangzhou China

Fintech power Ant Financial has developed a proprietary blockchain that is used, among other things, to keep tabs on the products sold on a marketplace run by Alibaba, a part owner of Ant. For example, customers can trace a diamond’s sourcing back to a trading center in Antwerp and see grading, cutting and polishing records. Separately, in June 2018, Ant’s payment app, Alipay (with a billion-plus users worldwide), launched a blockchain-based service offering money transfers directly between people in Hong Kong and the Philippines that can be completed in just seconds.

Blockchain platforms: Ant Blockchain

Key leader: Geoff Jiang, VP of Ant Financial

BBVA Bilbao, Spain

Last November, Spain’s second-largest bank announced its first blockchain-based syndicated loan, a $170 million deal for Red Eléctrica Corporación, Spain’s electrical grid operator. With nearly $5 trillion in loans being syndicated worldwide each year, the transparency, security and efficiency of blockchain could make a big difference.

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, public Ethereum

Key leader: Carlos Kuchkovsky, CTO, new digital business

Bitfury Amsterdam, Netherlands

While $500 million (revenues) Bitfury is still best known for selling hardware for bitcoin mining, it is now also building blockchain services for enterprise customers. In 2017, it launched the Exonum blockchain, designed specifically to make it easier for enterprises to use the bitcoin blockchain. One early customer, the Republic of Georgia, is using Exonum to record and transfer land ownership.

Blockchain platforms: Exonum, Bitcoin

Key leadership: Valery Vavilov, CEO and cofounder

BNP Paribas Paris, France

When Rio Tinto sells iron ore to Cargill, the food giant doesn’t pay right away; instead it presents a bank’s letter of credit. BNP Paribas is trying to move letters of credit from paper to a secure distributed ledger. In November 2018 Paribas worked with HSBC Singapore to complete the first fully digitized letter-of-credit transaction. Commodities finance dates back to 4,000 B.C. Sumer, and old-line banks like France’s BNP Paribas dominate. Maintaining a digital edge in this business is a matter of survival.

Blockchain platforms: Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum

Key leader: Jacques Levet, head of transaction banking for Europe, Middle East and Africa

BP PLC London

Like BNP Paribas, BP is investing in blockchain technology to improve the efficiency of commodities trade finance. It’s a founding member of Vakt, a blockchain platform that aims to digitize parts of energy trading that remain slow, such as contracts and invoicing. So far, BP has invested more than $20 million in blockchain projects.

Blockchain platforms: Ethereum, Cardano, Quorum

Key leader: Julian Gray, technology director, Digital Innovation Organization

Broadridge New York City

This little-known ADP spinoff controls 80% of the U.S. proxy-voting and shareholder-communications business. Broadridge has a team working to move its core proxy-voting services to a distributed ledger, allowing stockholders to cast their own votes on corporate resolutions and directors in real time—without going through the custodial banks that hold the shares. Broadridge is an investor, alongside banks such as BNP and Citi, in Digital Asset Holdings, which played a key role in the development of private blockchain ledgers.

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, DAML, Quorum

Key leader: Michael Tae, head of strategy

Bumble Bee Foods San Diego

Thanks to help from developers at SAP, Bumble Bee is using a blockchain to provide complete transparency to its tuna supply chain all the way from the pole-and-line-catch fishermen sailing the South Pacific to grocery stores in the United States. Given current concerns about food safety and sustainability, instilling confidence in its albacore product is paramount. Moreover, the entire tuna industry has been targeted by environmental activists for killing dolphins. The company that can demonstrate provenance of its catch could demand a premium price.

Blockchain platform: Multichain Key leader: Tony Costa, CIO

Cargill Wayzata, Minnesota

The agricultural giant that popularised high-fructose corn syrup began testing Intel’s Hyperledger Sawtooth before Thanksgiving 2017 to track turkeys through its supply chain as they made their way from farm to supermarket. Cargill has committed a team of engineers to work with Intel and enterprise blockchain startup Bitwise to help build Hyperledger Grid, which will track food back to its source—a crucial step in this day of food-contamination scares. By getting in on the ground floor with this Grid, Cargill could be in a position to sell its expertise to other suppliers.

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Grid

Key leader: Keith Narr, VP, Cargill Digital Labs

Ciox Health Alpharetta, US

As the biggest manager of medical records in the U.S. (its software is used to securely transfer records between healthcare providers), Ciox figures the blockchain could cut paperwork redundancies, reduce medical mistakes and provide it a new source of subscription income. It has established a team to evaluate which blockchain platform to build on.

Blockchain platform: Ethereum

Key leader: Florian Quarre, chief digital officer

Citigroup New York City

The bank has invested in a half-dozen startups (Digital Asset Holdings, Axoni, SETL, Cobalt DL, R3 and Symbiont) developing blockchains and distributed ledgers for applications such as securities settlement, credit derivative swaps and insurance payments. Last year, Citi partnered with Barclays and software infrastructure provider CLS to launch LedgerConnect, an app store where companies can shop for blockchain tools.

Blockchain platform: Ethereum

Key leader: Puneet Singhvi, managing director

Coinbase San Francisco

With more than 20 million users and a valuation of $8 billion, Coinbase is the dominant U.S. cryptocurrency exchange. It offers custody, wallet services and both retail and institutional trading platforms. The blue chip among crypto-first financial firms is poised to become even more dominant when institutional usage of blockchain grows.

