Tag Archives: Inbound marketing

Google’s DeepMind plans bitcoin-style health record tracking for hospitals

Google's DeepMind plans bitcoin-style health record tracking for hospitals

Tech company’s health subsidiary planning digital ledger based on blockchain to let hospitals, the NHS and eventually patients track personal data

Google’s AI-powered health-tech diary, DeepMind Health, is planning to use a new technology loosely based on bitcoin to let hospitals, the NHS and eventually even patients track what happens to personal data in real-time. Dubbed “Verifiable Data Audit”, the plan is to create a special digital ledger that automatically records every interaction with patient data in a cryptographically verifiable manner. This means any changes to, or access of, the data would be visible.

DeepMind has been working in partnership with London’s Royal Free Hospital to develop kidney monitoring software called Streams and has faced criticism from patient groups for what they claim are overly broad data sharing agreements. Critics fear that the data sharing has the potential to give DeepMind, and thus Google, too much power over the NHS.

In a blog post, DeepMind co-founder, Mustafa Suleyman, and head of security and transparency, Ben Laurie, use an example relating to the Royal Free Hospital partnership to explain how the system will work. “[An] entry will record the fact that a particular piece of data has been used, and also the reason why, for example, that blood test data was checked against the NHS national algorithm to detect possible acute kidney injury,” they write.

Suleyman says that development on the data audit proposal began long before the launch of Streams, when Laurie, the co-creator of the widely-used Apache server software, was hired by DeepMind. “This project has been brewing since before we started DeepMind Health,” he told the Guardian, “but it does add another layer of transparency.

“Our mission is absolutely central, and a core part of that is figuring out how we can do a better job of building trust. Transparency and better control of data is what will build trust in the long term.” Suleyman pointed to a number of efforts DeepMind has already undertaken in an attempt to build that trust, from its founding membership of the industry group Partnership on AI to its creation of a board of independent reviewers for DeepMind Health, but argued the technical methods being proposed by the firm provide the “other half” of the equation.

Nicola Perrin, the head of the Wellcome Trust’s “Understanding Patient Data” taskforce, welcomed the verifiable data audit concept. “There are a lot of calls for a robust audit trail to be able to track exactly what happens to personal data, and particularly to be able to check how data is used once it leaves a hospital or NHS Digital. DeepMind are suggesting using technology to help deliver that audit trail, in a way that should be much more secure than anything we have seen before.”

Perrin said the approach could help address DeepMind’s challenge of winning over the public. “One of the main criticisms about DeepMind’s collaboration with the Royal Free was the difficulty of distinguishing between uses of data for care and for research. This type of approach could help address that challenge, and suggests they are trying to respond to the concerns.

“Technological solutions won’t be the only answer, but I think will form an important part of developing trustworthy systems that give people more confidence about how data is used.” The systems at work are loosely related to the cryptocurrency bitcoin, and the blockchain technology that underpins it. DeepMind says: “Like blockchain, the ledger will be append-only, so once a record of data use is added, it can’t later be erased. And like blockchain, the ledger will make it possible for third parties to verify that nobody has tampered with any of the entries.”

Laurie downplays the similarities. “I can’t stop people from calling it blockchain related,” he said, but he described blockchains in general as “incredibly wasteful” in the way they go about ensuring data integrity: the technology involves blockchain participants burning astronomical amounts of energy – by some estimates as much as the nation of Cyprus – in an effort to ensure that a decentralised ledger can’t be monopolised by any one group.

DeepMind argues that health data, unlike a cryptocurrency, doesn’t need to be decentralised – Laurie says at most it needs to be “federated” between a small group of healthcare providers and data processors – so the wasteful elements of blockchain technology need not be imported over. Instead, the data audit system uses a mathematical function called a Merkle tree, which allows the entire history of the data to be represented by a relatively small record, yet one which instantly shows any attempt to rewrite history.

Although not technologically complete yet, DeepMind already has high hopes for the proposal, which it would like to see form the basis of a new model for data storage and logging in the NHS overall, and potentially even outside healthcare altogether. Right now, says Suleyman, “It’s really difficult for people to know where data has moved, when, and under which authorised policy. Introducing a light of transparency under this process I think will be very useful to data controllers, so they can verify where their processes have used or moved or accessed data.

“That’s going to add technical proof to the governance transparency that’s already in place. The point is to turn that regulation into a technical proof.” In the long-run, Suleyman says, the audit system could be expanded so that patients can have direct oversight over how and where their data has been used. But such a system would come a long time in the future, once concerns over how to secure access have been solved.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

The Promise of Blockchain Is a World Without Middlemen

The Promise of Blockchain Is a World Without Middlemen

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The blockchain is a revolution that builds on another technical revolution so old that only the more experienced among us remember it: the invention of the database. First created at IBM in 1970, the importance of these relational databases to our everyday lives today cannot be overstated. Literally every aspect of our civilization is now dependent on this abstraction for storing and retrieving data. And now the blockchain is about to revolutionize databases, which will in turn revolutionize literally every aspect of our civilization.

IBM’s database model stood unchanged until about 10 years ago, when the blockchain came into this conservative space with a radical new proposition: What if your database worked like a network — a network that’s shared with everybody in the world, where anyone and anything can connect to it? Blockchain experts call this “decentralization.” Decentralization offers the promise of nearly friction-free cooperation between members of complex networks that can add value to each other by enabling collaboration without central authorities and middle men.

How Blockchain Works
Here are basic principles underlying the technology.

Distributed Database
Each party on a blockchain has access to the entire database and its complete history. No single party controls the data or the information. Every party can verify the records of its transaction partners directly, without an intermediary.

Peer-to-Peer Transmission
Communication occurs directly between peers instead of through a central node. Each node stores and forwards information to all other nodes.

Transparency with Pseudonymity
Every transaction and its associated value are visible to anyone with access to the system. Each node, or user, on a blockchain has a unique 30-plus-character alphanumeric address that identifies it. Users can choose to remain anonymous or provide proof of their identity to others. Transactions occur between blockchain addresses.

Irreversibility of Records
O
nce a transaction is entered in the database and the accounts are updated, the records cannot be altered, because they’re linked to every transaction record that came before them (hence the term “chain”). Various computational algorithms and approaches are deployed to ensure that the recording on the database is permanent, chronologically ordered, and available to all others on the network.

Computational Logic
The digital nature of the ledger means that blockchain transactions can be tied to computational logic and in essence programmed. So users can set up algorithms and rules that automatically trigger transactions between nodes.

