Last week in blockchain – 2018 week 18

Last week in blockchain for week 18 of 2018, a podcast with the latest developments in the world of the blockchain.

Welcome to Last week in blockchain. My name is Wim Pelgrim, a blockchain enthusiast and with this weekly podcast you’ll stay up to speed about all the major developments on the blockchain. And that in under 10 minutes!

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This week I’ll be discussing Blockchain essentials in education, the Blockchain Research Institute, IBM, Ethereum, the African blockchain initiative and Goldman Sachs. And I hope I can make all the technical details of this week’s news clear to you.

I don’t want to talk about education every week (although I’m a teacher myself), but in the description a link to the Blockchain essentials in education conference in the USA on May 16th. That’s that for education.

Big stakeholders in the blockchain realm are (among others) IBM and Don and Alex Tapscott. The last two founded the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) about a year ago. The authors of Blockchain Revolution, a best-seller, want to explore new opportunities, strategize and implement blockchain technologies together with multiple governments and enterprises. Last week they announced a dozen new members joined the initiative. Salesforce, Raiffeisen Bank International and Sweetbridge join companies like SAP, Microsoft and KPMG and governments of Toronto, Ontario and the country Canada. It resembles the Dutch Blockchain Coalition and several other cooperation’s world-wide.

IBM (also part of the Research Institute) had two news to share last week. The Dutch branch of the company won an innovation award for their cooperation with Koopman Logistics. CIO Magazine awarded both companies with a TIM Award for the most innovative cooperation between a customer and an IT-supplier. The developed a distributed administration for the supply chain of the automotive company. With this application, they are leading in their field.

Another news item on IBM was the patent they applied for: they developed a method to ensure that a network of connected devices can securely execute blockchain-based smart contracts. What’s the problem IBM tries to solve: an IoT-focused blockchain network can’t engage in “mining”, because of a lack of computational power, but a large-scale blockchain mine could attack the network of IoT devices easily. How to make the IoT blockchain network safe? IBM would limit the number of nonces within a defined range the IoT devices can employ when updating the conceptual blockchain. It makes the blockchain dynamically adjustable and there is no incentive for any of the devices to use computing power beyond the threshold: no device would want to take over the network.

And to keep it somewhat techy, some news from Ethereum. Top developers think the blockchain could be splitting (a hard fork as it is called) in two. What’s the problem? In the code of Ethereum an error causes funds to get lost. In total 264 million dollars have been lost since the start of Ethereum. But changing the rules of the network could endanger its security and integrity. A major discussion was held at a meeting about two weeks ago. And in this discussion a major clash between the two biggest software platforms built on the network is emerging. And to maintain the Ethereum network as a single blockchain (to prevent a hard fork) both software developers need to use the same software and reach consensus on the implementation of the repair. Major players in the Ethereum community have expressed interest in working on a solution for the discussion.


In South-Africa, the students of the African Leadership Academy, implemented the blockchain. The 16 to 19-year olds held their Student Government Elections using the blockchain build by the African Blockchain Initiative. One of the co-founders, Cyril Michino of ABI stated on the website of the school: ‘The biggest challenge for Africa is transparency. By using blockchain we want to give power to the people; to decentralise the power that the government can have, yet at the same time keeping it secure because everyone has access to the system, but no one has control.’ The use case is explained on the site of the school and of the African Blockchain Initiative and the organization hopes it could be a blueprint for the national elections in Africa.


Although I don’t talk about crypto a lot, one news item last week can’t be ignored: Goldman Sachs has hired a crypto trader. Why not? Because Goldman Sachs denied any interest in cryptos for months. The market demand for investments in cryptos seems to have made the bank take this step: clients want it. But the bank keeps a low profile: “[…] we are exploring how best to serve them in the space” is no big jump into the cryptocurrency market.

And that wraps up this Last week in blockchain. Check my website: for more info on me and my podcast and a full transcript of this episode. Check the links to all the news items I talked about in the description: Blockchain essentials in education, the Blockchain Research Institute, IBM, Ethereum, the African blockchain initiative and Goldman Sachs. And definitely check back next week for my new podcast on Soundcloud and in Dutch on!



Blockchain essentials in education

Blockchain Research Institute

IBM wins innovation award

IBM applies for a patent


African blockchain initiative

Goldman Sachs






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