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Lumen

Key leader: Brian Armstrong, CEO; his Coinbase holdings make him a billionaire

Comcast Philadelphia

Comcast owns MState, a venture capital firm that has invested in at least seven enterprise blockchain startups, including Blockdaemon, which builds software to help enterprises build applications that use Bitcoin and Ethereum and comply with current regulations (for example, from the SEC or protecting healthcare privacy). Last December, Comcast partnered with competitors Viacom and Spectrum Reach to launch Blockgraph, which aims to allow advertisers to precisely target ads to viewers, without disclosing viewers’ personal information to those advertisers.

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Quorum

Key leader: Gil Beyda, managing director, Comcast Ventures

CVS Health Woonsocket, RI

New CVS subsidiary Aetna is a member of IBM’s Health Utility Network, a group (including Cigna and Anthem) working to create a distributed ledger of information available to patients, providers and insurers. As its first project, the network plans to publish tamperproof, unforgeable medical credentials so patients can check out their doctors. Other projects being considered would combine data from different insurers to make it easier to share information between doctors and insurers and prevent prescriptions that conflict, with the aim of improving care while cutting costs.

Blockchain platforms: IBM Blockchain, Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Sawtooth

Key leader: Claus Torp Jensen, CTO of both CVS and Aetna

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation Jersey City

A warehouse of sorts that provides custody, clearing and settlement for $1.85 quadrillion in transactions per year, DTCC is planning to move its $10 trillion-a-year credits derivatives tracking operation to a customized blockchain. If the new system, scheduled to launch by the end of the year, is successful, it could eliminate massive record redundancies and prove that centralized middlemen have a place in a decentralized ledger world.

Blockchain platform: Axcore

Key leader: Rob Palatnick, chief technology architect

Facebook Menlo Park, CA

In January 2018, CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed in his annual statement that the social media giant was studying cryptocurrency’s potential. In May of that year he moved former PayPal president and Coinbase board member David Marcus from his position as vice president of messaging to head up a secretive team exploring blockchain and its applications. This past February, Zuckerberg told Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain he was interested in letting users log in to websites with blockchain-based identities instead of Facebook Connect—a change that could have big implications for the way Facebook monetizes its users’ info.

Blockchain platforms: Unknown

Key leader: David Marcus, blockchain lead

Fidelity – Boston, US

The 73-year-old fund giant began mining bitcoin in 2015 as a way to learn about digital assets. This year, it launched a custody service for institutional investors who want to store bitcoin securely. It’s also building a trading platform that allows a large block of crypto to be purchased by executing orders across multiple exchanges. About 100 Fidelity employees are now devoted to digital assets. Having originally missed the ETF explosion, Fidelity will be at the forefront if crypto-assets go mainstream.

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum

Key leader: Tom Jessop, president, Fidelity Digital Assets

Foxconn Taipei, Taiwan

The giant Chinese manufacturer has pilot projects under way that use blockchain to streamline supply chain transactions and provide working capital to suppliers. Separately, it is developing a blockchain-enabled smartphone that would make it easier for consumers to spend digital coins.

Blockchain platform: Ethereum

Key leader: Jack Lee, founding managing partner of venture arm HCM Capital

Golden State Foods Irvine, CA

This restaurant supplier is participating in IBM’s Food Trust, a consortium of companies aiming to track food along the entire supply chain. In one early application, Golden State is giving all the companies involved in its burger business—from meat processors to shippers to restaurants—access to streaming data about the temperature at which the beef is kept. In addition to improving food safety, such projects could reduce both paperwork and food spoilage, which is estimated to cost $7 billion annually in North America alone, before it reaches the consumer.

Blockchain platform: IBM Blockchain

Key Executives: Bob Wolpert, chief strategy and innovation officer

Google Mountain View, CA

The search giant has made numerous investments in blockchain, including Veem, a payments startup that lets enterprises instantly send and receive payments in different currencies, using bitcoin as an intermediary holding. Meanwhile, it has created a suite of tools that make it easier to search (and analyze) cryptocurrency transactions—in other words, to Google public blockchains.

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Zcash, Dogecoin, Dash

Key leader: Allen Day, science advocate

HPE – San Jose, CA

The $31 billion (revenue) enterprise tech spin-off from Hewlett-Packard hopes to make a splash with its blockchain services. It already counts more than a dozen customers, including car-part manufacturer Continental, which will use HPE’s tech to track a vehicle’s location and a driver’s license and insurance. That could be useful as more Americans move from owning a car to renting one by the hour or month.

Blockchain platforms: Corda, Ethereum, Quorum, Sia, Hyperledger Fabric

Key leader: Raphael Davison, worldwide director of blockchain

HTC – Taoyuan, Taiwan

The company recently released Exodus 1, a new smartphone that provides crypto-owners a safer way (built in to the phone’s hardware) to store and recover lost Bitcoin, Litecoin and ethereum, as well as the ability to easily trade cryptocurrencies. The phone also has a special Web browser designed for sites built on the blockchain. With its dismal smartphone market share, HTC’s new phone may be a Hail Mary pass.

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum

Key leader: Phil Chen, decentralized chief officer

IBM – Armonk, NY

Blockchain’s early advocate is working to commercialize the technology through its enterprise-grade version of Hyperledger Fabric, called IBM Blockchain. Other IBM launches include World Wire, a foreign exchange platform seeking to replace interbank messaging platform Swift, and TradeLens, a shipping supply chain service codeveloped with shipping giant Maersk. IBM has already filed for more than 100 blockchain patents. With its proprietary blockchain connecting companies in at least 85 networks, IBM is a clear enterprise winner.