Let’s start by examining the potential effects of this on an industry that touches all of our lives – banking. The banking industry is filled with shared resources. Consider ATM machines: each machine is owned by a single institution, but accepts cards from a huge network. This sharing requires a complicated management apparatus, mostly provided by VISA. That central entity owns the database and transaction processing layer, which makes everything else possible. If the process of using an ATM had been invented today, with the blockchain as a state-of-the-art database technology as an option, we would most likely not need an administrative entity like VISA to manage the process. Instead, the technology itself would do the heavy lifting of uniting the interests and business processes of the member banks. One can easily imagine a single global blockchain network for managing the interoperability of bank cards. Rather than creating hub-and-spoke methods for organizing our shared resources for mutual advantage, this new technology would provide solutions without any central oversight.

In a world without middle men, things get more efficient in unexpected ways. A 1% transaction fee may not seem like much, but down a 15-step supply chain, it adds up. These kinds of little frictions add just enough drag on the global economy that we’re forced to stick with short supply chains and deals done by the container load, because it’s simply too inefficient to have more links in the supply chain and to work with smaller transactions. The decentralization that blockchain provides would change that, which could have huge possible impacts for economies in the developing world. Any transformation which helps small businesses compete with giants will have major global effects.

Blockchains support the formation of more complex value networks than can otherwise be supported. Normally, transaction costs and other sources of friction associated with having more vendors keeps the number of partners in a value network small. But if locating and locking in partners becomes easier, more comprehensive value networks can become profitable, even for quite small transactions.

How technology is transforming transactions.

Consider the problem that small manufacturers have been dealing with giants like Wal-Mart. To keep transaction costs and the costs of carrying each product line down, large companies generally only buy from companies that can service a substantial percentage of their customers. But if the cost of carrying a new product was tiny, a much larger number of small manufacturers might be included in the value network. Amazon carries this approach a long way, with enormous numbers of small vendors selling through the same platform, but the idea carried to its limit is eBay and Craigslist, which bring business right down to the individual level. While it’s hard to imagine a Wal-Mart with the diversity of products offered by Amazon or even eBay, that is the kind of future we are moving into.

As we outline in “The Internet of Agreements,” our paper for the World Government Summit in Dubai, “the incidental complexity involved in business operations could go down by a very large factor, into a domain where a much more complex, contingent and interwoven business environment will emerge. Such an environment might be as different from today’s business environment as container shipping is superior to packing boats by hand.” (Disclosure: I’m the founder of Hexayurt.Capital, a fund which invests in creating the Internet of Agreements.)

For example, imagine the overhead involved in renting temporary furnishings for a house. Right now, this is not a very common practice (particularly for short stays) because of the overhead involved — insurance of each rented item, dozens of vendors, coordination costs getting everything in and out and so on. But if those transactions came down in cost by 90%, it is easy to imagine sites like AirBnB starting to offer custom furniture options in the spaces people are renting. Add robot delivery trucks to that future, and even short stay homes might have custom furnishing options. Making the kind of logistical complexity that is common to (say) theater productions or aircraft maintenance accessible for smaller events like weddings is just one area where falling transaction costs open up new kinds of business as complex value networks integrate to offer services that simple value networks cannot.

We’re going to see the potential for a trajectory of radical change in all industries. As a society, we’re experiencing a time of unprecedented technological change. It can feel like an insurmountable challenge for leaders to stay on course in such rapidly changing tides.  And yet, with each passing generation, we are acquiring more skill and expertise in navigating a high rate of change, and it is to that expertise that we must now look as the blockchain space unfolds, blossoms, and changes our world

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Competitive Research Who’s Your SEO Competition?

Competitive Research 
Who's Your SEO Competition?

Now that you've brainstormed a long list of potential keywords, you may be wondering which keywords are most important. Good question! We'll spend two lessons on competitive research to help provide some answers. First, you'll learn who's your SEO competition among the top-ranked websites.

Identify the Top-Ranked Websites for Your Keywords

In this step of the SEO tutorial, you begin to evaluate your potential keywords by finding the websites currently ranking for those terms. Knowing these "keyword competitors" helps you determine whether your site belongs in the competition for that keyword.

search query changes the game and the opponents entirely, depending on what the search engine perceives the searcher's intent to be. Identifying who's competing for a particular keyword topic can tell you what type of game is being played and whether you should even step on that field.

Some keyword competitions just won't be your game.

Since your keyword choices influence who can find your website, optimize your pages for the phrases and terms that buyers, not just masses of window shoppers, might use to find what they need. You must select keywords that interested site visitors would search for (and then make sure the content on your page answers their needs AND uses those keywords). Whatever you hope your site visitors will do (whether to make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter or other), you need to figure out which keywords those people will search for.

Fortunately, the search engines are trying to figure out the same thing — what people really want — for every search query. So the best way to tell whether a keyword could lead to a conversion on your site is to see what kinds of results the search engine delivers. If at least some of the top 10 websites offer the same types of products, services or information that yours does, then that's probably a relevant keyword worth putting on the list. But don't worry. We have another free SEO tool to make your competitive research easier.

Here's how to use the Top-Ranked Websites by Keyword tool:

  1. Enter a keyword or phrase below and click "Research Keyword."
  2. View the list of URLs returned for each search, which may be your keyword competition (more on that in a moment).
  3. Keep these lists of keyword competitors in your spreadsheet (next to each keyword), as these are sites you may want to analyze later.
     

What the Competitive Keyword Research Shows

The Top-Ranked Websites by Keyword tool lists the sites with the most top-25 rankings and shows the specific pages that rank highest for the keyword you entered.

The numbers represent each site's current (real-time) ranking position in several search engines (1 means the First position, 3 is third, etc.). Keep track of the individual page URLs that are ranked best and are your major competition (we'll identify your true competitors in a moment). The example to the right shows the top-ranking web pages for the keyword "campsites in Southern California."

Can't I just run a search? If you search directly on Google or Bing, your results are biased by your personal settings, city, and previous searches and clicks. Using our SEO tools eliminates almost all bias and personalization. This unbiased ranking information provides helpful benchmarks for SEO competitive research.

However, if you're a local business or service, you'll want to run your keywords through the search engines directly (with personalization turned off, but your location set to the market area) to see the local competitors.

