Happy Birthday, Bitcoin!
This evening 11 years ago, on January 3rd, 2009, someone pressed a button on his (or her) keyboard and created a new currency. There was no paper, gold, or silver backing it, just bits and 31,000 lines of software code with a simple announcement on the Internet. Along with a 9-page Whitepaper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
Bitcoin as we know it came into existence with someone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto mining the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0), which had a reward of 50 bitcoins worth approx $350,000 today’s market value.
During the next decade, Bitcoin would skyrocket from $0.003 to almost $20,000 per one bitcoin. It was a remarkable experiment in which fortunes were made and some lost during the speculative frenzy typical of all asset bubbles. Yes, it is an asset trading hands (or digital wallets) to the tune of $27 billion on its birthday.
It was the beginning of the cryptocurrency market which now stands at almost $200 bln in total market capitalization. Insignificant in the grand scheme of the approx $90 trillion in the total market capitalization of global public capital markets. But not bad from literally point zero a decade ago.
Most importantly Bitcoin introduced the world to the Blockchain and the tremendous potential of the technology to transform industries and significantly reduce transaction costs. Without getting into the details, of how blockchain works, let me give you an example of how serious IBM is which has over 1,000 employees working on blockchain projects and has set aside hundreds of millions of R&D funding to support the development of blockchain applications.
According to research by Outlier Ventures last year, total investment in blockchain companies since 2013 hit $23.7 billion and 75% of all deal-flow focused only on early-stage rounds.
I’m excited to be introducing soon a blockchain development company that is using a unique portfolio development approach to solve some of the most pressing challenges of our world today such as climate change, clean drinking water, and financial inclusion.
I’ll share the details in a few weeks in the comments to this article so make sure to press ‘like’ to be one of the first to learn about this exciting blockchain start-up and the outstanding investment opportunity it will present to qualifying investors.
Alternatively, DM or email me [email protected] and I’d be happy to add you to our launch notification list.
We should care about blockchain because the removal of a central authority and use of smart contracts (codable contracts/business actions) empowers different types of business models, processes and industries by potentially removing a whole layer of administration from the system. It is not just about commercial transactions; information exchange could also happen in the same way.
Companies must meet specific regulatory filing requirements for their regular corporate reporting to make them accessible to the public. For listed companies, there are reporting requirements embedded within domestic and European law which require certain documents and communications to be submitted to the Official Appointed Mechanism (OAM). However, the multiple differing filing mechanisms across Europe make it difficult for users to find a single source of corporate filings which they can be sure is up-to-date and matches the official version.
In December (2018), I did my last Dinsider podcast about the digital market, blockchain and digital currency, and in cryptocurrencies. I have decided to continue the podcast, after the massive hype over Facebook coin and Libra coin and I had to respond I had to show my insights. Clear what this is and is there any real value or not, because interestingly in my last podcast back in December I had actually uploaded podcasts of approx 12 to 13 minutes long.
Listen to the podcast or continue to read the transcription below.
In this podcast I have talked about Facebook and the point I was actually talking about Facebook stock which relatively was about $125 per share and I specifically said, go back to my last podcast that I feel that Facebook is under valued and there is a significant potential for upside of Facebook shares, and rightly so Facebook is trading at $125 end of last year and now has hit a high of $194 today and that’s well over 50%. I want to talk about the share price I don’t just want to talk about the digital aspect for I don’t just want to get into the technical details. I look at the practical implications of what’s happening in today’s market. How could you potentially benefit?
Facebook’s stock price was a typical action today, buy on rumor sell on news. I was the owner of Facebook yesterday so today I got sold on this little rally. Frankly my dear this libra white paper and libra coin is ridiculous I find. I find it’s not even a proper blockchain. It’s frustrating and I’m extremely disappointed what Facebook has done. It’s also not even a proper cryptocurrency because it allows you and it can be overwritten and the transaction is not imutable.
Its more so a digital currency than a cryptocurrency. There’s a difference, digital currency you can have funds that are transferred digitally than cryptocurrency relies on cryptography and a key aspect of cryptography is that it has to be validated the data cannot be overwritten, it can’t be changed, its immutable. You can add new data but you cannot go back and erase previous data. It is not a proper distributed ledger.
I am going to breakdown this podcast, quite a bit to cover and you will find it very interesting. I am going to be breaking it into three parts. One I am going to give you a quick overview 2 to 3 minutes about what libra is?
