Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Twitter, but we do have people within the company thinking about it today," said Dorsey, a known bitcoin aficionado.

Civic announced that it would try to boost its user numbers by paying for all identity checks for business partners' customers until the end of the year. No less than a third of all CVC tokens will be allocated for this, amounting to $43 million. If the idea turns into a huge success, however, the ethereum blockchain might get overwhelmed. "It would make CryptoKitties look like a walk in the park," Civic co-founder Vinny Lingham told CoinDesk.

Another identity-oriented startup, supported by IBM, Hu-manity.co launched the #My31 app on iOS and Android mobile devices, claiming to protect one's legal ownership of personal data as a "31st human right." Users receive a title of ownership, and their personal details, signature and photograph can be added in the form of a hash on the blockchain, along with their data-sharing preferences.

Eye on enterprises

Talk about chutzpah. As revealed this week by CoinDesk's Ian Allison, in June the enterprise blockchain startup R3 approached the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) consortium and suggested that the project be built on R3's Corda platform.

This was an audacious proposal, to say the least, as USC since its inception three years ago has been managed by another blockchain tech vendor, Clearmatics. Despite R3's offer to fund the technical development and pay a share of legal fees, its overture was rejected by all 17 of USC's bank members during a vote.

Microsoft's Azure cloud division is building bridges between its blockchain services and other, widely used infrastructure and platforms, such as Office 365 Outlook, SharePoint Online, Salesforce, Dynamics 365 CRM Online, SAP, and even Twitter. Once ported from those services to a distributed ledger, data will be a lot easier for customers to mine for business insights, Microsoft reckons.

IBM's Blockchain World Wire is fresh out of beta to provide cross-border payments using the stellar blockchain. World Wire replaces banking intermediaries (correspondent banks, in industry parlance) with digital assets sent over a distributed network, though like Ripple, Big Blue is pitching the product to financial institutions.

A blockchain startup founded by former Deloitte employees, Citizens Reserve is launching a new supply chain platform known as SUKU, which aims to provide trading partners with real-time data on the location of goods, a bid-and-order marketplace and automated contracts. The platform will use both the ethereum and Quorum blockchains.

blockchain lessons from liechtenstein and DC 12 sept 2018

Liechtenstein embassy sponsored very useful blockchain debrief at CSIS - https://www.pwc.ch/en/publications/2018/crypto-liechenstein.pdf

why liechtenstein- its a perfect size and location as a country to develop plro-active legislation for its own people and be a living lab that the EU takes notice of (the EU trying to make rules for 20 countries is exactly opposite in what it can bring)

the ambassaor to is sponsored the meeting and his tech expert patrick bont was on the panel
4 years ago liechtenstein started a "regulatory lab"- and this monthly a trial blockchain law has been launched which will be ratified for national legislation early 2019

the lab emerged as tech people came to government asking for the nation's views- earliest were a group who wanted to do an ICO - - in discussion with the reg team a partnership was formed - ETERNITY 2017 has bene launched and appears a benchmark for a small mation to launch an ICO

from this experience the lab learnt a lot about the playing pieces

apparnetly there afre some critoical choices in terminolgy - if a nation like lichenstein deems a crytpocurrency as a commodity then it is relatively free to design its onw regilulations; if it call this a finacial intrsiment it soon has to fit in with international regulations (including waiting for there to be any made in these fats chnaging areas0

there is also a language in initial cpin oferemnings where lichenstein suggests people consider 3 roles a token may exchnage

can be like a share, a security - something part of the funding
can be a voucher - for use in payment gtransction
can be both at same time

matthew wellin of criwell & moring gave some usegful examples
from ibm trying tro see to bif=g clients private blockchain on sourcing in a supply chain such as coffee to australian cases - in very remore areas thosaudnds of piower line pilons now have a blockchian cap- they tallk to neighbors afre you still wlorking - so now in a stlorm when one post goes down it can be found previpouslhy this need huige amount lof searching

daniel forfine labcftc - us securities commission  (also teacher of fintech law at georgetown)


Liechtenstein Blockchain Act To Create Crypto Hub For Institutional Investors

The government, and the Prince, is keen to expand into blockchain.

