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 please leave a review on iTunes so my podcast will get higher in the search results, share it with your friends and if you listen to this podcast for the first time: subscribe using your podcast app.
This week the critical remarks by officials of Mastercard, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, the new application Clovyr, a blockchain coalition forming in Taiwan and the guy that put his never launched ICO on eBay.
Background articles and research
It is still hip to talk blockchain down. Critical articles have been around for about a year now, but when some top executives share their doubts about blockchain, it makes headlines. And that’s what happened last week with the CEO’s of Wells Fargo and Mastercard and the COO/CTO of Bank of America. CNBC reported on both events. Tim Sloan (Wells Fargo) and Ajaypal Banga (Mastercard) shared a stage at a conference in San Francisco. Sloan stated “Blockchain has been way oversold. I think the fundamental technology is very interesting, but it’s been very slow to roll out.” And Banga added: “I think blockchain could be interesting, but the business model is not proven. A lot of this has to improve and change over time.” A few days before, Cathy Bessant of Bank of America was interviewed and said she’s grown doubtful that blockchain will amount to anything in the near term. Or possibly ever. Quote: “I haven’t seen one [use case] that even scales beyond an individual or a small set of transactions. All of the big tech companies will come and say ‘blockchain, blockchain, blockchain.’ I say, ‘Show me the use case. You bring me the use case and I’ll try it’.”
The weird thing about these statements is that both Mastercard and Bank of America are in the top three financial institutions that hold the most blockchain patents. And as we have seen, there is a lot of movement in this sector when it comes to blockchain, because JP Morgan presented it’s own coin. (podcast #48) But what to make of these headlines. Why the doubts? Is it the longterm return on investment? Or the fact that the return on investment could be more social return then financial? I don’t know, but maybe you have some suggestions for me. Let me know on Twitter!
Companies en applications
I seem to have missed Clovyr. But according to the article I read, they kept a low profile after the press storm when Amber Baldet and Patrick Nielsen left JPMorgan to start this company. What is Clover? The company writes on its website: Clovyr is an ecosystem of applications and services that empowers teams of all sizes to experiment, iterate and grow products to production much faster than before. The Block interviewed Baldet and calls it the “Google of blockchain”. The ecosystem tries to connect people and startups already building products for example focused on interoperability and crypto-payments. Enterprises need a basic toolset with which to build dApps, rather than each starting from scratch for being tempted by “soft cetralisation” as Baldet calls it. “If every enterprise builds their plugs separately, that’s a huge waste of resources. Half of them are going to write it with some sort of bugs…Once you have that sunken cost, you’re committed to that path.” Another key mission is helping small teams monetize by loaning their existing codes and creations to enterprises while offering some features open-source to the public. All very interesting things. And although this interview is the only sneak peek into what Clovyr will be.
Governments and law
In The Netherlands we have the Dutch Blockchain Coalition. And a lot of other countries look at the way private companies, government and agencies are working together to learn about blockchain. And a lot of other countries come here to see what we do. And other countries come to check out what we’re doing. Check podcast 40, 15, 4 and 2 and in podcast 13 I talked about a similar initiative in Canada. And now I see a similar development in Taiwan. The main purpose being the promotion of blockchain technology dissemination in the different sectors of the Taiwanese economy. Chen Mei-ling, the minister of NDC stated clearly that this technology would play an important role in the governance of the country. Let’s see what comes out of this development in the next few years, because it seems like a very broad assignment.
Oh my god!
We all missed it. Last week we could have bought ourselves an ICO. Ivan Komar tried to sell his never launched ICO on eBay for 60.000 dollars. But it expired on March 29th. According to Komar, his lawyer recommended that he developed the product first instead of launching an ICO — a decision that the entrepreneur now regrets: “We would not have tried to build a product first, we would have tried to run a token sale as soon as possible, to jump into this crypto craze bandwagon, and raise as much money as possible before building any product. And that’s exactly what others were doing.” So check out eBay if you don’t want to build your own application.
And there are more interesting new applications: a beta of a content exchange platform and Louis Vuitton owner LVMH is launching a blockchain to track luxury goods. Further news: Adledger, the blockchain consortium for online advertisement adds Hershey Company to its roster, a Dutch research among SAP users shows that few companies use blockchain in practice. And the R3 Corda blockchain project Marco Polo executes the first transactions on 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 mentioned in this episode in the description: the critical remarks by officials of Mastercard, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, the new application Clovyr, a blockchain coalition forming in Taiwan and the guy that put his never launched ICO on eBay. And if you like what you’ve heard, share this podcast with your friends and on social media and subscribe to this podcast in your podcast app. See you next week!
Check my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl
Music © by https://www.bensound.com