Know Your True Competitors

Are all the top-ranking sites really my keyword competition? Well, yes and no. In the above example, one result is the Parks Service, an authority .gov website. Will your campground ever be able to compete against it? Probably not for this keyword. You may not consider the government or other high-clout sites (like Wikipedia) to be competitors. Nevertheless, where these and other search result giants are competing for the same SERP space, they're among your keyword competition.

Still, the results reveal what kind(s) of pages search engines think are most relevant to this keyword's perceived user intent. If ALL the top-ranking sites serve a different kind of visitor from the person you want to attract, then maybe you don't want to compete for that keyword.

 

 

For example, if your business designs go-kart tracks, should you optimize for the keyword "go-kart racing"? Looking at search results shows the answer: none of the top-ranked websites offer what your company offers. The search engine assumes that everyone searching for "go-kart racing" wants to go for a ride, so it will probably never consider your design company a relevant match.

You'd better keep doing keyword research looking for more relevant keyword phrases whose top-ranking websites include some true competitors. You can see how keyword research leads to competitive research, which leads to more keyword research, and so on. Now that you know who's your SEO competition for the important keywords, keep their URLs handy.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Keyword Research, How to Select Keywords

Keyword Research
How to Select Keywords

The first and most important search engine optimization step is keyword research. What is keyword research? Simply put, it's figuring out what people might search for in order to find what your website offers — what keyword topics best identify your website content. In this step of our SEO tutorial, you learn the basics of how to do keyword research, try out some free keyword research tools, and start your SEO plan of attack!

Getting Started with SEO Keyword Research

The first task is simply brainstorming. Ask yourself some basic questions to select keywords that might make good targets for search engine optimization, like:

  • What is your website content about?
  • What would you ask a search engine to find what your website offers?
  • What do you think other searchers would ask for?
  • What are your most popular pages/items about?

Most people can make a short (or long) list of keywords that might be used to find their own site. But ask other people these questions and write down their keyword suggestions, too. Doing so will help you go beyond the jargon words that only you and insiders know. When doing keyword research for SEO, you want to discover what real people in your target audience would call what your site offers.

Don't limit your ideas; brainstorm whatever subjects and phrases could lead the kinds of visitors you want to your site. Type them into a spreadsheet. Your brainstorming will "prime the keyword pump." This initial list will be expanded upon and refined in the next few steps, but start with the logical keywords.

Find Keywords People Already Use for Your Business

If your site is already live, you may have hidden keyword gold just waiting to be dug up.

  • A good place to look for keywords is your internal site search. Offering visitors a search box within your site is good for users but also good for you, because it collects search query data. Looking at these queries primarily helps you improve usability (since it reveals what people want to see, what website content may be missing, and where your site navigation is weak). But you may also find nuggets of keyword gold, useful phrases that people search for. Add those to your list.
  • You can find valuable data using Google Search Console (formerly called Webmaster Tools). This free service from Google gives website owners a wealth of information about their own sites (especially with Google Analytics set up, too). Particularly useful is the Search Analytics report; when you look at it by Queries, you can see what key search terms are bringing up your web pages in Google searches. Google also uses Search Console to notify you of errors or penalties, and you'll need the diagnostic SEO tools offered there to keep your site in good health. So don't miss out. (Here's how to set up Google Search Console.)
  • Dig through your customer communications to find additional, actively used keywords. Talk to your customer service people to find out what customers are asking about (in their words). Also check social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to read what your community has said, and search for your primary keywords to discover how people are currently talking about your products, services or subjects.

Get Keyword Suggestions

Take advantage of free keyword research tools to find additional keywords. Our Keyword Suggestion Tool below shows you keyword ideas that are related to any seed word you enter. Type in one word or phrase at a time. The resulting suggestions come from actual search query data, so select the keywords that match your website content and add them to your growing keyword research list.

What the Keyword Data Tells You

With our tool, you can see keyword suggestions with data on the average click-through rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC) for advertisers bidding on that keyword. It also reveals how many web pages contain those words in their Title tag (not necessarily as an exact phrase) under AllInTitle. These metrics indicate how competitive a keyword phrase may be.

You can also see an Activity column, which shows the approximate number of monthly searches for that keyword (also known as "search volume"). CAUTION: Don't get greedy looking at keyword activity counts. Record this statistic with the keyword in your spreadsheet. But keep in mind that a keyword's search volume should not overly influence your choices, especially at this point. You want to select keywords only if they reflect what your website is truly about. Going after high-volume keywords that don't relate to the rest of your content would be deceptive and even punishable as spam.

 

 

How Should You Use Search Activity Data?

Search volumes do cast light on your keyword research. They reveal what people actually call things, and they help you prioritize similar keyword phrases.

For instance, a retail site might choose to use "rolling backpacks for kids" (1,600 monthly searches) rather than "wheeled backpacks for kids" (320 monthly searches) because the first keyword phrase gets searched 5 times more often. However, that retailer should not pin its hopes on ranking for the broad term "backpacks," no matter how attractive that word's sky-high search volume looks.

The moral: Don't be tempted by the huge numbers for broad keywords. With enough time and effort, you might be able to rank for them, but you'd be battling large, established brands for unfocused visitors that might not even be ready to buy.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Bitcoin Apps You Need to Know About

Bitcoin Apps You Need to Know About

If you are a bitcoin enthusiast, there are a few bitcoin apps you need to know about, as they might come in handy. Whether you want to earn a few free satoshis playing games in your free time, or whether you want to constantly keep track of bitcoin’s price, there is an app out there that will take care of your needs. Here are a few examples:

Cryptonator

This free app allows you to check conversion rates for over 500 different cryptocurrencies, in over 40 different exchanges. Essentially, Cryptonator makes it easy for users to find out how much cryptocurrencies people own are worth.

It also includes a portfolio tool that allows users to see how their selected coins perform over a specific period of time, as well a “winners & losers” section that show which coins are doing good, and which aren’t.

Bitcoin Ticker Widget

Bitcoin Ticker Widget is exactly what it sounds like it is: a widget that gives you bitcoin’s price directly on your home screen. Widgets with the price of other cryptocurrencies can also be set up, showing conversion rates for a few different fiat currencies. The prices shown in the widgets are taken from some of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, such as BTCC and Bitstamp.

 Blockchain Game

If you want to introduce someone to bitcoin, you need to show them this game. Not only will it give you context to explain what blockchain technology is, but it will also help the other person earn a few satoshis and start playing around with bitcoin before they get serious about it. The game itself is pretty entertaining, and killing free time while earning bitcoin makes it a lot more enjoyable.

