A Month Ago

Blockchain technology is impacting our lives in many ways, and while there were lots of headlines in 2017 and 2018 about the price of Bitcoin and how Ripple had risen in value in a 12 month period by over 37,000%, large corporations have been busy behind the scenes.

Indeed, as the link at the end of this article illustrates, big businesses across the globe have been investing and trialing various projects to ensure that they are not left behind.

Blockchain technology offers a powerful combination of better security, greater efficiency, reducing costs of transactions and in many cases, reducing the number of parties which need to be involved in a transaction - and/or movement of goods and services.

What is interesting is that when you look at the list Forbes has compiled, typically of $ Billion businesses, they are from a wide variety of industries. It is more of a case of which business sector is not going to be transformed or impacted by Blockchain technology and, as CB Insights reported, listed 50 different industries and how they could change as a result of using Blockchain technology.

One way to look at Blockchain is to use a sporting analogy. In a game of rugby or football (soccer for our US readers), a player kicks the ball, then another player passes the ball and then passes to another team member, and then to another before they hopefully score. All these transactions are recorded in real time and all players and spectators can watch the game. Blockchains, in effect, digitise a series of shipments, transactions, and movements in real time, with much greater transparency between the relevant parties in the same way video records a football match. Once the parties have agreed what has happened (“blocks”) is real, the new blocks is added to the chain - hence Blockchain. Therefore, in effect, it enables the recording of transactions accessible to all parties involved and so no one can disagree or alter the information (who did “the throw-in” and who “scored”).

At any stage of the game and after it, everyone has an accurate, commonly-agreed picture of every move throughout the match.

Nike, the world’s largest shoe manufacturer and the most valuable apparel brand in the world, has filed a trademark “CryptoKicks” which could lead to it launching its own Cryptocurrency.

This rather bold claim is on the back of Nike’s trademark application, which states “Financial services, namely, providing a digital currency or digital token for use by members of an online community via a global computer network; facilitation of financial transactions using unconventional currency systems and bartering...”

Interestingly, earlier this year, Nike launched trainers that lace themselves, called HyperAdapt. Therefore, will CryptoKicks support an incentive scheme for people wearing these trainers? After all, Nike apparel, with its distinctive logo, is as a form of advertising medium while being worn. So, the more you wear your trainers, the more CryptoKicks you could earn!

Facebook is looking to launch Facecoin on WhatsApp in India, but will Nike beat it and have CryptoKicks up and running before Zuckerberg is out of the blocks?

Nike, like Facebook, has a global audience, who are using their goods and services on a daily basis and both firms need to stay relevant, engaged, and keep the attention of their customers while finding ways to encourage them to repeat purchases.

How long before we see other global brands launching their own Cryptocurrencies for engagement, reward, and payment mechanism?

Social Media
The giant Dutch bank, ING, has called upon the cryptographic skills of Stanford University in California, University College London, and start-up Blockstream, to offer greater privacy when transferring Bitcoin, by hiding certain transaction details.

ING are calling this new method ‘Bulletproof”, and claim it is 300 times more efficient than some other methods of sending Digital currencies. Interestingly, this new method may be extremely helpful as a way to record data using Blockchain technology and still comply with GDPR regulations across Europe.Keeping user-information and data private has been a real challenge for exponents of Blockchain technology, and has led to some organisations turning to private or permissioned Blockchains.

Bulletproof Blockchains could also be ideal for security tokens, especially where the underlying asset is a publicly quote equity or may contain price-sensitive information. It would appear that, as it is now possible using ING’s bulletproof system, it could be possible to carry out transactions using a Blockchain, but not disclose the price of the asset, who is the buyer or seller, or how much is being transacted.

This would be a real breakthrough and would help to allay compliance officers’ concerns within asset managers and banks about having price-sensitive information in the public domain.

Enthusiasts of Digital Assets believe that if user's transactions can be made private and not available to prying eyes, it might help minimise scams and frauds, and attract more investors.


2 Months Ago

The London Stock Exchange (LSE), which is one of the largest regulated exchanges globally, has issued an STO worth £3 million on the LSE’s Turquoise platform.

This is the first STO, or as some are calling it an Equity Token-Offering (ETO), for The LSE, and has been carried out within the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Fintech Sandbox for a company called 20/30.