Secondly, I will talk about the technical aspects which are worth noting. Finally, I will conclude with the flaws and what the problem is. Which I have hinted already that it’s not a cryptocurrency and the trust mechanism is essentially under the control of this oligarch rule formation and the libra association which is going to be created to manage this digital currency.
So, what is libra? I think libra is Facebook’s cute way to capitalize the cryptocurrency buzz and be able to ingrain and enridge its position with its users, and the reason for that is that. In the whitepaper Facebook says libra’s mission is to enable the simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people so that’s fine.
They go on to say that an average cost 7% to send money abroad. There’s about 50 billion dollars in fees that are eaten up in currency remittance. Agree that is a challenge, so libra is attempting to provide micro transactions which would cost just a few cents, and which is significantly less than the current marketplace. So how does libra work? Libra is essentially cash in a local currency. So, you would convert your cash into libra coin, then you would spend them like dollars through the Facebook network, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram without transaction fees and without your real name being attached. So you are still anonymous.
However the challenge is that they will still need to do some kind of governance kyc, so that’s not very clear in terms of who should be worried. It essentially is trying to take away business and Facebook and also trying to provide in a way foreign currency mechanism and competing against the banks.
So in terms of the technical perspective it’s not very clear and I looked at a quote from the libra protocol in the white paper. It’s stated it’s still in prototype stage, quote we do not have concrete performance metrics yet to report and we anticipate the official launch of libra protocol will support 1000 payment transactions per second with a 10 second finality time. 1000 payment transactions per second is not bad. Visa as an example has over 1700 transactions per second. Right!. So that’s not bad. The challenge is it hasn’t really been tested. So I think the market and the reason is that the stock price fell back is that the expectation was for something revolutionary. A real proper bloc chain and that really hasn’t transpired.
One of the key aspects that is interesting and had been commented on by many technicians and technologists, experts of blockchain is the generic words such as resources which make it unclear and then there is particular quote in the white paper which says transaction based predefined and in future versions user defined smart contracts. In a new program and language which is called “move”. We use move to define the core mechanisms of the bloc chain such as the currency and validator membership.
Ok, now that’s different and very interesting because that means there is a custom built smart contracting language and that will create a lot potential, issues and questions. How future rich the language will be and secure, robust it will be. Because the more you try to make it developer friendly. The more the risk you have within that development community. So, the libra association that is going to be managing this will have eventually a hundred partners which is good, and each partner including Facebook has 1% vote. But it’s still not clear how it will function?
It seems to be that they are trying to create a kind of proof of state a mechanism over the next five years. The problem is on the technical component is its very much opaque not much clarity. A lot of ideas, concepts, we haven’t really done this. The Market is disappointed really done the technical work to backup a lot of this and that’s really disappointing considering the resources Facebook has at it’ disposal and it needs several unanswered questions and concerns about the libra coin because it is not a proper blockchain.
As I mentioned in the beginning, how does governance actually work? We have the libra association and it eventually will have a hundred members and the supermajority, and two thirds of the members will need to improve any significant change. But they are the only ones that can mint or destroy libra coins and presumably is that they can make any changes if they agree to it.
Its still top down controlled by this organization. Secondly, the other thing is that it does not clear on KYC “know your client” and anti-money laundering requirement because the Libra and the calibra wallet will require users to verify themselves through government issued ids. Now going back to their claim of trying to help the people who do not know about cryptocurrencies or not being able to access cryptocurrencies or bank accounts is because they don’t have id.
So if you want and require them to verify through government user ids then it defies the purpose of providing access of funds to people that want to receive or send money will require government issued ids. So that’s again not very clear in terms of fees, again it says a few cents or low fees. I get no clarity on fees that what it actually is going to be how transparent that’s going to be. So, these are some of the challenges. The bigger challenge I see is that the libra and its coin and this payment mechanism will it actually get approved. I would be very surprised, particularly the EU does not push back on this.
Because through libra Facebook can technically act as the mass surveillance resource for US agencies. Because now they will have the user’s email, government ids and payment details and that’s a lot of data. If you are now worried about how they will keep your data. They have stated they will keep that data separate from Facebook but at the end of the day it all goes to the mothership Facebook.