Bitcoin Map

Bitcoin Map is a free app you can install on your smartphone that shows you where you can spend your bitcoins. This way you will be able to know whether the local burger joint accepts bitcoin or not. Even if you know every brick-and-mortar store accepting bitcoins in your area, the app may still come in handy when you decide to go for a road trip. There are other Bitcoin map apps out there, but most of them only give you the location of bitcoin ATMs, not actual brick-and-mortar stores accepting the cryptocurrency.

Blockfolio

Blockfolio is a free financial app aimed at cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Not only does it show price information for bitcoin and over 800 altcoins, it can be set to send the user a notification whenever a specific currency reaches a price threshold. Moreover, as if that insane number of altcoins wasn’t enough, it also features over 30 different fiat currencies so it can reach a global audience.

zTrader

zTrader is the trading client app every cryptocurrency trader needs. It features information from most major exchanges and can show in-depth analysis on different currencies, giving the user a great market overview. The app is pretty complex and gives users tons of information that can, at first, be overwhelming. It will, however, make traders’ lives easier. The app features secure, encrypted storage of API keys, and even though it’s free to download, there is also a pro version.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Markethive

Cryptocurrency Enthusiast Succesfully Mines Bitcoin on a 1985 NES Console

Cryptocurrency Enthusiast Succesfully Mines Bitcoin on a 1985 NES Console

People have tried to mine bitcoin on a wide variety of devices in the past. Due to the evolution of mining hardware, most of the older devices have become obsolete for this type of purpose. That hasn’t kept users from getting creative, though, as one person has successfully created mining software for a 1985 NES. Quite an intriguing project, although it won’t make anyone rich overnight.

RetroMiner Mines Bitcoin On An NES

Although it may sound unlikely to mine bitcoin on an NES gaming system, it is certainly possible to do so. What started out as an offhanded challenge quickly turned into an intriguing project for the person who developed RetroMiner. Not everyone may see the benefit of this project, though, as it is unlikely the NES is even capable of mining bitcoin at any more than laughable speeds.

Most people do not understand the concept of bitcoin mining. Since it takes dedicated expensive hardware to perform this process efficiently these days, mining bitcoin makes little sense. Showcasing how this process works on a device most people are comfortable with, however, may sway a few people’s minds in the process. Then again, it is unlikely anyone will try to mimic mining bitcoin on a 1985 NES, though.

To put this into perspective, mining bitcoin on an 8-bit game console involves a lot more work than one would assume. Bitcoin mining is a very resource-intensive process and the 1985 NES is not a top-notch machine by any means. For its time, it was revolutionary in every way possible, but things have evolved a lot over the past 32 years. Then again, it is nifty to see someone actively mine bitcoin on such a device, albeit it may not generate any coins in the process.

The NES is not equipped to communicate with the live bitcoin network, or performing SHA-256 hashing. Communication with the bitcoin network proved to be pretty easy to implement once a custom bitcoin version was compiled. Keep in mind this involves using a Raspberry Pi as a proprietary device, though. More detailed instructions on the software involved can be found on the Retrominer website

SHA-256 hashing requires multiple 32-bit operations to take place. The NES, however, can only perform 8-bit tasks, which seemingly makes it incompatible. However, it was possible to create an open implementation of SHA256 that works just fine with 8-bit hardware. The custom ROM including the SHA256 algorithm is sent to the NES through the Raspberry Pi, though. However, in the end, the 8-bit game console is more than capable of doing its job, albeit no one should expect any miracles.

Interestingly enough, the person responsible for the Retrominer project feels there is still a lot of room for future improvements. At the same time, none of these improvements will turn 32-year-old hardware into a money making machine by any means. Eventually, the goal is to move more parts of the mining process to the NES, rather than passing through a Raspberry Pi first. All things considered, this is quite an amazing project, that goes to show old game consoles can be repurposed for other tasks with a bit of tinkering.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Bitcoin as Trend Setter: Warren Buffett on Why Money Management is Expensive & Inefficient

Bitcoin as Trend Setter:

Warren Buffett on Why Money Management is
Expensive & Inefficient

 

Increasing ambiguity in the structure of the financial industry and rapidly changing trends in investing are bringing more attention towards Bitcoin, the digital currency which traders and investors are using to avoid economic instability and financial uncertainty. Both financial and technology corporations are also actively investigating the potential of Bitcoin’s underlying technology – the Blockchain – in creating a secure, efficient, transparent and cross-sector platform for the settlement of transactions and assets.

However, still, the vast majority of investors and traders are eying potential investments in Bitcoin, possibly through fully regulated and liquid financial instruments such as the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin ETF. As Cointelegraph reported, the March 11 approval of the Winklevoss twins’ COIN ETF is nearing and analysts are quite optimistic towards its approval. Once approved, the ETF will open a new market for Bitcoin, encouraging hedge funds and large-scale investment firms to enter.

Warren Buffett says investors always try to beat market,
Bitcoin is a trend setter

Warren Buffett, a prominent American investor with a net worth of $76.1 bln, recently wrote to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway in his annual letter that wealthy investors should be able to afford superior financial services. In the letter, Buffett also mentioned that investors and traders are always trying to beat the market, as breaking the trend and investing in innovative companies often lead to the highest profit margins. Buffett himself is known be an early investor in some of the most wildly successful conglomerates, most notably the $183.7 bln beverages company The Coca-Cola Co.

To beat the market and make profitable investments, a high level of risk is involved. More to that, financial managers, investors, and hedge funds maintain a massive portfolio of investments that require immense labor. Thus, hedge funds and investment firms have been charging high fees to their clients for managing their funds. This trend, which has sustained its stability for decades, is starting to change. Hedge fund managers like Paul Tudor Jones, who was known to the financial industry for charging some of the highest fees to his clients, have been continuously decreasing fees over the past few years.

Why Bitcoin matters
and money management will continue to see declining fees

Essentially, the decline of money management fees and the sense of urgency of hedge funds managers all boil down to acknowledging new trends in the market. Over the past few years, Bitcoin has consistently been the top performing currency and assets across all markets and industries across the world. In fact, many mainstream investors, traders, and analysts in early 2017 recognized Bitcoin as the best performing asset and currency throughout 2016, offering extensive media coverage and comprehensive review of Bitcoin as an investment. As a result, Bitcoin’s market cap is continuing to reach new all-time highs.

In the near future, investors will be left with two choices: leave their money with expensive and inefficient hedge funds or invest in emerging assets or currencies like Bitcoin. The choice to invest in Bitcoin will be readily available once the Winklevoss twins’ ETF is approved.

