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IBM Makes Another Blockchain Identity Play With Health Data App

IBM’s blockchain division is widening its work in the nascent field of “self-sovereign identity” – technology designed to give individuals greater control over their personal data.

Announced today, the tech giant is working with Hu-manity.co, whose #My31 app just became available on iOS and Android mobile devices. The app’s name alludes to the idea that legal ownership of one’s data should by a “31st human right” in addition to the 30 already ratified by the United Nations.

It’s the latest in a series of similar projects IBM has been involved in. Others include SecureKey, a bank consortium building a digital ID system in Canada, and Sovrin, contributor of the Indy toolkit for Hyperledger-based blockchains.

As such, the partnership with Hu-manity is a strong signal that Big Blue sees long-term business value in this use case for distributed ledgers. Marie Wieck, the general manager of IBM Blockchain, told CoinDesk:

“Getting people’s permissioned rights on a blockchain will create a marketplace and entirely new economic business models as a result.”

Indeed, while Hu-manity’s app is consumer-facing, an enterprise version will be generally available to corporations starting in the healthcare industry in the first quarter of 2019, Wieck said.

“We tend to agree that data is the next natural resource and like a natural resource has to be mined responsibly in the same way,” she added. “Blockchain combined with the notion of rights to individual data, facilitates the distributed sharing of that information securely and at scale.”

Richie Etwaru, founder and CEO of Hu-manity, has a similarly expansive vision. Starting with the well-established market for health record data, he said he expects location data, search history and e-commerce habits will also be “owned” by users.

Upon claiming their data property rights, Hu-manity users receive a title of ownership, akin to a property deed. Thereafter their personal details, signature and photograph can be added in the form of a hash on the blockchain, along with things like the individual’s data-sharing preferences.

While the Hu-manity.co global consent ledger, which records the granting and revocation of permission to use someone’s data, is built on the IBM Blockchain Platform using Hyperledger Fabric, the two companies will also collaborate with Sovrin.

Data: The new oil?

Comparing the personal data humans produce to crude oil, Etwaru told CoinDesk, “The partnership with IBM enables private blockchain to create a direct relationship between the crude data provider – the human being – and the buyer of the refined data at the end of the supply chain.”

And in its refined form, personal data such as a patient’s health record changes hands for an average of around $400, Ewaru pointed out.

Yet regulations in the U.S. and beyond are very unspecific when it comes to personal data and can be interpreted in different ways, noted Etwaru.

Provided data has been masked, an organization may sell it for specific uses, which might often be for research as opposed to overtly commercial purposes. However, there could equally be an interpretation whereby an individual has the right to notify a corporation requesting them not sell data in the de-authorized format.

But wide adoption of an empowering data-sharing app, he said, would constitute a “call to action, and pool consensus around how laws should actually work,” Etwaru said.

And it’s not only the individual who stands to gain. Rather than walking on eggshells concerning people’s growing awareness of their privacy (or lack thereof), Etwaru said, corporations could have clarity and transparency by virtue of what describes as a “movement.”

“The end buyer could have better compliance posture if they use our data and we can figure out the economics between the individual and the buyer. The pharmaceutical industry has never really been offered an explicit consenting relationship with individuals before,” he said.

IBM’s Wieck added that large anonymous datasets can be noisy and inaccurate, but could be better relied upon to be clean using the blockchain app.   

“In clinical trials, there would be a way of tracking data and ensuring these are all real human beings and doing it at scale. Trust and transparency have been a challenge up until now,” she said.  

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Crypto Data Site CoinMarketCap Launches 'More Robust' API

CoinMarketCap, one of the most popular crypto data tracking websites, announced a new update to its API on Wednesday.

While a public API is already offered by CoinMarketCap, the new one will provide “additional endpoints, more calls, higher rate limits, exchange and market and historical data for the commercial tiers,” according to an email response to CoinDesk from Carylyne Chan, vice president of marketing at CoinMarketCap.

Chan said that the new professional API is a result of “a lot of inbound requests” of their data from developers and funds who were looking for a “more robust” API that can scale with their offerings.

The new API is now available at three off-the-shelf tiers, with costs ranging from $79 to $699. Once subscribed, developers and funds will have the ability to utilize CoinMarketCap’s data that it aggregates from hundreds of crypto exchanges.