So, I expect the EU to push back and perhaps not allow the libra coin to be used without some regulations or some requirements that require scrutiny on Facebook with using that data.
Because what Facebook is actually doing is it’s trying to take on the global banking system. Because you don’t need to use your banks, you transfer your money to Facebook and use libra coin to transfer money around. Then what that is also going to is further scrutiny on Facebook which is already having challenges and there has been calls for Zucker Berg’s powers to be reduced or the company to be broken up WhatsApp, Facebook, messenger, Instagram. Together collectively they all have access to billions of people and that is too much control for one organization. If Facebook does not do or manage this program libra initiative properly. I think they are going to open themselves up to the banks coming after them and taking them down.
So, Mark Zucker Berg is exposing himself to a lot more risk now. Especially the way that it’s structured. This association he’s not trying to make it fair, it’s not transparent it’s inot owned by the public it is controlled by this oligarch organization based in Switzerland.
It will be interesting to see if he can appease enough people to stay with him to get banks on board that will be key. If the banks don’t come on board then watch out Mark. Because there is a central bank initiative called Finality, which is trying to solve that cash on ledger problem the central banks are working on creating digital or cryptocurrency equivalent of fee add currency and we would talk about in this next episode of the Dinsider.
So, I am from the stock perspective and I have sold my Facebook position today. I sold it out at 191. I think this is going to be more of a liability, particularly it’s not very strong. It’s not wowed people, it’s not a proper blockchain and it is going to put a target on Facebook. So, I am not a buyer of Facebook currently and I am not a buyer of libra coin. I think it’s going to be good for bitcoin and it will give more exposure. In the coming episodes I will talk about bitcoin and the price actions. Bitcoin has seen since bottoming out in the early part of the year. Where I see it going and how I am participating in the cryptocurrency space
So, alright thank you so much and I promise to keep my podcast under 20 minutes, this one is a bit longer thank you very much for staying with me until the end. Do follow the podcast and if you have any questions and you want me to talk to me about anything in the podcast please send me an email at [email protected] or through our company website [email protected] thank you and God bless. Have a good day!
UK companies that adopt AI late or not at all could lose 20pc cash flow
British companies that fail to invest in artificial intelligence soon are at risk of losing 20pc of their cash flow, McKinsey has warned.
New figures claim that AI could boost the UK economy by 22pc in the next decade by making companies more productive, and fast-moving businesses could stand to grow in value by 120pc if they invest in AI tools.
A new report produced by the consultancy’s business and economics research arm McKinsey Global Institute has claimed the UK is “potentially more AI-ready compared with the global average”, but could miss out on the opportunity if investment does not occur.
“The United Kingdom has impressive pockets of innovation but is failing to scale to business more broadly,” the report stated.
Fashion Turns to Blockchain
Although once confined largely to agriculture, blockchain technology is now making major inroads into the luxury goods supply chain market.
Thus, Consensys recently announced a new platform with French multinational luxury goods conglomerate LMVH and the technology behemoth Microsoft to verify the authenticity of luxury goods.
Luxury brands trial blockchain
Although many products in the luxury goods market are renowned status symbols found in expensive city center stores the world over, the components of their products can originate in the most far-flung corners of the globe. The nature of globalized trade means that raw materials can be sourced in one continent, collected and assembled in another, and then shipped on to be sold in any of the world’s major cities.
Crypto scammers posing as legit UK businesses to scam YOUR money
Finance watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning about crooks targeting people in the UK while claiming to be regulated financial companies soliciting cash for a non-existent investment. The crypto crooks say they are representatives of ICAP Crypto, a ‘clone firm’ of the legitimate, FCA-regulated ICAP – which has no association with ICAP Crypto.
Victims are given false details, mixed in with real data about the verified firms they are posing as, and asked to hand over cash. An FCA spokesperson said: “This firm (ICAP Crypto) is not authorised or registered by us but has been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be an authorised firm.
The power of combining AI and analytics for manufacturers
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become one of the hottest topics in manufacturing today. The range of business and operational applications that it can be put to is almost limitless. Yet, it’s fair to say that we’re still very early in the AI adoption curve. Success with AI implementation comes through evolution not revolution. Combining AI and analytics for manufacturers can provide a natural path.
