Last week in blockchain – 2019, week 15

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 10 Consensys accelerator applications and Genome.io in particular, Offchain Labs and Cambridge blockchain with interesting funding and activity in the world of autonomous vehicles.

Personal

A few weeks ago I spoke about Urbit, and thanks to the website Urbit.live I have my very own Urbit server now. I got myself a Linux based laptop (Ubuntu) and am tinkering with it. It’s quite a new field for me, but it still is an interesting project and te people I’ve met in the ecosystem are very kind. Thank you Barry and others at Urbit.Live. You can get your own for only 0.25 ETH and check out podcast 47 for more information about Urbit!

Technology

Background articles and research

Companies en applications

Tachyon is an Ethereum focused accelerator program from Consensys Ventures, the capital arm of Consensys, investing in pre-seed and seed stage Ethereum projects across the Web 3.0 stack. Last week they added the last startups to their 2019 accelerator batch. You can check all ten with the link in the description of my podcast. I’m going to highlight one: Genomes.io. It’s an interesting use case, but also one that raises some questions. What does Genomes.io do? It is a DNA and health data bank. Using homomorphic encryption and the Ethereum blockchain, it provides uses with control over their genome sequence. You can purchase DNA sequencing on the platform or upload existing DNA data, which is securely stored within a personal vault. You can share your genome or parts of it to earn GENE tokens in a repeat consent model with accredited researchers. On the one hand, storing this type of data in a safe vault seems like a good idea, but does anyone understand what he does when he shares this type of information? And what if the homomorphic encryption is broken? A lot of opportunities here, but also a lot of hurdles to take for Genome.io

Genome.io had a fundraiser that was over-registered 300%. A lot more companies are doing well when it comes to investments. Two other new apps, Offchain Labs and Cambrigde Blockchain made headlines last week with interesting investors. Offchain Labs raised 3.7 million dollars for a Software as a Service startup focused on scaling smart contracts. But with at least a half-dozen well-funded startups offering the same kind of product, what is Offchain Lab’s distinctive feature? Co-founder of the company Ed Felten told Coindesk they will offer the cheapest model.  “The on-chain costs, in ethereum gas costs, increase as the storage in your decentralized application gets bigger and the amount of code that needs to be executed gets bigger. We think we can really cut down the price you have to pay for smart contracts, with the same level of trust and confidence.” And as professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and former Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Felten has the expertise to pull this off. Or not? Please let me know on Twitter.

The other interesting application that got funding last week was Cambridge Blockchain. Why are they interesting. Not because of the amount of money, but because they got funding from Paypal. And according to the statement on their website, they not only get money but oalso support and guidance by the listed company. The company works on solutions to deliver strong digital identities at a global scale and meet the increasingly stringent data privacy obligations globally. The company has specific experience in designing software systems to share identity data across European financial institutions. “Our service helps streamline digital identity compliance while giving customers control over their identity data,” said Matthew Commons, Cambridge Blockchain’s CEO. And Paypal seems to be a good match with Cambridge Blockchain.

Another application launched last week is a no-brainer: pooling together the data produced by autonomous vehicles from several different manufacturers. And this is what a typical usecase for blockchain looks like: a common ground where no-one trusts one of the other actors in the field with their own data. General Motors and BMW are backing the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative to overcome this problem. The focus is to unlock the valuable data held in silos which will ultimately get autonomous vehicles on the road sooner. The pooled data can train artificial intelligence. Sebastien Henot, chair of MOBI’s vehicle identity working group said:  “The old fashioned way is that everybody thinks their data alone is so precious. The new way is to consider data sets like cooking ingredients: you need to be able to mix multiple ones to create something really valuable. Data marketplaces call technically for blockchain because you can create an environment where rules are clear in terms of who shares what data with who.” A common ground to grow together, but still be competitors.

Governments and law

Hardware

Oh my god!

Referrals

And this week there were so many applications I could talk about, I have quite a few left for the referrals: two Dutch supermarkets track eggs using blockchain, a British startup wants to disrupt the mortgage market, an other initiative in this sector is trying to cut the transaction process in property transactions from three months to three weeks, Unicef is using blockchain to provide internet to every school in Kyrgyzstan. Then to China: the authorities published a list of registered blockchain firms. And for the technology interested listeners: an article on the apathy of voters to participate in blockchain networks: a problem for decentralization. And Waves launches a tool for smart contract data outside of 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 10 Consensys accelerator applications and Genome.io in particular, Offchain Labs and Cambridge blockchain with interesting funding and activity in the world of autonomous vehicles. 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!

Sources

Consensys and Genome.io
https://media.consensys.net/meet-the-10-startups-of-consensys-tachyon-2019-ethereum-accelerator-86d043003d50

Offchain Labs
https://www.coindesk.com/former-obama-tech-officer-raises-3-7-million-for-blockchain-saas-startup

Cambridge Blockchain
https://www.cambridge-blockchain.com/post/paypal

Autonomous vehicles
https://www.coindesk.com/gm-bmw-back-blockchain-data-sharing-for-self-driving-cars


Referrals

Dutch eggs
https://bitcoinmagazine.nl/2019/04/kippen-eieren-blockchain-hodl-tokkies-tok/

British mortgage startup
https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/33642/mortgage-blockchain-tech-startup-acre-raises-5m/retail

Property transaction
https://www.propertyindustryeye.com/blockchain-trial-claims-property-transaction-process-can-be-cut-from-three-months-to-three-weeks/

Unicef
https://www.cryptonewsz.com/unicef-uses-blockchain-technology-to-provide-internet-to-every-school-in-kyrgyzstan/13460/

Chinese list of registered blockchain firms
https://btcmanager.com/chinese-authorities-publish-list-of-registered-blockchain-firms/

Voter apathy
https://medium.com/wave-financial/blockchain-voter-apathy-69a1570e2af3

Smart contracts outside blockchain
https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/04/waves-releases-data-oracle-tools-for-smart-contract-enabled-blockchain-network/

Check my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl

Music © by https://www.bensound.com

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