Ohio Loves Bitcoin, Spanish Blockchain Forays And Temasek Invests In R3

Vol 43, Nov 27, 2018

This newsletter is our weekly roundup of some of the significant blockchain news this week. Join thousands of subscribers to get your weekly news to map your blockchain strategies, be aware of regulatory announcements and get an overview of the rapidly changing blockchain landscape. 

Number of the Week

600,000

the estimated number of Bitcoin miners that have shut down since mid-November amid the slump in prices and hashrates

The Main Story | Ohio To Accept Bitcoin For Tax Payments

Ohio this week began accepting bitcoin as a form of tax payment from businesses, making it the first U.S. state to do so. The Ohio Treasurer's office said it is working to help make the state a national leader in blockchain, the underlying platform for bitcoin. The cryptocurrency payment option, via OhioCrypto.com, is the newest option for businesses and includes 23 different taxes.

In order to use the bitcoin payment service, Ohio businesses register online, enter their tax payment information and use a cryptocurrency wallet to pay the invoice with bitcoin. The payments are then processed by BitPay, which immediately converts the bitcoins to U.S. dollars before depositing the payment into a state account. "Ohio has become the first state in the United States, and one of the first governments in the world, to accept cryptocurrency." 

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Retail | Carrefour's Food Tracking Platform in Spain

Retail giant Carrefour, headquartered in France and operating in more than 30 countries, is deploying a blockchain food tracking platform based on Hyperledger in its Spanish network. The food tracking solution will be used to track free-range chickens branded as “Calidad y Origen” (“Quality and Origin”) that were raised in the northern region of Galicia without antibiotic treatment. Each package in the Spanish network will be marked by a QR code providing detailed info on the chicken’s date of birth, type of nutrition, packing date, and more.

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Deals | Temasek Invests in R3

Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte has invested in enterprise blockchain software firm and global banking consortium R3. Temasek is creating so-called “experimental pods” to focus on Blockchain and AI, two areas which it sees as long-term trends impacting multiple industries and geographies. In particular, Temasek was one of the over forty institutions that invested in R3 as part of a collective $107 million Series A fundraising round last May.

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Finance | BBVA and Santander Join EU Blockchain Association

Banco Santander and BBVA have joined the E.U. International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA). BBVA and Banco Santander appear the be in a different class. Both banks were early innovators in the blockchain space, and now their decision to join the IATBA demonstrates their willingness to cooperate with regional groups to further the technology as a whole. To some degree, major banks are hamstrung by an aging business model. If central banks and governments don’t allow their fiat currency to be used, some other form of settlement will evolve.

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Tech | Solidity 0.5 Released

This is a major breaking release of the Solidity language and compiler that includes many new safety features. In general, programmers have to be more explicit, some weird edge-cases are removed from the language and the low-level compiler interface is much simpler. Contracts compiled with Solidity v0.5.0 can still interface with contracts and even libraries compiled with older versions without recompiling or redeploying them. 

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Railways | Switzerland Optimizing Record Keeping

Swiss railways could be implementing blockchain technology in the near future, as Switzerland-based firm Linum Labs has just completed a proof of concept for a blockchain-based identity management system in collaboration with Swiss federal railway SBB. The system aims to provide an “agile working environment with a digital, audit-proof solution based on blockchain,” which the company state will help make paper-based processes more efficient. Switzerland isn’t the first country to apply blockchain tech to public transport. In May, the Transport Minister of Malta Ian Borg announced a partnership with UK-based blockchain startup Omnitude to improve its public transport services.

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Bitcoin | Fundamentals Still Intact Despite Lower Price

Speaking with a representative of German investment bank GBC AG, BIG’s CEO Lance Morginn suggested the combination of entry-level investors piling in during 2017, regulatory uncertainty and standard principles of supply and demand resulted in the 2018 bear market. “You couple all these factors together, along with the lack of understanding that the average individual has of the sector, and that's the reason the pricing of crypto and where it's at today. The fundamentals of the industry are still intact.”

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Business | Smart Contracts Adapting To The Real World

Smart contracts are computer programs stored in a blockchain. They can be used to automate the unstoppable transfer of crypto-tokens between users, according to agreed-upon conditions. “Oracles” are real-time data feeds that deliver things like weather data, currency exchange rates, airline flight information, and sports statistics to smart contracts. The idea is that by working together, the two systems can allow blockchain-based services to interact with real-world events with a greater degree of trust than is possible from today’s oracle services. For example, if your flight is canceled but you bought flight insurance, a smart contract might instantaneously pay you after getting an update from a trusted source of flight times.

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The Final Word | You’re Going To Work In Blockchain Whether You Want To Or Not

The proliferation of blockchain technology is as inevitable as the tide coming in. It’ll wash over us all in a matter of time. The march of technological progress is as unrelenting as the spinning of our Earth. It won’t be a case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object – you will be moved into working in blockchain. However, for now, most of the blockchain jobs lie in building infrastructure, and the roles are mostly developer roles.

“Almost everyone today works at an internet company. The company itself may not be actually building websites but they probably have one. The company itself isn’t developing email applications but I guarantee you they use [them], or a chat app. Blockchain companies are going to be just like that in future. Blockchain will be a piece of the technology stack that people use every single day. Tomorrow, it’s going to be every company. I think [workers] are going to gain their skills by simply working with companies endeavoring blockchain.”

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About Proteum
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 capabilities so that they can own and control their future. Let's put blockchains to work for your business.
 
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