“Our API comes with a best-in-class developer dashboard that will help every developer – from hobbyist to large-scale cryptocurrency product teams – make the most of our data,” Brandon Chez, founder of CoinMarketCap, said in a statement.

Aside from the much anticipated API, several other “highly-requested” new features have also been added to CoinMarketCap, including data from derivatives markets, a new exchange ranking system, a daily newsletter and an update to its iOS app.

“As our new product releases show, we are constantly updating so that we can help to grow adoption of cryptocurrency. If you also believe in what we want to achieve, we look forward to having you join our decentralized team around the world,” Chez said.

CoinMarketCap image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Thomson Reuters Adding 50 Crypto Assets to Finance Data Feed

Canada-based information and news provider Thomson Reuters is to track a number of crypto assets on one of its desktop finance feeds, thanks to a newly inked partnership with market data aggregator CryptoCompare.

Under the deal, CryptoCompare will collate order book and trading data for 50 crypto tokens sourced from “trusted” exchanges to be provided to investors through Thomson Reuters’ Eikon platform.

According to a press release from Thomson Reuters, the added data will provide institutional investors with “reliable insight” into the crypto asset market, enabling them to predict asset price movements with “a high degree of probability.”

Sam Chadwick, Thomson Reuters’ director of strategy in innovation and blockchain, commented:

“Despite the decline in the price of many of the leading cryptocurrencies during 2018, we continue to see increasing demand from our customers for pricing coverage of the major names. … This partnership puts pricing data for this emerging market alongside other asset classes, giving our customers a more comprehensive trading view in Eikon.”

The firm added that it has been engaged with CryptoCompare since the startup took part in a blockchain hackathon hosted by Thomson Reuters in September 2016.

The addition of the new data feed comes after Thomson Reuters in May launched a “sentiment” feed for bitcoin – a service that uses AI to analyze over 400 sources of data, scouring news articles and social media posts in search of actionable insights for investors.

That feed was expanded in mid-June to cover sentiment data for 100 different cryptocurrencies.

Thomson Reuters image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Charts: SEC Data Shows Token Filing Figures Just Keep Rising

Regulatory uncertainty or not, data from the SEC indicates the number of filings related to token sales continues to trend upward.

Indeed, a review of SEC data through June indicates that the SEC has received nearly 100 filings for token sales (93) in the past year, beginning with four in August 2017 and building to an all-time high of 15 in May.

Many of the filings reviewed by CoinDesk related to sales of Simple Agreements for Future Tokens, or SAFTs, which essentially serve as promises for tokens at a later date. The framework is modeled after the Simple Agreements for Future Equity, or SAFEs, which a funding model popularized by the startup accelerator Y Combinator.

Still, the data from the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system shows additional details that provide insight to the trend.

Geographically, it’s perhaps no surprise that the U.S. accounted for the majority of the funding, though according to the SEC, Spain, Japan and the U.K. were represented as well.

As for where the startups are incorporating, Delaware was the clear winner, accounting for the lion’s share of filings.

Other popular jurisdictions included the Cayman Islands, Estonia and Bermuda, the latter of which has been publicly seeking to attract startups and innovators of late.

The growth in filings comes in spite of what some sources say is scrutiny of the SAFT model by SEC officials. As CoinDesk previously reported and quoted from a knowledgeable source: “The SEC is targeting SAFTs.”

However, it remains to be seen what will take place over the latter half of 2018, as recent remarks from the SEC perhaps hint at a softer tone that could do much to propel new filings.

For example, there’s SEC chairman Jay Clayton’s statement in June where he told CNBC that token sellers should “come see us” if they plan to sell tokens. Further, later that month, an SEC official provided what was a moment of market clarity when he stated that he doesn’t believe ether and bitcoin, the market’s two largest assets are securities.

While the verdict is still out for ICOs, it seems the current lack of clarity is doing little to stem or slow the tide of token offerings.

Abacus image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Reinsurance Giants Tap Blockchain for Data Transparency Boost

A group of reinsurance giants have said they will jointly develop a blockchain system in an effort to boost transparency in the industry.

Comprising the group are are multinational giants including General Reinsurance Corporation and Hannover Re, the report said. Also involved in the project is China Re, the only reinsurance firm in China owned by the state and established by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

According to a news report, the plan was announced at an event in Shanghai on Friday.

