Tag Archives: Markethive

Majority of Nigerians Have Faith in Bitcoin

majority of Nigerians have faith in bitcoin

Majority of Nigerians Have Faith in Bitcoin

A recent survey indicates that Nigerian trust Bitcoin more than gold when it comes investments.

Bitcoin is rightly deemed as the “Digital Gold”. The cryptocurrency, introduced to the world in 2009 has all the properties of gold, except for the weight and these features aren’t lost on the Nigerian cryptocurrency community. Bitcoin has a huge presence in African nations, and Nigeria is one such African country which recently ranked high in Google Trends for Bitcoin-related searches. The extent of faith in the cryptocurrency among the community is now known to the world, thanks to a recent survey conducted by Luno — a cryptocurrency platform serving the region.
 

As a part of this survey, Luno sent a series of questions to all its Nigerian customers, and the results didn’t come as a surprise. The report states that the trust factor in Bitcoin among Nigerians is at an all-time high, as over 59% of the participants in the survey responding positively to the cryptocurrency. The untrusting ones were about 17% of all survey respondents while the remaining preferred to be neutral.
 

One of the leading African tech magazines quoted a representative from Luno describing the survey process saying,

 

“We shared a survey with our Nigerian customers which went out to all of our customers. We then reviewed the results for statistical significance, outliers, and errors and compiled the infographic from the data… Note that it was only sent to Luno customers, so the data might be slightly skewed towards our customer preferences (as opposed to all Nigerian Bitcoin users), but we enjoy the highest trading volume of Nigerian Bitcoin exchanges – as per publicly available volume data – so it should be somewhat similar across the board. We aim to do much more research and share the results with the media and Bitcoin community in the coming months.”

While the results may not be 100% accurate as those participating in the survey were already onboard Luno platform, which makes them existing cryptocurrency users, potentially having a biased opinion towards their favorite digital currency. Also, many of these respondents were found to be in favor of purchasing Bitcoin over gold as they expect the cryptocurrency’s value to appreciate much faster than that of the yellow metal.
 

The results of the survey were published by Luno in the form of an infographic, along with a promise to provide more information as soon as it finishes in-depth research and analysis of not just the platform’s users but other individuals as well.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

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Litecoin Is Far More Popular Among CNY Traders Than Ethereum

Litecoin Is Far More Popular Among CNY Traders Than Ethereum

Bitcoin is the top cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency trading is booming in China, and the rest of the world is following suit. Bitcoin is the top cryptocurrency in just about every country. But the competition between Litecoin and Ethereum is still in full effect for CNY traders,  whereas things look very different in the USD market.

CNY Traders Prefer Litecoin

                                                     

TheMerkle_Litecoin CNY Ether

It comes as quite a surprise to find out exchanges dealing with CNY are seeing more trading volume in Litecoin than Ethereum as of late. Given the global appeal Ethereum seems to have, and the growing interest from all over the world, the trading volume in CNY markets does not seem to reflect that by any means.

Looking at the previous 24-hour volume, for example, shows that nearly three billion CNY has been changing hands to buy and sell Litecoin. Ethereum, on the other hand, has only seen 1.8 million CNY change hands, which is only a blip on the radar in comparison. In fact, only 20,804 Ether has been traded across exchanges supporting the yuan, which is quite a surprise.

Comparing this to the USD markets, Bitcoin and Ethereum are the clear leaders, with Litecoin still in the third spot. But Ethereum seems to be losing a lot of momentum in this market as well, with slightly over US$1m traded in volume over the past 24 hours. This is a lot less than most people would expect, albeit the majority of Ethereum volume is coming from the BTC market.

It is quite interesting to see Litecoin holding on to the second spot as far as CNY trading is concerned, though. Given the fact LTC was the second “major” cryptocurrency for a long time, that only seems normal. But at the same time, the cryptocurrency has seen no real innovation or adoption spike over the past few years.