Blockchain platforms: IBM Blockchain, Stellar, Hyperledger Burrow, Sovrin

Key leader: Bridget van Kralingen, SVP, global industry platforms and blockchain

ING – Amsterdam

The Dutch banking giant has launched eight pilots since the creation of its dedicated blockchain team in 2016. In January 2018, ING and Credit Suisse executed the first legally enforceable euro securities swap using R3’s blockchain. The bank has also invested in several blockchain ventures, including Komgo, which plans to use the Ethereum blockchain to streamline a wide range of transactions.

Blockchain platforms: Corda, Quorum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy

Key leader: Mariana Gomez de la Villa, program director of distributed ledger technology

Intel – Santa Clara, US

Like IBM, Intel is one of the bigger corporate forces pushing blockchain into the enterprise market. Its open-source Hyperledger Sawtooth platform lets companies build their own blockchains. Users include Cargill, T-Mobile and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Still, IBM is way ahead.

Blockchain platforms: Corda, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth

Key leader: Michael Reed, director, blockchain program

JPMorgan – Chase New York City

The nation’s largest bank is one of the creators of Quorum, a restricted version of the Ethereum blockchain built especially for enterprises looking to move tasks performed by back-office middlemen to the distributed ledger. It recently announced JPM Coin, an early-stage project to enable real-time institution-to-institution payments.

Blockchain platform: Quorum

Key leader: Christine Moy, blockchain lead

Maersk – Copenhagen

Transactions for shipping goods from one port to another still rely on reams of paperwork, as they did centuries ago. Last year, IBM and Maersk, one of the world’s largest shippers, announced plans to create TradeLens, a global blockchain for shippers. So far, 100 organizations, including ports, freight forwarders, sea and land carriers, and customs agencies, have signed up to use the platform.

Blockchain platforms: IBM Blockchain, Corda

Key leader: Michael J. White, head of TradeLens

Mastercard – Purchase, NY

The credit card behemoth has applied for 80 blockchain-related patents. Sixteen have been granted, including one for linking cryptocurrencies to traditional bank accounts and another for increasing the privacy of blockchains. Mastercard rarely comments on its blockchain ambitions, but it recently announced it’s working with Amazon and Accenture to build more transparent supply chains where, for example, someone buying a pair of jeans could see where they were made and tip the creator through Mastercard’s payment rails. More significantly, if Mastercard can tie its massive, high-speed payments network to blockchain-based payments, it can open a new revenue stream and solve a problem that plagues most blockchain technology: processing times are still slow.

Blockchain platform: Its own platform, built from scratch.

Key leader: Ken Moore, EVP and head of Mastercard Labs

MetLife – New York City, US

Through MetLife’s incubator, LumenLab, the insurer has developed a mobile app called Vitana, that is using ethereum’s smart contracts to automatically pay claims in certain circumstances.

Blockchain platform: InsureChain built on Ethereum

Key leader: Zia Zaman, CIO of MetLife Asia

Microsoft – Redmond, US

Last year, Microsoft’s cloud unit Azure launched Azure Blockchain Workbench, a tool for developing blockchain apps. Many templates are available for free, but if an organization builds or runs an app or network on Azure, Microsoft charges for the underlying cloud services. Blockchain Workbench customers include Insurwave, Webjet, Xbox, Bühler, Interswitch, 3M and Nasdaq.

Blockchain platforms: Ethereum, Parity, Quorum, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric

Key leader: Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure

Nasdaq – New York City, US

Distributed ledgers could theoretically eliminate the need for centralized exchanges, but Nasdaq has hedged its bets by immersing itself in the new industry. For example, it has sold its market-surveillance software to seven crypto exchanges and a blockchain eVoting product to the South African central securities depository. Nasdaq has also brought together eight Swedish companies to develop a blockchain to replace the current paper-driven trading process in the Swedish mutual fund market.

Blockchain platforms: Symbiont, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric

Key leader: Johan Toll, head of digital assets, market technology

Nestle – Vevey, Switzerland

Over the last two years the $92 billion (sales) consumer goods giant has been testing blockchain technology in more than ten projects. Its most promising is with IBM Food Trust, where it is using blockchain to track the provenance of food ingredients in a handful of products, including Gerber baby food. That service is expected to be available in Europe later this year. Food-borne illnesses cost the U.S. $55 billion a year and can cripple a brand. Blockchain food tracking could reduce that cost and be a selling point for brands that participate.

Blockchain platform: IBM Blockchain

Key leader: Benjamin Dubois, manager of digital transformation

Northern Trust – Chicago US

The big asset servicer ($10.1 trillion) is using Hyperledger Fabric to handle the administration of private equity fund events, including initial sales and liquidations of fund investments. Northern Trust is also helping hedge funds track their crypto investments and is working with the Australian Securities Exchange on a blockchain-based equities clearing, settlement and custody platform. Last year, it helped the World Bank execute a $79 million bond issue via the Ethereum blockchain.

