Oil Giant BP to Test Blockchain Technology With BTL Group
Oil giant BP, the world’s eighth-largest energy company by revenue
($222.8 billion), has officially begun collaborating with Canadian blockchain startup BTL Group. After a few months of successful testing, BP, Italian oil and gas company Eni, and major German energy company Wien Energie all plan to enter a six-month production phase with BTL’s Interbit platform built on top of the blockchain. The three companies will utilize the BTL blockchain platform to trade gas and oil in a transparent and secure ledger.
Before the three companies move on to commercialize BTL’s blockchain technology Interbit, blockchain developers and the group of leading energy companies aim to simulate real-life trades at a commercial rate. Trades of billions of dollars worth of gas and oil will be processed on the Interbit blockchain platform in a simulation to evaluate if the blockchain technology is capable of settling millions of data points in short periods of time with enhanced and optimal security measures. Guy Halford-Thompson, the co-founder and CEO of BTL Group, who introduced one of the first bitcoin ATMs to the UK in 2013,
“Having demonstrated the reductions in risk and cost savings that are achievable we now have an opportunity to deliver the first successful blockchain based application to the energy market.”
The BTL Group is the first public blockchain company located in Canada and the UK that is focusing on the development and implementation of blockchain technology targeted towards the finance, energy and gaming sectors. Because a large number of blockchain companies and consortia are already working with leading financial institutions and banks in utilizing the blockchain to reduce transaction costs and overall expenses, developers of BTL are specifically targeting semi-financial markets.
According to Halford-Thompson, the three oil giants are also considering implementing the blockchain in other areas and operations. Relying on the decentralized and transparent nature of blockchain technology, BTL and the group of energy companies are analyzing the blockchain’s potential in reducing costs of alternative operations. For instance, on top of the conventional structure of the blockchain, various technologies such as smart contracts can be utilized to carry out or conduct agreements autonomously. With the utilization of smart contracts as demonstrated by many public blockchain projects such as Ethereum, companies like BP can automate operations that require a high level of manual work. “We are also very excited that the pilot has enabled participating companies to understand the benefits of Interbit better and identify other areas in their organizations where they can apply it,” said Halford-Thompson.
In an interview, EY partner Andrew Woosey also emphasized the importance of the pilot test of BTL’s Interbit blockchain platform led by BP. Over the past two years, the “Big Four” accounting firms including EY, PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG have been heavily involved in the blockchain sector by helping large conglomerates such as BP understand the intricacies of blockchain technology and implement it efficiently. Woosey also stated that that the group of energy companies is focusing on streamlining back office processes autonomously, ultimately to reduce risk and build resilience toward cyber threats.
“Use of such technology can help by streamlining back office processes, leading to reduced risk, better protection against cyber threats and ultimately significant cost savings. Further engineering and organizational effort are needed to achieve these outcomes,” said Woosey. Currently, a large number of energy companies are looking into the blockchain to optimize operations and reduce costs. In an interview, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin revealed that the $92 billion mining, metals, and petroleum corporation BHP Billiton is participating in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to develop decentralized applications based on Ethereum.
IOTA Token has Record Breaking Launch on Bitfinex, Hits $1.5 Billion Market Cap
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex officially launched the IOTA token
At 9:00 am Eastern Standard Time, cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex officially launched the IOTA token, IOT. Tradable in IOT/USD and IOT/BTC pairs, tokens for use with the IOTA network are now publicly accessible through the Bitfinex website. This launch represents a milestone for IOTA as they expand their user base. “Exchange listing is something that has become a hallmark for all crypto projects,” says IOTA founder David Sønstebø in conversation with CCN, “it represents that the technology is ready for the open market and the wider audience.” And looking at the numbers from the launch, it seems the open market was ready for IOTA.
After Bitfinex’s announcement on June 4, 2017, regarding the listing of IOT, user demand became readily apparent. The staff at Bitfinex found themselves ‘inundated with requests for details,” explained Bitfinex representative Brandon Carps, “We’ve yet to see this many requests for details on a token listing.” These inquiries lead to an unprecedented amount of support tickets created for Bitfinex.
