Last week in blockchain – 2018, week 48

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


This week financial news from several banks and the European Commission and news about Swift India. Other news from the EU: the European Parliament on GDPR.




This week a lot of Bitcoin news, but luckily for me, there is also a lot of nice real blockchain news.




As regular listeners may have noticed: a lot of big tech companies have started blockchain as a service. 11 vendors in the BaaS space have been assessed by ABI research: Alibaba, Amazon, Baidu, Cisco, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Tencent. Microsoft received the top spot, followed closely by IBM. And these companies are ahead of the field looking at market penetration, proof of concepts and pilots, ecosystem support, platform diversity, primary features, developer resources, and integration with their own solutions. When you are interested in the full report, check the website by ABI Research.


Background articles


I personally haven’t heard about sukuk’s before this week. Maybe you haven’t either, so before I dive into this blockchain news, first some info on this topic. A sukuk is similar to a bond: a security of equal denomination representing individual ownership interests in a portfolio of eligible exiting of future assets. In short: a bond. But a bond that is “sharia compliant”. So sukuk’s are approved by the Accounting and Auditing Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions. What makes these sukuk’s different than a bond outside of the Islamic world? The main difference is that a bond is based on debt or credit, sukuk’s are based on ownership. Why I’m telling you this? Because the Hilal Bank in Abu Dhabi is trying to transform the sukuk market through embracing blockchain and integrating it into their infrastructure. The bank wants to pave the way for innovative digitized Islamic sukuk. The press release (Reuters) doesn’t speak about the technique, but only about the size of the deal (one million dollars out of a 500 million five year sukuk). But the main take away from this news: blockchain is found everywhere in the world and technology isn’t inherently good, evil or more or less fitting for a culture or system: blockchain can solve all kinds of problems.




Several banks around the world are making steps in blockchain implementation. This week news from India and the EU. In India Swift announced a partnership with MonetaGo. And that is surprising, because Swift international has denied integrations with Ripple’s technology last month. But Swift India seems committed to this technology to improve operational efficiency of their products. Kirian Shetty, CEO of Swift India: “SWIFT India is committed to provide significant value to the Indian financial community through digitisation of trade. MonetaGo’s expertise in providing fraud mitigation solutions to avoid double-financing and check authenticity of e-way Bill gave us the confidence to partner with them.”


In the EU the European Commission has planned the start of the International Associatoion for Trusted Blockchain Application (IATBA) in the first quarter of 2019. The association should have representatives from both public and private sectors and wants to develop guidelines and protocols for the blockchain industry and promote these standards internationally. Last week 5 banks joined the EC in this initiative. BBVA and Banco Santander from Spain are among the larger banks. And both of them have shown interest in the distributed ledger technologies in the past: in February the European Commission launched the Blockchain Observatory and Forum and allocated 300 million dollar euro for this cause. And recently the BBVA completed a pilot that put a syndicated loan for 150 million dollars on the blockchain. Europe is moving fast in this area and I hope to show you more from this part of the world in the next months.


Governments and law


A big problem for EU blockchain projects: a committee of MEP’s has said that businesses should only process personal data using blockchain if they can “guarantee compliance” with EU data protection laws (GDPR). Well, that is an issue to take into account when you are building an application. But good news: Pinsent Masons ( and Christina Carrascosa Cobos (blockchain expert) say it is possible to use blockchain in compliance with the GDPR. They first point to the report by the French data protection authority that was published a few weeks ago and I talked about that in podcast #29. But depending on the way you store data and proof, and what goes on the blockchain and what stays offchain, you can comply with the GDPR. The Committee said the European Data Protection Board should issue “guidelines and recommendations” to help businesses comply with EU law when using blockchain technology, so we will get help as businesses and organizations active on using blockchain to implement this technology.




New applications








Oh my god!








In the referrals section a news item about Ohio, after Arizona (podcast #8) this is the next state (not the first as all the press buzz is stating) to allow citizens to pay for taxes in Bitcoin. The owner of Overstock will sell his retail business and go all in on crypto by February of 2019. And Swiss railway also tested blockchain: in their case it was identities for workplace safety.


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 mentioned in this episode in the description: the BaaS report, Swift India, the European Commission and several banks, GDPR and my referrals. 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!




BaaS report




Banks join the European Commission












Swiss Railway








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