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum

Key leader: Justin Chapman, head of market advocacy and research

Oracle Redwood Shores, CA

The database and cloud company is offering “business-ready” blockchain software in an effort to keep customers of its non-blockchain products from defecting to upstarts and rivals like Google and Microsoft. One of Oracle’s customers, China Distance Education Holdings, is sharing student educational records and professional certifications across institutions to help employers and recruiters verify that credentials aren’t fraudulent.

Blockchain platform: Oracle Blockchain Platform

Key leader: Frank Xiong, group vice president, Blockchain Development Platform

Overstock – Midvale, US

The online discount store became the first major retailer to accept bitcoin in 2014. Founder and CEO Patrick Byrne, a libertarian with a Ph.D. in philosophy, is so convinced that blockchain will change the world that he is trying to get out of the retail business altogether and is already remaking Overstock into something of a crypto-obsessed company. Most notably, he has used $200 million in Overstock’s cash to fund Medici Ventures, a subsidiary which has invested in 19 blockchain companies.

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, RVN, Florin

Key leader: Patrick Byrne, founder and CEO of Overstock

PNC – Pittsburgh, US

The bank is using Ripple’s XRP blockchain-based software to process international payments. It is also the only bank involved with IBM’s Health Utility Network, which is attempting to speed insurance company payments to health providers.

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, DAML, Corda, Ripple

Key leader: J. Christopher Ward, EVP and head of Treasury product management

Ripple – San Francisco

This startup aims to disrupt Swift, the messaging system the worlds’ banks use to transfer an estimated $6 trillion a day, with RippleNet, with aims to be cheaper, faster and more transparent. While it already has 200 customers for its service, Ripple funds operations (including 300 employees) by selling about $100 million a quarter of its own cryptocurrency, XRP. (XRP’s total market cap now stands at $13 billion, down from its $146.5 billion all-time high in 2018.) RippleNet customers include big names such as Santander, American Express and PNC.

Blockchain platform: XRP Ledger

Key leader: Brad Garlinghouse, CEO

Samsung – Seoul, South Korea

Samsung is using its Nexledger blockchain platform to overhaul how its battery-manufacturing subsidiary manages contracts and the execution of those contracts. For Korean consumers it has developed a smartphone app that uses the blockchain to verify the identity of the phone’s owner to 15 of the nation’s banks. That eliminates the inconvenience of Korea’s 20-year-old identity verification system, which can require a tedious signup process for each bank.

Blockchain platforms: Nexledger, Ethereum

Key leader: Jeanie Hong, SVP and head of Blockchain Center

Santander – Madrid, Spain

The Spanish banking giant made headlines last year when it allowed its investors to vote at its annual meeting via the blockchain. A year ago, Santander launched mobile app One Pay FX, a foreign exchange service using RippleNet, that enables individuals to transfer money to other individuals in a foreign country in less than a day.

Blockchain platforms: RippleNet, Hyperledger Fabric

Key leader: María de la Concepción de Monteverde, director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence

SAP SE – Walldorf, Germany

SAP has developed its own cloud-based blockchain toolkit, Leonardo, to keep clients from moving to Oracle or IBM as they transition to distributed ledger technology. It’s also selling project development as a service—most notably, it built Bumble Bee Foods’ new blockchain, designed to trace the origin of tuna from fisherman to processor to consumer.

Blockchain platform: Hyperledger Fabric, MultiChain, Quorum

Key leader: Raimund Gross, chief innovation strategist, Blockchain

Seagate Technology – Cupertino, US

Data-storage company Seagate Technology is working with IBM on a proof-of-concept blockchain aimed at tracking products through their distribution and life—in large part to ensure that fake hard drives aren’t returned to Seagate’s warehouses, where they could be resold by accident. Counterfeiting of electronics is a $100 billion problem, and Seagate hard drives are a frequent target for fraud.

Blockchain platform: Hyperledger Fabric

Key leader: Manuel Offenberg, managing technologist and data security research lead

Siemens – Munich, Germany

In Park Slope, Brooklyn, some residents with Siemens solar panels had more energy than they could use on sunny days. The Brooklyn Microgrid project, run off a private blockchain, allows those with excess power to sell energy to their neighbors. The German giant has a lot of skin in this game, with $28 billion a year in revenues from things like energy turbines and applications managing smart grids. Grid technology has been decentralizing and democratizing power generation; blockchain can accelerate that process.

Blockchain platforms: Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda

Key leader: Bernd Rosauer, head of research, Technology Field IT Platforms

Signature Bank – New York City, US

Signature was the first FDIC-insured bank to develop a blockchain-based digital payments platform. SignetTM allows the bank’s commercial clients to send free, secure payments to other commercial clients of the bank at any time of day with no transaction limits, in as little as five seconds. It uses a token, the signet, backed by U.S. dollars. American PowerNet, a Signature Bank client, recently chose SignetTM to make real-time payments to renewable energy providers.

Blockchain platform: A private, Ethereum-based blockchain

Key leader: Frank Santora, senior vice president and director of digital asset solutions

State Farm – Bloomington, US

The insurer has devoted 11 members of its Research, Experiment & Deploy (RED) Labs in Bloomington to developing a blockchain that could speed up the now painfully slow process by which insurers pay claims to policyholders and then seek partial reimbursement from other insurers involved with the claim. State Farm is working with RiskBlock Alliance on an application that could speed up this claims dance.