The increasing digital transformation happening within manufacturers is bringing the potential of AI into focus. IDC suggests manufacturing companies are “at the heart of a perfect storm, both living with and seeking to exploit disruptive technologies such as cloud, big data, AI-assisted analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), while facing increasing IT security challenges, regulatory pressures and a changing workforce”.
Fintech is UK’s top tech sub-sector
Fintech is the UK’s top technology sub-sector when it comes to attracting investment, according to two new reports.The UK leads Europe in scaleup technology investments, according to the latest annual government-backed Tech Nation report, with just the US, China and India.
The UK’s strongest tech sub-sector, and where it currently ranks as number one in the world, is fintech, with investment in high-growth firms amounting to £4.5 billion between 2015 and 2018.
A separate study from Stripe and Tech.eu paints a similar picture, with fintech being the top technology vertical for investment not only in the UK but also in Germany and Sweden.
Digital payments startup Stripe says Europe is its fastest-growing market
Stripe is its name, and making it easy for companies of all sizes to take payments online or on mobile is what it strives to do.
As I noted during the video interview, which you can watch above, Stripe is far from the only company offering that type of solution, so how does it differentiate?
Collison said the big thing with Stripe is its developer-friendliness, i.e. that it gives businesses the tools to customize the payment processing workflow and check-out experience from end-to-end.
AI-Driven Business Advisor Attracts International Interest
CEO and Founder of Runagood, Duncan Collins says the London based start-up firm has received enquiries from North America, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.
“The business aims to use the funds to launch its innovative artificial intelligence-based technology and start marketing to Britain’s 5.5 million small businesses, including sole traders via its partner network,” Mr Collins says.
“We need £100K to reach breakeven profit, which will occur by the end of this year. The rest will be spent on: partner support to ensure they achieve volume sales, partner mentoring, software usability, new products (that are being requested by partners) and international expansion for several markets that are already making enquiries.”
UK Fintech Bodies Launch National Network
Innovate Finance, Fintech Scotland and Fintech North have announced the creation of a national network that will encourage innovators up and down the country to connect and form multiple fintech hubs and centres of excellence.
The Fintech National Network will foster collaboration between the hubs and provide valuable connections to amplify their collective message. The network will focus on mutually beneficial initiatives, such as skills and talent, capital and investment, and diversity, and seek to connect respective fintech ecosystems across the UK, as well as to international markets.
Innovation is coming from startups, scale-ups and institutions across the country and it is now essential that we highlight these companies to both national and international counterparties.
Global Blockchain develops and administers launches of tokens and digital assets
In a new agreement with Cannadex Labs announced Monday, Global Blockchain will transfer the intellectual property and assets associated with the Laser blockchain interoperability solution in exchange for 25% equity in Cannadex.
Global Blockchain Mining Corp (CSE:FORK (OTCMKTS:GBCHF) has entered into an agreement with a partner to complete development of the company’s Nuvo 2.0 blockchain network.
In a new agreement with Cannadex Labs Inc announced Monday, Global Blockchain will transfer the intellectual property and assets associated with the Laser blockchain interoperability solution in exchange for 25% equity in Cannadex.
Addressing the Gender Issue and Securing the Future of Fintech
The report was released alongside a panel discussion chaired by Marcus Scott (Chief Operating Officer, TheCityUK) and featuring Anne Murphy (Managing Partner, Odgers Berndtson), Professor Phil Sutton (Imperial College London), Mark Hoban (Chair Skills Taskforce) and Josh Bottomley (Global Head of Digital, HSBC).
The breakdown of stats is eye-opening. The fintech market is worth £7 billion to the UK economy, employs 60,000 people and had a year-on-year investment growth of 154% in 2017. The UK is also the leading exporter of financial services across the world, with more banks’ head offices being located in London than any other city. Given this, fuelling fintech is a tremendous responsibility.
A tug of war has emerged between finance and tech firms over who can attract the best recruits. How do you bring in top talent to finance, when you’re competing with the likes of Google, with their slides, massage rooms and sleep pods?
Blockchain Firm SETL Sidesteps Insolvency to Return as Leaner New Entity
Blockchain infrastructure firm SETL Development Ltd., which filed for insolvency in March, is back as a trimmed-down new entity formed by its management team.
The new company, SETL Ltd., said Friday that it has now acquired the operating assets, staff and intellectual property (IP) rights of the old entity. Further, the company has reached an agreement with “all major clients” to continue the firm’s previous support and development activities.