Nivaura helped with the 20/30 issue, and had previously been involved in launching a bond on the Ethereum network, claiming that by using Blockchain technology the costs of issuing a bond could fall by as much as 65% to 80%.

Nivaura recently raised over £20 million from Linklaters, Allen Overy, and the LSE to develop their business as they believe that Digitising the issuance of bonds and equities for private and publicly quoted businesses is here to stay.

No doubt other exchanges around the world will be keeping a close watch on the LSE, as they will not want London to steal too big an advantage in this sector, which is attracting considerable institutional interest around the world!

Digital Assets
The key to success for many businesses is having strong and effective distribution, and this is what Telegram (200+Million), Twitter (300+Million), Facebook (2.3 Billion + 1.5 Billion using WhatsApp and 1 Billion using Instagram) have already done.

So, all three firms, with their existing distribution could enable each one of them to launch their own Digital Currency and try and take a slice of the $5+Trillion foreign exchange market (as estimated by the Bank of International Settlement). On top of this, there are the internal cash, credit and debit card transactions every day within each country across the world, so the potential size of the market to go for is huge.

In the $508 Trillion global publicly quoted equity and bond market, there is also the potential for a successful Digital Currency provider to target these assets too, if the former NASDAQ CEO and chairman, Robert Greifeld is right. He believes that by 2022, all Wall Street financial instruments such as bonds, real estate, and equities will be tokenized. For tokenised, think of digital, and Silicon Valley organisations have many of the digital skill sets needed to become competitors to the traditional Wall Street incumbents.

One of the key factors holding back mass adoption of Digital Assets, is that dealing in Digital Assets is not very user-friendly, but I suspect Facebook, Telegram or Twitter will soon work out how to solve this challenge.

Facebook is looking to issue Facecoin, Telegram is rumoured to be going to launch GRAM and Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, also the founder of Square - a financial services payments business are currently hiring engineers as it gears up its Crypto skills. Jack Dorsey is known to be supportive of Digital Assets, just look at his Twitter feed, so will Square’s Crypto skills be used within Twitter?

Social Media
Digital Assets
In a survey of over 150 universities and endowments in Canada, USA and UK, 94% of the respondents said that they had already invested in Crypto assets - 54% directly and 46% using different types of funds, and only 7% said they were looking to reduce their exposure over the next year.

The survey, although released recently, was conducted in Q4 2018, i.e. when many Digital Assets prices were considerably lower than they are currently, and the sentiment was much more negative to this asset class.

However, the survey revealed that there are still concerns about investing in Digital Assets, such as custody, liquidity, and regulation.

Harvard, with its $39 Billion foundation, is reportedly going to invest $11.5 Million into Blockstack, which will be the first Security Token Offering (STO) that will comply with SEC A+ Regulations, as Blockstack looks to raise $50 million later this year.

Muneeb Ali, co-founder, and CEO of Blockstack PBC, said in the press release:

“Blockstack has been working with securities lawyers to create a legal framework that can enable blockchain protocols to comply with SEC regulations. Our framework is consistent with the latest SEC guidance released last week. Upon qualification, we believe that this offering may be the first time a blockchain project receives approval to access the public U.S. securities markets.”

This is clear evidence that institutional investors have been buying Digital Assets. As we see more   STOs being launched, which will be subject to much tighter regulation, custody providers ought to be able to offer their services to these types of assets. This is important as the lack of custody providers is another reason cited as to why institutions have not significantly invested in Digital Assets to date.

Within hours of the news about the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral Bitcoin owners, were being asked to send funds to help in the restoration of the Parisian landmark.

The appeal was initiated by a French journalist, and Gregory Raymond, on Twitter, he hoped such charitable actions by owners of Bitcoin could illustrate to the lawmakers that Digital Assets can be used for good, and not just the small percentage of criminal uses often cited by regulators and naysayersIt is not just Crypto donations that are being accepted.

The CEO of Kering, which owns Gucci and Queen Alexander,
have given $100 million, and the owner of LVMH has pledged $200 million. Mere mortals can send fiat too as The Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris has a donation page, or one can use GoFundMe or JustGiving.

There has been some backlash to the amount of money raised for Notre Dame which within a few days is over $750 Million as some claimed there are worthier causes….