The big question is what CNY traders are doing with Litecoin, other than speculating about the price. So far, it does not appear as if investors are using LTC to buy goods or services, but only as a way to speculate on the value of the cryptocurrency. Either way, it is rather interesting to note, and a sign that Litecoin is far from dead.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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Investors Who Missed Bitcoin Rally Go for Ether, Monero, Litecoin

Investors Who Missed Bitcoin Rally Go for Ether, Monero, Litecoin

  

Investors Who Missed Bitcoin Rally Go for Ether, Monero, Litecoin

There seems to be a trend in cryptocurrency investment. Traders of Bitcoin often leap from one digital currency to another, spreading their investments across popular currencies such as Ethereum’s Ether (ETH), anonymous currency Monero (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC). With the exception of some timeframes, Bitcoin price is usually stable and significantly less volatile in comparison to other digital currencies. At a market cap close to $20 bln, the volatility rate of Bitcoin has substantially decreased over the past few years.

However, Bitcoin price fluctuates upon the emergence of major market and industry-affecting events. For instance, when the discussion of hard fork contingency intensified and the market began to panic, Bitcoin price plunged, stabilizing in the late $900s. Traders usually attempt to pinpoint certain timeframes that Bitcoin price could either go up or down. Most recently, the acceptance of Bitcoin by major Japanese electronics retailer company Bic Camera and the legalization of the digital currency in Japan led to a surge in Bitcoin price, moving it from around $980 to $1180.

Investors who miss these short and mid-term rallies of Bitcoin tend to bet on the performance of alternative cryptocurrencies such as Ether, Monero and Litecoin that have demonstrated a significantly higher level of stability in comparison to the rest of the digital currencies on the market over longer periods of time. More importantly, crypto assets like Ether have drastically increased in price because of the rising interests of corporate investors and financial institutions. Specifically, the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance increased the market cap of Ethereum by around 4x, as it jumped from $1 bln to over $4 bln within a span of two months.

The back and forth movement of Bitcoin investors and their diverse portfolio of cryptocurrencies explain the ratio of trading pairs in major assets like Ethereum. More than 50 percent of trading in the Ethereum exchange market is processed with the ETH/BTC pair. Therefore, there exist more domestic traders within the cryptocurrency community purchasing alternative crypto assets such as ETH than conventional investors trading altcoins.

Rising interest in altcoins

Bitcoin dominance index is currently at one of its lowest points. But, the 69.2 percent dominance index of Bitcoin does not represent a declining interest in the digital currency. Rather, users are simply gaining more interest in altcoins that supplement or make up for the missing links of Bitcoin. Specifically, Ethereum represents a Blockchain platform designed for developers and decentralized applications. Many developers have expressed their concerns over Bitcoin’s limited development framework. What Bitcoin lacks in flexibility is supplemented by its high-security measures and robust infrastructure.

Monero, Dash and Zcash provide anonymity to cryptocurrency users, which Bitcoin does not. Litecoin is a unique currency in the sense that it represents nearly identical philosophies, structure and monetary policy of Bitcoin. Traders or investors who feel like they missed out on Bitcoin or the recent rally of Bitcoin price still have accessible altcoins like Monero, Litecoin, Zcash, Dash and Ether to profit from.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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How Deloitte’s Bitcoin Bistro Was Built

How Deloitte's Bitcoin Bistro Was Built

 

Deloitte's Bitcoin Bistro

While Deloitte has long been an advisor on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, it took a step toward to practicing what it preaches earlier this month. After installing a bitcoin ATM in its Toronto office last fall, the consulting giant is now accepting bitcoin payments at a restaurant in its office complex – providing a hands-on opportunity for patrons to experience bitcoin.

Iliana Oris Valiente, strategy leader at Rubix by Deloitte, explained that such first-hand experiences are instrumental toward educating people about the greater potential underlying blockchain technology. Despite her firm's focus on distributed ledger applications, she said that understanding the technology in any of its many variations often starts with a walk through its historical origins.

She told CoinDesk:

"What we've consistently realized is that when we’re starting to educate our clients, that journey typically starts with understanding bitcoin."