By the Numbers
After going live on Bitfinex, the transaction volume quickly became so massive that the Bitfinex servers briefly went down. “Moments after the IOTA launch,” Brandon shared, “we were all hands on deck to load balance and ensure IOTA trading was back online and operating as expected.” What kind of volume? Within the first three hours of trading, 4.44 Million Mega IOTA were traded with the IOT/USD pair, an amount that increased by the second. The IOT/BTC trades showed even greater activity, showing 11.67 Million Mega IOTA traded in
The same period.
The first two hours of IOTA trading was more than double the USD volume and ten times greater than the BTC volume of the last token we released, Ripple, over the course of its full trading day.
All of which sees IOT slotting itself straight into the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. At the time of publishing, the total value of IOT tokens stands above $1.5 billion, peaking beyond the likes of Dash and Monero.
Bitfinex Lists IOT
The team at Bitfinex have been following IOTA’s development closely for the past year. Thanks to the innovative nature of their platform, and the “amount of effort the founders have put into IOTA in just a year’s time relative to the polished product we see today is atypical for something in such an early period of its life,” the IOTA token was an obvious candidate for inclusion on Bitfinex. The relationship is unique for Bitfinex as well, as this is the first token Bitfinex is hosting not listed on any other exchange. In discussing the success of IOT on Bitfinex, David said “I want to congratulate every IOTA member on this success. Now we welcome thousands upon thousands of new people who learn about and get interested in IOTA through this event with open arms. However, we are still considering this the very early days, and are squarely focused on the long term execution and vision of the IOTA project.”
Constructing a Real-Estate
Brick by Brick
BrickCoin, touted as the world’s first blockchain financial platform
On June 6, BrickCoin, touted as the world’s first blockchain financial platform backed entirely by the stability of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), unveiled its vision for a “real estate-backed” global digital currency. BrickCoin seeks to usher in a new normal for consumer saving and financial stability that protects an individual's’ true wealth from the inflationary impact of fiat currencies. BrickCoin uses blockchain technology to drive this next generation of financial solutions that seeks to ensure financial inclusion for all. Those who are unbanked account for over a third of the global population.
BrickCoin uses blockchain as its underlying technology to facilitate the next generation of financial solutions aimed at ensuring financial inclusion for all. Unbanked people account for a third of the world’s population. This demographic is primarily concentrated in the emerging markets of Asia, Latin America and Africa where inflation levels are extremely volatile, and the value of fiat currency is unable to keep pace with inflation, thereby resulting in monetary value. The brainchild behind BrickCoin, humanitarian entrepreneur Lucas Cervigni, asserts that this is not just a problem facing the
“Inflation levels are rising around the globe, chewing into real incomes and savings rates. As a result, the world needs a better, safer and easier way for ordinary people to save and protect their money from inflation.”
He goes on to note that savings accounts and fixed income interest accounts are not inflation-proof and are stuck at record low levels of interest. Complex investment products such as hedge funds, he says, are typically only available to high wealth individuals and require large initial investments and do not offer ready liquidity and are vulnerable to bankruptcy. “By comparison, the debt-free real estate has and always will have intrinsic value, much as the old gold standards did. We plan to use this to create a new inflation-proof, secure but flexible mechanism for ordinary savers to protect their wealth,” continued Cervigni.
His vision is to create an asset-based cryptocurrency, which replaces the vulnerabilities of the current fiat currency system, combining the safety of a real estate investment with the liquidity and performance of a cryptocurrency. These REIT-backed coins will enable anyone to convert their fiat currency into a more stable and protected digital currency that not only increases in value but helps more people to grow their usable savings leading to stronger global economies.
Unlike other assets used to back new and emerging cryptocurrencies, commercial, mortgage-free real estate is a robust and regulated asset that is protected from increasing debt and inflationary cycles. For a large percentage of individuals around the world, BrickCoin’s online platform will represent their only chance to invest in real estate. By purchasing a BrickCoin, token holders will have the ability to build a steady income stream that grows at a guaranteed rate higher than the current inflation rate of their country, offering the individual a safe place to store and grow their wealth.