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, Quorum

Key leader: Mike Fields, innovation executive at State Farm RED Labs

UBS – Zurich, Switzerland

The Swiss bank’s most ambitious project so far is Utility Settlement Coin (USC), which would allow central banks to use digital cash instead of their own currencies to move money to each other. It’s a bold play—if central bankers start using crypto for big transfers with each other, it could make them more willing to move their own national currencies onto a blockchain. UBS’ partners in USC include BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank and Santander.

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum, Quorum, Corda

Key leader: Sam Chadwick, head of blockchain

Visa – San Francisco, US

The credit card network has filed for 50 blockchain patents, ranging from a real-time payments settlement system to technology related to crypto trading. This year, Visa is launching B2B Connect, which uses blockchain to help banks around the world process cross-border, business-to-business payments. With $18 trillion in such B2B payments being made a year, gaining even a small chunk of this business would be a nice addition to Visa’s consumer-payment dominance.

Blockchain platform: Hyperledger Fabric .

Key leader: Kevin Phalen, global head of business solutions

VMware – Palo Alto, US

The cloud-infrastructure company will soon release a suite of blockchain software products called VMware Blockchain, developed in partnership with Deloitte and Dell. The first product will be one that allows data to be transferred securely. Next up is a service that verifies transactions on the blockchain.

Blockchain platforms: Project Concord, a new blockchain, which supports multiple frameworks such as Ethereum

Key leader: Mike DiPetrillo, senior director, Blockchain

Walmart – Bentonville, US

The world’s largest retailer (by sales) has filed for about 50 blockchain patents (for everything from tracking shipments to operating drones) and wants to use the blockchain to quickly pinpoint the culprit in future food-safety scares. In 2016 it partnered with Big Blue to create IBM Food Trust, now being tested by more than 50 companies. Today Walmart can track 25 products, including strawberries, yogurt and chicken, from five suppliers (and counting). In September 2018, it said it would begin requiring all of its lettuce and spinach suppliers to log their shipments on the blockchain.

Blockchain platform: Hyperledger Fabric

Key leader: Karl Bedwell, senior director, Global Business Services & Technology

#14 Why am I a Neo fan? Neo is a serious alternative to Ethereum!

Bildschirmfoto 2018-01-24 um 00.33.06

 

Top expert Chris Hager, CTO of Red Pulse, recently organised a Neo-meetup in Vienna, Austria together with Dean van Dugteren, Nikolaj Kuntner and Erik van den Brink.

What is Neo – Slides: http://bit.ly/2rvNJud

Why is Neo great and will have even brighter future:

  1. ICOs can be done on Neo!
  2. Very clever alternative to #Ethereum 
  3. Smart Consenus mechanism

  4. CityofZion (CoZ) is global, true open source community for Neo under MIT license! https://lnkd.in/eV-mW8q worth watching in full!
  5. Governing system is unique and very advanced. Meant to be lean.

  6. Neo Coin shows excellent performance although still in development phase. It´s not meant to be a coin for trading. It´s meant to support coding!

  7. Neo is still a very young child which needs a lot of care and attention!

 

As I speak some mandarin (我也会说汉语) I see lots of support for Neo on WeChat, the Chinese equivalent of Whatsapp. 

Neo Team:  Neo founder Hongfei DA co-founder Erik Zhang  City of Zion: Fabio Cesar Canesin  other team members: 陶荣祺 Tony Tao, Malcolm Lerider

 

 

Disclaimer: I have no contractual relation with Neo. My focus is to support blockchain use cases with a #ReturnOnSociety

#6 How can blockchain technology bring RoS: a Return On Society ? 

Let´s our true North be humanity.  We need stable societies! How can blockchain technology bring RoS: Return On Society? 

My brother Klaus Schwertner, Caritas Austria, fights anti-muslim racism. Featured in New YorkTimes with his #flowerrain (opposit to shitstorm) initiative to support a Muslim ‘New Years baby’ and his parents: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/world/europe/vienna-new-years-baby.html?referer=

We see many positive examples:  The UN Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development headed newly installed Commissioner Lawrence Cummins. They supports social blockchain projects.

Finland introduced blockchain debit cards for refugees
https://lnkd.in/e2J9jW6

Malaysia based Hada DBank blockchain project with no-interest-rates policy and a profit and loss sharing principles of Koran:
https://www.hada-dbank.com/

Myanmar:  Lala-World Blockchain network for undocumented refugees. https://lnkd.in/euwbmmA

However more to be done, to work on blockchain image beyond Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. Any ideas, suggestions for useful decentralised apps to support humanity? Any cases to collect charity funds via cryptos?  Please post them or  reach out to me.

#5 How World‘s Central Banks deal with Cryptocurrencies

It´s more than eight years since the birth of bitcoin and central banks around the world are increasingly recognising the potential upsides and downsides of digital currencies.

The guardians of the global economy have two sets of issues to address: First what to do, if anything, about the emergence and growth of the private cryptocurrencies that are grabbing more and more attention — with bitcoin climbing above EUR 16,000. The second question is whether to issue official versions.

Following you find an overview of how the world’s largest central banks (and some smaller ones) are approaching the subject:

U.S.: Privacy Worry

The Federal Reserve’s investigation into cryptocurrencies is in its early days, and it hasn’t been overtly enthusiastic about the idea of a central-bank issued answer to bitcoin. Jerome Powell, a board member and the chairman nominee, said earlier this year that technical issues remain with the technology and “governance and risk management will be critical.” Powell said there are “meaningful” challenges to a central bank cryptocurrency, that privacy issues could be a problem, and private-sector alternatives may do the job.