The French Finance minister is trying to encourage other European countries to develop a set of rules as to how Cryptocurrencies are to be regulated and taxed, following France’s parliament passing legislation last week on how intermediaries handle these assets.

Known as the “Plan d’action pour la croissance et la transformation des entreprises,” (Pacte) it reportedly enables insurance companies in France to invest in Digital Assets.

France is keen to encourage tech innovation and different types of funding that Digital Assets have been using like Initial Coin Offerings. The French are keen to have some controls and regulations, to ensure that investors are protected from fraudulent activities from firms looking to create Digital Assets, but not to protect investors from losses should they occur.

Regulations vary wildly by country within Europe as there is no pan-European legislation. However, local regulators across Europe are imposing restrictions on platforms that do not have the correct permissions to offer brokerage services. The European Union has previously proposed that firms offering services in the Digital Asset sector be subject to its anti-money ‎laundering and countering terrorist financing regulations.‎

As more governments understand the transformational impact that Digital Assets are able to have on their economies, we are likely to see more jurisdictions formulating legislation to encouraging the adoption of Digital Assets. The alternative is, that because these assets are Digital, companies will base themselves in countries that are more accommodative.

Digital Assets
KT Corporation (KT), Korea’s largest telecoms company, is launching its new 5th generation internet service and will be using Blockchain technology to provide additional security, which they believe is important especially for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market.

The reason they are focussing on IoT is, that according to KT, 99% of IoT devices have been subject to some form of hacking, but KT hopes that by using Blockchain technology they can make IoT devices more secure.Korea has been at the forefront of Blockchain and Digital Asset adoption, and KT had only a few weeks ago announced it was to trial the K Token in a city called Gimpo, in Korea. The K token is designed to help residents and shops in Gimpo to be able to carry out transactions faster and more efficiently, and interestingly, is also going to be used to help in social and community projects.

There has been a considerable number of patents being issued by companies on a global basis for applications using Blockchain technology, recently including Accenture, IBM and Thomson Reuters.

Accenture has filed in the US, a Blockchain patent around the interoperability of Blockchains, which a key concern for corporations as they do not want to be ‘locked-in’ using a Blockchain that will not interact with other Blockchains.

IBM’s patent involves the use of data and Blockchain technology for self-driving cars to asses nearby drivers’ behaviour. Collecting data from a variety of different sensors and then calculating the most - likely maneuvers of nearby vehicles/drivers.

Thomson Reuters patent, which is filed in the USA, is around storing identity-related data securely on a ‘token‘ on a Blockchain. 

One of the reasons companies register patents is to have evidence that they own Intellectual Property (IP) and so increase the intangible assets they possess. It is then possible, depending on where the company is based, to enjoy significant tax advantages. Depending on which country a firm files a patent, it is possible to claim tax relief going back for up to TWO years on most of the expenses relating to the creation of the patent, and associated research and development costs. This is significant, as even for small start-up companies it may be possible to offset not just corporation tax, but VAT and employment taxes such as National Insurance.

The chart shows the dominance of China in terms of Blockchain patents. One of the reasons for applying for a patent in China is that the income derived from an activity that has a patent enjoys a lower potential tax as the burden is reduced from 25% to 15%. Source: Coin Telegraph.

However, while The Chinese government is desperately keen to be an IT powerhouse, a significant % of the patents that are filed in China do not get granted. In 2017, China filed over 1.3million patents, which was an increase of over 600% from the 204.00 in 2008. To offer some context there were 525,00 patents filed in the USA in 2017, which was an increase of 20% from the 429,000 filed in 2007. However, of the 1.2 million Chinese applications only 26% were actually granted, while in the US over 50% of applications applied for, were successfully granted.

Companies globally are often valued on their intangible assets, such as their Intellectual property and brand value, so having a number of patents helps when they look to raise capital, or when they come to sell the business. This, coupled with generous tax breaks, may help explain the rise in patent applications around the world, although if you wanted to be cynical, patents are being sorted to gain some control over Blockchain technology for the future!

A New York Times journalist has reported that Facebook has been talking to Venture Capital (VC) firms to raise $1 Billion to invest in its cryptocurrency project.

Facebook is looking to launch Facecoin in India on its WhatsApp platform later this year, and it is thought Tim Draper, a VC manager who backed Skype, Bitcoin ( five years ago) and Coinbase, is considering to participate and invest.

