Last week in blockchain – 2018, week 19

Last week in blockchain for week 19 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!

For anyone Dutch listening to this podcast: on Blocker.nl my Dutch version of this podcast is published weekly on Friday or Saturday. Check www.blocker.nl.

And please let me know if you like this podcast or if you have suggestions. You can contact me on Twitter (@wimpelgrim) or via my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl. And if you like this weekly podcast, please share it among your friends and social media!

First of all a special shout out to my listeners in Panorama City, California. Most of my listeners last month came from this part of Los Angeles. Thanks for listening and sharing my story.

This week I’ll be discussing coins, tokens and forks, the difference between public and private blockchains, GDPR, Telegrams ICO, Dubai, SPSF, The Blockchain Innovation Conference and the childrens book The place in the blockchain.

At Blocker.nl a story was published last week that explains the difference between a coin and a token and it explains what a fork is. For most of the people in blockchain, these terms are part of the normal language, but for most of the starters in the field, it’s these kind of terms that make the blockchain abstract and difficult at first sight. I hope platforms like Blocker publish more of these kinds of articles: simple explanations for people to use to grow their knowledge of the blockchain.

An other major distinction in the world of the blockchain is the difference between public and private blockchains. Anyone can join a public blockchain network, like the Bitcoin. Puxblic blockchains are managed by selected partners that determine who can join the network and in what role. But Marc Hochstein, managing director of CoinDesk wrote in newsletter CoinDesk Weekly, that the public and private blockchain singularity may be close at hand. He speaks about some examples he sees emerging of cross overs between private and public blockchains. Hedera Hashgraph (I spoke about it in podcast #7) was the most striking example: a public cryptocurrency, open source, nodes are accepted and anyone can build an application on top of the blockchain, but it’s owned by a company, anyone trying to create a fork will be sued.

And GDPR and the blockchain is a hot topic. I talked about it in podcast #12 and this week Blockchain desk talked about a few solutions in its newsletter. The solutions focus on permissionless blockchains and are just the beginning of solving privacy issues in blockchains.

 

After these more general blockchain news items, a few applications and countries using the blockchain. The breaking news of last week was Telegram. About two months ago (podcast #3) I told you Telegram started its own ICO: you could by the Telegram cryptocurrency! But to everyone’s amazement Telegram scraped the plan for a public coin offering last week! Why? Because the private round of sales pulled in 1.7 billion dollars, 500 million more than the initial plan. The messaging app with over 200 million users world wide wants to use the money to build Telegram Open Network, based on the blockchain. With the network Telegram could become an alternative for Visa/Mastercard, but decentralized. You can read the full article at the Wall Street Journal if you have a subscription, but you can also use Blendle if you just want to pay for this single article.

Then Dubai, the country’s government unveiled a blockchain business registry last week. Three government agencies and IBM are building the platform, aimed at streamlining the process of starting and operating a business in Dubai. It also ensures regulatory compliance and it helps companies to gain direct investments from overseas. Dubai is investing heavily in blockchain applications, to reach its target to power all government services using the technology by 2020. I expect to see some more press releases by the Dubai government in the next few months, but I will not overwhelm you with this kind of news. But it’s definitely interesting.

An other government moving to the blockchain fast is Russia. Five weeks (podcast #9) after the last major statement by the government, this week SPFS (Russian version of SWIFT) announced it is moving to the blockchain by 2019. After the threats of Western countries to withdraw SWIFT from Russia as part of the sanctions for the invasion of Crimea, Russia built its own version: SPFS. It is cheaper than SWIFT and adding blockchain technology will increase the level of protection in relation to hacker attacks they hope.

Two last news items to share this week are a nice conference coming up and a cute book. On the 7th of June the fifth Blockchain Innovation Conference is held. 400 participants, 100 companies come together at Rabobank Netherlands under the heading: ‘Blockchain: From Proof of Concept to Real World Solutions. A lot of speakers from The Netherlands and abroad will come to Utrecht at BlC18: thinkers Vinay Gupta and Dave Birch. Arthur Camara, founder of CryptoKitties, which disrupted the entire Ethereum network. And Leanne Kemp of Everledger, who traces valuables on the blockchain. Tickets are still on sale.

And I came across this cute book about the blockchain: A place in the blockchain, by Brett Biery the first childrens book about the blockchain. The picture book about “Blocky” is an adventure about the struggle discovering his place in the blockchain: a similar  process children face when going to school and making friends. When you listen to my podcast on Blocker.nl you can win the book by answering the question on the website! But you can also buy the e-book at Amazon.

And that wraps up this Last week in blockchain. Check my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl 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 Blocker.nl!

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