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 a packed episode with a lot of news and even more referrals. I’ll talk about Hyperledger and Ethereum, the Dutch Central Bank, BlackBerry, Sierra Leone, Kiva and the UN, Marleen Stikker and Vinay Gupta and Festicoin.
The interview with Nick Todorov has had a lot of listeners last week, especially from Bulgaria. I hope to meet a lot of you this week to. I also saw that some listeners liked a regular episode better. When I will do more interviews in the future, I will create ‘specials’ in my podcast feed, so you can choose to listen to a regular episode or the interview. If you have suggestions for interviews, please let me know: @wimpelgrim on Twitter or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big tech news this week: Hyperledger and Ethereum are joining forces! To be more precise: the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and Hyperledger have become associate members in each other’s organizations. Why is this a great step? The internet has standards, protocols we all use and that are the foundation of the way we work. Blockchain doesn’t have those standards yet. Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger, said about this: “Great open standards depend upon great open source code, so this is a natural alliance for both organizations. Standards, specifications and certification all help enterprise blockchain customers commit to implementations with confidence since they have better assurances of interoperability as well as multiple vendors of choice.” You can read more about this joint effort in the blog posts by Brian Behlendorf (Hyperledger) and Ron Resnick (EEA).
A speech by a central banker doesn’t sound like the most interesting thing, but when Kaas Klot, director of the Dutch National Bank spoke about blockchain last week, it was. He spoke about the role of central banks when it comes to DLT and blockchain. He talks about cryptocurrencies and their risks for a large part of his speech, but the benefits of blockchain are discussed too. He mentions several experiments by central banks aroud the world: Project Jasper in Canada, Project Stella by The Netherlands and Japan and project Dukaton in The Netherlands. The first two focus on settlement of large transactions, the last project focusses on payments and securities transactions.
But what are the conclusions of the speech? The technology has potential: an empty statement in my eyes. Cryptocurrencies could represent opportunities, but also could be a considerable risk and he proposes to formulate a regulatory response. It is a balancing act he tells the audience, but I believe the balance is leaning towards the risks at this moment.
Maybe you remember Blackberry as the first big smartphone company. Today it focusses on securing and managing IoT endpoints. And besides several other products, services and collaborations, the company announced a blockchain platform for the storing and sharing of medical data. Anonymized data from laboratories, patients and IoT biometric devices could be shared with researchers, Blackberry tells us in their press release. BlackBerry is co-operating with ONEBIO, which provides te ledger and Global Commission, which focusses on ending diagnostic odyssey for children with a rare disease and Shire, leading global biotech focused on rare diseases. A great development.
Governments and law
In Sierra Leone 80% of citizens have no access to a formal identification system. And that is the type of situation where blockchain is supposed to be a great solution. Kiva, United Nations and Sierra Leone combined their forces to get a digital ID for the citizens and that will help them to get financing for their businesses and give them access to the financial system. Other efforts to give the unbanked an identity to be financially independent weren’t as successful as hoped. Blockchain could change this dynamic. The CEO of Kiva stated: “This can unlock capital for the populations who need it most, allowing lenders to massively increase services and the flow of funds to the world’s unbanked.”
Then to my homecountry, The Netherlands. A roundtable conference in the Hall of Nights, right in the middle of the parliament and senate building in The Hague, produced some interesting quotes. Thomas Bollen wrote an article on Dutch website Follow the money after attending the meeting. Marleen Stikker, head of Waag, a research institute, said: “Some people think this technology is so disruptive, it will change everything and we will not need central governance. But technology is never neutral: it creates new power structures.” Vinay Gupta, technologist and policy analyst stated: “You don’t use it [blockchain] for the small things. Blockchain is a solution for big problems, that is what makes it so exiting”
It’s a lot of Dutch news this week. An interesting blockchain application that will launch next week is the Festicoin: a solution for replacing all the plastic drink coins. That’s not a big problem, if you look at Gupta’s statement of a few seconds ago. But after some small scale tests, the Oktoberfest in Nijmegen is the first big event the Festicoin will be tested. All 7000 attendees can use the app from the Play Store of App Store and order their bear or bradwurst with a QR-code. The app can remember your order and share wallets. Maybe this will end the plastic misery.
Oh my god!
A lot of news to read too this week: SAP introduces a new hub for blockchains, Vitalik Buterin tweeted about him possibly leaving Ethereum, Bill Clinton is a believer in blockchain, Venezuela introduces petro tokens, Ubisoft supports a new blockchain group for the adoption of blockchain in gaming, IBM launches a food trust blockchain for commercial use, the first blockchain university opens its doors next year and more than half of life science organisations already using or experimenting with blockchain (up from les than a quarter last year).
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 mentioned in this episode in the description: the Australian test, the paper that comes with it, the referral to Don Tapscott and everything on Lime Academy. 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!
Life science organisations
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