Second Blockchain Academy Launched in Kerala, India

Kerala is to become the second Indian state to get its own Blockchain academy in a joint scheme between the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala, hereinafter IIITM-K and international learning and business development platform Blockchain Education Network, hereinafter BEN. The initiative was announced a recent Blockchain workshop held by the IIITM-K in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, with director Dr. Rajasree MS confident of its potential. “Banking, health care [sic], and governance are the three major avenues where Blockchains [sic] will find applications,” he said quoted by Indian Express Sunday.

Professor S Rajeev, a consultant at Maker Village, a subsidiary incubator run by IIITM-K, added that “Blockchain [sic] technology, which leverages the idea of a distributed and decentralized ledger, will open up new avenues both in the software and hardware sectors.” The focus of such ‘academies’ in both Kerala and pioneer Bangalore remains somewhat vague but points to a desire to understand the impact of technology on various spheres of the economy. At the same time, India’s central bank last week suggested Blockchain becoming mainstream was a “pipe dream” and that such technology could only gain popular acceptance with the endorsement of authorities.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Markethive

Bitcoin Price Will Triple Gold in 2018, Silver Achieves Parity With Gold

Bitcoin Price Will Triple Gold in 2018, Silver Achieves Parity With Gold

 

Banks are going to get into big trouble later this year which is going to expose a gigantic derivative bust, silver has a good future ahead and Bitcoin price would triple the price of an ounce of gold – which is expected to reach $4,800 – by March next year, according to the latest data sets from Clif High. Based on this estimate, one Bitcoin could be worth more than $13,000 by then, he says in the interview he recently had with Greg Hunter.

Banks’ troubles

Clif High, who has gradually become a known name for the projection from his Web bots, says his data shows that the derivative that some banks would soon experience would be regional troubles rather than a global bust. He says: “It would be a large failure, say, in a northern Italian bank then the derivative associated with that bank ripples over to Deutsche Bank and maybe they are able to contain it a little bit and so everybody breathes a sigh of relief. Then it breaks out in Texas and a bunch of regional banks in Texas shuts down and there is pressure on some fracking whales and they get it contained with a little bit of credit infusion from somewhere else. Then it spreads to California and up to Asia and the next thing you know it is back in Europe. So we’ll be fighting this basically derivative disease as it pops up here and there. That’s going to be the modus operandi for the banks for the rest of this year.”

“He hints that a lot of people are going to get caught up in the situation when some of these banks go down because they won’t have access to their cash. Also, some of these banks are not likely to recover from the “nasty situation.”

Silver’s going to the moon

He didn’t say if there would be a correlation between the failure of banks and the projected rise in the price of silver. However, he notes that for a number of years, silver is going to be an increasingly key component of the increasing complex hyper-technologies. This will be as a result of the escalation in the actual growth rate of emotional attachment to silver between this year – when the metal is expected to break out and create a shift in its price manipulation – and 2022.

They will try to suppress it to contain it in the first instance, he adds, but they won’t be able to contain the next breakout coming towards the end of the year (October) because of what would be coming out as relative to technology by the time.

“The situation will encourage rampant hoarding in silver in 2018 and 2019 in many western countries and its price will escalate rapidly towards achieving parity with gold and become too expensive to be used as money. For gold, he says the next number according to his data sets is $4800 per ounce with a projected timeline of March 2018.”

Bitcoin won’t explode until 2019

If what Clif High, who is considered quite accurate with his predictions about Bitcoin, says about the digital currency is anything to go by, then we should see a $13,000+ Bitcoin by March 2018. Speaking of the price of gold in the interview with Hunter, High says an ounce of gold would reach $4800 net by March to drop down by about $300. He adds:

The data shows that when it’s dropped to that point, just curiously, it happens to match for a brief period of time exactly one-third of the price of Bitcoin when gold does that deepen and it’s back up again.”

That gives us about a price range of between $13,000 and $14,000. “Bitcoin is simply escalating. It doesn’t explode until 2019,” he adds with a submission that at some point, there will be one Bitcoin available for every thousand ounces of gold.

 Bitcoin Price Breaks $1228 All-Time High Again With ETF Nearing

  Bitcoin Price Breaks $1228 All-Time High Again With ETF Nearing

Bitcoin price surpassed $1,228 earlier today on major Bitcoin exchanges including Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Kraken and bitFlyer due to the industry’s optimism towards the Winklevoss twin’s Bitcoin ETF approval on March 11.

Digital currency exchanges in Asian markets including Japan and South Korea, which control over 52 percent of the global Bitcoin exchange market, have been facilitating Bitcoin trades in the range of $1,260 to $1,270, with a $50 premium in contrast to the global market. Traders on bitFlyer in particular, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange that processes 60 percent of trades of the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market amounting to 94,520 Bitcoins per day, is still trading Bitcoin at $1,262, a value nearly $39 higher than Bitfinex and Bitstamp.

 

Speculation on Bitcoin ETF Approval

The strong performance of Bitcoin price is a result of the speculation of the Bitcoin industry towards the approval of the Winklevoss twin’s Bitcoin ETF COIN, which is awaiting its final decision by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to be made public on March 11. Prior to the release of a memorandum on Feb. 22 by SEC Attorney and Adviser Neel Maitra, many analysts including Needham & Co Vice President of Equity Research Spencer Bogart noted the low probability of the COIN ETF being approved by the SEC.

The reason behind the prediction of Bogart was that if a Bitcoin ETF is approved by the SEC and it does well in the public market, SEC officials or whoever that made the final decision to make the ETF public will not receive any form of incentive out of the deal. However, if the ETF fails and controversy emerges as a result, SEC officials will be responsible for their actions.

“We have pegged the odds at less than 25 percent. That is because the very first thing the SEC lists in its own mission statement is protecting the investing public. When you think about the game theory aspect of this, if I work at the SEC and I approve this ETF. and it goes well, nobody is probably going to come around and pat me on the back and give me a promotion. But if I approve it and a lot of money flows into it, and something goes wrong, I am likely to lose my job,” said Bogart.

In other words, Bogart explained that it is a go-to decision for SEC officials to turn down any risky funds like the COIN ETF as they don’t benefit from the strong performance of the ETF but are still wholly responsible for the outcome of the ETF. Speculations began to change in favor of the Winklevoss twins and the Bitcoin industry when the Feb. 14 SEC-Winklevoss twins roundtable discussion memorandum was released. In the memo, the SEC revealed that its Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Corporate Finance, State Street representatives, KCG Holdings, Susquehanna International, ConvergEx and BATs participated in the meeting to discuss the future of the ETF and its performance when approved.