By way of example, in Venezuela inflation is expected to hit a rate of 2,500 percent by 2018. The currency, the bolivar, is so devalued that many people tote it around in carrier bags rather than wallets. The government has declared the currency to be virtually worthless. Unlike state currencies, BrickCoin’s value cannot simply be declared worthless, nor printed away.
While the opportunity for BrickCoin to fully assist Venezuela may have passed, it does demonstrate how the real world economy can benefit from the crypto economy, preventing or at least limiting the adverse effects of future monetary mismanagement and totalitarian government control. When asked about his journey into the world of blockchain-based, real estate-backed cryptocurrencies, Cervigni had this to say, “My journey into the crypto space began five to six years ago when I met a man called Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar (president of Bitcoin Argentina) who got me interested in this new crypto tech. He believed that Bitcoin was the technology that was going to change the world.”
“Later, I was working on a real estate development project in London when I realized they needed a faster, cheaper and more user-friendly way to work and found that the Blockchain was the answer. I began using blockchain and cryptocurrency during my work in real estate and over the last five years these early ideas developed into BrickCoin.”
He says that his engagement with Zaldivar was the catalyst for him starting BrickCoin. “He was already crowdfunding for real estate and got me involved.” Cervigni was quick to point out that in the crypto space, a business that has been running six months is considered well-established, BrickCoin has already been running for four years with a longer-term plan for the next decade. He says that within the next ten years the plan is to engage with governments in order to expand BrickCoin to different countries, with different regulators and expand the types of BrickCoins invested in real estate around the world.
“Blockchain is the platform of the future. Everything in the world will be developed using open ledger platform. In respect to real estate, a huge proportion of the world doesn’t own a home; they rent accommodation. At least 15-20 percent do not have a home at all (they live in super precarious housing). There’s an enormous deficit in worldwide housing. We aim to fix that.”
How to Build an Inbound Marketing Strategy in 24 Hours
"I'm active on social media."
"I'm blogging regularly."
"I'm using SEO best practices."
"I feel like I'm doing everything right, but I'm not seeing results."
Do any of these statements sound familiar? A lot of marketers and CEOs we talk to feel like they are doing all the right things. But, they aren't achieving their goals.
A recent survey from DM (Direct Marketing) News confirms this is common. 46% of the executives surveyed, stated that a "lack of an effective strategy" was the biggest obstacle in achieving their inbound marketing goals.
So why is everyone struggling? I'm not quite sure as to WHY, but in this blog, I'll show you HOW you can overcome this obstacle…and overcome it in the next 24 hours. Let's roll!
What is Strategy?
First, let's identify what strategy actually is. It really doesn't have to be that complicated. Strategy is simply a plan of action designed to achieve an expected goal. So, we need a goal to get started. For the purpose of this article, let's say that our goal is to generate 50 qualified leads per month for my sales goal.
A worthy goal.
Now, we need a plan of action that will get us there.
Note: You may have a different inbound marketing goal, so just apply this same framework in order to backtrack from your goal, to an activity plan.
If we're going to generate 50 qualified leads per month for your sales quota, we need to define a "quality lead". Let's pretend we're a coffee distributor that provides energizing weight loss coffee for coffee drinkers, dieters, fitness, etc. If we can get a “Sample” Request, a pre enrolled lead, we consider that a quality lead.
Okay, so now we've got an audience and we know what a quality lead is. We're getting closer to being able to build our plan of action.
Action Steps for Identifying Your Audience:
Nail down your target market. Target Market Example: Diet sites located in the United States, health clubs that are doing between $500,000 and $20M in revenue annually.
Talk to the sales team and establish what a quality lead is. In this case, we know we need 50 Sample Requests and Pre Enrollments each month.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
Honestly, this should be something you already know (your target market).But give yourself an hour to talk to a few people inside your sphere, friend networks and groups, read through your messaging, and establish who you're really after.
Give yourself another hour to talk to a few reps or the sales people in your network. Or potentially, set up a conference and invite others in your network that is similar in their business to yours.
