IBM’s vice president of blockchain technologies talks about money

IBM’s vice president of blockchain technologies talks about money

According to Jerry Cuomo, the VicePresident of IBM blockchain technologies, the enterprise feature is an enabler of spending big money.

“It is driving additional spend,”
“When you look at the direct attribution of the actual dollars spent on blockchain, we are seeing that for every dollar spent, $15 is spent on other cloud services.”

This is perhaps a hint on IBM’s current business strategy, as it tries to bring enterprise blockchain closer to the company’s cloud offering. IBM might try to pivot their business plans as distributed ledgers are losing some of the initial hype all around the world.

IBM’s VP believes that blockchain is only 20% of a blockchain application and the rest of the solutions lays in other technologies.

“Blockchain is a new class of enterprise application,”
“It plays into trends like app modernization and new cloud-native applications, data and analytics. It crosses all those things.”

IBM’s business strategy is shifting massively after last year’s acquisition of the open-source software, Red Hat. In their last quarter of 2019, IBM posted about their unexpected revenue growth: Red Hat had 24% revenue growth and the cloud and cognitive software revenue grew with 9%.

As Cuomo stated regarding the shift in priorities:

IBM has “put its chips down on the table in a very aggressive way around the hybrid space.”

What is a hybrid cloud?

According to McKinsey & Company, the hybrid cloud is a combo of on-premise, public and private cloud, which allows for different workloads to be handled across the different platforms. The hybrid cloud market is worth $1.2 trillion.

Can blockchain and the cloud work together?

The IBM VP talked about a symbiosis between blockchain and cloud, which will unite Hyperledger Fabric, a Linux incubator for blockchain enterprise projects, and Kubernetes, a hybrid cloud platform which automates clusters of services. The latter is a field of expertise for Red Hat.

“Hyperledger Fabric works well with Kubernetes,”
“Many of the things we’ve done around Chaincode, which is the way we plug smart contracts into Fabric, is to make sure it runs really well on that type of containerized environment with buttoned-down security. Red Hat gave us that motivation.”

Jerry Cuomo, the VicePresident of IBM blockchain technologies, described 2018 as “more of a Wild West,” he added:

“We had a lot of projects. Some would hit, others missed. The ideas weren’t always completely baked. Going into 2020, clients continue to get smarter.”

The fact remains, the enterprise blockchain world has seen some development lately. Might there yet be some bloodletting on the blockchain side at IBM? 

Cuomo says no: “We are very healthy here in blockchain land.”

Crypto World January 2020: Coinbase moves to Ireland, IPO approved in Switzerland,  Deutsche Bank foresees widespread adoption

Crypto World January 2020: Coinbase moves to Ireland, IPO approved in Switzerland, Deutsche Bank foresees widespread adoption

The first month of 2020 has come to an end and the crypto world has a lot going on. So what happened in the Crypto World in January 2020?

Coinbase is moving to Dublin, Ireland to serve European customers

Following the Brexit announcement, Coinbase has launched Coinbase Custody International Inc. in Dublin, Ireland, to handle European cryptocurrency deposits. The company has acquired an Irish e-money license in October 2019.

Coinbase explained their decision in a blog post and wrote:

“While Coinbase Custody has served European-based clients in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and more since 2018, our dedicated presence in Europe will allow us to offer these services in a completely localized way, with local staff, localized [service-level agreements] and in compliance with local laws,”

Coinbase and Coinbase Custody Internationa are two different companies and aim to provide support for the European demand for investment and cryptocurrency.

Swiss Incorporates a Blockchain IPO

Andriotto Financial Services , a Swiss company has been allowed to incorporate for an initial public offering (IPO) of tokenized shares on a blockchain.

The company has stated that it will be using the blockchain technology to keep the shareholders registry and tokens will be used to represent shares.

The firm’s IPO prospectus indicates an offering of 8,399,000 “common equity share security tokens” on the ethereum blockchain, with smart contracts provided by with EURO DAXX, a digital assets exchange based in the country’s “Crypto Valley” city of Zug. The offering price will be €1.25 ($1.38) per share.

IBM has received a U.S. patent for a token that can record its own transaction data.

Referred to as the “self-aware-token”, the token makes it easier for all participants to trace transactions, even when it’s used on other platforms, than the IBM payment platform.

The patent describes the ledger-based system, which is designed to record all data when is not used on the IBM platform. When the token rejoins the ecosystem, it automatically uploads the data.

Awarded by the U.S. Patent Office on Jan. 7, the patent outlines a ledger-based payments system that could make it easier for individual users, businesses and governments to track and trace transactions made using a cryptocurrency.

The token itself cannot store any information, but it would use personal devices or a dedicated database.

Such tokens can prove to be useful for a business trying to discover which crypto have been used for criminal activities, to ensure that they haven’t been corrupted or to enforce regulations.

Singapore Announces New Regulation for Crypto Businesses

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is updating its regulatory framework for digital payments.

Singapore announced the DPT (Digital Payment Token) as a service, to cover all crypto businesses and crypto exchanges based in Singapore, under the current anti-money laundering (AML).

As a result, any crypto business in Singapore has to first register and then apply for a license to operate.

MAS Assistant Managing, Director Loo Siew Yee, stated:

“The Payment Services Act provides a forward-looking and flexible regulatory framework for the payments industry,”

“The activity-based and risk-focused regulatory structure allows rules to be applied proportionately and to be robust to changing business models. The PS Act will facilitate growth and innovation while mitigating risk and fostering confidence in our payments landscape.”

Deutsche Bank Says Digital Currencies Could Be Mainstream in 2 Years

A report from Deutsche Bank states that digital currencies have “potential to radically change payments, banking, central banking and the balance of economic power.”

This could mean that we will see widespread adoption within the next few years.

Considering China’s digital yuan and the Facebook project of launching Libra, this could lead to introducing digital currencies to over half of the world’s population.

Ukraine Will Track Crypto Transactions Above $1,200

According to the head of the country’s Ministry of Finance, Oksana Makarova, Ukraine plans to track crypto transactions exceeding $1,200.

Last month, the Ukrainian president, Volodymir Zelensky, signed a law which reinforces anti-laundering practices for cryptocurrency transactions.

For the first time., The law included cryptocurrency as an asset to be monitored. The threshold for triggering the scrutiny process is 30,000 Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH), or US$1,200. 

The Ministery of Finance stated:

“If exchanges, exchangers, banks or other companies make payments in cryptocurrencies worth more than UAH 30,000 in equivalent, they must verify such transaction and collect detailed customer information,”

“The customer must provide comprehensive information about the origin and destination of their virtual assets.”

The Coronavirus Outbreak in China Could Weigh on Crypto Prices

After the Coronavirus epidemic broke out this month in China, most crypto clients cancelled their meetings in China, as nobody wants to attend any conference or meeting during this time.

China is a crypto investment hub and it has the most crypto exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region, and the epidemic will disrupt business and can potentially impact prices.

Marketing events are crucial for crypto investments, but these will be put on hold until the crisis goes away.

Jason Wu, the CEO and founder of non-custodial crypto lender DeFiner stated:

“The market might take a heavy blow if the money stops flowing into these crypto asset classes as it usually did before,”

Aside from the epidemic, the Chinese New Year is also a bad time for investments, as many prefer to cash out during this time. But VCs are confident that they will see those investments coming back.

The latest 5 blockchain technology trends in 2020

The latest 5 blockchain technology trends in 2020

The Bitcoin and crypto hype of 2017 has worn off, but companies have continued to invest in research and development for the past years. And that’s not going to change in 2020. Here are 5 blockchain technology trends to look after in 2020.

According to analysts, blockchain ranks as one of the top 10 technology trends in 2020.

Even if the enthusiasts have become calmer, don’t fall to believe that blockchain is going away. Because the exact opposite is true. The blockchain technology is just in its infancy, and only a few companies have been able to successfully use it for their digital operations.

Blockchain’s future is tightly connected with the future of AI and IoT.

Here are some blockchain trends for 2020.

Other industries will follow the to implement blockchain

The blockchain technology became famous once Bitcoin started to gain popularity, and that’s why the finance sector was the first one to use this innovative technology.

But blockchain isn’t limited to digital currencies. The number of uses cases and examples grows with every month, as companies and developers become more open-minded. The blockchain technology can be incorporated into systems to stop frauds, as a settlement system, for the smart contract feature and of course, to increase the speed of digital transactions.

IBM, the company that helped launched more successful blockchain initiatives than any other company, believes that the investment of financial services in blockchain will increase in 2020.

Blockchain has immense value for services and industry that require secure ledger or transactions and need to keep track of everything. This includes agricultural products and luxury goods.

Facebook plans to bank the unbanked

For the past year, Facebook has been talking about how it will revolutionize the financial world, all over the world.

The launch of Libra is supposed to be in 2020, but many details are still unrevealed.

Since the creation of Bitcoin in 2009, many altcoins have been launched and many of those have sunk before anyone ever knew about them. But the world has yet to see a giant such as Facebook, launching its own crypto. This is something nobody has seen before and it can change the financial world as we know it.

The topic is controversial, as both Mastercard and Visa announced their withdrawal from the project due to regulatory concerns.

Libra, the cryptocurrency promised by Facebook, is technically a cryptocurrency, but its processing mechanism was described differently than the one Bitcoin has. It will rely on computer encryption to guarantee the integrity of the network, but the network will be centralized, as opposed to the distributed system used by all the other cryptocurrencies.

Even so, if Facebook makes its promise a reality, it will finally succeed in disrupting the current global monetary system.

The blockchain technology and its integration with AI continues

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be difficult to understand, due to the large volume of data that determines its decisions.

Some believe that the blockchain technology can be the solution to that, as it would make the decisions traceable and would allow humans to verify that the decisions were made based on verifiable information.

The two technologies can even help each other. The blockchain improves the use of the AI and the AI can make the blockchain more secure and easier to operate.

Using these two powerful technologies, companies can reduce waste in production, streamline supply chains, make predictions more accurately. It is likely to see the first cloud service providers that combine AI and blockchain in 2020.

Blockchain can be used to secure the Internet of Things

People are using and connecting more and more devices in their personal and business lives to process data, which can lead to more opportunities to corrupt that data if it would fall into the wrong hands. Or information can be simply misplaced.

Because more and more information is transferred machine-to-machine, a trustworthy and secure environment is necessary.

Luckily, blockchain technology can be used to get the current best solution known to man. All transactions and pieces of information are transparently recorded to all parties. This makes debugging, a much simpler task to understand where the error occurred and what caused the problem.

Studies have shown that the companies that have adopted IoT are planning to also implement blockchain in 2020 if they haven’t done so already.

Governments are pro blockchain

Wyoming is the first state in the US to adopt a framework that allows blockchain to flourish.

As the first cryptocurrencies appeared, the transfer of valuable assets became possible for the first time, for anyone in the world. This raised attention by the central banks, who were concerned by the obvious potential of money laundering and illegal activities.

To this day, these concerns have kept cryptocurrencies from mass adoption and why the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consistently rejected applications for public cryptocurrency banks.

The decision of the Wyoming legislators doesn’t change that. But with their decision, they made public their belief that regulation should be an enabler and not a blocker of technology.

We hope to see more states and countries from all around the world to follow their examples in 2020.

Thank My Famer, the IBM blockchain app that tracks coffee beans!

Thank My Famer, the IBM blockchain app that tracks coffee beans!

Thank My Famer is an app powered by IBM’s blockchain, which produces a permanent digitized series of trades that can’t be changed – monitoring each step of a coffee bean’s journey.

Based on IBM’s Worldwide Blockchain Leader, Paul Chang, every participant to the Thank My Farmer app has a copy of all the transaction information. Each piece of data is added to the blockchain and broadcasted across the community based on each participant’s level of permission. This permits farmers, retailers, and traders to interact better while providing consumers with insights concerning the sources of the coffee.

According to the founder and president of Farmer Connect, David Behrends, the “Thank My Farmer” app provides customers with an interactive map to show the journey of the coffee by scanning a QR-code:

“After scanning a QR-code, consumers are taken straight to a product page that gives details about the coffee they are drinking. Below that description is an interactive map that shows the journey the coffee has taken. We say you can travel the world through a cup of coffee, and we’d like to help consumers visualize that.”

IBM blockchain is powering Thank My Famer app to track coffee beans

How is this different from other blockchain-based solutions?

Although the Thank My Farmer app is powered by the IBM blockchain, Farmer Link is not a part of IBM’s Food Trust Network, which now includes over 200 food providers and retailers such as Walmart and Carrefour. But the program uses the very same assets as the Food Trust platform.

“We took the assets from the Food Trust network and put those in a dedicated environment for Farmer Connect to address the coffee industry supply chain. As a result, Famer Connect doesn’t have to worry about scalability, security and robustness of the network, as everything has already been proven out by Food Trust.”

The purpose of Thank My Famer wasn’t to experiment with new technology but to define a more sustainable ecosystem for coffee farmers, drinkers and the rest of the players involved.

This new Thank My Famer app is different from the rest of the blockchain-based options that allow users to scan a QR barcode to obtain the origin of a particular food item. Carrefour, for instance, the European supermarket, has integrated the QR barcode technology into a few of their goods, but customers are able to just determine where these foods came from. Farmer Connect enables users to make direct donations to farmers, and that is a specific element of the app. David Behrends, the president of Farmer Connect, further clarified this, stating:

“Thank My Farmer app is an industry lead initiative being supported by the entire industry. Others in space are trying to do something similar by showing consumers where their food comes from, but we are addressing issues that the coffee industry is also facing.”

Farmer Connect is considering expanding into other food industries, like cocoa and tea, in which products are created by smaller farmers.