Welcome to Last week in blockchain. My name is Wim Pelgrim, a blockchain realist and with this weekly podcast you’ll stay up to speed about all the major developments on the blockchain. And if you like what you’ve heard: share this podcast, like it in your podcast app or support me by going to www.patreon.com/wimpelgrim
This week I’ll be filling you in about Sharding, the World Economic Forum, Marktplaats, the United States and a follow-up for the Dutch blockchain baby.
I’ve had a crazy busy week, so a somewhat shorter podcast than in the last few weeks. I’ve filled out a funding request and talked to several blockchain developers about my project for the schools in Helmond I’m working on. But still, I gathered some interesting news items for you.
It’s always nice to see articles with titles that have words like ‘breakthrough’ in them and when you look at them, they state in the first few paragraphs no real breakthrough has been made. But an article on Coindesk/Blocker.nl about sharding made me look into this technical problem more. Vlad Zamfir, a blockchain researcher coded up a successful proof-of-concept of the idea of sharding last week. But first: what is sharding? (vervang link door https://blocker.nl/ethereum-claimt-doorbraak-in-blockchain-sharding/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss)
Sharding is an experimental scaling solution for blockchains, in this case Ethereum. It breaks up the blockchain into smaller units called shards. In central databases sharding is well known, but in a decentralized databases the communication between shards and safety of the complete blockchain (without exploitations) are real concerns.
Zamfir and his team used existing technology to build his proof-of-concept in which he demonstrated how different Ethereum shards may be able to someday communicate on the blockchain. But why make code based on exiting technology and not invent something new? He is a researcher in the end. Zamfir said he wanted to reach an audience that doesn’t have access to research publications; seeing software is compelling and helps spread the message. The code he created can by found on Github if you want to check it out.
The World Economic Forum published a White Paper last week about blockchain in trade and supply chains. The report talks about more than blockchain, but new technologies could narrow the current trade finance gap of $ 1.5 trillion: 10% of global merchandise trade volumes. That is serious money. Money isn’t always the best incentive, but there is more than money in this case: existing processes are significant obstacles for small and medium-sized enterprises and for emerging markets. Helping to create an balanced playing field is a major development and if that saves us all money, why not. The entire report can be found on the site of the World Economic Forum.
I don’t think you know the website Marktplaats, but think of Ebay, but then in Dutch. And it is part of Ebay Inc. since 2004. Emerce.nl spoke to the chief commercial officer of Marktplaats, Annemarie Buitelaar. And the website in The Netherlands works like a sandbox for the corporation, as I see it. Marktplaats is innovating, for example by using image recongnition to tell you the medium price of similar advertisments when you upload a picture of your Playstation 3.
But the interesting part of the interview (and also the title) is about blockchain. Buitelaar tells us trust is the mainly about trust. Blockchain can help the website to bring back trust in the trade. It is an “extreme opportunity”, further talking about the history of a car you’re buying online, guarantees, certificates of authenticity etcetera. Hopefully we’ll see new developments on Marktplaats.nl and in the future also on Ebay and other websites.
Governments and law
When it comes to governments and law, we’ll be looking at to the United States this week. Both an American judge and some of the mayor blockchain companies made the headlines last week. First the judge, Raymond Dearie from Brooklyn, New York. He decided that cryptocurrencies and ICO’s are securities under existing laws, throwing out the defendants case that the laws for cryptocurrencies were unconstitutionally vague. The SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, only exempted Bitcoin and Ether from Securities law on Tuesday. So if you are starting up an ICO, please be sure to follow the law, because maybe you’ll be next on the list of fraudsters. In the case in Brooklyn, the inventor of the Diamond and Recoin was in court for tricking investors into buying tokens that he claimed were backed by real estate and diamonds. They weren’t…
And then to Washington, where the Blockchain Association was founded. A lobby group, backed by some of the mayor start-ups and investors like Coinbase, Circle Internet Financial, Polychain Capital and Digital Currency Group. And they already hired their first lobbyist, Kristin McKenzie. Besides lobbying, the Association also wants to educate lawmakers and help the fast grown industry evolve and sidestep legal problems.
Three weeks ago (podcast #25) I talked about a critical Dutch article by Jesse Frederik. In the article the author claimed the Blockchain Baby (podcast #5) had stalled and had no real future. In reaction to this article, one of the founders of Ledger Leopard, Jeroen van Megchelen, told the project will have a larger follow-up early 2019. The first project was planned to have a start and an end. We’ll hear more about this baby in 2019!
Oh my god!
And check these other articles I saw last week: Cryptouniversity.nl gathered some of the best blockchain infographics, IBM launches the yellow pages of blockchain, SAP sees limited growth in real blockchain apps, but growing interest from companies and Hackernoon published an article about how countries should regulate blockchain.
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: World Economic Forum, Marktplaats, Sharding, USA’s judge on ICO’s and lobby group and the blockchain baby. And I hope to see you next week for my next episode. And if you like what you’ve heard, share this podcast with your friends and on social media and click those five stars in your podcast app. See you next week!
World Economic Forum
United States judge on ICO’s
United States lobby group
Yellow pages of blockchain
SAP about blockchain
How should countries regulate blockchain
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