Identify Where Your Audience Lives Online
Once we know who our audience is and what our goal is, we need to locate our audience. Where are they online? You'll want to look at social media, blogs, websites, and forums. Make a big list! Here's what I might do if I were looking for vertical markets.
First, I'd dive into social media. I know LinkedIn is better for B2B, so I head there first. There are tons of various groups, so I started looking for groups full of my audience. A quick search for "dieters" brings up 978 different groups.
I will continue my search for "fitness", " coffee drinkers ", and "weight loss". After spending some time gathering a list, hopefully I've identified at least 500 solid groups that have my target audience.
Next, I'll explore other social media options to see if there is anything market specific. After spending some time on Google, I run across Over Coffee, a social network for coffee drinkers, marketers and socializers.
Still further, I'll spend some time on Google again looking for blogs, forums and other websites where I might find my audience. As an example, it is a pretty sure assumption the Fast Diet forum fits. https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/
Another excellent tip is searching for the topics in Discuss. Since Discuss has no search abilities, Google comes in handy. But you have to know the tricks to search. I made a little video here to explain how quickly.
At the end of this research process, you should easily have 500-1000 websites (forums, blogs and other websites), groups (on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) and communities (on Google+) on your list. Now, we're getting somewhere! We're narrowing down the Web and locating the corners in which we want to spend our time and effort.
Action Steps for Finding Your Audience:
Spend time looking at social media, websites, blogs and forums for your target audience.
Create a master list with links to these places. Utilizing Markethive’s Backlink System, you can track backlinks, store login data, and manage campaigns easily.
Time Estimate: 4 hours
Don't shortchange yourself here.Put in the time to locate your audience.This step will serve you well for many inbound campaigns into the future, so spend about four hours doing your research.
Create the list in your MH backlinks as you go along.
Identify Pains, Problems, Questions
Ok, just to re-cap. We now know:
Who we're targeting
Where they live online
Now, it's time to dig for pain. As you're doing your research and visiting groups, websites and blogs with your audience, start listening. What does that mean, really? How do you listen? What are you listening for?
What you want to do is listen to the problems that your audience is expressing. You want to write down the questions they are asking. Write down the things they are complaining about. You want to be able to speak their language.
You'll start to see different discussion questions, comments on blogs, or frustrations. Here are a few sample discussion topics I pulled from a LinkedIn Group full of dieters.
Obviously, you want to identify challenges and pains around the product or service you offer, but sometimes you can get some really powerful insight just by writing down any common questions or problems. You'll start to see some trends.
As you'll see in the next section, we want to use these questions, pains and problems in our content and messaging.
Action Steps for Identifying Pains, Problems and Questions:
Go to 10-20 places on your master list and start copying and pasting your audience's discussions and questions.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
This should take you about 2 hours, but don't be afraid to spend 3 or 4 if you feel you're not seeing any trends.
Create a Content Calendar
Alright, now we're ready to create a content calendar. Most people want to rush into this step because it feels like you're accomplishing something. However, this step won't be worth much if you haven't dedicated the time to your research.
There are articles that walk through this step in much more detail, so I'm not going to do that. This will be a high level overview.
Basically, now that we've got a sense for what our audience is dealing with, we can brainstorm some effective blog titles, maybe some webinar topics and definitely some e-book ideas. If we think back to our goal of 50 qualified leads per month, you might be asking, "How many blog articles should I be writing?" or "How many capture pages, do I need?"
You can make an educated guess, but this is always the unknown with strategy. (Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty) You make the best plan of action you can to achieve your goal, but you'll need to adjust your plan over time depending on how close you are getting to that goal.
Based on my experience, without knowing how much traffic this hypothetical website is getting or how many leads it's currently generating, you'll want to be creating 2-3 blog posts per week.
With your blog posts WordPress plugin, your Markethive blog system becomes a BlogCasting system.
The subscribing potential your blogs will have with other Markethive social members. Case in point the Proprietary subscribe system.