The Principality of Liechtenstein is not on the beaten path. A German-speaking Alpine state nestled between Switzerland and Austria, the country covers just 62 square miles and had a population less than 40,000 citizens at the last census. A seemingly unlikely setting for an aspiring blockchain hub, one might think.
However, its geopolitical position could make Liechtenstein a leading light for blockchain regulation, and a future powerhouse (or powercastle?) in cryptocurrency.
Although the Principality is in the EEA and therefore subject to relevant laws (around 5,000 of the total of 23,000 EU laws apply there), it is not entirely at the mercy of European Union edicts, and has a level of independence with regard to its own financial regulation.
Historically known for little more than agriculture and winter sports, the country’s low corporation tax began to attract big businesses in the latter half of the 20th century. By the new millennium, Liechtenstein had reinvented itself as an international center for finance; the country is in the peculiar situation of having more registered companies that it does citizens.
Liechtenstein is now working on a new piece of legislation that observers claim will make the country one of the most attractive destinations in the world for institutional investors. Called the ‘Transactions Systems Based on Trustworthy Technologies Act’, the bill has been described as a means to secure regulatory oversight, whilst maintaining open dialogues with blockchain businesses and encouraging continual innovation in the space.

The Liechtenstein Blockchain Act

The proposed bill approaches blockchain legislation by setting clear rules for the businesses that work with it. Liechtenstein will not regulate cryptocurrency itself, but will instead focus on regulating the transfer of digital assets, as well as the businesses and service providers that leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Part of the reasoning is practical. The pace of innovation is fast and the act saves the government having to rattle through new legislation everytime a new application is developed. According to Matthias Niedermüller, a lawyer who has worked closely on the proposed Blockchain Act both with businesses and the government, this is a realistic decision. Regulating the transfer of assets, as well as the companies that facilitate access to the blockchain, provides effective cover without curbing development, says Niedermüller.
“The Blockchain act provides for a comprehensive system for creation, storage and transfer of tokens along with the security for enforcement of the rights associated with every token and therefore creates an entire token economy”, he adds.
Liechtenstein’s role in global finance means there is already considerable overlap; existing regulation covers large swathes of the cryptocurrency sector’s activities. Liechtenstein’s Financial Market Authority (FMA) had already determined in September of last year that tokens sold in public sales already counted as financial instruments subject to existing regulation, especially in regards to security tokens. There was already enough regulation in February for Bank Frick, based in the Lichsteiner town of Balzars, to introduce a new service for its clients to directly, and legitimately, invest into cryptocurrency.
Projects looking to host a public sale need to provide potential investors with a comprehensive overview of the token and would have to register with the FMA, which would ensure adequate internal procedures are in place.
Most tokens are already recognized as legal tender in Liechtenstein. The Act states that cryptocurrency ownership is based on the private key. Excluding cases of theft, this gives the owner of the private key the right to sell the asset. Third party services are required to ensure safe custody and clearly define the company’s own assets from the ones held on the behalf of others.

Is Liechtenstein the Alpine Malta?

Malta has been one of the most enthusiastic national advocates for blockchain technology. The cryptocurrency exchange Binance moved its operations base to the island back in April and the government devoted most of the summer to passing legislation that gave legal status to cryptocurrency, as well as providing guidelines on token sales. The Maltese Stock Exchange (MSE) signed an MOU with Binance yesterday, the two companies will work together to establish a security token exchange.
Like Liechtenstein, Malta and Gibraltar transformed their economies in the latter half of the 1980s. Both jurisdictions lowered their capital gains tax and became prominent business centers for offshore gambling.
Monty Metzger, the CEO of LCX (Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange), told Crypto Briefing that far from attracting institutional players, this will repel them. “Liechtenstein has a triple-A rating from Standard and Poor’s and a super high reputation, well known as a serious place of business with strong regulatory relationships”, he said. “Malta and Gibraltar, on the other hand, are known as for their online casinos which won’t help them attract serious clients”.
Although in the heart of Europe, Liechtenstein is not a member of the European Union. This is vital: it has a lot more freedom when drawing up its laws than its neighboring countries, which are also expected to comply with the European Parliament in Brussels. “The key difference between Liechtenstein and somewhere like Malta is that we’re not in the EU”, explained Ninos Mansor.
Liechtenstein’s membership to the European Economic Area (EEA) means its products and services have unrestricted access to the wider European market. As Niedermüller points out, financial instruments approved by the FMA, including cryptocurrency investment vehicles, could be distributed and sold across Europe, including in Switzerland. “A comprehensive EU-wide regulation of the Blockchain business does not appear to be probable in the next years,” he said. “The success of the Liechtenstein Blockchain Act, however, could form a role model on how to regulate the Blockchain business.”

The European Hub for FinTech?