Facebook is allegedly going to issue a stablecoin, although it is not clear yet whether it will be pegged/linked to the US$, or to a basket of international currencies. Given Facebook‘s global reach of users, a stablecoin based on a basket of currencies could be an interesting proposition. While the concept of investing in a basket of currencies is not new, as it has been possible to invest in such an asset for a while and there are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) securities that offer this exposure, a stablecoin that gives exposure to a basket of currencies would be unique as a Digital Asset.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, who is reportedly worth over $66 Billion, has spoken a lot about Facebook’s plans to launch its own Digital Currency, and his company now has over 50 people working on this project, including David Marcus, the former President of PayPal.

Some are predicting that Facebook is looking to offer an alternative to the US$ and emulate the success that We Chat in China has had, offering a money transfer solution. In any event, with Facebook’s financial muscle and strong balance sheet (as it is sitting on over $40 Billion of cash and investments), it is surprising that it is looking to raise more capital. So, what else is this global titan, which has been the subject of so much recent criticism up to now, and will the launch of Facecoin really enable Facebook to attack the lucrative financial services sector?

There could be a much bigger story here as Facebook looks to further monetise our behaviour and gather even more data about what we buy and sell, then selling this data to their advertising clients. Facebook could reward users, based on the number of “likes and shares” people make, whether it be on Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram, as they are all part of the same organisation. How long though will it be before we see Amazon, Apple, Google Microsoft, etc. issuing their own Digital currencies, bypassing banks and governments, in a scramble to be the go-to Digital alternative payment mechanism?

Social Media
DLA Piper (DLA),  one of the world’s largest law firms with over 4,900 lawyers and offices in 40 countries, are working with Tokeny, who were set up in 2017.

They bring both traditional market experience and a platform that uses Blockchain technology. The intention is to bridge the gap between Blockchain and finance to help companies navigate them themselves to raise capital in a landscape that is increasingly digitised.

DLA, with its global network of offices, is looking to offer a cost-effective way to help companies that want to issue a Digital Asset in initially up to 15 different jurisdictions. Working with Tokeny’s platform, depending on where the company is based and in what jurisdiction they want to attract investors firms will be able to have access to DLA’s expertise.

The bad news is that Tokeny uses a new acronym: “T-REX” (Token for Regulated Exchanges) so investors need to learn this along with ICO, STO, IEO, DPO, Direct Access and good old IPO (as discussed in last week’s edition…).

The Digital Securities Alliance that DLA has created with Tokeny is significant, given the number of corporate clients that DLA look after in many different jurisdictions. It will no doubt lend credibility to Digital Assets and encourage reputable organisations to consider how T-Rex (which will be subject to far greater regulation that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have) can help firms raise capital.

Digital Security
Boerse Stuttgart the German Stock Exchange, has launched its Crypto trading App, according to an official tweet dated January 31st.

The App has been developed by FinTech Sowa Labs — a subsidiary of Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures in an effort to make trading cryptocurrencies for investors more accessible and easier. A feature of the App is the Cryptoradar. This tool uses artificial intelligence to analyze 250,000 tweets per day from the crypto community, filter them by relevance and present them in a user-friendly format. Users will be able to gain an overview of market sentiment on Twitter in real time and can keep up to date discussions around cryptocurrencies.

A new UK start-up, International Property Network (IPN), have completed what they believe to be the first blockchain based property transaction, involving banks, conveyancers, agents, legal teams, buyers and sellers using Blockchain technology.

U.S-based law firm Squire Patton Boggs, U.K-based law firms Ashurst and Clifford Chance, Barclays, Commerz Real, SBI Nihon SSI, BBVA, Swiss Re and Royal Bank of Scotland are among 40 companies on IPN’s platform as they all seek to reduce the costs of real estate transactions while significantly speeding them up.

IPN has also been working with HM Land Registry’s Digital Street project to explore how they are able to use Blockchain technology to improve how it interacts with different parties.

IPN claims that cost-savings could be as high as $160 Billion p.a. as the current system is very reliant on analogue, predominantly paper-based, systems. The ability for many independent parties to work together on a property transaction in the same online environment progressing it in real time is revolutionary and could reduce the time to complete property transactions from months to weeks.