Blog Casting option that allows others to “plagiarize” your work with your permission thereby automatically taking an exact copy of your blog to their account
The Markethive Blogcasting Word Press plugin allows your blog articles massive syndication to other Markethive members Word Press blogs.
The SNAP plugin for Word Press then allows greater broadcasting to over 25 social networks and literally millions of LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ groups and Twitter hash tagged directories.
The potential of just the “SNAP | Word Press | Markethive Broadcast” plugins can literally build reaches into the billions. We know because we have achieved this.
You'll also want to have at least two or three e-books that you can leverage to capture leads. This is not a difficult process. Spend some time writing your story, your perspective of the industry you are chasing. For instance I have written the following ebooks (7):
You also have Markethive to offer. It is a million dollar platform, offering a monthly service others charge $1000s for, with free membership. But if you are in a vertical market, like diets or coffee, you might want to offer ebooks, live webinars, samples, etc.
In addition to the e-books, you'll want to integrate the Markethive nurturing program that moves leads down the funnel towards the level of being joined to you as an Alpha Entrepreneur. Markethive’s lead nurturing system is a quantum leap from other so called lead nurturing when in reality they are nothing more than disguised email espionage.
Don’t know how to produce an ebook? No problem, I wrote a blog on how and why just for you.
Markethive uses Google’s calendar. It is available on all platforms, Droid, iPhone, Tablets, Laptops and Desktops. It integrates with other Google calendar accounts; it allows events, notes, hidden appointments and reminders, to do lists, and sharing with others who have set up a calendar. Like Markethive’s calendar.
Brainstorm blog topics, e-book and/or webinar topics.
Map out how many blog articles you'll need to create each week.
Plan your e-book creation.
Plan your lead nurturing sequences.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
Spend 1 hour brainstorming topics and titles.
15 minutes for mapping out your blog calendar.
20 minutes for planning out your e-books.
20 minutes mapping out your lead nurturing sequences.
Create a Promotions Plan
Your promotions plan is just as important, if not more important that your content plan and calendar. Most marketers feel like once they hit "publish", it's time to start working on the next piece. Not true! Once you hit publish, it's time to go to work promoting that article.
You spent time writing it, editing it, finding an amazing photo and placing a relevant call to action. Now, it's time to zero in on our audience and share that content with them. This is how we'll drive people back to your content, they'll click on your e-books, receive your emails and ultimately sign up for that demo, service or product!
Creating your promotional plan will be much easier now that you've got a master list of where your audience lives. You'll be able to share your blog articles as discussions in exactly the right Facebook Groups, Google Groups, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter automatically as you blog. (it is a SNAP)
See blog on video on SNAPPING https://markethive.com/group/marketingdept/blog/the-reach-aka-blog-casting
You'll be able to comment on other websites and blogs and reference your content in a super relevant fashion because you know exactly what your audience’s challenges and pains are. You'll be able to craft blog titles that are irresistible to your audience because you studied their problems and pains.
Your promotions plan should basically be the time you spend promoting your article to all the places on your master list. It might look something like this:
Blog Title: Lose Weight with Coffee
Create a discussion in all 20 LinkedIn Groups and frame it with the question "What is your biggest weight lose challenge right now?"
Share article on Twitter using the hashtags #coffee diet #lose weight with coffee #healthy coffee. Rotate hashtags. Schedule 10-20 Tweets over the next 30 days. (Markethive automates this)
Jump into a couple of forums and find the discussions around coffee and diet. Add value to the discussion and add a link to the blog post as a reference point.
Find individual dieters on Facebook Groups or other websites and send a personal email with a link to the article.
Send out an email to all current leads in the database and share the article.
So, your promotions plan will have some activity that you'll do every time you create a blog post. Then, for specific topics, you may have additional activities you'll want to add that make sense based on the topic.
Action Steps for Content Calendar:
Write out all the possible promotional activities you might have for a specific blog post. Each time you publish, go to that list and execute as many as possible!
Time Estimate: 1 hour
Spend an hour brainstorming all the ways you could promote a blog post, e-book or piece of content.
