On Friday

There are a number of companies that are working on projects to tokenise Real Estate as it is believed that using a Digital Asset, they can offer fractional ownership (a share/a unit) of a property or a property fund.

The ability to trade tokenised property 24/7 on an exchange is touted as a way to improve liquidity for the property sector. Investing in property tends to be for the very wealthy or for institutional investors, given property values and the illiquid nature of buying and selling buildings and the fact that investors tend to buy and hold real estate for a number of years. 
Asset managers have for years offered ‘funds’ to encourage investors to gain exposure to the property sector, but often these funds have restrictions when you come to sell and this can result in some of them trading at a discount to their actual value of the properties they hold. 
Swiss firm Blockimmo now claim to be the first in Europe to launch tokenised real estate. If Real Estate tokenisation does create greater liquidity and allow 24/7 trading so attracting new investors, we will likely soon see tokenisation of existing real estate portfolios, raising new funds to invest in this asset class.

Real Estate

On Thursday

Marseilles, the Mediterranean’s second busiest port and Frances largest, is using Blockchain technology to improve the efficiency of its supply chains and the way it handles freight and goods, looking at how it can make better use and share data in a highly secure manner. 

A number of ports are now using Blockchain technology, IBM and Maersk have a system that involves a number of organizations that are able to track in real time shipping data and shipping documentation. 
Meanwhile, Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, has a Blockchain initiative with bank ABN Amro and Samsung as they look at how to make the shipping of containers more efficient. Currently, there is an average of 28 different organizations involved in transport of one container from China to Europe. 
Shipping containers account for over 66% of all goods transported globally and the items they transport are valued at over $4 trillion worth of goods p.a. so efficiencies can make a huge impact. 

Logistics And Supply Chain
Supply Chain

On Wednesday

The German government has issued a paper laying out how it wishes to encourage the spread of Blockchain businesses and “electronic instruments “ i.e. Digital Assets.

They want to ensure that investors are protected while expanding Germany’s global role - so that they’re not left behind in these sectors. 
Interestingly, German firm Naga was the first publicly listed company in Europe to carry out an Initial Coin Offering ( ICO), in 2017 when it raised Euros 40m from over 50,000 investors.
This announcement from the German government comes hot on the heels of its financial regulator, BaFin confirming that they have approved BitBond to issue Digital Bonds. This will be Europe’s first fully regulated Security Token. Bitbond has already issued $15m of loans and its platform has over 165,000 registered users. So like Naga seems to be attracting considerable interest from investors. 
The issuing of bonds using Blockchain technology is believed to be able to reduce the associated costs by over 60% so ought to enable smaller companies to be able to offer bonds creating an alternative source of finance. 
If issuing bonds using Blockchain technology is successful in reducing costs and allowing SMEs to issues bonds, then the Peer To Peer (P2P) lending market could face new competition. The P2P market is expected to grow to nearly $900 Billion by 2024. 

Security Token
Digital Assets

Last Friday

Sam Palmisano, the retired chairman of IBM in a recent interview on Bloomberg said it is hard to come up with a good solution for creating public blockchains which are fully compatible with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in Europe

Blockchains are immutable, so once data has been added it cannot be changed or removed, which is in direct conflict with GDPR.

Palmisano believes that because private blockchain has more centralization, ought to be more compliant, but because public blockchains are very decentralized they struggle to be compliant with GDPR.

Queen Marys and Cambridge Universities have also raised similar concerns. A possible solution is to ensure that Blockchains do not hold personal/ private data so this information would be held off chain where such data could be removed or changed if required at some stage in the future.


Last Thursday

Alibaba, the world’s biggest FinTech company, which is capitalized at over $453Billion is planning to use Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) for its vast international logistics and supply chains.

Alibaba has been experimenting with Blockchain for a while with its Food Trust Framework as it tries to improve transparency, help customers track goods and ensure their authenticity. Using QR codes customers will be able to scan a good and have greater certainty over a product's provenance.

Given Alibaba’s distribution and financial clout, one wonders how long it will be before they launch the AliCoin as a possible way to encourage and reward customers in some form of loyalty scheme. An AliCoin could then be exchanged for goods and services as Alibaba continues its expansion into banking and financial services with Alipay.


Logistics And Supply Chain
Supply Chain

Last Wednesday

BlockFi, who raised over $54million last year has launched a high-interest account paying 6% p.a. if they hold your Bitcoin or Ethereum assets.

The reason they can pay such high-interest rates is because they lend out your Crypto to other institutions but more importantly, your Digital Assets are held by a custodian independent of BlockFi called Gemini Trust Company. Gemini was co-founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and is regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services.

This new way to hold Cryptocurrencies is another example of how the traditional and the Digital worlds are converging, as BlockFi are offering in effect an instant-access, high-interest account to depositors while providing institutional asset lending facilities. Because the transactions are stored on a Blockchain there are fewer intermediaries involved, it is secured using military-grade security and not reliant on one company’s server/computer as the records will be distributed thus reducing concerns over disaster recovery.

Financial Services

2 Weeks Ago

Guy Hirsch, Managing rector of eToro U.S., sees the increased interest and investments in Digital Assets as a clear “generation shift."

He stated via press release: “we’re seeing the beginning of a generational shift in trust from traditional stock exchanges to crypto exchanges. At the heart of this change are the asset classes themselves.

Younger investors’ experience with the stock market has seen a great deal of loss of trust, with the fall of Lehman brothers...” One of the benefits of people investing in digital assets is that companies can know who their actual shareholders are and so have a relationship with them, and reward so offer them shareholder perks e.g. discounts off goods and services. This is almost impossible when shares are held as they currently are, in nominee structures.

Potentially companies could have no need for share registrars saving them money, as shareholders records can be updated in Real Time, which in turn would help regulators know who owns what which at the moment is impossible for a listed quoted company.

Asset Management
Digital Currency

3 Weeks Ago

Signature bank of New York has announced that it is now offering bank accounts for businesses based in Bermuda that deal in Digital Assets.

There are believed to be over 60 companies that initially this will be of great assistance to, as despite the Bermuda government changing it’s law no locally based bank offer accounts in the Crypto sector. However, Signature bank claims that they are signing up companies that are also not involved with Cryptos.

The lack of banking facilities is a major hurdle facing businesses that deal in Digital Assets globally as it is extremely difficult to get a bank account in many jurisdictions around the world.

In the UK Clearbank  which is the first bank in over 250 years to be granted clearing bank status, is one of the is one of the few banks to offer bank accounts to firms engaged in Digital Assets but the company needs to be FCA regulated or in the process of applying to the FCA to be accepted by Clearbank.

Digital Currency