SETL Development Ltd, which went into administration in March, is now being wound down.
At the time, the the firm said it had filed for insolvency because its finances were not adequate to meet the regulatory requirements for both SETL and its ID2S central securities depository (CSD) initiative. It added it was seeking to place ID2S with “a larger financial services firm.”
Can we Trust the Machines to predict Stock Market?
If you’re one for an emotion-based roller coaster then look no further than the stock market. The ups and downs of the many forces at play on share prices have made it impossible to predict, at least for now.
Over the last few years, the decision making process about what to invest in and when has increasingly been taken on by artificial intelligence (AI). One company has even taken decision-making entirely out of human hands, launching a hedge fund making all stock trades using AI without any human intervention.
AI Spending by Retailers to Reach $12 Billion by 2023
According to the new research, AI in Retail: Segment Analysis, Vendor Positioning & Market Forecasts 2019-2023, AI use by retailers will unlock efficiencies across back office operations. Advanced analytics employed in functions such as demand forecasting and automated marketing will make retailers more agile and improve margins.
Juniper forecasts that retailers will face an AI adoption race, where AI-equipped retailers, which have adopted systems as early movers, will displace slower moving retailers, offering superior service at optimised price points.
Demand Forecasting Crucial to Retailer Success
The use of machine learning in demand forecasting will prove to be a key market for AI vendors, with associated service revenues reaching $3 billion by 2023, up from $760 million in 2019.
Blockchain Cross-Border Transactions to Reach Over 1.3 Billion by 2023
Juniper’s new research, Blockchain for Financial Services: Opportunities, Challenges & Forecasts 2019-2030,argues that blockchain will become critical for financial institutions aiming to improve their bottom line. Juniper anticipates that banks stand to save close to $27 billion a year by 2030 through blockchain implementation.
IBM remains the indisputable leader in the space; having attracted dozens of clients in financial institutions and developed mature blockchain products, including a trade finance platform and bespoke work on areas ranging from securities digitisation to derivatives.
Meanwhile, Infosys Finacle continues to develop its blockchain-agnostic solutions through its Blockchain Framework and Finacle Trade Connect; gaining a strong customer base among banks.
Global WealthTech Investment Increased Nearly 5x Since 2014
WealthTech companies reached $4.6bn across 220 deals in 2018. This was an increase of 65.9% from the previous year. There were 27 transactions valued at $50m or above which collectively raised $2.7bn, as opposed to only 13 deals in this bracket in 2017 which raised approximately half of this amount.
Venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital, CapitalG and investment firm ICONIQ Capital also participated. Robinhood plans to use the capital injection to expand product line-up. The second largest funding round in 2018 was $250m raised by Revolut in a Series C round.
The London-based challenger bank, which was valued at £300m in 2017, reached unicorn status with the funding round valuing the company at £1.2bn. Currently, the neobank has more than two million customers globally and said in a press release last year that it is signing up between 6,000 and 9,000 new users each day.
Millions of people across England and Wales can now sign their mortgage deeds online, as high street lenders sign up to use the service.
As well as making it easier to remortgage, HM Land Registry is also looking to the future through its Digital Street research project and has successfully used a blockchain prototype to show how buying a home can be made simpler and quicker.
People are doing an ever-increasing amount online, from shopping to banking, e-learning to gaming. Now they can remortgage their home online as it’s quicker, more convenient, and fits their busy lives.
HM Land Registry’s digital transformation is continuing to make it easier for homebuyers by embracing new technologies like blockchain, enabling them to become the world’s leading land registry.
One year on from the signing of the UK’s first digital mortgage deed, HM Land Registry’s digital service ‘Sign your mortgage deed’ is now being offered by major high street lenders.
The digital service enables people to sign their mortgage whenever and wherever they are, including on their phone or computer. It removes the need for ‘wet’ (pen-on-paper) signatures, and witnesses no longer need to be present when the documents are signed. Homeowners no longer face delays from having to print out forms, find an independent third party to witness their signature, and pay to return the forms by post.
Nationwide, HSBC, RBS and NatWest and Atom Bank were among the first mortgage lenders to sign up, allowing their customers to use the new service. More people are applying for their mortgages using paperless processes and HM Land Registry’s free service brings the sector one step closer to an end-to-end paperless process.