Phew! There's a lot of work there, but you can do it… and you can do it in less than 24 hours! The total time spent in this process totals 11 hours. Obviously, it would be a long work day to push through these activities, but you'll be setting yourself up for success over the next several months, if not years. If you can't block off an entire day to do this, spend a couple hours each day for a week and you'll be all set.
Your goals and strategy will change over time, but I wanted to break down a very simplistic way to create a strategy quickly and start moving forward.
Just to re-cap what you need to do:
What is your goal?
Who are you targeting?
Where do they live online?
Develop your content calendar.
Create a promotional list.
I'm curious… how much time do you spend on research before diving into content creation?
European regulators should embrace cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the prime minister of Malta argued in a speech yesterday.
Speaking at the CEPS Ideas Lab in Brussels on 23rd February, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat argued that governments in the European Union should "double down" on the tech, which he pointed out is slowly catching on amongst the bloc’s financial institutions, according to a transcript published by Live News Malta.
Muscat's remarks were in the context of reinvigorating the EU, which has faced rising socio-economic pressures in recent years. He also proposed that leaders in the bloc create financial mechanisms to invest in areas that may be inclined to leave the EU, as was with the case of the UK's so-called "Brexit" vote last year.
Though prefacing his statements by saying that he is opting to advocate for "outright insane" sounding ideas, Muscat argued that "the rise of cryptocurrencies can be slowed but cannot be stopped".
He went on to tell event attendees:
"My point is that rather than resist, European regulators should innovate and create mechanisms in which to regulate cryptocurrencies, in order to harness their potential and better protect consumers, while making Europe the natural home of innovators."
Among the firms in Europe testing the tech is Malta’s primary stock exchange, which in December formed an internal "Blockchain Committee" dedicated to exploring how the exchange might utilize the tech.
The exchange further indicated its intention to set up a domestic blockchain consortium in Malta, aimed at creating a basis for the development of new applications.
Cryptocoin and Blockchain Article Roundup – Feb 21, 2017
Here's an article that ties one idea, the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) in with the more recently popular topic of Blockchain. It really does make sense. The idea of the autonomous business entity won't die. Read some of the latest discussion about it in this article:
Monero, the fifth largest digital currency by market capitalization, still struggles to build a 'white hat' reputation simply because of its advanced privacy feature which hi-brows think attracts 'the wrong crowd'. Read the latest discussion on the issue here:
British Parliamentarians will discuss (or is it "debate"?) key issues about the status of bitcoin, digital currency, and the blockchain as it relates to money creation in English society. The UK government generally is pro-bitcoin but the banking establishment has been rather reticent to embrace it. Read about it here:
Could blockchain-related opportunities in one industry result in a talent and brain-drain from one industry to another? Probably not to any significant degree because the technology is creating opportunity almost everywhere. But it is creating some notable movement of some high achievers. Read one such example here:
Well Buckaroos…that's our Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Article 6 Pack for today. Thanks for dropping by. You're also invited to join us over on Markethive where you'll find a vibrant digital community on online entrepreneurs. Our community if free to join and if you're promoting a business, brand, service, or cause online…Markethive has a great blogging system that will give you massive 'Reach'.
Also, if you need a freelance copywriter to help you with your business, contact me…Art Williams. Email here.
Thanks very much for reading our news roundup. If you're a writer and would like a great platform for getting your content (attributed properly of course!) in front of lots of readers, please join us in Markethive.
Microsoft Announces Availability of R3’s Corda Blockchain Platform on Azure
R3’s blockchain software Corda, developed by the Fintech startup alongside 70 of the world’s biggest banks forming the R3 consortium, is now available on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.
Announced quietly last week, the revelation comes soon after Corda’s code was contributed to the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger Project on November 30. R3 first announced its decision to go open-source with Corda, the product of its Concord blockchain product, in October this year.
Elaborating on R3’s year-long development, Richard Brown, technology chief at R3 claims:
Corda is a distributed ledger platform designed from the ground up to record, manage and synchronize financial agreements between regulated financial institutions. It is heavily inspired by and captures the benefits of blockchain systems, without the design choices that make blockchains inappropriate for many banking scenarios.