The volume of cryptocurrencies could at some point “matter” when it comes to monetary policy, Powell said in answering a question at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday. “They’re just not big enough” today, however, he said.

Euro Area: Tulip-Like

The European Central Bank has repeatedly warned about the dangers of investing in digital currencies. Vice President Vitor Constancio said in September that bitcoin isn’t a currency, but a “tulip” — alluding to the 17th-century bubble in the Netherlands. Colleague Benoit Coeure has warned bitcoin’s unstable value and links to tax evasion and crime create major risks. President Mario Draghi said this month the impact of digital currencies on the euro-area economy was limited and they posed no threat to central banks’ monopoly on money.

China: Conditions ‘Ripe’

China has made it clear: the central bank has full control over cryptocurrencies. With a research team set up in 2014 to develop digital fiat money, the People’s Bank of China believes “conditions are ripe” for it to embrace the technology.

But it has cracked down on private digital issuers, banning exchange trading of bitcoin and others. While there’s no formal start date for introducing digital currencies, authorities say going digital could help improve payment efficiency and allow more accurate control of currencies.

Japan: Study Mode

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in an October speech that the BOJ has no imminent plan to issue digital currencies, though it’s important to deepen knowledge about them. “Issuing CBDC (central bank digital currency) to the general public is as if a central bank extends the access to its accounts to anyone,” Kuroda said. “As such, discussion about CBDC revisits fundamental issues of central banking.”

Germany: ‘Speculative Plaything’

In a country where lot of citizens still prefer to pay in cash, the Bundesbank has been particularly wary of the emergence of bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele said in September bitcoin was “more of a speculative plaything than a form of payment.” A shift of deposits into blockchain would disrupt banks’ business models and could upend monetary policy, Thiele said. At the same time, the Bundesbank has been actively studying the application of the technology in payment systems.

U.K.: Potential ‘Revolution’

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has cited cryptocurrencies as part of a potential “revolution” in finance. The central bank started a financial technology accelerator last year, a Silicon Valley practice to incubate young companies. Carney says technology based on blockchain, the distributed accounting database, shows “great promise” in enabling central banks to strengthen their defenses against cyber attack and overhaul the way payments are made between institutions and consumers. He has nevertheless cautioned the BOE is still a long way from from creating a digital version of sterling.

France: ‘Great Caution’

Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in June that French officials “advise great caution with respect to bitcoin because there is no public institution behind it to provide confidence. In history all examples of private currencies ended badly. Bitcoin even has a dark side — there were this data attacks.” He said “those who use Bitcoin today do so at their own risk.”

India: Not Allowed

India’s central bank is opposed to cryptocurrencies given that they can be a channel for money laundering and terrorist financing. Nevertheless, the Reserve Bank of India has a group studying whether digital currencies backed by global central banks can be used as legal tender. Currently, the use of cryptocurrencies is a violation of foreign-exchange rules.

Brazil: Support Innovation

The Banco Central do Brasil sees “no immediate risk for the Brazilian financial system” but remains alert to the developments of the usage of those currencies, it said in a statement this month. The bank pledged “to support financial innovation, including new technologies that make the financial system safer and more efficient.”

Canada: Asset-Like

The Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor, Carolyn Wilkins, who is leading research on cryptocurrencies, said in an interview this month that cryptocurrencies aren’t true forms of money. “This is really an asset, or a security, and so it should be treated that way,” Wilkins said. As others, she viewed distributed ledger technology as promising for making the financial system more efficient.

South Korea: Crime Watch

The Bank of Korea’s focus has been protecting consumers and preventing cryptocurrencies from being used as a tool of crime. Deputy Governor Shin Ho-soon said this month that more research and monitoring was needed.

Russia: ‘Pyramid Schemes’

Russia’s central bank has expressed concerns about potential risks from digital currencies, with Governor Elvira Nabiullina saying “we don’t legalize pyramid schemes” and “we are totally opposed to private money, no matter if it is in physical or virtual form.” For the moment, the Bank of Russia prefers to delay a decision on regulating the financial instruments unless President Vladimir Putin pushes for action sooner.

The central bank will work with prosecutors to block websites that allow retail investors access to bitcoin exchanges, according to Sergey Shvetsov, a deputy governor.

Australia: Monitoring Closely

The Reserve Bank is closely monitoring the rise of digital currencies and recognizes the technology underpinning bitcoin has the “potential for widespread use in the financial sector and many other parts of the economy,” head of payments policy Tony Richards said last month.

Turkey: Important Element

Digital currencies may contribute to financial stability if designed well, Turkish Central Bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya said in Istanbul earlier this month. Digital currencies pose new risks to central banks, including their control of money supply and price stability, and the transmission of monetary policy, Cetinkaya said. Even so, the Turkish central banker said that digital currencies may be an important element for a cashless economy, and the technologies used can help speed up and make payment systems more efficient.

Netherlands: Most Daring

The Dutch have been among the most daring when it comes to experimenting with digital currencies. Two years ago the central bank created its own cryptocurrency called DNBcoin — for internal circulation only — to better understand how it works. Presenting the results last year, Ron Berndsen, who was in charge of the project, said blockchain may be “naturally applicable” in the settlement of complex financial transactions.

