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 several news items about the question “Is blockchain overhyped or underrated?”: Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt says “underrated”, a lot of companies say “overhyped”, Forrester Research also gives a nuanced answer, and coming back to IBM and Maersk, they are getting company with the same type of solution, but backed by a consortium. But first a interoperability application from Singapore and I’ll end with an EOS scam.
A technological news item to start with. And the funny thing is, it doesn’t sound that technical. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) developed an automated Delivery versus Payment platform to allow the settlement of tokenized securities. That sounds more like a financial solution for an particular niche market. But what makes this solution technically interesting is that the settlement takes place across various blockchain platforms. Nasdaq senior vice president, Magnus Haglind, stated; “In collaborating with SGX and MAS on this unique ecosystem of converging blockchains, we have demonstrated how to create interoperability between multiple networks to secure settlement between different assets – this is a major step in the application of blockchain to the capital markets.” And not only is this a step for the capital markets: interoperability between networks is a major hurdle in the implementation of blockchain and a technical challenge we should be working on as a field.
Tyler Cowen interviewed former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, last week. They talked about a lot of topics, but I was interested in the part about blockchain in particular. Answering the question about blockchain being overrated or underrated, Schmidt answered: “In the public format, overrated. In its technical use, underrated”. He’s particularly enthusiastic about Ethereum: “And if ethereum can manage to figure out a way to do global synchronization of that activity, that’s a pretty powerful platform. That’s a really new invention.” And Schmidt isn’t a new adept of blockchain: in 2014 he praised Bitcoin. His founding partner at Google Sergey Brin and current Google CEO Sundar Pichai both are enthusiastic too. Check the full interview in the show notes.
Schmidt has a mixed message: overrated and underrated combined. A lot of companies think about this technology in the same way. A report by Forrester Research states firms are using the term DLT (distributed ledger technology) when using blockchain. Why? Because blockchain is overhyped and companies are using the term to repackage existing products, which the report calls “blockchain washing”. The report shows a steady emergence of blockchain, but it is a slower technology than “the internet”. As I’m experiencing myself with my own blockchain project: it is a team effort; the report calls it an eco-system play.” But despite the advocacy for DLT, blockchain is the far more popular term at this moment.
And that blockchain is a team effort, became apparent in last week’s podcast when I talked about Tradelens, the blockchain platform of IBM and Maersk. This week a new setback for these companies: a new blockchain consortium started a rivaling platform built on Oracles blockchain cloud platform (podcast #34). The first thing to note about the blog post on the website of Oracle: they talk about both blockchain and DLT! But what is Oracle going to do? Nine leading ocean carriers and terminal operators will be forming a consortium to develop a Global Shipping Business Network: an open platform built on blockchain. Note the word “open”. When we remember the critique on Maersk, the following quote from the CEO of CargoSmart is striking: “Blockchain facilitates the idea of a consortium, so we invite shippers, forwarders, carriers and terminals to be involved. From this standard body, we’ll have a platform to collaborate in the industry. Then we would invite the whole industry to participate in specific subjects so we would be able to build applications.” If you want to know more about this new consortium including a video, check the link in the show notes.
Governments and law
Oh my god!
Anyone who has cryptocurrencies is afraid of someone stealing them. And we have seen some scams in past years. But this latest scam was bold. A fake EOS wallet was uploaded to Google Play. People that logged in to the app got their login name and password stolen and their coins were stolen. The app was discovered by EOS RIO, a developing company that built a real EOS wallet. The app was taken down quickly and the EOS community was warned by the company. And it seems it wasn’t the first time. So take a good look at the app you are trying to download.
IBM is sending out news every few days. This week a partnership with Seagate to fight counterfeit hard drives and patent to make scientific research better using blockchain. And remember the voting app in West Virginia from podcast #36? The conclusions are in: blockchain is not the answer to make voting easier and better.
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: blockchain in education by Kennisnet, the EOS research, Google Trends, 10 years Bitcoin White Paper, Maersk and a 125 million dollar giveaway.. 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!
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