The SEC brought in outside advisors in KCG Holdings and Susquehanna International to offer unbiased insights into how the Winklevoss twin’s Bitcoin ETF could perform in the near future. Based on the current Bitcoin price trend, it could go both ways. The Bitcoin ETF approval process on March 11 could either allow Bitcoin to achieve new highs again or lead to a short-term decline.

Bitcoin Price Pushed by OKCoin Getting Ready for Relaunch, China Money Supply Increase

 

OKCoin, one of the two Chinese Bitcoin exchanges, is demonstrating progress in sorting out user fund withdrawals. On Feb. 9, it was requested by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to halt Bitcoin and Litecoin withdrawals. On March 1, OKCoin told their users that the exchange is approving the transfer of user funds stored on the global OKCoin trading platform to their Chinese site because the companys .CN platform is nearly ready for approval by the PBoC and relaunch.

Earlier in January, the PBoC asked OKCoin and Huobi, two of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in China, to suspend trading until their Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems are overhauled. The abrupt termination of OKCoin Bitcoin withdrawals stemmed from the PBoC’s initial warning sent out to Huobi and OKCoin on Jan. 18.

At the time, OKCoin operators announced a time frame of one month for the completion of their KYC and AML system update, which meant that users would not be able to withdraw their funds in Bitcoin or Litecoin for 31 days. However, OKCoin emphasized that the one month period could be either shortened or delayed depending on the development of their new industry-compliant AML and KYC systems. Since an AML and KYC update essentially led to the renovation of the entire platform, OKCoin and Huobi weren’t capable of providing a fixed date of withdrawal approval.

OKCoin seeing progress

On March 1, OKCoin representatives told their users on WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging platform with over 700 mln users, that the exchange is approving the transfer of Bitcoin and Litecoin from their .com to .cn site. Basically, OKCoin is approving users transferring their user funds stored on the global OKCoin trading platform to their Chinese site because of the companys .CN platform is nearly ready for approval by the PBoC and relaunch.

An OKCoin representative stated:

“Transferring Bitcoin from our domestic site to international site is not supported. But, transferring Bitcoin from international to domestic site is allowed.”

At the time of writing, it is difficult to conclude whether this means that OKCoin users will soon be able to withdraw their funds in Bitcoin and Litecoin. It is likely that these updates are being released within the Chinese community as the one-month deadline is approaching. According to their original roadmap, users should be able to withdraw funds on both Huobi and OKCoin in less than eight days.

Increasing demand

Optimistic announcements from OKCoin and Huobi have coincided with the Chinese government’s decision to initiate quantitative easing or printing cash to inject into their economy. Financial analysts including Reuters have reported that the PBoC is eying a 12 percent increase in money supply in 2017, which means that the government intends to increase its money supply by trillions of yuan throughout this year.

"It's not necessary to maintain last year's high money supply growth. A money supply rise of 11 percent should be enough for supporting growth, but we probably need to have some extra space, considering risks in the process of deleveraging,” a government insider told Reuters. The demand for Bitcoin will most likely rise if the Chinese yuan continues to devalue as a result of inflation. If the Chinese government opts to match its 12 percent cash injection plan as reported by Reuters and local financial companies, the value of yuan is expected to decrease and the demand for safe haven assets or decentralized currencies like gold and Bitcoin will most likely increase.

China also recently lowered its projected economic growth, decreasing its forecasted growth rate from 7 to 6.5 percent.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Blockchain: A Better Way to Track Pork Chops, Bonds, Bad Peanut Butter?

Blockchain:
A Better Way to Track Pork Chops, Bonds,
Bad Peanut Butter?

 

Cargo containers are loaded on a Maersk ship at the Port of Mombasa in Kenya. IBM has heated competition in the race to monitor transactions. Credit Andrew Renneisen for The New York Times. rank Yiannas has spent years looking in vain for a better way to track lettuce, steaks and snack cakes from farm and factory to the shelves of Walmart, where he is the vice president for food safety. When the company dealt with salmonella outbreaks, it often took weeks to trace where the bad ingredients came from.

Then, last year, IBM executives flew to Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas to propose a solution: the blockchain. As Mr. Yiannas studied their pitch, he said, “I became increasingly convinced that maybe we were onto the holy grail.” The blockchain — the buzzy, bewildering technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — is starting to be applied to real-world problems like tracking pork chops, shipping containers and footwear with a speed and security not currently possible. The IBM-Walmart partnership is one of the biggest practical tests to date.

At its heart, blockchain simply refers to a bookkeeping method that “chains” together entries so that they are very difficult to modify later. It provides a way for large groups of unrelated companies to jointly keep a secure and reliable record of their transactions.IBM is trying to position itself at the forefront of the heated competition for practical uses of this arcane idea. Walmart is just one of 400 IBM clients testing it out, and IBM now has around 650 employees dedicated to the technology.

The most immediate business opportunities are in the financial world as a tool to track and trade stocks, bonds, and other assets. But in the next week, Maersk, the global shipping giant, is expected to announce it is using IBM’s version of the blockchain to track the avocados, flowers and machine parts it carries on its enormous cargo ships. Last month, the government of Dubai said it was working with IBM to trace the goods flowing through its ports.

Yet success is far from assured.

Rival Microsoft said this past week that it was working with JPMorgan Chase and several other corporate giants on a system that competes against IBM’s, based on the virtual currency network known as Ethereum. Many banks are concerned that IBM could push them into a version of the blockchain that would lock them into IBM’s software. “We believe with 100 percent certainty that it’s going to matter,” Mark Russinovich, the head of Microsoft’s blockchain efforts, said of the technology. “It’s a question of where’s its going to matter and how it’s going to matter.”

Trust in Transactions

It was Bitcoin that first caught the attention of IBM researchers, and everyone else. Bitcoin, born in 2009, represented a novel idea in the financial world. Unlike, say, dollars or yen, Bitcoins are virtual tokens, unaffiliated with any nation. Anyone can open a wallet and receive Bitcoins — without providing any identifying information — and transactions are recorded on a universal ledger that is visible to everyone.