Scandinavia: Exploring Options

Like the Dutch, some Nordic authorities have been at the forefront of exploring the idea of digital cash. Sweden’s Riksbank, the world’s oldest central bank, is probing options including a digital register-based e-krona, with balances in central-database accounts or with values stored in an app or on a card. The bank says the introduction of an e-krona poses “no major obstacles” to monetary policy.

In an environment of decreasing use of cash, Norway’s Norges Bank is looking at possibilities such as individual accounts at the central bank or plastic cards or an app to use for payments, it said in a May report. Denmark has backtracked somewhat from initial enthusiasm, with Deputy Governor Per Callesen last month cautioning against central banks offering digital currencies directly to consumers. One argument is that such direct access to central bank liquidity could contribute to runs on commercial banks in times of crisis.

New Zealand: Considering Future

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, once a pioneer on the global stage with its early introduction of an inflation target, said Wednesday it’s considering its future plans for currency issuance, and how digital units may fit into those strategies. “Work is currently underway to assess the future demand for New Zealand fiat currency and to consider whether it would be feasible for the reserve bank to replace the physical currency that currently circulates with a digital alternative,” the RBNZ said in what it termed an analytical note.

Morocco: Violating Law

Representing one of the more stringent reactions, the country has deemed that all transactions involving virtual currencies as violating exchange regulations and punishable by law. Cryptocurrencies amount to a hidden payment system, not backed by any institution and involving significant risks for their users, authorities said in a statement this month.

Bank for International Settlements: Can’t Ignore

The central bank for central banks has said that policy makers can’t ignore the growth of cryptocurrencies and will likely have to consider whether it makes sense for them to issue their own digital currencies at some point. “Bitcoin has gone from being an obscure curiosity to a household name,” the BIS said in September. One option is a currency available to the public, with only the central bank able to issue units that would be directly convertible to cash and reserves. There might be a greater risk of bank runs, however, and commercial lenders might face a shortage of deposits. Privacy could also be a concern.

Agustin Carstens, the incoming head of the BIS, told Bloomberg that bitcoin deserves close scrutiny. “Anything that grows in price as fast as bitcoin has done it, without having a real clear understanding of what is behind it, should at least raise some eyebrows,” he said.

Sources: adapted from BBC, AFP bloomberg.com / Eric Lam

#4 Criminals flee in masses from Bitcoin to other cryptocurrencies

Olga Kharif from Bloomberg.com sees cryptocurrency Monero and others lure criminals as bitcoin’s privacy weakens. Bitcoin is losing its luster with some of its earliest and most avid fans – criminals – giving rise to a new breed of virtual currency.

Privacy coins such as Monero and Zcash, designed to avoid tracking, have climbed faster over the past two months as law enforcers adopt software tools to monitor people using bitcoin. A slew of analytic firms such as Chainalysis.com are getting better at flagging digital hoards linked to crime or money laundering, alerting exchanges and preventing conversion into traditional cash.

Monero quadrupled in value to $349 in the final two months of 2017, according to coinmarketcap.com, placing it among a number of upstart coins that that rose faster than bitcoin, the world’s most valuable digital currency. Bitcoin roughly doubled in the same period, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Together with top crypto security experts and ethical hacker Jorge Rodriguez  the platform HackerTracker is created which works on improving security of ICOs and Crypto companies

#3 Energy blockchain – does it make sense?

Blockchain technology receives a lot of media attention these days with promises made that it will revolutionise many sectors. Blockchain is the backbone of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

As blockchain was developed as an offshoot from the financial sector, it makes sense to compare the possible applications in the energy sector to those developed from the financial sector.

The use of blockchain could remove the need for banks as middle men. Accounts would be based on the distributed ledger, and the transaction would be securely recorded. This would reduce costs and increase transparency.

The energy sector however has a different concept of “middle men”. In many transactions, a physical delivery of gas or electricity is made. As you can see the system is highly complex:

It involves various market participants between buyer and seller, including transmission system operators (TSOs), exchanges, central counterparts, and clearing houses. These may be involved in:

– operating critical transportation / transmission infrastructure; or

– reducing the risk of counterparty default.

Regarding infrastructure, this would be required even under a blockchain and smart contract regime. Assuming that TSOs are “middle men”, in order to be removed either buyer or seller would need to own the linking infrastructure.

Regarding default, such “middle men” are designed to reduce transaction risk. As blockchain seeks to remove third parties to reduce transaction risk, it could be argued that no significant benefit is to be gained through replacing such third parties by using blockchain.

In light of these factors, two questions are key to considering the value of implementing blockchain in the energy sector:

– Who do you want to remove from the transaction? e.g. facilitator, transporter, exchange operator, clearing house

– Why? e.g. reduction of cost, risk, other?

The answers to these should be considered in that the success of blockchain lies in its specific ability to:

– reliably and securely record transactions; and

– automatically execute transaction-specific clauses.

Considerations in implementing blockchain

Certain energy transactions lend themselves well to justify the use of blockchain, such as the trade of Renewable Energy Certificates or Guarantees of Origin, whereby:

– the administrative infrastructure is currently designed to ensure a reliable register of transactions and the prevention of double counting; and

– transactions are separate to the trade of actual electricity, so that there is no (direct) physical delivery component, i.e. the transaction is entirely virtual.

Other transactions are however more complex, such as those requiring the physical delivery of energy. These may currently rely on administrative infrastructure designed to reduce risk, negating any significant benefit which blockchain could offer.