"It's very difficult to skip over that part of the historic line and say, 'Oh by the way, now we’re going to talk to you about this really complicated distributed ledger technology'," she continued. With the bitcoin ATM becoming more popular with clients and employees, Oris Valiente said it was logical for her firm to look for other ways to expand on its support for the digital currency. "But the question we often received was, 'So, where do I use the bitcoins that I've acquired?'" she said, adding:

"The answer is usually online merchants, but there aren't as many brick-and-mortar venues. That's when the idea came up: 'What about our bistro downstairs?'"

Expanding appeal

With this lightbulb lit, Deloitte teamed up with Benchmark Hospitality (which operates Bistro 1858 inside Deloitte’s Toronto complex) and bitcoin processor BitPay to kick off the concept. The idea was that users could download a wallet, purchase bitcoin from the ATM and then buy a meal from the bistro – with the end result being that they could see the changes to their balance reflected immediately.

Benchmark initially viewed the opportunity as a chance to cut costs and test out a new technology, but the appeal has expanded much more widely. "We've had a positive reaction from the bistro staff," said Oris Valiente. "They've just said: 'This is flat out cool.'" For Deloitte, the initiative has served as a means to inform even more people about bitcoin and blockchain, while generating more organic interest in the subject internally.

"We have a lot of our internal employees who are excited to get their first bitcoin wallet, buy their first fraction of a bitcoin and perhaps invite their clients in and have a conversation about what this technology means," she said.

Organic interest

But Deloitte is quick to concede that rolling out such an endeavor – as straightforward as it may seem – is far from an easy task. There were a plethora of financial and technological hurdles to overcome. These included determining how Bistro 1858 would handle end-of-shift reconciliations, calculating the implementation costs and deciding which payment provider would be the best fit.

At the end of the day, Oris Valiente explained that introducing the new payments system was ultimately a change management exercise. While simple in aim, it involved retraining management and front-line staff, along with communicating to all stakeholders why the exercise was being undertaken in the first place. "I think those conversations, and trying to understand what motivates all of the parties and how we address all of their needs, that was probably the most time-consuming aspect," she said.

Future visions

However, she argued that the exercise has been useful in helping to explain that blockchain solutions are similar to other types of enterprise applications: While the nuts and bolts get fundamentally reworked, the experience for the end-user oftentimes remains unchanged. "The user experience is pretty straightforward; what's changed is the complex back-end. That story is actually in parallel to what we often see when we develop enterprise applications," she said.

Oris Valiente also emphasized that the exercise has been instrumental in helping to facilitate the flow of creative juices internally. "A lot of the use cases that we’re working on today could not have been possible if it were a small group of people sitting in a board room talking to one another," she said, adding:

"For me, the more people we can expose to this technology, the more smart people you have looking at it, the more creative ideas you’ll come up with."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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No, you can’t avoid taxes by investing in Bitcoin

No, you can’t avoid taxes by investing in Bitcoin

“Crypto-Currency” may be a good method for hiding Income?

If you think investing in bitcoin or a similar “crypto-currency” may be a good method for hiding income from the tax man, you’d better think again.While many bitcoin aficionados tout the new virtual currency as a promising alternative to so-called “fiat” currencies like the US dollar, the IRS considers investments in bitcoin as property deals — requiring that capital gains or losses in this usually volatile medium of exchange be considered like stocks or bond sales and reportable on Form 8949.

But compliance with this requirement is virtually nonexistent, at least if you go by numbers reported by the IRS. The agency began going after Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange operating in the States, in November 2016, requesting that the San Francisco-based company turn over data and complete transactions on every one of its more than 14 million accounts from 2013 to 2015.

But in court papers filed by the IRS this month — after Coinbase refused to honor the request, complaining that it was “overly broad” — the tax-collecting agency reported that only “802 individuals reported a transaction on Form 8949 using a description likely related to bitcoin” for 2015, the most recently concluded tax year. And this is apparently no fluke, with only 807 of the Form 8949s filed for 2013 and 893 for 2014.

This low level of reporting occurred during the same period (2013-2015) that the value of the currency (in dollars) went on a bumpy ride, skyrocketing from less than $20 to more than $1,100, presumably generating significant capital gains for many investors. “In my view, 800 reports per year of profits and losses in virtual currency transactions is ridiculously low,” says Martin Mushkin, an attorney specializing in bitcoin law.