IPN, which harnesses R3’s Corda Blockchain, say recent trials have illustrated that businesses can use the platform within a few days without the need for complex changes to their back-office systems. This is because rather than creating yet another information storage, it provides a secure means of transacting with users’ existing technology - with each party retaining control over their own data.

This not only removes some of the GDPR challenges and other compliance issues, but also allows the various players to retain control, and their independence, while removing the cost of continuous re-checking and reconciliation of facts and information by each party at its ‘border’ - which adds much delay, cost and friction.

The platform could prove to be significant internationally too. It has the potential to greatly assist many projects globally which are looking to tokenise real estate portfolios in an effort to have greater transparency and liquidity, whilst also making property investments available to smaller investors via fractionalisation.

Real Estate
MISE has reportedly invested over 40 Million Euros into Blockchain projects, as Italy looks at using its wine industry to bring greater transparency to products made in Italy.

It is hoped this will empower the fight against counterfeits and fraudulent products claiming to be made in Italy, made elsewhere.

Fraud is a real challenge for the wine industry: It is estimated that the Italian wine industry loses over Euro 2 Billion due to wine fraud. This has encouraged Ernst and Young  (EY), to use Blockchain technology to help vineyards via its EY Ops Chain, originally launched over two years ago.

It is not just Italian vintners who are turning to Blockchain. Bufala Campana, famous over the world for its mozzarella, is using Blockchain technology and QR codes that can be scanned, using a mobile phone, to trace the products’ provenance.

One of the first companies to use Blockchain to trace the origins of a product was Everledger, which brought greater transparency to the diamond industry.  It is now turning its attention to wine, using Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, via tiny silicon chips within labels and corks. These can be scanned, and the bottle’s provenance traced, giving consumers confidence they are buying wine as stated on the label.

Food & Beverages
IMF MD Christian Lagarde recently chaired the meeting – “Money and Digital Payments’ where the CEO of Circle (part owned by Goldman Sachs) extolled the benefits of a sovereign currency using Blockchain technology, allowing globally trade not rely on central clearing institutions.

Meanwhile in MFU- Japan’s largest bank has confirmed that it is to issue its own Blockchain powered digital currency later this year. Is it believed that digital wallets will replace physical wallets in the future.

This announcement follows Mizho’s statement that it was launching a digital currency, J Coin, pegged to the Japanese Yen, which will use QR codes scanned from a mobile phone. So far, Mizho have signed up 60 banks onto their new “Banking Digital Currency Platform”.

The Japanese seem to be taking a more accommodating stance towards Digital Assets, with proposed legislation being discussed that would relax their tax treatment. Which may explain why we are seeing a number of initiatives in Japan being announced.

In the UK, we have seen the announcement that Coinbase are to launch a VISA debit card that will allow conversion of digital assets to fiat and withdrawal cash from ATMs/ cash machines. The intention is that the card will be rolled out to other European countries in the coming months. Although users will be disappointed to see that transactions charges of 2.49% are to be levied, while usually there are no transactions charges using other types of debit cards.  However, an interesting feature of the new Coinbase debit card is that they will notify users if their passwords are found on other websites, automatically blocking the Coinbase card as a way to protect card users.

Digital Currency
The Universal Euro stablecoin is being launched by the Universal Protocol Alliance (UPA), a group of  Blockchain organisations, and is reported to offer payment of interest to holders of this new stablecoin.

UPA is aiming to encourage 100 million people to use Digital Assets, while tackling one of the key potential challenges around Blockchain adoption – interoperability. In other words, ensuring different Blockchains are able to communicate with each other.

Tether, the largest stablecoin by value, which has a current market capitalisation of over $2.3 Billion, has announced that it is not entirely backed by US$, but also holds loans and other assets as collateral. The announcement arguably takes it a step closer to more traditional instrument.

Similarities between some digital currencies and traditional currencies appear to be growing as innovators take features from both types of currencies. Some will be disappointed that Tether is not actually backed 1:1 by US$.
So, is Tether that different from the banks it is trying to compete against?

Blockchain Influencers
Digital Currency
In 2014, Mastercoin launched the first Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

It took nearly three years for this capital-raising mechanism to really take off, which subsequently created over 5,000 tokens raising over $22 Billion on a global basis.

