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90% of All Current Enterprise Blockchain Solutions Will be Obsolete by 2021, Gartner Predicts

Utah Wyoming Blockchain Bill

The
market for blockchain solutions could be growing at a faster pace
than the evolution of these technologies, a phenomenon that might
contribute to promote their early adoption but could lead to the
obsolescence of the current products in the next two years.

A study by the analysis firm Gartner concluded that by 2021, 90% of all the currently available enterprise blockchain platforms will require an upgrade or replacement within 18 months to adapt to the needs of the markets and remain competitive.

According to Adrian Lee, senior research director at Gartner, there
is currently an over-dimensioning of the benefits associated
with the use of these technologies:

“Many CIOs overestimate the capabilities and short-term benefits of blockchain as a technology to help them achieve their business goals, thus creating unrealistic expectations when assessing offerings from blockchain platform vendors and service providers.

Blockchain is Not the Answer Yet… But a Bright Future is Approaching

The interest in blockchain technologies, especially in the business area, has substantially increased despite the bearish streak experienced by the markets during 2018. IBM and Alibaba are the corporations with the highest number of blockchain-related patents registered, and every day the use of these technologies seems to diversify onto applications outside the purely economic sphere.

Jimmy Song has spoken in many ocassions against the "blockchain not bitcoin" philosophy
Jimmy Song

However, the issue of early obsolescence is not an isolated opinion of Gartner. A few weeks ago, Bitcoin programmer and proponent Jimmy Song explained in a controversial post that in most times “blockchain is not the answer” to solve the problems associated with conventional industries.

Mr. Song thinks there is a hype around blockchain technologies that does not correspond to reality. From his point of view, there is no decentralized application that is more profitable and efficient than an equivalent based on traditional or “centralized” technology.

“The past five years have produced nothing with this so-called “blockchain” technology and we’re unlikely to see anything in the next five. The only thing that blockchain seems to be good at is promising to fix the biggest problems while delivering very little and consuming tremendous capital.

Despite the arguments mentioned above, Gartner’s study is optimistic. Obsolescence would only exist if service providers refuse to innovate – something very difficult to happen. In fact, Gartner believes the market will exceed 176 Bn USD by 2025 and then grow to 3.1 Trillion USD 5 years later, so they recommend that investors “prepare for a rapid evolution” of these technologies:

“Product managers should prepare for rapid evolution, early obsolescence, a shifting competitive landscape, future consolidation of offerings and the potential failure of early stage technologies/functionality in the blockchain platform market.

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J.P. Morgan to Expand Its Blockchain Involvement and Launch Sandbox for Developers

The global banking giant intends to expand its use of the shared ledger technology, while inviting fintech firms to experiment with its DLT platform

J.P. Morgan bank has been actively following the recent fintech trends. A few years ago, it created its own DLT platform Quorum, backed by Ethereum. The platform was made to conduct faster payments and smart contract development.

The goal was to compete with the rising power and impact of crypto platforms, such as Ripple. The latter is targeted at integrating into the global banking system and conducting instant payments using its XRP coin.

The Interbank Information
Network

In 2017, J.P. Morgan launched a pilot of its Interbank Information Network (IIN) on the basis of Quorum. Last year, around 75 banks around the world became part of the network.

Now, as reported by The Financial Times, the IIN enables banks to quickly solve various issues which may delay financial transactions by as long as weeks.

Ripple is developing fast

By joining the J.P. Morgan’s DLT network, banks also believe they can maintain their leadership in the industry of cross-border payments despite the increasing power of virtual payments platforms, such as Stellar, Ripple, TransferWise, etc.

In 2018, a big number of banks globally joined the Ripple network and began testing the startup’s payment system. Among them are Santander, Mitsubishi, Banco Bradesco and many others.

The IIN is expanding

By now, over 200 banking institutions have joined the IIN, enabling payment
data to be shared, which helps to eliminate various issues quickly and conduct
payments faster.

As per the head of global clearing of J.P. Morgan, John Hunter, now the bank has created a feature which would allow verifying payments in real time, making sure the payment goes to the proper account without being rejected or delayed.

The system will be ready to start by Q3 2019. Though it will work with
domestic and trans-border financial transactions, J.P. Morgan believes it will
be more effective for the latter, since error rates are higher in trans-border
payments.

In Q3, the J.P. Morgan’s network also intends to launch a sandbox for fintech startups. It will allow them to use the IIN for making their dapps. The testing system will provide devs with ready-made blocks to be used for secure messaging, documents transfer and technical opportunities for data modeling.

