This is Charles Brett’s blockchain catch-up for Week 47 for the start-of-the-week. Necessarily it is idiosyncratic and selective.
It is not intended to be comprehensive but does seek to highlight ‘Quick Takes’ on specific developments as well interesting pieces to read, a listing of some (not all) announcements/press releases and pointers to upcoming events.
Quick Takes – Charles Brett’s Blockchain Catch-up Week 47
IOTA, Pantos and TU Wien open Christian Doppler Laboratory for DLT Research
The IOTA Foundation is joining the new Christian Doppler Laboratory Blockchain Technologies for the Internet of Things (CDL-BOT), as an industrial partner. A research group housed at the Institute for Information Systems Engineering at TU Wien will provide cutting-edge research on DLT interoperability, the intersection of DLT with the Internet of Things and developer support offerings. The CDL-BOT is a long-term research project expected to run for seven years, employing several postdoctoral and doctoral students under the supervision of Prof. Stefan Schulte. For the IOTA Foundation, the setup of this project is uniquely geared not only to expand research on the IOTA Tangle and its applications in the Internet of Things itself but also to look beyond the IOTA protocol in order to further the European DLT ecosystem.
Quick Take: research in a network of leading universities, public research bodies, and private sector partnerships are key to the mission of the IOTA Foundation in developing open source technologies and infrastructure for a trusted Internet of Things. The research will likely require novel mechanisms which can enable DLT interoperability – ranging from cross-blockchain token transfers to atomic swaps to cross-blockchain smart contract invocation and interaction to providing client-side blockchain interoperability through developer support. This is a broad sweep.
Universal Protocol Alliance launches carbon token
The Universal Protocol Alliance (UPA) is a coalition of blockchain companies – including Bittrex Global, Ledger, CertiK, InfiniGold and Uphold. It has launched Universal Carbon [UPCO2], a tradable carbon token on a public blockchain which can be bought and held as an investment. Or owners can burn their tokens, to offset (say) an individual’s carbon footprint. Each UPCO2 Token will represent one year-ton of CO2 pollution averted by a certified REDD+ project preventing rainforest loss or degradation. Every UPCO2 Token is backed by a Voluntary Carbon Unit [VCU], a digital certificate issued by Verra and other international standards agencies. This allows certified projects to turn their greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions into tradable carbon credits.
Quick Take: according to the World Bank, in 2020 humanity compensates for just 22% of global emissions through the purchase and retirement of carbon credits. Yet the proportion of countries operating regulated carbon markets has risen from 40% of global GDP in 2016 to 70% in 2020. The result is, according to the UPA, “a wall of demand that may far outstrip the production of new carbon credits, which is constrained by the slow and expensive process of Voluntary Carbon Project certification“. Whether the UPA assertion is true or not, on first sight this seems a worthy initiative – though it remains an unknown as to how many will actually ‘burn’ their tokens.
Stripe Treasury expands its financial services offering for platform partners
Stripe believes that today’s financial services simply were not designed for the modern Internet, which presents as a pain point for businesses today: many businesses feel banking hinders growth. Much off-line banking experience is, Stripe argues, “increasingly incongruous in a world where 76% of businesses use an industry-specific software platform to manage their business, a figure that increases to 92% for businesses with more than 500 employees. The feedback from Stripe’s users is they want a digital solution for financial services available directly within the software platform that powers their operations. On the flipside, Stripe’s platform customers are increasingly looking to embed financial services into their own product, but oftentimes face barriers to doing so.”
With Stripe Treasury, Stripe platform users will have APIs to embed financial services. These will enable customers to send, receive and store funds. By enabling standardised access – via these APIs – to the global banking capabilities. Stripe is opening up new ways to approach ‘banking’. Stripe’s bank partner network includes Goldman Sachs Bank USA and Evolve Bank & Trust as US partners, and Citibank N.A. and Barclays as global expansion partners.
Quick Take: Though without any blockchain connection, imagine what the capabilities of Stripe Treasury might be like when offered via a blockchain solution (or service). Though banks like Goldman Sachs, Evolve, Citibank and Barclays must believe that Stripe Treasury will enable them to add ‘happy’ customers, the potential for Stripe (or another – because Stripe is probably too committed to the traditional banking model) to offer something similar on a blockchain. That would be revolutionary for customers.
7 pieces to read – Charles Brett’s Blockchain Catch-up Week 47
China’s rural tech revolution and the ‘Blockchain Chicken Farm‘
- How American investors are gobbling up booming Bitcoin
- Philanthropy: a missing catalyst of blockchain adoption
- Visa partners with Ethereum digital-dollar startup Circle Internet Financial
- De Beers plans to clean up diamond supply chain, be carbon neutral by 2030
- Blockchain attempts to secure the supply chain
- SEC announces new standalone office dedicated to digital assets and blockchain.
Selected announcements/press releases – Charles Brett’s Blockchain Catch-up Week 47
- Though centralised, a digital yuan is too big for China to surveil, says Cypherium CEO (comment)
- Cambridge University/World Bank and The World Economic Forum: 12 out of 13 fintech sectors growing during COVID-19 but growth is uneven (study)
- Climatetrade announces a partnership with Algorand with investment from Borderless Capital (press release)
- Blockchain in education: 7 projects to discover (education)
- Report finds only 37% of organisations have the skills and technology to keep pace with digital projects (report) – Registration required.
- VeChain ToolChain to Onboard U.S. seafood import platform KnowSeafood (press release)
- BePay Partners with nanopay to enable cross-border payments for customers (press release)
- iQSTEL plans Reg CF fundraising where investors receive Visa prepaid debit card as investment incentive (press release)
- FinTech PingPong secures e-money licence in Luxembourg (press release)
- Prasaga launches blockchain operating system XBOM (press release).
Selected upcoming events
- 2020 Respada Digital Asset Summit (10th December, 2020 – from 1900-2000 EST / 2400-0100 UTC)
- Virtual International Payments Course: December 2nd, 4th & 8th, 2020 – key principles, concepts, practices and current developments
- Paris Blockchain Week summit launches hybrid event on December 9th & 10th, 2020 (more info here)
- Geneva Blockchain Congress, 25 January, 2021
- European Blockchain Convention (EBC Barcelona), 25-26 January, 2021
- World Crypto-Bitcoin, Blockchain and Cyber-security (BCB), 04-05 March, 2021
- International Conference on Big Data and Blockchain (BDAB), 20-21 March, 2021
- Crypto Finance Conference Returns to St. Moritz in January 2021
- Blockchance Europe 2021 (July 7th-9th, 2021).