As regulators turned their attention to ICOs, arguing that many of them ought to be treated as securities attention has Increasingly focused on the development of Security Tokens (STOs).

STOs are often asset-backed and are subject to security regulations in the jurisdictions in which they are launched and marketed. Making global offerings onerous and practically impossible.

STOs are usually backed/pegged/linked to an asset, examples include private or publicly traded shares, bonds, property (residential and commercial), commodities (gold diamonds), foreign exchange ($, Yen, Euro, £) and even exotic investments like wine, violins, art and other collectables.

STOs, being Digital Assets, mean that they can be listed on Digital Exchanges, which in turn enables them to be traded 24//7 as well as enabling enables smaller investors to buy and sell these assets.

Historically some of these assets, such as real estate and collectables, have proved to be illiquid, and the preserve of the wealthy and institutional investors. However, STOs ought to be able to widen the number of investors who can gain exposure to these previously illiquid assets in the future.

More recently we have seen organisations that want to raise capital by issuing tokens using one of the 300 digital exchanges to launch Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs). These IEOs are very similar to an ICO, but by being listed on an exchange hopefully have greater liquidity.

Potentially they offer investors a degree of comfort because a third-party (the exchange they are to be listed on), has carried out a degree of due diligence. If the token meets all the tests - including that the company that is creating the it is not intending to use any capital raised to build its infrastructure, IT, or platform etc. it may be classed as an exchange or utility token, so outside of the regulations that capture STOs.

Some exchanges have decided to call their IEOs Direct Premium Offerings (DPOs), usually designed to offer investors access to a cryptocurrency at a discount to the market price. In traditional stock exchanges these are called “rights issues”.

More recently we’re seeing Token Curated Registries (TCR), which are designed to replace centralised lists, eg. a list of the top ten hotels or restaurants in a City. TCR is like an incentivised voting game that creates lists which are maintained by the people who use them. Users collectively vote (using tokens) to decide which submissions are valid, which should be included in the list, and where they will be ranked.All of the above typically use Blockchain technology as part of the process of bringing a company to a wider audience, apart from Direct offers, which simply look at raising capital (much like an Initial Placing Offer (IPO)) but do so without the costly underwriting fees of investment banks.

As Slack have announced they are to launch a Direct Offer, will Pinterest, Zoom, Uber or AirBnb also use Direct...

Capital Markets
Game of Thrones is the most valuable TV show ever produced, and as the graph below shows, it has commanded massive audiences since it was launched in 2011.

But despite its name Ravencoin is fictitious, borrowed from the fantasy world of Game of Thrones, yet has no commercial link to the hit TV show.

RavenCoin was created in January 2018 and did not carry out an Initial Coin Offering but has organically. Today it is in the top 40 in terms of its capital value being, valued at $250Million according to CoinMarketCap.

Despite which Ravencoin has not had a bad track record, and initial miners of RavenCoin will be very pleased to have seen their coins increase in value by over ten-fold in just over a year.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) was set up after WWI, in 1923, to help make global trade more efficient. It has signed an agreement with a Singapore-based business Perlin to use its Blockchain expertise.

John Denton, the ICC’s current secretary general, before his appointment said. “We think this might be one which we can look back on in 100 years and say the ICC shifted blockchain in a way that enabled the private sector to function more effectively in a sustainable way and actually create more opportunities for people.”

Bold words about a technology with challenges of scalability and adoption? However, with multinational corporations like Coca Cola, McDonalds and Amazon as members of the, along with its 45 Million other companies in over 130 countries, the ICC has the global reach to raise Blockchain’s profile.

The ICC is thought to be looking to use Blockchain technology to help with cross-border transactions, traceability and transparency of goods, and to improve the efficiency of how supply chains function.

Supply Chain
In cities across the world, Blockchain technology is being used to help tackle the challenge of mountains of rubbish which we create in our throw-away culture.

For example, in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, Blockchain technology is being used to create a platform designed to cut costs for customers applying for permits, from several days to only a few hours. This platform validates, processes and store transactions about Sharjah’s rubbish.