A lack of regulation creates uncertainty in the market. The vast majority of businesses want to work within the law and will move to places where they can operate legally. Investment bank Goldman Sachs shelved their bitcoin (BTC) trading desk last week, citing a lack of regulatory clarity from the SEC.
There are benefits to being small: it’s easier for regulators to adapt to new technologies and innovation faster than their counterparts in larger economies. Whereas Gibraltar, Bermuda, and Malta have already passed some form of blockchain legislation in the past two years, America’s SEC has yet to provide anything resembling a clear legal framework for cryptocurrency.
Being less than a quarter of the size of London gives businesses in Liechtenstein plenty of access to the FMA. This has multiple benefits explained Monty Metzger. As a firm looking to facilitate security token trades between institutional clients, Metzger, who was originally based in Luxembourg, said they were attracted to Liechtenstein because of the high level of support from government and banks. “We’ve heard how companies in other countries have their accounts frozen without warning; LCX currently has three banking partners in Liechtenstein”, he said.
Frequent and wide-ranging contact with local cryptocurrency and FinTech services means the FMA has developed a strong working knowledge. Programmes like Impuls Liechtenstein have already established dialogues between state authorities and startups, providing clarity for both regulators and businesses.
The small size of Liechtenstein definitely gives market participants and the regulator much better possibilities to exchange views and thoughts on a regular day to day basis to create a comprehensive and sustainable blockchain economy,” said Niedermüller. “In particular regular open communication with the regulator is very common.”

Well into the late 1960s, the princely family was selling off parts of its fine art collection just to keep the economy afloat. Finance transformed Liechtenstein into a very rich country. It now has a 1.5% unemployment rate and the highest GDP per capita in the world, a startling $139,100, over 10% higher than its closest competitor, Qatar.
On turning itself into a reputable hub for blockchain, the Crown Prince of Liechtenstein, Alois, said the country’s early regulation of blockchain ensures it attracts reputable service providers. A prince waxing lyrical about blockchain in his medieval castle seems like the collision of two very different worlds, but the Alpine state sees blockchain as the future.
Rather than protecting established interests, Liechtenstein is facing forward; even in the preamble to its Blockchain Act, legislators say that: “The government is convinced that the future of prosperity and an alternative range of jobs for Liechtenstein and the region can be obtained through continuous development and entrepreneurial innovation.”
The government has reportedly been working on this legislation for two years and officially announced the act at the Finance Forum back in March. Following the Government’s adoption in August,  the proposed act is currently in the consultation period which end in November; if all goes well, the bill is expected to pass in Q1 2019.
Partly because of its size; partly because of its economy, Liechtenstein keeps a low profile; the Blockchain Act could change this. Already used to high-altitudes, the principality could soon reach the pinnacle of blockchain regulation. The country’s regulatory swiftness could earn it a princely sum.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Blockchain Solution to the Opioid Crisis

Blockchain technology could bring much-needed transparency and data traceability to the opioid prescription system. Image: Getty Images
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Blockchain technology could bring much-needed transparency and data traceability to the opioid prescription system. Image: Getty Images
In the urgent search for multipronged, coordinated solutions to the opioid epidemic ravaging the U.S., blockchain might be just the powerful weapon we need.
More than 115 people in the U.S. die every day after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Institute sets the price tag for the economic burden for prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. at $78.5 billion a year.  Communities all over the U.S., particularly rural areas and industrial cities, have suffered from the consequences. Imagine the scale: Drug manufacturers reportedly shipped 20 million painkillers to a town of 3,000 people, sending on average more than 6,000 pills for each resident.
Many factors contribute to this highly complex problem, but a few key issues stand out:
  • Lack of Transparency: Like the overall healthcare system, the prescription drug market has many actors, each driven by different motives. This system severely lacks transparency and accountability. Suppliers, drug manufacturers, doctors, pharmacists and ill-informed patients all bear some responsibilities.  What’s more, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of wrongdoings and root out bad actors.
  • Meddlesome Middlemen: Adding to the web of intermediaries, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) administer pharmacy benefits for most Americans with little regulatory oversight, creating friction between manufacturers and payers while pocketing huge profits thanks to widespread opacity. 
  • Lack of Data Integrity: Despite various data initiatives to shed light on the prescription system, there is no single source of truth when it comes to data collected about this antiquated process—leaving it vulnerable to fraud and abuse.
  • Misaligned Incentives: Though we are moving towards value-based care, medical services and drugs are still mostly reimbursed on the volume-based model. Government incentives rewards doctors who overprescribe drugs. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies incentivize insurers with rebates to include their drugs on the formulary. However, there is little financial incentive to prescribe appropriate amounts and provide value care for patients.
All the above contribute to a broken system, fueling a lack of trust among all the players that discourages coordinated action to help stem this crisis.
This is where blockchain technology comes into play.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain has captivated many with the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Blockchain is a distributed ledger database shared across all computer nodes on the internet. It provides a single source of truth that cannot be retroactively altered, and therefore ensures the integrity of the data stored on it. No alteration. No opacity. No middleman.
This shared ledger brings transparency and traceability of data, which can represent money, real estate, rights to artwork, coffee beans or anything of value. In these networks, blockchain designers use a mix of economics and cryptography to align incentives of the actors, penalizing bad actors and rewarding good behavior.
The benefits of decentralization, data security, and provenance have organizations across many fields—from Silicon Valley startups to IBM to the World Bank—experimenting with blockchain.
How to Tackle the Opioids Problem?
In ‘redesigning’ the lifecycle of prescription drugs, we propose tracking the prescriptions sent from providers to the pharmacy and the quantity being prescribed. Building a prescription drug platform on the blockchain allows each party to have a set of shared facts. This removes information discrepancies between plan sponsors and drug companies, while reducing the power and involvement of the PBMs in price negotiations—and holding them accountable for cost management for the patients.
Instead of paper prescriptions, e-prescriptions securely stored on the blockchain can restore trust to an outdated system with a layer of monitoring for misuse. That is because an algorithm built into the network ensures the consistency and integrity of data, which prevents attempts to tamper with prescriptions written by doctors.
Early Adopter Already Taking Action
Some blockchain startups have plunged into solving these thorny issues, including BlockMedx, which is building a blockchain-based prescription platform to bring transparency and accountability to the misuse of opioids. Its solutions include other emerging technologies such as machine learning to predict the likelihood of drug misuse and abuse. And a blockchain-based identity management solution gives patients control of their data.
Though blockchain technology is still in early stages, the opioids emergency is already here and will persist until we intervene. It’s imperative we deploy innovative, multipronged solutions to this coordination problem—and blockchain could prove to be key.

Yidu Wang is a healthcare product manager and blockchain researcher.Dang Du is a cryptocurrency journalist and blockchain strategist. The authors run A Bit Cryptic, a podcast that features blockchain pioneers including those in digital health. Check out their interviews at: Medium;iTunes; and Google Play.  
Join the tens of thousands of subscribers in more than 100 countries who rely on Global Health NOW summaries and exclusive articles for the latest public health news. Sign up for our free weekday enewsletter, and please share the link with friends and colleagues:http://www.globalhealthnow.org/subscribe.html

Sunday, January 29, 2017


This week brought several signs that cryptocurrency is gradually gaining mainstream acceptance, both in the business world and society generally.

First, it appears that U.S. college students like crypto, with 18 percent of them saying they own cryptocurrency in a recent survey conducted by Coinbase with Qriously. More and more top universities, including Cornell, Stanford, and Georgetown, are adjusting to the demand and offering new courses on blockchain. 

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi bought 73 percent of a publicly-traded firm called Pantronics Holdings. The $77 miilion investment will help Huobi to get, through a reverse takeover, a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Big institutional insurers are also quietly moving closer to the space. British Kingdom Trust, a custodian of 30 cryptocurrencies and tokens, will start providing coverage for theft and loss due to natural disaster. This became possible thanks to underwriters in Lloyd's insurance marketplace — a storied, centuries-old firm that had never previously advertised its intentions to work with crypto.

And finally, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten announced it is buying a cryptocurrency exchange called Everybody's Bitcoin. Rakuten's customers have been asking for a crypto exchange service, the company said, so now it's planning to get a license for the exchange and also launch its own cryptocurrency.


Ethereum is on the eve of a big, important October upgrade known as Constantinople, intended to improve the network’s scalability and performance. In the meantime, the community is actively discussing what needs to be changed.Most importantly, the community has to decide how tomanage ether inflationbefore a so-called difficulty bomb hits.

One contentious proposal, EIP 1052, would not reduce issuance, but instead would reduce the amount of ether that is rewarded to "uncles," a kind of block that speeds transactions but isn't included in the blockchain itself. But not everybody agrees with this solution and the coming hard fork needs a broad consensus to be effective.

On Friday, avideo call for developerstook place: 14 of themagreed to reduce the amount of ether issued with new blocks. The amount, if the proposal is approved, will drop from 3 to 2 ETH per block.Also, they decided to delay the difficulty bomb by 12 months.

Another important decision — whether to restrict the use of specialized mining equipment — has yet to be made.               

Friday, January 27, 2017

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Aims for 2 billion Users by Bringing Blockchain Technology to Alipay

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Alibaba’s payment arm Ant Financial wants to have 2 billion customers in 10 years according to the chief executive of the $60 billion firm. Ant Financial runs the Alipay mobile wallet in China which has over 450 million users.
In an interview with CNBC, Eric Jing, the CEO of Ant Financial, added that the Chinese giant is exploring further uses of Blockchain technology to make that possible. 
Jing noted the potential of artificial intelligence and Blockchain.
When asked by CNBC if Ant Financial is looking into blockchain technologies to underpin Alipay, Jing said “definitely”.
Ant Financial has already introduced Blockchain technology into a charitable donation service that it owns, with the aim of allowing users to track the money they send in a more charitable way.
To push growth the company raised a whopping $4.5 billion in a series B funding round last year which will help drive deals such as its acquisition of a 40% stake in India’s Paytm.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Like many other global leaders, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi realises the potential of new and upcoming technology in reforming sectors and the lives of people in India. With a view to ensure that India doesn’t miss the blockchain boat, PM recently said: “India’s youth can lead a revolutionary movement using AI (artificial intelligence) and blockchain technologies with a value addition.”
However, words need to be translated into action. As Inc42 earlier reported, more than 80% of the blockchain developers in India may move abroad in search of better opportunities and owing to the lack of “robust regulatory framework.”
But, what, really, is the big deal about blockchain? How is it different from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum? Why is every government, consulting firm, technology giant, and startup alike — and across sectors such as e-governance, fintech, healthcare, education — rushing in to explore blockchain applications?
What is its real potential — especially blockchain as a technology/framework and blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) — in the context of India? How are other countries exploiting blockchain to their advantage? What is the existing scenario, and the future, of blockchain in India?
This, and a lot of more questions on blockchain have remained unanswered at large, primarily due to two reasons — lack of real understanding and knowledge of the technology, and the absence of comprehensive analytical data relating to its usage/potential usage in India.
To answer these unanswered questions, cut out the hype from the reality, and clear the air of confusion pervading the technology, Inc42 is launching the Blockchain Technology Report 2018: An In-depth Study Of The Current State and Future Of Blockchain In India.
The report delves into the hype around the technology, decoding blockchain and its frameworks, and discussing its features — primarily information consensus across multiple parties, its transparency, and security. Providing a rundown on the leading frameworks —Ethereum, Hyperledger, Multichain, Corda, Quorum, Lisk, and more — the report also places the technology in context, bringing in the classic case study of Telegram. It aims to clarify the difference between blockchain and cryptocurrencies for readers with limited or no knowledge about the technology.
It also elucidates the current ongoing applications and the landscape of blockchain adaptation across the world and in India, exploring the various initiatives taken by governments the world over to incorporate the technology to bring more visibility into governance.
The report talks about the various projects being implemented by Indian government think tank Niti Aayog and state governments to digitise land records and exam certification using a blockchain called IndiaChain.
Most importantly, it discusses the vast scope of application of blockchain across industries, specifically exploring opportunities in India.
Here’s A Look At Some Global Blockchain Facts:
  • Only 0.5% of the world’s population is using blockchain today, but 50% or 3.77 Bn people use the Internet
  • Over the last five years, venture capitalists (VCs) have invested more than $1 Bn in blockchain companies
  • About 90% of the major North American and European banks are exploring blockchain solutions
  • The global blockchain market is expected to be worth $20 Bn by 2024
  • It is estimated that banks could save $8-12 Bn annually if they use blockchain technology
  • In April 2018, a group of 22 European nations formed a new blockchain partnership aimed at exchanging information on the technology. The countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, and the Netherlands, signed a declaration on April 10, 2018, establishing the new group, dubbed the European Blockchain Partnership, according to a release from the European Commission, which led the effort
The increasing importance of blockchain can be understood by the fact that leading IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) believes 2018-19 will be the year of blockchain adoption by the largest banks and stock exchanges in India and expects to generate at least $200 Mn in annual revenues from its blockchain practice. ICICI Bank announced that it has on-boarded more than 250 corporates on its blockchain platform for domestic and international trade finance.
Now, more than ever, Indian businesses need to be made aware of the importance of implementing blockchain in the banking system, especially to control frauds. According to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report, sourced by Reuters through a Right To Information (RTI) appeal, state-run banks have reported as many as 8,670 “loan fraud” cases, totalling INR 61,260 crore, over the last five financial years up to March 31, 2017.
Closely tracking the trends among the early adopters of blockchain in India, Inc42 Datalabs has also addressed the challenges blockchain startups have faced while designing PoCs (Proof of Concept).
While the Inc42 Blockchain Technology Report 2018 offers indepth insights for professionals seeking to gain an understanding grip of the subject, it could be a fun read for n00bs looking to decode the technology — especially for those who have been bingeing on Mr Robot, a popular TV series based on cryptocurrency, primarily the Bitcoin.
In the blockchain world, find out which block does India stand in.