While the reinsurance firms will be mainly responsible for providing business support, the report indicated, ZhongAn Technology – the technology arm of China’s first internet insurer ZhongAn – will lead the technological development.

The report said that, currently, a main challenge in the reinsurance industry in China is an information imbalance among parties, which ultimately leads to hikes in reinsurance costs and impedes the industry’s long term growth.

To address this disparity, the group envisions that a distributed blockchain network would allow different parties to view assets and transactions in a more syndicated manner, thus making the information flow more efficient and transparent.

The report also indicated that the joint work will be supervised by the Shanghai bureau of China’s Insurance Regulatory Commission, the central regulator for the domestic insurance industry.

ZhongAn Technology has already carved out its space in the blockchain industry, having launched a platform called Anlink to power applications on the firm’s blockchain. Anlink is already seeing use in a chicken supply chain tracking effort aimed to tackle food safety issues in the country, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

Meeting image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Crypto Data Site CoinMarketCap Releases iOS Mobile App

CoinMarketCap, the popular cryptocurrency market data site, has released its first mobile app.

The Tuesday release – which is currently only available for iOS users – comes as the site marks its fifth anniversary since launching in 2013. CoinMarketCap lists prices for hundreds of coins and tokens as well as trading volume data for exchanges. The site has become one of the most-visited in the world, ranking 174th in Alexa’s global rankings.

According to a post by the company published alongside the app’s release, CoinmarketCap has received 60 million unique visits thus far in 2018.

“The space has really evolved in the past five years and so have we,” CEO Brandon Chez said in a statement. “So we thought for this anniversary, it would be nice to do something big for our users.”

CoinMarketCap’s app is available from the iTunes Store free of charge and includes ads. It has earned 12 ratings at the time of writing, all of them five stars. The company also unveiled a new logo Tuesday.

Amidst growing interest in digital assets, ConiMarketCap faces increasing competition. Thomson Reuters, an established data provider, has added bitcoin, ether, litecoin, bitcoin cash and Ripple’s XRP to its data offerings. The company is also offering indices based on data from CryptoCompare, CoinMarketCap’s less-trafficked rival.

App image via CoinMarketCap

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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The Crypto Market Just Dropped on One Data Adjustment

CoinMarketCap, perhaps the go-to source for cryptocurrency market data, has sparked an uproar after it moved to exclude South Korean exchanges from its price average calculations.

The unannounced move to remove data from Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit from its average calculations parked confusion given that its front-page suggests a broad decline in the cryptocurrency market, including what appeared to be a near-30% fall in the price of XRP.

The overall market cap of the market – one measure by which traders assess the ecosystem – dropped sharply once the change went into effect, which appears to have taken place just before 5 a.m. UTC.

That shift can be notably seen in the 24-hour price chart for bitcoin cash, given that the three Korean exchanges are among the top-10 by trade volume for the cryptocurrency.

The exact reason for pulling the data isn’t clear at this time, though as of press time Bithumb is offline because of what the exchange says is a server check. And prices on those exchanges have consistently traded far above the rest of the market, such as the more than $5,000 spread spread compared to markets like Bitfinex and GDAX.

Further, commentators like Ripple chief cryptographer David Schwartz, who tweeted out about the move, said the newly-reflected price is “more accurate and meaningful.”

That sentiment hasn’t spared CoinMarketCap from the crypto-community’s ire, however.

Social media posts across Reddit and Twitter have chastised the site, crying foul about the lack of any formal announcement that they say led to an actual price decline as traders reacted to what they perceived as a tumbling market.

And while CoinMarketCap excluded Korean exchanges from its data, other data sites showed similar declines in asset prices.

OnChain FX’s data matched CoinMarketCap’s prices, yet CoinCap, while still showing declines in pricing for most of the top 50 crypto-assets, displayed higher prices for bitcoin, ether, XRP and bitcoin cash than CoinMarketCap did.

Similarly, data site LiveCoinWatch showed bitcoin falling to $14,787, somewhere between CoinMarketCap’ $14,754 and CoinCap’s $15,596 at time of writing.

The changes in the different sites’ data go beyond just prices. Whereas LiveCoinWatch still shows XRP as the second-largest asset by market cap, the other data sites now show ethereum retaking its former spot.

Representatives for CoinMarketCap did not immediately respond to a submitted request for comment.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Ripple. 

Image via Shutterstock, graphs via CoinMarketCap.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.