Plastic bank has been using Blockchain technology for a while to track, monitor and record various projects aimed to recycle plastic waste. As multinational-corporations, are increasingly coming under pressure from shareholders to prove that their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives have real value, Blockchains can, and indeed are, helping. Plastic bank is working with the SC Johnson program in eight villages in Indonesia, where tokens are being given to people to encourage them to collect and recycle plastic. These tokens can then be redeemed for clothes, food, medicine and even books. So not only is SC Johnson funding an initiative to help clean the environment, but also making a real difference in remote communities.

Shell is offering bonuses to staff if they are able to suggest ways to reduce its carbon footprint. We will likely see more incentives and gamification in the form of tokens to nudge and encourage clients to change behaviour, and create less carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, in Bangalore Blockchain technology is being used  to record complaints, creating a more transparent record. So when residents report and complain about rubbish, there will be a database, that cannot be tampered with, available for all to see about when and where the rubbish is reported, and follow up actions.

Initiatives using Blockchain technology like those in Indonesia and Bangalore, are not going to change the world, but will have a very positive impact on the local communities and hopefully can be replicated elsewhere.

Environmental Services
In a speech at the inaugural Council for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Abu Dhabi, the UN aviation president claimed that air traffic is going to double up in the next 15 years.

He believes Blockchain technology can make the industry more efficient. Handling the huge amount of data and security measures required to transport passengers across the world is a real challenge for the airline industry. However, by using technologies such as facial recognition, interacting with government databases, and having access to information in a secure manner and real-time globally via a Blockchain, offers some solutions. It is not just dealing with passengers that it is thought Blockchain can help, but also to reduce the huge amount of paperwork and customs documentation required in the air cargo industry.

Then there is the necessity to ensure that aircraft spare parts are genuine, and as increasingly airlines and their spare parts suppliers start to use 3D printing to manufacture spare parts to avoid the need for lots of expensive parts to be held in multiple locations globally, there has been discussion about the need for “A Chain of Trust”. This refers to the use of Blockchain technology to protect the intellectual property (IP) when using 3D printing, by issuing a license.

Consider a situation where none of the parties (the airline, the printing service provider and the parts' manufacturer which owns the IP) do not trust each other. One needs to determine who owns the IP and whether the part has already been licensed by someone else.

It is helpful to think of Blockchain technology as a skeleton, infrastructure, from which other technology hangs, as it facilitates data to be stored and distributed in a highly secure manner enabling, where required, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, facial and biometric identification.

F1 is partnering with  Anomica Brands to develop an online game using Blockchain technology, called F1 Delta Time.

Anomica, which is known for its gamification, AI and Blockchain expertise. F1 intends to use tokens so that players, during the online game, can collect and use them towards upgrades. The first phase of the game, based on F1 race tracks, is aiming to be launched in May 2019.

Watched by over 1.5 Billion people in the 2018 race season, and with over 63% of its audience under 45; presumably, Delta Time is designed to attract and appeal to younger viewers especially in Asia, where economic growth is strong and global brands which typically sponsor F1, want to grow their presence.

The global gaming market is reported to be worth a staggering $137 Billion with over 2.3 Billion gamers. The F1 brand (one of the world’s best-known brands) is highly attractive to get the attention of gamers and a slice of this growing market.

F1 is no stranger to video games. Indeed, its drivers use them for training as a simulator, and last year Enzo Bonito, who had only used video games, actually beat an Ex F1 driver on a real race track in Mexico.

Is it too far a stretch to foresee that in time tokens, used in the new Delta Time online game, could be used either on F1 race tracks around the world or be traded on some form of digital exchange? What is certain is the gaming market will be monitoring this new F1 game, which incorporates Blockchain technology, as any unique marketing angle that appeals to this young expanding market and quickly copied.

Computer Games
It typically takes six months to buy a house according to Acre, a UK Fintech firm, that has just received a capital injection from one of Europe’s biggest insurance companies, Aviva.

Acre has announced a partnership with Sesame Bankhall Group, one of the UK’s leading firms of financial advisory networks, with over 11,000 advisors. Last year Sesame Bankhall Group placed £42 Billion worth of mortgages, so clearly has distribution capabilities.

Blockchain technology can create one record that the relevant parties can share in a highly secure environment, so the lender, borrower, lawyers and financial advisors have access to real-time information on the progress of mortgage applications.

Given that predominantly, lawyers and financial advisors remunerated by charging fees on a time basis, any technology that improves efficiency should be welcome.

Real Estate