Corda’s availability is the latest offering and addition of Microsoft’s blockchain services toolkit called Project Bletchley. First announced in June 2016, Project Bletchley is Microsoft’s endeavor to push for “an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure.” Fundamentally, Microsoft is looking to provide comprehensive solutions with blockchain technology for customers on various platforms, as Blockchain as a Service (BaaS).
R3’s Blockchain Demo Available
Microsoft’s announcement includes a demo offering of Corda via virtual machine image. While this author hasn’t tried the demo prior to publishing, Microsoft claims the demonstration will showcase Corda’s capabilities through real-world scenarios such as interest rate swap deals. Details reveal that deployment will take 3-5 minutes for the virtual machine to be created, one which will deploy a multi-member Corda demo network. The demo isn’t charged, but usage of Microsoft’s resources including storage, networking and computing will be billed.
R3’s blockchain software Corda is now available on Microsoft’s clould computing platform, Azure.
Brown’s comments above point to a marked difference in the ‘design choices’ made by Corda compared to a public blockchain, like bitcoin’s ledger. These choices include developing the Corda blockchain platform within the confines of legal and regulatory frameworks, a focus on privacy and the means to achieve a modular consensus.
R3’s CTO added:
By making simple Corda demos available on the Azure Marketplace, R3 and Microsoft are making it easy for newcomers to experience Corda for themselves before joining the community.
R3’s efforts to push its blockchain product for wider adoption (with its notable call to go open-source) comes during a time when the New York-based startup is losing some of its notable banking members. The likes of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Banco Santander have all decided to exit the consortium after a year’s membership.
I think it’s ironic that we are seeing such a rise is labor-saving technology, i.e. Blockchain, and that we’re also in times when so many people need jobs. Seriously now…how many people really think blockchain is going to put more of those people to work?
I’m a bit skeptical. It might turn out that the people who lost their jobs from all the McDonalds automation will now be able to meet the very same in the unemployment office lines that they used to service at the drive-through window at McDonalds.
It was just today that I became conscious of this aspect of the dawning blockchain revolution. Although cryptocurrency is the area that most people associate with blockchain technology, when one looks deeper into the news, one finds that the banking and finance industry loves blockchain too.
Because it’s not only going to make much of their work more secure and accurate, it’s also going to allow them to eliminate a lot of jobs. One quote I pulled from the internet phrased it this way:
“a way to validate transactions through little or no human intervention.”
Yeah sure….humans are known for being terrible interventionists, right?
Undoubtedly there are reasonable applications of blockchain technology to provide better value to the consumer. Everybody complains about paperwork and bureaucracy in finance…and government.
Waitta minute!! Did I just say…GOVERNMENT??
Now there’s a niche that’s ripe for elimination of waste and bureaucracy!! (not to mention good ol’ “corruption”.
In fact, there probably is a dividing line somewhere… a demarcation between where blockchain is a net improvement vs a net detriment to the employment situation. But I don’t think anybody is putting much consideration into where that line is…right now.
But for the number crunchers in the financial services sector, blockchain comes at a good time. Their industry has become extremely competitive. It has been forced to become very service intensive because they’ve pretty much long since reached the limits of what they can do with bland numbers.
They all work with the same commodity and within the same mathematical system and to a large degree they even work with the same data. So, their only recourse (other than ‘inside deals’) is to try to focus on internal efficiency and creative branding.
Blockchain is good for them but not necessarily for the thousands of people who will be ‘liberated’ from the drudgery of their mere “jobs”.
Blockchain is specifically attractive to bankers because it tends to alleviate what they call their “Liquidity” challenges.
The term liquidity refers to the degree to which an asset or security can be quickly bought or sold in the market without affecting the asset's price and this is a growing concern in financial product trading activity. Blockchain technology can alleviate liquidity challenges by providing a way to reduce friction.
What is ‘friction’?
Friction simply refers to the limitation or resistance injected into a process by another factor, i.e. from paper-shuffling or other bureaucratic processes. Blockchain, because it automates so many of these processes, reduces ‘friction’ and improves the bottom line of the company.
