Off the Blocks | Vol 64, Apr 23, 2019
|Apr 23||Public post|| 4|
This newsletter is our weekly roundup of some of the significant blockchain news, that provides an overview of the rapidly changing blockchain landscape to help you map your blockchain strategy and be aware of regulatory announcements globally. Get your friends to Subscribe Here.
The Curious Case of Bitcoin(s)
If news reports are to be believed, Bitcoin (BTC), apparently, rose from a deep slumber at the start of the month. The price of 1 Bitcoin had been subdued for so long that it had stopped making headlines for the right reasons (adoption and development) and instead focused on the seemingly endless rounds of forking. If you recall, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came into existence in August 2017, as an alternative to scaling Bitcoin (BTC). By the end of 2018, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) chain had further forked resulting in yet another offspring, the Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV). By March 2019, BSV appeared to be on track, mining its first 128MB block. The momentous occasion was hailed as a “rebirth of the Bitcoin”, “the era of new money”, with many hopes riding on its potential to achieve massive scale.
The euphoria was short lived. Last week, Binance decided to delist the BSV token. Shortly thereafter, anonymous exchange ShapeShift and crypto data supplier and cryptocurrency wallet Blockchain.com also dropped BSV. There are countless words written about the events that led to the fallout with lots of juicy tidbits, fit to be a Hollywood blockbuster.
All of this is pure, unadulterated NOISE.
The fact remains that Bitcoin (BTC) has gained a position of strength and leads the way. Bitcoin’s market dominance, share of BTC as a percentage of total market capitalization is at 53%, with a market cap just shy of $100B. In the last year, both the hash rate (representing the number of double SHA-256 computations performed in one second) and the number of daily transactions on the BTC network have almost doubled. Blockchain wallet, often taken as a proxy for the number of Bitcoin users, now has 35M users - that is almost 1.5x the number of stock trading accounts on TDAmeritrade and Charles Schwab combined.
And the developers and businesses are noticing the real euphoria. Overstock has long accepted Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payments. Now, a new startup Moon, is enabling Amazon (and soon a whole bunch of e-commerce sites) to accept Bitcoin payments.
Moon is a payment processing startup that provides a browser extension that enables users to pay through any lightning enabled wallet. Amazon itself does not transact in bitcoin. Moon’s extension integrates with traditional financial institutions and crypto exchanges to convert bitcoin to fiat to enable the transactions in real time. By 2020, the company aims to equip any website to sell online and accept bitcoin as a means of payment.
[The extension] will pop up a QR code and it will have the lightning invoice, which you could also copy and paste if you can’t use the QR code for some reason, and you’ll be able to pay with your favorite lightning wallet.”
There’s no direct merchant integration. We’re integrating with the Visa and Mastercard networks and we get a cut of the interchange fees that merchants pay every time they receive a credit card transaction.
- Ken Kruger, CEO, Moon
Under the radar, the payments processing landscape is undergoing a massive revolution As companies like Moon start to roll out newer applications specially for mobile interfaces, it is not hard to see that the adoption will scale rapidly.
Now for some other significant news form the world this week:
Law | Blockchain and Law, Some Insights on Using Blockchain in Governance: Given the disrupting effects that blockchain has generated over the course of years, by delivering increased convenience, reduced risk, efficiency for service consumers and lower cost of operations for financial services providers, it has become almost essential for lawyers to understand how to communicate securely and protect their client data. Some of these governance use cases include:
E-discovery and Evidence
Payments | JPMorgan Expands Blockchain Project to 220 Banks: Investment banking giant JPMorgan Chase is planning to expand an existing blockchain project to include settlement features as it seeks to fend off competition from payments upstarts such as TransferWise and Ripple. The blockchain-based Interbank Information Network (IIN), set up in partnership with Australia’s ANZ bank and the Royal Bank of Canada back in 2017, currently allows its over 220 banking members to quickly address payments that contain errors or get held up for compliance reasons – problems that can takes weeks to solve with multiple banks being involved across the payments chain. [… Read more on Coindesk]
[Banks’ payment processing is still] in the mid-80s to the mid-90s. 5 to 20 per cent of payments that fail [because of an error or compliance problems] is where we’re trying to alleviate some of that pain.
- John Hunter, head of global clearing at JPMorgan
China | Chinese Renminbi Will Become Crypto in 20 Years - Don Tapscott: China has been notoriously harsh on the development of cryptocurrency, imposing a ban on investing and trading into digital assets, including Bitcoin. However, the executive chairman for the Blockchain Research Institute believes that in 20 years, Chinese national fait currency will be replaced by a cryptocurrency version. Donald Tapscott, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg on April 17, said that the Chinese renminbi (RMB), will likely undergo a transformation into cryptocurrency format, despite the country’s current stance against the industry. Tapscott told Bloomberg of a meeting he had with a vice-chairman in the Communist Party of China, who revealed that President Xi Jinping is bullish on the outlook of blockchain and views it as one of the most important technologies for his country’s development. [… Read more on Ethereum World News]
Here is the full video from Bloomberg.
Healthcare | Major US Health IT Provider HMS Partners With Blockchain Startup Solve.Care: HMS Technologies Inc. (HMS) has partnered with blockchain startup Solve.Care. As part of the collaboration, HMS will reportedly integrate Solve.Care’s blockchain platform into their federal health information technology (HIT) initiatives in a bid to reduce government healthcare costs and improve interoperability and accessibility. Last month, Solve.Care partnered with ride-sharing app Lyft to tokenize healthcare-related transport arrangements. […Read more on CoinTelegraph]
Crypto Exchanges | Binance Births its Own Decentralized Blockchain: Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange with over 10 million users, has launched its own blockchain – the Binance Chain main-net today, a highly anticipated blockchain protocol aimed to support decentralized exchanges (DEX). Binance will also open a decentralized exchange next week. Binance Coin (BNB), the native token of Binance, will operate as the main cryptocurrency of Binance Chain and will be moved from the Ethereum network. [… Read more on CCN]
Binance Chain was created to support the issuance and exchange of digital assets. Any project can issue new tokens on Binance Chain, and existing tokens that don’t depend on smart contracts are welcome to migrate to Binance Chain, to natively exchange on Binance DEX and gain the benefits from this low latency and high throughput network. This will inspire more economic freedom, and more projects participating in Binance DEX will help further the long-term vision of peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading.
The $800 billion global apparel industry, with its ever-faster fashion, has become famous for its squander. It slurps up water like no tomorrow -- literally, because at this rate, it will cause extreme scarcity in countries like China and throughout Asia by 2030, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group. And every year, fashion manufacturing produces 92 million tons of solid waste, most of which goes to landfills or up in smoke. Last year Burberry was called out for burning $37 million of clothes and goods rather than selling them at a discount -- a common practice to maintain a brand’s luxury shine. And it’s not just clothes. Up and down the industry’s supply chain, there’s excess material coming out at the seams.
I saw a massive problem: factories, mills, retailers, brands sitting on hundreds of billions to literally a trillion dollars’ worth of unused raw material. [With Blockchain] We have already saved close to 1 billion gallons of water, and we’ve saved businesses well over $10 million in just a few months.
- Stephanie Benedetto, CEO, Queen of Raw
Proteum is a global blockchain 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. ProteumX, our accelerator program, invests in and accelerates the time to market for companies building blockchain solutions.