“The given publicity to this proceeding now and the forthcoming enforcement actions would result in a substantial amount of tax collections,” he adds. “The anonymity of bitcoin should not be allowed to foster tax evasion.” Coinbase, for its part, blames the IRS itself for this underreporting, and its chief executive has called for a creation of a Form 1099-B to be issued to each of its clients participating in a potentially taxable transaction — a proposal that the IRS has called low priority because of cuts to its budget.

“We’re very serious about complying with the laws and we actually support the idea that people who ought to pay their taxes do so,” says Michael Lempres, Coinbase chief legal and risk officer. “But the demand for three years’ worth of transactions conflicts with privacy interests.” Mushkin and others familiar with the case say they expect Coinbase to cut a deal with the IRS. “I suspect that, as we speak, Coinbase is preparing an answer to the anticipated Order to Show Cause and negotiating the terms of the summons,” he says. “The papers show the parties have been talking, and Coinbase will try to cut this down.”

Coinbase is already registered with FinCEN, the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Center, obliging the exchange to report transactions in excess of $10,000 per day and suspected transactions to be structured to avoid the $10,000 reporting threshold (such as multiple $9,750 transactions). The Coinbase response, Mushkin predicts, “will be to initially limit the subpoena to FinCEN reporting accounts and smaller accounts with large turnover volumes.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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From groceries to fine art, blockchain finds widening appeal

From groceries to fine art,
blockchain finds widening appeal

  

 

Chronicled CEO Ryan Orr attends a daily briefing with employees at their office in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, April 6, 2017. Chronicled has developed blockchain authentication and chain-of-custody technology using small chips embedded into products, pharmaceuticals, and artwork.

Walmart is on a mission to forever change what people know about their groceries. The retail giant began in October to collaborate with IBM and Tsinghua University in Beijing to trace an array of food products moving through its vast global supply chain with an emerging technology known as blockchain.

The experiment, which will wrap up next month, will help Walmart understand how to make use of blockchain — a secure system of recording data that, many believe, could have a transformative effect on the world’s economy. The technology is already creeping into everything from supply chain management to banking to health care. “I’ve yet to come across an industry where it won’t have an impact,” said David Treat, a managing director at Accenture who leads the consulting firm’s financial services and blockchain practice group.

At its core, blockchain refers to an accounting system known as a distributed ledger. That ledger lives on a network of synchronized computers that communally capture and verify when a transaction takes place. Any time something of value gets exchanged, the data surrounding that exchange are recorded, encrypted and placed into a “block” visible by anyone granted access to the network.

Those blocks are then “chained” together chronologically, creating a timeline that can be traced to an initial transaction. That chronology is key to blockchain’s security since no individual block of data could be successfully altered without affecting all the other blocks in the chain. The technology would replace methods of accounting and tracking transactions.

“Whether you’re talking about a commodity or anything else, it’s a secure road map of where it’s been and who’s held it,” said Grant Fondo, an attorney, and co-chairman of the digital currency and blockchain practice at the law firm Goodwin Procter in San Francisco.

Blockchain technology emerged in the shadow of bitcoin. From the outset, a big appeal of the trendy digital currency was its ability to let users transfer funds without the need for a designated third party — like a bank, credit card company or other payment network operator — to verify the details of the transaction. But in recent years, even as the hype surrounding bitcoin has fizzled, blockchain’s secure ledger system is expected to endure by virtue of its versatility.

Chronicled, a San Francisco startup (unrelated to The Chronicle), is using blockchain technology to tackle counterfeiting. By placing microchips onto or inside of virtually any physical object, Chronicled can register critical identifying data about that object onto the blockchain, authenticating it as the original and tracking each step in its purchasing history.

“We don’t realize how bad the problem of copies and counterfeiting and clones really is,” said Chronicled CEO Ryan Orr. “But fake license plates, fake bottles of Champagne and spirits, fake Louis Vuitton handbags — we’re talking about a $2 trillion counterfeit market today.”