Money (or Value) is everywhere, therefore buying and selling is (potentially) everywhere, therefore transactions are (potentially) everywhere. Thus, because blockchain is a decentralized technology, it can reside in decentralized devices much closer to where the actual work is being done and increase the speed that work is processed (and verified).
Thus allowing everyone more time to wander to…whatever.
Some very complex transactions might still require more humans in the loop. In fact, this whole process might go ‘full circle’ and human verification might eventually turn out to be an extra added service.
But the reality of blockchains and how they’re being used points to a future in which human third-party transaction validation and recordkeeping could be the exception rather than the rule.
Sometimes it takes a while to thoroughly understand a new concept. Blockchain is such a term for some people. One of the things that process difficult is the fact that it sounds like something that it isn’t….or it seems so at first.
In the case of blockchain….It’s not actually a ‘block´. Or is it?
And it sure isn’t a ‘chain’. Or is it?
Actually, when the term is explained the way that I’m going to, it is a block and it is a chain. But first, let’s try a definition of blockchain from another angle. An angle of use or utility.
Blockchain is, like many other great technological advances, a tool designed to solve a problem. It was invented to make certain things easier to accomplish and more efficient.
In the evolution of capitalism, we see that many great inventions and advances were efforts to make something easier… such as these advances in computers and the internet….
The internet made it much easier for specialists to publish.
Blogging made it even easier for everybody else to publish.
WordPress revolutionized blogging and publishing even more.
Google revolutionized information search and retrieval.
Facebook dramatically changed social dynamics (some would argue for the worse).
YouTube revolutionized media creation, entertainment, and distribution.
The ‘cloud’ made it easy to store digital material and eliminated some IT resource problems.
Outsourcing sites like Fiverr, Odesk, et.al. revolutionized outsourcing.
And there are probably other ‘advances’ that could be added to the list too. But the point is that each step forward made something easier that it had been.
So….Blockchain needs to be seen as a tool for making something easier.
But…. making what easier?
Blockchain makes recording transactions (i.e. anything that could be described in finite terms) easier. Currently the most publically topical type of transaction that blockchain is used for is cryptocurrency transactions but it can be used for many other types of transactions too.
The important connecting factor here is that transactions need to be recorded in some way…especially financial transactions and blockchain specifically makes that process easier, faster and more secure. Even to the point of total anonymity.
The unique aspects of a blockchain include the following characteristics:
Blockchain is decentralized
Blockchain has no central controlling authority
Blockchain Is owned, maintained and updated by its component the nodes…i.e. the members.
Block is much more efficient and trustworthy.
Note: Not always mentioned by public relations representative of various industries touting blockchain in their operations is the fact that it has great potential for reducing the number of 'humans' on their payrolls.
To summarize thus far…blockchain is an advance in efficiency. Especially in multiple attributes related to saving time and user confidence.
Now…onward to the terminology to which most people cannot attach a mental image.
The term ‘blockchain’ comes from the way that blockchain transactions have been illustrated as being sequentially and carefully been added to one another… somewhat like a chain of connected items, each lending strength to the other, and then packed in a box. The beginning and end of the chain relate to the transaction itself.
It is also enlightening for consumers who think that blockchain only relates to cryptocurrency to realize that many experts in the financial community see blockchain as having other and far greater application to banking. To their minds, most of the bitcoin media buzz misses the point or at least doesn’t mention the full benefits to established financial institutions.
And here’s one more definition:
A member of the audience at the Fintech Week in London in September 2015 ask the panel, “Can you define blockchain in one or two sentences?” Panelist Lee Braine, a computer science PhD in the CTO office of Barclays, responded, “It’s a way of chunking transactions into a batch, called a block, and then a way of hashing them with the previous block block to ensure immutability.”
In final practical summary for the average user of blockchain technology, the more you try to define blockchain the more confusing it seems to get. It’s better to just keep it simple. And then suddenly you realize that you really don’t care about ‘the definition’. You understand that it just works and you just want to use it.
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