A Million Mile Battery, IBM's Facial Recognition Exit and Overstock's Security Token

Off The Blocks, Vol. 116, June 9, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a lot of turbulence worldwide. These are challenging times for businesses and the key to survival is adaptability and agility. We are working with our partners, clients, and portfolio companies, creating strong ecosystems for their mutual growth. Simultaneously, we are trying to resolve some of the most complicated and challenging issues to create a trusted environment for people to go back to work and get the economy back on its feet. You can read about our efforts in a 4 part series here.

Connecting the Dots?

Reminiscent of the boom and bust cycle of crypto assets in 2017. it seems that stocks these days are no longer backed by any fundamental metrics either.

The Covid pandemic has made it harder to pierce through the fog and see where we are headed economically and what long term impact will it have on our social structure The measurable indicators are conflicting - for example, in the US, the number of people testing positive for Covid19 cases has started to rise in several states (including California), yet there is a push towards easing restrictions and allowing people to resume work and normal activities. The World Health Organization (WHO) said (and then walked back), that asymptotic transmission of the virus was rare, yet, the headlines were based on limited data sets and far from conclusive. The unemployment numbers remain at a record high, whereas the stock market has but recovered all of its losses from earlier in the year. As we keep learning more about the virus and its impact on the body, the only thing that seems certain is that the uncertainty is not going away anytime soon.

Technology is both an enabler for navigating the pandemic better and also a source of noise amplification, especially coming from social media. Om Malik’s post said it best:

Whether it is likes, retweets, shares, or loves, these are the frictionless tools of algorithmic popularity. They keep the crowds coming back. But the real world is not a high school cafeteria. An information ecosystem driven solely by popularity fails to recognize what truly matters and makes it exceedingly difficult to see what’s really going on.

Now a look at the world this week with news that may or may not be directly related to blockchain technology, but will need to interface with.

  1. A Million Mile Battery | Talking about cars, a Chinese car battery-maker says it is ready to manufacture a product capable of powering a vehicle for 1.2 million miles (two million kilometers) across the course of a 16-year lifespan. By contrast, most automakers only offer warranties ranging from 60,000 to 150,000 miles over a three to eight-year period on their cars' batteries. It was previously reported that the battery was co-developed with Tesla. If this is true and the battery is ready for production, this will have a major ripple effect across mobility, oil and gas, ride-sharing, ownership, and climate change. … Read more on Business Insider

  2. IBM ends all facial recognition business | IBM  CEO Arvind Krishna announced today that the company would no longer sell facial recognition services, calling for a “national dialogue” on whether it should be used at all. He also voiced support for a new bill aiming to reduce police violence and increase accountability. However, facial recognition does not seem to have been making the company much money, if any. To be fair the technology is really in its infancy and there are few applications where an enterprise vendor like IBM makes sense. Hopefully, this will be a consistent global policy and not apply to selected western democracies.

    IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency.

    … Read more on Techcrunch

  3. IoT faces short-term Covid-19 hit | GSMA Intelligence predicted IoT net additions in 2020 would almost halve year-on-year due to the impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus). The analyst company tipped net additions to drop 45 per cent this year due to the impact of the pandemic. The report highlighted the Asia-Pacific IoT market as the least-affected by Covid-19 due to strong government support. It also forecast the enterprise IoT segment to recover more swiftly than the consumer field, as companies embrace digital transformation and deployments at scale. … Read more on Mobile World Live

  4. Tencent Aims to Establish 100-Member Blockchain Alliance in 2020 | Tencent Cloud, the cloud computing arm of the Chinese internet giant Tencent, is preparing to bring together 100 organizations this year to establish the In­dus­try Blockchain League. The blockchain association will include members from various sectors including en­ter­prises, in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions, in­dus­try me­dia, in­vest­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions, ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions and think tanks. A cross-industry alliance is almost a requisite for ecosystem development of commercial applications built on interoperability standards and baked in regulatory compliance. … Read more on Cointelegraph

  5. DeFi and Compliance | The Ethereum venture studio said the newly launched Codefi Compliance software suite would provide compliance and analytics for exchanges and DeFi projects across a range of different regulatory buckets, such as counter-terrorism financing (CTF) and anti-money laundering (AML). Focused on the Ethereum ecosystem, the tool can track up to 280,000 different tokens that are based on the protocol – such as those built on the ERC-20 or ERC-721 standard. The idea is to replace the varied compliance in crypto at the moment, with the more consistent sort found in the traditional payments sector. Rather reluctantly, the crypto community seems to be coming around the fact that they cannot exist in a vacuum disassociated with real-world applications. This is still a work in progress and all stakeholders (including regulators) will have to morph and adapt themselves to innovative ideas. …Read more on Coindesk

The Final Word | Overstock’s Digital Dividend Uses Blockchain To Prove A Point

New York Stock Exchange
Image Source

Overstock.com paid the first-of-its-kind digital voting series A-1 preferred stock (OSTKO) dividend on May 19. How the market will trade and value the security remains to be seen; no one has a crystal ball. But OSTKO, a DTC eligible security, is a baby step toward using distributed ledger technology to measure share ownership. A baby step for blockchain adoption in the financial market that could help the average investor understand what they buy better than traditional markets do now. OSTKO will trade on tZERO's Alternative Trading System (ATS) only and not multiple exchanges.  Shareholders as of record date April 27, 2020, will receive the dividend, which will be distributed on a 1:10 basis in shares of OSTKO on May 19, 2020.

Shares of OSTKO are publicly traded. As with any regulated security, the usual stock transfer agent systems will track shares, nothing new. OSTKO will also be measured on tZEROS's blockchain platform. This means that existing systems will be used simultaneously with tZERO's ATS token trading innovation. This dividend is a blockchain first for tracking share ownership. …Read more on Forbes

About Proteum
Proteum is a global blockchain investment and advisory firm that works with public, private and start-up companies to help them transition into the world of blockchains and decentralized applications. We help companies strategically build their ecosystem and unique capabilities so that they can own and control their future. Velocity, our innovation hub, invests in and accelerates the time to market for startups and emerging ideas.

www.proteum.io | info@proteum.io  | Twitter: @proteumio | Velocity