Chronicled’s anticounterfeiting technology has a particular appeal with the art world. In January, Chronicled teamed up with 111 Minna Gallery, a San Francisco art gallery and event space, for an event that was equal to parts art exhibition and tech expo. Each piece of art was assigned a chip that registered it on a blockchain. Equipped with a special app on their phones, gallery-goers could access a wealth of information about the works, and even purchase them, if they chose to do so.

“This is a secure system of identification and identity verification that’s never existed before,” Orr said. “So we can potentially solve this problem, and we can do a lot more on top of that once we can synchronize the physical and digital world identities, which was never possible before.” Walmart’s blockchain pilot program is limited to China, but Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety, said that the company is considering expanding it.

So far, Walmart is offering scant details about precisely what types of foods are being tracked on its blockchain system, but Yiannas said the goal is to bring transparency into the food supply chain and to get the myriad players in that chain to harmonize the ways they keep track of products moving through it. The tracking device can be on a small sticker.

“Imagine if you could capture data at the farm level on a digital system, how something was produced, where it came from — any relevant information to a consumer,” he said. “What that allows for is a new insight that could provide a new era of transparency and insight we just don’t have today.”

Yiannas said the level of detail he hopes to capture with blockchain gets down to “an individual apple. You pick up an apple and you know where that apple came from,” he said. “Imagine the consumer, who is mostly removed from food production, being able to scan a food product and know the things they want to know about it,” he added.

Capturing data on a blockchain about a particular product as it moves “from farm to fork,” Yiannas said, will also allow Walmart to better respond to food safety recalls. Currently, it can take weeks to trace a tainted product back to its source — a process that, with a blockchain, could take seconds, since growers, packing houses and distributors would all be placing their data in the same place, where all parties can see it. Beyond supply chains, blockchain technology has also made significant inroads in the banking industry, one that has a constant need to quickly authenticate and record transactions.

Ripple, a blockchain developer in San Francisco, specializes in systems that allow banks to send payments to one another. Banks can save money by transacting directly with one another, rather than relying on a clearinghouse or other third party to verify and process payments. This month, a consortium of 47 banks in Japan announced they would be implementing Ripple’s technology after a successful pilot program.

Blockchains are also beginning to reach into health care. In January, IBM, a major vendor of blockchain software, announced that it is working with the Food and Drug Administration to research how blockchains could be used to securely and efficiently transfer large amounts of patient data pulled from electronic medical records, clinical trials, and even wearable devices.

And officials in Cook County, Illinois, said last year that they intended to start a blockchain experiment for tracking the transfer of land titles. “Distributed ledgers are a paradigm shift in how we process transactions,” said Jesse Lund, the head of IBM’s blockchain market development. “It saves businesses money and it empowers consumers. I definitely think that it’s a shift with global implications, from a human perspective.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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IBM Spells Out Its Views On Blockchain In Three ‘Key Elements’

IBM Spells Out Its Views On Blockchain In Three ‘Key Elements’

 
IBM Spells Out Its Views On Blockchain In Three ‘Key Elements’

IBM has outlined three “key elements” of Blockchain technology which senior executives should “evaluate” when considering exploring its benefits. In a post from its Newsroom this week, the computing giant specifically highlighted “potential to transform trade, transactions, and business processes,” “value in the ecosystem as the Blockchain network grows” and Blockchain’s ability to “significantly improve visibility and trust across businesses.”

The praise is the latest in a series of pro-Blockchain moves from IBM, which is actively partnering with global corporations to explore how the technology can improve processes such as trade deals. “Speed, cost efficiency, and transparency are among Blockchain’s most significant benefits in the enterprise and within ecosystems of companies conducting trade,” the company reports. Marie Wieck, the general manager of IBM Blockchain, the bespoke product through which IBM aims to deliver its own Blockchain services built on Hyperledger, added:

“The visionaries adopting Blockchain today are using the technology to reinvent many fundamental business practices. Working with clients to develop open source and permissioned Blockchain solutions for the enterprise, we are seeing firsthand how the technology is revolutionizing the way organizations recognize values and do business with one another.”

Most recently, IBM took its Blockchain ideas to China, partnering with Energy-Blockchain Labs to develop a proof-of-concept for cleaning up the country’s air. Carbon asset development and management could both significantly improve with the help of the new tools, it said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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Hong Kong Launches Blockchain Trade Finance Platform With Deloitte, Top Banks

Hong Kong Launches Blockchain Trade Finance Platform With Deloitte, Top Banks

  
Hong Kong Launches Blockchain Trade Finance Platform With Deloitte, Top Banks

With Deloitte as one of the Big Four auditors, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the region’s top five banks have officially launched a Blockchain platform for trade finance. Earlier this month, HSBC, Bank of China, Bank of East Asia, Hang Seng Bank and Standard Chartered co-introduced a proof of concept Blockchain platform for use with trade finance operations which include lending, issuing letters of credit, factoring, export credit and insurance.

Joshua Kroeker, the senior product manager for global trade and receivables finance at HSBC, stated that the Hong Kong government along with Deloitte and partner banks launched the Blockchain platform to demonstrate the technology’s potential in the conventional finance industry. More importantly, Kroeker emphasized that HKMA and the five participant banks are aiming to utilize Blockchain technology to increase efficiency, transparency, and security in trade finance while eliminating the possibility of fraudulent activities by automating most processes.

The vast majority of operations in trade finance are handled or settled manually due to their sheer complexity. Because multiple parties can be involved in a single operation or the settlement of a contract, companies within the trade finance industry manually approve the settlement of each operation. In addition, the wide range of services offered within the trade finance industry forces companies to maintain several servers and databases that each handles different operations.

Advantages

Blockchain technology enables organizations like trade finance companies and banks to handle various operations on a single platform. Using tokens and cryptographic signatures, banks can embed data onto the immutable Blockchain. Once data is broadcasted throughout the Blockchain network, every participant within the network can access updated data in real time.

This unprecedented level of transparency and the security of Blockchain technology allows banks to handle operations autonomously. Instead of recording the flow of transactions and settlement of contracts across various platforms, banks can embed all of the data in one Blockchain platform for autonomous processing.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Kroeker stated:

"As the largest trade finance bank in the world … we were interested in assisting corporates to track transaction flows, reconcile transactions through invoice or purchase order matching, and reducing the risk of duplicate financing for the participating banks. This development puts Hong Kong at the heart of a global effort to digitise trade, making it easier, faster and cheaper for businesses.”

Free of regulatory hurdles

Since the financial authority of the Hong Kong government is the initiator of the project, banks involved with the development and implementation of the trade finance Blockchain platform will not be required to pass the hurdles of regulatory conflicts.

In fact, HKMA Executive Director Li Shu-pui noted that local authorities will continue to collaborate with private companies and banks to test Blockchain technology’s applicability in the finance sector. Analysts including Paul Haswell, a partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, praised the efforts of Hong Kong authorities to work with local banks to experiment with the technology. “HKMA’s work with the major banks is potentially groundbreaking and shows real commitment to use financial technology for the benefit of the market and consumers. this is encouraging for Hong Kong’s many fintech start-ups.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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Blockchain Low Among Corporate Investment Priorities, PwC Finds

Blockchain Low Among Corporate Investment Priorities, PwC Finds

   Business, Data

'Big Four' consulting firm and accountancy PwC has published a detailed report on the current state of blockchain at large companies. The report provides unique insight into the blockchain industry in a very specific sample-set: companies with 500 employees or more but from the legacy banking sector and financial technology startups. If you read between the lines though, the message is clear: it's go, time. While investment last year was at an all-time high, future plans to invest show other technologies taking precedent. The technology is moving out of the lab, and dividends will likely be expected soon.

From the report:

"The technology is moving from hype to reality and we will likely see business use cases becoming more common."

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they expect their companies to incorporate blockchain into their production by 2020. But a separate section about upcoming investment plans paints a different picture. While half of all financial technology companies intend to focus on blockchain in the next 12 months, only 19% of large banks made the same claim.

On a list of future investment areas related to technology among the same-sized companies, blockchain was near the bottom, with only 20% of respondents saying they would invest in the next 12 month. At the top of the list was 'data analytics' with 74% of respondents expecting to invest during the same period, followed by 'mobile' with 51% and 'artificial intelligence' with 34%, respectively.


PwC blockchain investments

Other interesting takeaways from the report include that 90% of payment companies are "heavily invested" in blockchain and plan to adopt the technology as part of a production system by 2020. Twenty-four percent of the respondents identified as "very or extremely familiar" with blockchain, an increase of 7% since last year, with North American respondents being the most familiar across regions. While 77% expect some sort of live implementation of blockchain by 2020, 55% say it could happen as soon as 2018.

As with the other so-called 'Big Four' accounting firms, PwC has been positioning itself as a leader in the blockchain industry. In November, the firm released details about Project Vulcan to study bitcoin, and last month, it joined the Crypto Valley Association in Switzerland. Going forward the report finds that the most likely business use cases for early blockchain implementations were payments infrastructure, fund transfer infrastructure, and digital identity management.

The report concluded:

"We have also seen growing interest in the technology from insurance companies in areas such as personal and marine insurance, including claims processes."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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Music Groups Band Together to Build Blockchain Rights Solution

Music Groups Band Together to Build Blockchain Rights Solution

Drums, Instrument, Music

Three societies tasked with protecting the intellectual property rights of musicians, writers, and other content creators have joined forces to build a blockchain solution to prevent piracy. Powered by Hyperledger's open-source Fabric distributed ledger, and managed by IBM, the nascent platform is being designed to create a tangible connection between the time content is created and the time it is consumed.

Founded by the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers; the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music; and PRS for Music, the joint project has the potential to help prevent online piracy by tracking more sophisticated data about music content on the blockchain.

In the face of generations-old concerns for the compensation of musicians and composers, however, it is worth noting that the blockchain solution currently being developed only has potential to help artists according to the rights granted by their contracting companies. The chief executive of PRS for Music, Robert Ashcroft, explained in a statement how real-time reporting of data about the digital consumption of content could empower a diverse set of stakeholders and lead to new business models.

Ashcroft said:

"If blockchain can help us achieve this, it will unlock opportunities for developers of new digital applications, increase accuracy of royalty payments and release value for rightsholders."

Similar to blockchain consortia in other industries, the goal of this joint music initiative is to create and adopt a shared, decentralized database that streamlines the flow of data. Unlike those consortia, however, the information the group wants to track is metadata about artistic works with real-time updates and more advanced tracking capabilities.

Although still in the early stages of development, the improved ability to track the ownership of legally protected creative works could eventually help confirm the legal owner of a work and the origin of disputed works.

Boosting artists

The formation of the joint initiative is the largest movement yet by what might be considered members of the legacy creative infrastructure providers. Since 2006, earnings for the US music industry alone have declined by about $5bn, largely due to the shift to the online streaming of music, according to The New York Times.

Of the total industry revenue, musicians earn on average about 20%, and one study found that 77% of the recorded music revenue went to just 1% of musicians. To help even that disparity, a number of blockchain startups have already responded to calls for a shared, distributed ledger to track artists' intellectual property and give them more control over their creations.

Startups like dotBlockchain Music (dotBC), Mycelia, MusicChain and Ujo Music have all, in their own way, set their sights not just on preventing piracy, but cutting out unnecessary middlemen.

Growing interest

However, based on today’s announcement, it would appear the music industry has come a long way since the early days of blockchain adoption. Once considered to be largely resistant to the transparency afforded by blockchain development, industry firms are now openly exploring the technology.

In April of last year, PRS for Music hosted a debate about blockchain technology, and two months later, SACEM was one of several legacy music companies to join the Open Music Initiative – aimed specifically at using blockchain to better serve musicians.

The least active of the three partners appears to be the historically litigious ASCAP, which has an online presence mostly limited to linking to articles about blockchain's dubious potential. Back in March, though, the group’s newly appointed CEO made a provocative statement first intimating at a potential change in tone. Describing her interest to increase international collaboration on technological solutions, Elizabeth Mathews concluded:

"If we work on these proof of concepts in areas like blockchain technology and others, the benefit will far outweigh the status quo."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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