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Bank of America CTO “Privately Bearish” on Blockchain

Bank of America Blockchain

An executive at Bank of America has recently put forth comments which go against the growing adoption for cryptocurrency and blockchain in 2019.

According to a report published by CNBC on Mar. 26, Bank of America’s tech and operations chief Cathy Bessant says that she is “privately bearish” on the outlook for blockchain and its potential impact for financial technology. Despite her comments, the CNBC also points out that the bank has 82 blockchain-related patents, which amounts to more than any other bank or financial firm including that of Mastercard and PayPal.

In an interview, Bessant cast doubt on the impact of blockchain in the near-term, and gave her personal opinion that the technology would fail to achieve the prominence some industry supporters believe will occur,

“What I am is open-minded. In my private scoreboard, in the closet, I am bearish.”

Nonetheless, Bessant’s private opinion on blockchain does little to diminish the dramatic steps Bank of America has taken over the last several years to prepare itself for a future of blockchain and digital assets.

As CNBC writes,

“For half a decade, Bank of America has quietly been preparing for a future in which the world of finance migrates to the blockchain.

Under tech and operations chief Cathy Bessant, the giant bank has accumulated the most patents for the technology of any financial services company, for inventions ranging from blockchain-powered ATMs to storage for cryptocurrency keys.”

While supporters of blockchain have argued that the technology is in need of more time to develop, with adoption being a slow process to start, Bessant claims that it’s more an issue of blockchain searching for a use case as opposed to being an obvious source of improvement. Bessant says she is focused on supporting technology that will help finance and significantly improve upon existing methods–two features that she finds lacking in the current state of blockchain,

“I haven’t seen one [use case] that even scales beyond an individual or a small set of transactions. All of the big tech companies will come and say ‘blockchain, blockchain, blockchain.’ I say, ‘Show me the use case. You bring me the use case and I’ll try it’.”

She added,

“I want it to work. Spiritually, I want it to make us better, faster, cheaper, more transparent, more, you know, all of those things.”

In regards to Bank of America’s stockpiling of blockchain-based patents, which Bessant has overseen since starting her position in 2010, the executive views it as a method of future proofing. Rather than allowing Bank of America to blindsided by a wave of blockchain adoption and innovation, Bessant–despite her personal doubts–is preparing the company in the event that the technology lives up to its potential.

Bessant also claimed to be most skeptical over public blockchains like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Instead, she finds greater use in private blockchains that provide intermediaries for use, similar to the stablecoin that is being developed by J.P. Morgan Chase.

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Blockchain Technology Can Solve User Data Privacy Issues

Lucy Wang believes that blockchain technology holds the key to the actualization of robust data security for the digital landscape. The Lambda co-founder made the call recently while talking about the recent Marriott Hotel data breach.

Data Breaches Aplenty

Breaches that end up compromising user data aren’t a new phenomenon on the internet. Almost every website with a significant volume of user information has fallen victim to hackers and other cybercrime syndicates.

Recently, Marriott International Hotel Group became the latest prominent name to admit being victims numerous data breaches. A statement released by the company said that as many as 500 million customers had been affected by multiple hacks beginning in 2014.

By the company’s admission, hackers successfully compromised user information such as credit card details, addresses, and even passport information. How could this happen? Well, all that data found its way unto centralized servers, providing a single point of failure that could be exploited by agents on the internet.

There are many within the decentralized technology landscape like Wang who believes that blockchain technology offers a solution to this problem. However, before going into such details, why should we even care?

Data is Valuable

Data is the currency of the digital economy, and as such, data is valuable. However, the present construct of the internet places user data in the hands of corporations that can pretty much do whatever they like with our precious information. They can sell them to the government (for surveillance) or to other companies (for targetted advertisements) both of which are horrible exploitation of user privacy.

In the process of shopping, browsing websites, watching YouTube videos, reading various social information on the e-commerce platform, the algorithm will secretly monitor our behavior, and also collect our various data. In a sense, “data and the algorithm “knows” us more than ourselves. They know that we prefer juice or cola, we like beautiful models or men with eight packs of abdominal muscles. Like this Marriott case also shows that under certain circumstances, “data and algorithms” could have the “control right” of our wealth.

Data giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu attract their attention by providing various information, services, and entertainment. And hotel giants like Huazhu and Marriott have our personal information and even bank card information. We have also seen that these “centralized” giants have used our data to earn hundreds of billions of dollars. We are not at all equal to the “centralized” giants.

Adopting Blockchain For Data Security

Under the centralized network, the giant almost has all of our private data, and the centralized internet has already relied heavily on the main-net. Whether it is academic or technical, these problems cannot be solved perfectly. In recent years, with the blockchain concept deeply rooted in people’s minds, the need to build a new decentralized network capable of subverting traditional client/server has gained more and more recognition.