Furthermore, these require physical input from the contracting parties or third parties, potentially undermining the benefit of automatic execution and/or the security of the system.

Takeaways

• As demonstrated by some of the pilot projects, wholesale electricity and gas trading may lend itself to a shift towards blockchain technology.

• Unlike many other physical goods, gas and electricity transport is to a great extent already controlled remotely. Smart contracts could enable the automatic execution of a gas delivery from one party to another.

• Payment could be made automatically by transferring a fiat currency held in escrow or a cryptocurrency. This would significantly reduce the risk of buyer default, and only upon full payment would the title to the gas be transferred.

• Using a framework agreement, blockchain could reduce transaction times, costs and the risk of payment default, and reduce the need for insurance and credit guarantees. Transaction data could be automatically reported, facilitating regulatory compliance and offering market price tranparency.

• This system could be coupled with the automatic matching of gas supply and demand across various timeframes, allowing for highly efficient and low cost electricity gas markets.

• The adoption of blockchain and smart contracts by various sectors appears to be gaining momentum. This is likely to continue.

• Blockchain is a technology still in its infancy and there are no clear trends or limits as to how it could be used in the energy sector. There are many pilot projects which are currently exploring various uses.

• The initial use for blockchain in the energy sector will likely be process optimisation, involving the automation of simple and standard internal processes.

• There are however several takeaways from a legal review of the benefit of blockchain in its current form, in particular smart contracts

– smart contracts are self executing, however cannot replace paper contracts and require a conventional legal framework to have legal effect;

– smart contracts appear to work best when a contract is entirely virtual, rather than requiring physical inputs or deliveries; and

– consideration must be given whether removing the third party from a transaction is of actual benefit in terms of increasing efficiency and reducing costs and risk.

• In testing and implementing a blockchain system, one needs to consider the type (public, consortium or closed), as well as whether one should develop the blockchain internally or outsource it to a blockchain service provider.

• Even where large companies could absorb the risk associated with internally- performed smart contracts, it would need to consider matters such as:

– whether blockchain would be implemented for a core (high risk) or non-core (low risk) business area;

– the degree of control it has over the blockchain;

– data privacy issues the balance between encryption and transparency;

– IP rights over the data (held by the company or the service provider);

– performance assurances from and liability of the service provider;

– the appropriate jurisdiction;

– regulatory compliance obligations; and

– an exit strategy(e.g.data migration assistance).

Source: Andreas Gunst and Kenneth Wallace-Mueller from from DLA Piper

#2 Eight crypto facts 2018

What will 2018 bring for crypto currencies? As cryptocurrencies explode in value, from Bitcoin to Ether, I think we are witnessing the birth of a new paradigm for business, economics and finance. Big companies like Siemens, IBM, MasterCard, WallMart are jumping in to the market as well as big players from logistics, energy, agriculture, food, pharmaceutics and more.

Though in the early stages of the blockchain based economy, there is sufficient evidence we are in the midst of a transformation shaped by the Internet’s growing global network infrastructure: Wifi network proliferation. Decentralised finance. The sharing economy. Peer-to-peer transactions. A new transaction trust mechanism. Mobile commerce. AI. Internet of Things. None of this could happen without the Internet so now on to the next evolution.

Let’s all think bigger. Don’t fear the Blockchain. Let’s shape a better world. I think the blockchain economy means new jobs, millions of new businesses, new careers, new wealth creation, new venture capital, new services and financial products. You get it. Maybe we get to tackle big grand challenges like smarter health care, climate change, clean energy and hunger.

Big ideas deserve big wonderful innovations to make happen.

Some facts that I forecast for 2018:

1 Blockchain enabled services are up and coming. From security, to commerce, to transportation, commerce, trade to energy. Imagine entire cities designed for and enabled by the blockchain. Smart City Initiatives will expand to blockchain applications.

2 Fiat currencies go digital. Central banks and nations will entertain and develop digital assets to be representative of currency. Think digital tokens for Yuan, US Dollars and of course the Euros. The exchange rate of digital to crypto will accelerate economies.

3 Digital energy tokenisation will be more widespread. There is much value hidden in the global energy supply chain. A new market will enable a new economy by digitising energy supply networks that foster innovations and clean energy alternatives.

4 Digital supply chains on the blockchain: Most are quite wasteful and not digital but analog. A more efficient and secure global network of supply chains leveraging the Blockchain will happen.

5 Health data on the blockchain. New companies that use the blockchain to create pools of users that want to enhance their health, prevent disease and support their wellness could create a new global health services ecosystem.

6 Transforming global food production. This is next for transforming the one billion people who do not have clean water or access to food. This could be resolved with Blockchain innovations. First projects will start in 2018.

7 From artists, to musicians to creative makers: The Blockchain Enables Independent Entrepreneurs. Get paid for your creativity in crypto. More people to people direct crypto commerce.

8 The Blockchain transforms finance and investments. What we see already is that funding for startups through crowdfunding declined. We will see new financial products that enable investment, such as Blockchain ETF’s, Crypto Hedge Funds, Funds of Funds, blockchain futures, token peer to peer trades, probably crypto retirement products, A mixtur of digital assets will transform the investing marketplace offering individuals new choices leveraging Blockchain economics.

Get ready for the new Digital Age. Study crypto! It will be important to our children. Why not for you?

Source: adapted from Reuters, BBC, James Canton