Blockchain Weekly Recap 11-26-2016
Goldman Sachs and Others Bail on R3 Blockchain Group
Two years ago, banking behemoth Goldman Sachs was one of nine founding members of the R3 CEV LLC blockchain consortium. This week, the bank pulled out of the group by allowing its membership to formally lapse. The decision was reportedly made in response to the bank’s failure to reach agreement on fundraising terms. R3 had been proposing a fundraising deal that would see it receive a total of $200 million from the group’s members – funds that would provide the members with equity in the company. Members who chose to decline the fundraising were apparently still welcome in the group and continue to share research and develop new blockchain technology. Rather than agree to the terms, however, Goldman Sachs opted to leave the group altogether.
Banco Santander SA and Morgan Stanley have also decided to leave R3. Along with Goldman Sachs, Santander SA continue to invest in Blythe Masters’ Digital Asset Holdings consortium. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that R3 seems to be taking the exits in stride. A company spokesman offered this observation: “As with any project of this scale and scope, we always expected the make-up of the consortium to change over time. Developing technology like this requires dedication and significant resources, and our diverse pool of members all have different capacities and capabilities which naturally change over time.”
Hong Kong Eyeing Blockchain Solution for Mortgages
Hong Kong’s government is reportedly considering blockchain technology as a potential solution to make home ownership easier for the city’s residents to achieve. With real estate property in short supply and high demand, the government has been in search of a simpler way to deal with mortgages. The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute recently partnered with the Monetary Authority to release a new proof of concept report dealing with distributed ledger technology issues.
That report examines blockchain’s potential in the areas of trade finance, identity management, and mortgage applications. The assessment concludes that blockchain solutions could be useful for providing quicker and more reliable information about property values, easier document sharing and title transfers, and significant reductions in transaction costs.
EC Launching Initiative to Support Blockchain Startups
The European Commission this week revealed the launch of a new initiative designed to assist blockchain and other FinTech startups succeed. The effort is being called the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative, and will create a support system for new and innovative technology companies that should assist them in overcoming regulatory burdens, help them obtain funding, and simplify their tax filings. The goal is to increase these firms’ ability to succeed in the EU so that they don’t relocate to more tech-friendly environments,
India to Host Blockchain Summit in December
New Delhi will be the host site for India’s first blockchain conference, as the city welcomes the Blockchain India Summit. The summit is scheduled for December 6, 2016 and will include participants such as Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, representatives from IBM, Tech Mahindra, and Microsoft, and guests from the worlds of academia and cryptography. The gathering is occurring at a time when digital currency and its underlying technology are receiving new attention in India, as currency concerns and the chaotic battle against black market criminal activities have left many of the nation’s citizens eager to learn more about the potential uses of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.