Drug dealers have embraced its relative anonymity. And people who live in countries that strictly control their financial systems, like China and Venezuela, have used Bitcoin to store their money beyond the watchful eye of the government. Containers are loaded onto a Maersk ship at the Port of Mombasa. A single container could require stamps and approvals from as many as 30 people, including customs, tax officials and health authorities. Credit Andrew Renneisen for The New York Times

But while the public focused on stories like these, geeks became fascinated with Bitcoin’s underlying structure and the communal way in which it was updated. That database was referred to as the blockchain because all the transactions were sorted into “blocks,” and each block was chained, using sophisticated math, to the ones before it, all the way back to the very first transaction — a structure that makes it tough for anyone to change the records after the fact.

In 2014, a handful of IBM employees began building their own version of Bitcoin, known as Blue Coin, which could be used to track financial transactions, totally independent of Bitcoin. But it was a small, exploratory project with no real support inside IBM. “I was prepared to tell them to shut it down, that cybercurrency is not our role to play,” said Arvind Krishna, director of research at IBM. But a team kept working on the technology, changing the name to Bluechain and then to Openchain. And Mr. Krishna eventually invited his team to a meeting at IBM’s central lab in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., for one last chance to defend the technology.

They explained that this was about more than just a currency — it was a new way of tracking shipments and transactions in supply chains of all kinds, from food to prescription drugs to diamonds. Because all the participants would be keeping their own live version of all the data, without a central authority, they could immediately see everything that was going on and trust that no one else had tampered with it. “That was the ‘aha’ for me,” Mr. Krishna said. “This was not really about digital payments, but establishing trust in transactions in general.” He called it “a technology that can change the world.”

There are still many in the industry who are skeptical of the long-term significance of the blockchain concept. Doubters have said that it is, at best, a slightly more reliable way to track data, and at worst, a much less efficient method of keeping data than current ones that rely on central gatekeepers. But blockchain champions like to compare it to the significance of the internet, which provided a universal computing language for communicating seamlessly among networks. The blockchain, they say, could provide that universal language for valuable data and information.

A few months after Mr. Krishna’s aha moment, his team presented the idea at an annual gathering where IBM’s top executives consider new technologies that could be major opportunities — or threats — to IBM’s business. Blockchain was the first subject of discussion, and the first that Virginia Rometty, IBM’s chief executive, gave the green light to.

She turned to Mr. Krishna, the research chief, and said, “You run with this,” he recalled. She asked for a working version within two months. Her hurry-up response was a reflection, in part, of IBM’s eagerness to find new businesses to make up for the erosion of its traditional hardware, software and services offerings. The company has made progress with new products like data-analysis software and its Watson artificial intelligence software.

Blockchain is being used to track and monitor all kinds of shipments and transactions, including Walmart pork shipments in China. Credit Walmart But growth in new businesses has not yet offset declines in traditional businesses. In January, IBM reported its 19th consecutive quarterly drop in revenue, though some of that sales retreat was because of profit-draining operations the company sold off, like semiconductor manufacturing and industry-standard server computers.

IBM has already suffered from being late to one of the biggest trends in technology today, cloud computing, where it moved slowly at first and watched the early market leadership go to Amazon and Microsoft. Today, Mr. Krishna said, “The first-mover advantage is even more important than it used to be.”

After getting Ms. Rometty’s push on the blockchain, the IBM team’s first move was to make its software “open source,” meaning that it would be free and available for anyone to review and tinker with. IBM’s bet was that this would establish its technology as a de facto standard, and that it could make money by selling software and services that would sit on top of the technology.It was the chairman of IBM Europe, Erich Clementi, who personally pitched the concept to the top technology executive at Maersk. Like Walmart, Maersk had already been looking for years for a better way to trace the goods it ships around the globe.

For Maersk, the problem was not tracking the familiar rectangular shipping containers that sail the world aboard its cargo ships — instead, it was the mountains of paperwork that go with each container. Maersk had found that a single container could require stamps and approvals from as many as 30 people, including customs, tax officials and health authorities.

While the containers themselves can be loaded on a ship in a matter of minutes, a container can be held up in port for days because a piece of paper goes missing, while the goods inside spoil. The cost of moving and keeping track of all this paperwork often equals the cost of physically moving the container around the world. What’s more, the system is rife with fraud. The valuable bill of lading is often tampered with or copied to let criminals siphon off goods or circulate counterfeit products, leading to billions of dollars in maritime fraud each year.

Maersk and IBM began working on a version of its software that would be open to everyone involved with every container. When customs authorities signed off on a document, they could immediately upload a copy of it, with a digital signature, so that everyone else involved — including Maersk and government authorities — could see that it was complete. If there were disputes later, everyone could go back to the record and be confident that no one had altered it in the meantime. The cryptography involved would make it hard for the virtual signatures to be forged.

The first test of the system happened last summer and tracked all of the paperwork related to a container of flowers moving from the Port of Mombasa in Kenya to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It went well enough that Maersk and IBM followed up by tracking containers with pineapples from Colombia, and mandarin oranges from California.

The difficulty of making this work in the real world is that everyone at every step along the way needs to be involved, otherwise it’s unlikely to induce any more confidence than the old system. “You need to have something in it for all stakeholders, in order to get the whole chain going,” said Jakob Stausholm, the chief financial and technology officer at Maersk, who is leading the project. “That’s the difficult part.”

Maersk stores shelves and shelves of paper records dating back to 2014 in a storage room at its office in Mombasa. Credit Andrew Renneisen for The New York Times. IBM and Maersk have recently been seeking cooperation from customs authorities, freight forwarders and the producers that fill the containers. Just last month, Maersk and IBM began running their first trials with these partners involved, on shipping routes between Rotterdam and Newark.

A Question of Control

Not everyone has been so willing to buy into the IBM approach. Many technologists who got excited about Bitcoin have said that the newer, corporate-designed blockchains — like the one being built by IBM — are missing one of the main elements of Bitcoin’s success, namely the extremely decentralized structure. Anyone in the world can join Bitcoin and, in effect, study its ledgers. But only a limited set of participants can gain access to ones like IBM’s.

That could make them more vulnerable to attack from, say, a hacker who targets a few of the participants. Even though the IBM technology for tracking shipments is more decentralized than previous methods, “it still concentrates power in a handful of entities,” said Emin Gun Sirer, a professor at Cornell who studies distributed systems.

The companies working with IBM have been less worried about these security issues. Almost all of them demanded that the system not be open like Bitcoin. While they are giving up some security benefits, the private blockchains can move faster than Bitcoin, which has been plagued by delays. IBM has faced questions from companies worried that the tech giant has too much control over the system it is building and could make them dependent on IBM software for years to come.