However, most of the existing public chains are “ineffective” for data storage, TPS deficiency, cross-chain issues, governance issues, application development issues, etc. The nature of the blockchain is decentralized distributed ledger, and the data that can be stored is minimal (simple transaction records), other data cannot be efficiently stored. Therefore, in the absence of underlying data support, the actual use of the blockchain is significantly limited. More specifically, the decentralized storage of data is the most critical part of the future application of the blockchain.

To provide useful solutions to the problem, blockchain technology must of necessity, evolve with more robust and advanced features. Part of this improvement has to come at an algorithmic level like exists in projects like Lambda, with its Provable Data Possession (PDP) and Proofs of Retrievability (POR) protocols.

Recently, Ethereum World News reported the Project’s launch of the first ever Proof of Space-Time (PoST) protocol on GitHub. For Lucy Wang, the hope is that stakeholders become aware of the need to implement blockchain in data security frameworks to prevent further largescale data breaches.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Blockchain Mining Benefits Beyond the Cryptocurrency Spectrum

Mining is an integral part of the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology narrative. However, the process of discovering, validating, and adding new blocks (mining) to the chain has the potential to do more than increasing the money supply of a particular cryptocurrency.

Moving Past Cryptocurrency Mining

Apart from being responsible for creating new tokens in a cryptocurrency blockchain that utilizes proof-of-work (PoW), mining also serves to protect the network. It is this function that is perhaps even most relevant for any examination of the positive elements of the mining process for distributed ledger technology (DLT) framework.

Essentially, miners act as gatekeepers to help keep the blockchain running smoothly. On the blockchain, all transactions are linked to one another through blocks. As another transaction, or block, is added, the chain lengthens.

To mine on the blockchain, users who lend their computing power (called miners) are presented with a puzzle to solve. Once the puzzle is solved and confirmed, the miner is rewarded with a payout (typically, some cryptocurrency or token) and a new block is added to the chain, in addition to transaction fees.

While blockchain mining has typically been associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, this is just one minor example of how mining can be utilized within decentralized technology. Let’s take a closer look at blockchain mining and the benefits that it provides miners and society as a whole.

Data Democratization

When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, and with it, the first ever successful implementation of the DLT framework, the stage seemed set for the emergence of a fully decentralized digital space. Data democratization or the return of control over user data to the users themselves is a cause that has attracted the attention of many in recent times.

In theory, public blockchains are decentralized, meaning that data ownership isn’t domiciled in any central server as with the mainstream internet. Every day we spend in our digital world means we are creating data. We may not think about it consciously, but the data we generate is utilized by many companies to improve their systems, as well as their profits.

Often, though, we have no idea what is being done with our data until scandals arise, and we don’t typically see the value that can be created using this data. Those in the blockchain world have fought for the democratization of data, but up to this point, there hasn’t been a platform created with this purpose in mind.

Blockchain Mining for Positive Social Impact

Mining can be used to drive positive social engineering in the digital space. Projects like Lambda have even begun examining such use cases that utilize the transaction validation process beyond the creation of new cryptocurrency tokens.

Using Lambda as a case study, it is possible for the activities of mining nodes to cause positive changes in the global business process. Recently, Ethereum World News reported that Lambda launched the first ever blockchain open-source proof-of-space-time (PoST) protocol on GitHub. Miners handle data, and as far as a blockchain is concerned, such data amounts to a massive volume.

Nearly every industry can significantly benefit from blockchain mining, especially when used as a solid foundation for the development of services and products. So far, we have seen blockchain mining in a decentralized environment lead to advancements in the health-care, education, and finance industries, to name a few.

When done correctly, mining on the blockchain can also lead to considerable profits for miners. For some, mining has even become a full-time career. Also, it’s relatively easy to begin mining. All a user requires to become a miner is a home computer and an internet connection.

Overall, mining offers a new way of earning money, participating in a real blockchain project where the user holds tokens, and a way to give back to the community in which they’re participating by verifying information, as well as helping to advance so many industries by mining data for insights.

Many view investing in the blockchain as solely a financial endeavor. However, with all of the benefits that miners bring to the cryptocurrency world, mining can provide a higher return than purely financial investments within decentralized technology. Are you ready to start taking advantage of the benefits of mining for blockchain?

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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The Bahamas Plans to Become a Leading Blockchain Hub

An NGO in collaboration with some institutions announced plans to establish blockchain developers in the Bahamas. The group also aims to place the Island at the forefront of distributed ledger technology (DLT) adoption.

A Leading Blockchain Hub in the Caribbean

According to The Nassau Guardian, an NGO known as the Caribbean Blockchain Alliance (CBA) is seeking to establish a group of decentralized technology developers in The Bahamas. In a press release, Stefen Deleveaux, founder of the CBA, talked about the inherent opportunities found in decentralized technology.

The founder further explained thus:

Blockchain technology is seen as the next step in Internet and financial technology, in what many describe as Web 3.0. There is a huge opportunity to use this technology to improve public and private services in this country. In addition, competent blockchain developers are in high demand, in an industry that almost guarantees access to a high-income job or potential project.

Deleveaux also said that part of the objectives was to build several cohorts of DLT developers. The CBA founder also recognized the importance of blockchain technology in software infrastructure as the reason for the groups.

Furthermore, Deleveaux announced a collaboration involving Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), CBA, Blockgeeks, and the University of the Bahamas. These four institutions would host a hackathon. Also, twenty-five Bahamian citizens would partake in a course for decentralized technology developers, from November 30 – December 1, 2018.

The press release further stated that after the course, students would get a certificate recorded on the decentralized technology.

Michael Nelson, who serves as IDB’s Chief of Operations, added that the bank seeks to empower Bahamian citizens. With the collaboration and the incentives in place for DLT developers, Ameer Rosic, the CEO of Blockgeeks, believes that the Island could be “the blockchain hub of the Caribbean.”

Island Governments Adopting Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency adoption are recording high among Island governments. Some of these countries go further to aspire to become “blockchain Islands.”

Towards the end of the second quarter, the Bahamas announced plans to issue its digital currency. According to the Island, a state-owned virtual currency would help to improve its economic development and eliminate barriers.

Malta, another DLT-friendly country, is at the forefront of decentralized technology and cryptocurrency adoption. Popularly known as the “blockchain Island,” it was the first country to have a holistic legislative framework regulating DLT technology.

Furthermore, Malta introduced the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA) and the Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS). Both Acts would regulate virtual currency and decentralized technology.

However, Marshall Islands’ plan to adopt cryptocurrency isn’t receiving complete support. President Hilda Heine’s announced moves to create a virtual currency that would act as a legal tender but received a “no confidence motion” from some of the country’s senators. The IMF and the U.S. also disagreed with the president’s plan.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Blockchain Evidence is Legally Binding, says China’s Supreme Court

The Supreme People’s Court of China has issued a set of new rules on the trial of internet court cases, part of which is that blockchain can authenticate electronic data entered in as evidence.

Blockchain Authentication

The court’s ruling issued on Friday sets out new rules to guide the activities of internet courts, and protect the legal rights of disputing parties. A portion of the new regulations relates to the authentication of electronic data presented as evidence:

The electronic data submitted by the parties can prove their authenticity through electronic signature, trusted time stamp, hash value check, blockchain, and other evidence collection, fixed and tamper-proof technical means or through electronic forensic evidence platform certification. [a rough translation]

Data stored or retrieved with distributed technology are now admissible in Court. Also, in instances where electronic data entered in as evidence in a case is questioned by any of the parties involved, the data can be authenticated using blockchain technology.

This new ruling by the Supreme Court agrees with the precedence set by Hangzhou Internet Court earlier in the year.

In a case between a media company and a technology company, Hangzhou Internet Court ruled that decentralized technology can be used as a method to determine the authenticity of the digital information presented as evidence.

Internet Court was instituted due to the rising numbers of online trade disputes and copyright infringements in the country. The Hangzhou Internet Court is the first, and it was instituted in August 2017. The government plans to launch internet courts in two other cities – Beijing and Guangzhou.

China Picks Blockchain Over Cryptocurrencies

Despite the relentless crackdown on cryptocurrencies in the country, the Chinese Government is eagerly embracing blockchain technology.  On the one hand, the government banned ICOs and domestic cryptocurrency trading and exchanges and restricted crypto-related online content. On the other hand, it is also adopting distributed ledger technology in trade and other sectors.

In April, EWN reported that state-owned Sinochem Energy Technology Co Limited completed a shipment of gasoline to Singapore using blockchain technology.

Private Corporations in the country are also adopting the blockchain technology and driving decentralized technology-related innovation globally. Chinese company’s like Tencent and Alibaba are leading the global blockchain patent race.  56% percent of all issued distributed technology-related patents in the world belong to Chinese companies.  Even the country’s Central Bank is also not left out, issuing 68 filings for DLT (Decentralized Ledger Technology) patents.

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