IBM tried to fend off this line of attack when it made it's software open source in 2015. The foundation that is now in charge of the computer code, the Hyperledger Foundation, has attracted many other companies that are now working on the project alongside IBM. Just in the past week, the Bank of England, Kaiser Permanente and nine other new members joined. But the director of the Hyperledger Foundation, Brian Behlendorf, acknowledged that IBM is still the single largest contributor to the project. As a result, it has been an uphill battle to convince others that it is not simply an IBM project.

“They have such a head start that it can leave the impression that Hyperledger is an IBM product,” Mr. Behlendorf said. “We are trying to tell a story about the other companies building on top of Hyperledger. That is emerging. It will take some time.” Microsoft has fended off this sort of problem by focusing most of its efforts on a blockchain that it had nothing to do with building, the blockchain behind the virtual currency known as Ethereum. This has already helped Microsoft move in on some clients that IBM is also pursuing. Bank of America, for instance, is building a system with Microsoft that will track the flows of money around trade deals.

But IBM has taken an early lead. Its list of collaborators includes the likes of the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of Tokyo and lots of companies outside the financial world like Maersk and Walmart. “This is the most well-thought-out project in the space,” said Mr. Sirer, the Cornell professor. Now all IBM has to do is get the systems out into the real world and show that they work.

At Maersk, Mr. Stausholm said it could take five or even 10 years for that to happen, given all the partners — manufacturers, customs officials, and farmers — that need to come together. “I really do believe in it,” he said, “but I don’t know how fast it will be able to take off.” At Walmart, Mr. Yiannas is more optimistic. His company has already completed two pilots with IBM — moving pork from Chinese farms to Chinese stores, and produce from Latin America to the United States — and he is confident a finished version can be put together within a few years. “I think this is our one best hope for getting it right,” he said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

IBM And Maersk Apply Blockchain To Container Shipping

IBM And Maersk Apply Blockchain To Container Shipping

IBM and Maersk are using a blockchain built on the Hyperledger Fabric to manage the supply chain for container shipping.Maersk, the Danish shipping company which is the largest container carrier in the world with 18 % to 20% of the market, did a proof of concept (POC) with IBM in September, tracking a container of flowers from Mombasa, on the coast of Kenya, to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Ramesh Gopinath, IBM’s vice president of blockchain research, said all the documents for shipping containers can be fully digitized and the containers can be tracked. In the September POC, the shipping cost $2,000 and the paperwork could be about $300, or 15 percent of the cargo’s value.Traditionally, a simple shipment of refrigerated goods from East Africa to Europe can go through nearly 30 people and organizations, including more than 200 different interactions and communications among them, said the IBM announcement.

Using digital records and a blockchain can sharply reduce costs, although the actual savings won’t be known for a year or two until the blockchain is more widely used. “Global trade $20 trillion, a big chunk of global GDP, and container shipping is a huge part of it,’ said Gopinath. “Fifty percent travels on containers. When I walk into any store to buy something, it likely came on a ship.” That includes not only the obvious — toys from China — but the ingredients for a dessert like a tiramisu with imported chocolate, spices, and flavors, he added.

Both shipping and the financial process supporting it — trade finance — rely on piles of paper. “The entire process is extremely inefficient,” said Gopinath of the container shipping business. IBM started working with Maersk in December 2015 to see how the paper records could be digitized. It completed a pilot in last month. The pilot started with an empty container at Schneider Electric in Lyons, France. It was filled with goods from the plant there and trucked to Rotterdam, loaded onto a Maersk Line ship and transported to the Port of Newark and then to a Schneider Electric facility in the U.S.

The complexity of international shipping is clear from the number of agencies which participated in this pilot. They included Customs Administration of the Netherlands working under an EU research project, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Damco, Maersk’s supply chain solutions company, supported origin management activities of the shipment while utilizing the solution.

The number of agencies and companies involved in the movement of the single container points to one of the issues that digitalization of trade will face said Gopinath, not all countries are ready. “Computerization varies by country. The reason we picked [Rotterdam and Newark] with  guidance from Maersk is that they chose the trade lanes and brought in customs to make all this happen.” He sees the benefits reaching all the way through the supply chain, including to the retail warehouses, which will know when a shipment is coming so they can staff to receive it, and even to individual stores.

A permission led blockchain is immutably, highly secure and trusted shared network which provides each participant end-to-end visibility based on their level of permission. IBM’s announcement said that the costs associated with trade documentation processing and administration are estimated to be equal to the actual physical transportation costs, It also offers a big benefit for ports because they get information of when the ship arrives and what is on it so they can plan how to handle the containers more efficiently.

The supply chain blockchain IBM is using with Maersk is a world away from anonymous bitcoin transactions. This is a closed group, a permission led blockchain where all the participants are known and have permission to participate. “It’s early days for blockchain,” said Gopinath. “I think we at IBM have done more with blockchain than anyone on the planet. The solution developed by Maersk and IBM is based on the Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric.

IBM’s announcement said that the solution is designed to help reduce or eliminate fraud and errors, minimize the time products spend in the transit and shipping process, improve inventory management and ultimately reduce waste and cost.

Ibrahim Gokcen, chief digital officer at Maersk, said: “The projects we are doing with IBM aim at exploring a disruptive technology such as blockchain to solve real customer problems and create new innovative business models for the entire industry. We expect the solutions we are working on will not only reduce the cost of goods for consumers, but also make global trade more accessible to a much larger number of players from both emerging and developed countries.”

Blockchain, which has potential for letters of credit to accompany containers, is getting mixed reviews from banking organizations, according to Enrico Camerinelli, senior research analyst at Aité Group. He notes that R3, a financial technology consortium and SWIFT have said blockchain is unneeded or not ready for wholesale banking, although it was a hot topic at SWIFT's annual Sibos conference in Geneva last October.

Blockchain was a hot topic at Sibos in Geneva last October.However, notes Camerinelli, individual banks including China’s central bank, Mizuho Bank, and JPMorgan are testing blockchains in controlled circles — permission led blockchains.

“Banks are also engaged in blockchain proof of concepts to transact digitized documents, particularly letters of credit, bills of lading, and invoices,” he wrote in a recent report. “ING and Société Générale have run a paperless oil trade on a blockchain platform… Rabobank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Société Générale, and UniCredit are developing a shared cross-border trade finance platform for small and midsize enterprises… Although blockchain technology is still in its infancy, problems are not insurmountable and should be the key focus area of bank consortia.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive