Blockchain Weekly Recap 2-13-2016
IBM’s Wolpert: Collaboration Needed to Bring Blockchain to Market
In recent remarks to attendees at San Francisco’s Block Chain Conference, IBM Global Blockchain Offering Director John Wolpert used his keynote speech to address the technology’s challenges and potential benefits. Over the course of his half-hour presentation, Wolpert described his company’s commitment to blockchain innovation, deficiencies he sees in many current blockchain endeavors, and his belief that even greater collaboration will be needed if the technology is to have the type of disruptive effect envisioned by its proponents.
Microsoft Goal: Azure Platform Open to All Comers
According to Microsoft Director of Technology Strategy Marley Gray, the company’s Azure platform has no intention of trying to pick winners and losers in the blockchain industry. Instead, the plan is for the BaaS platform to remain open for users to develop and test new ideas and strategies. Gray has noted that the Azure platform provides Microsoft’s partners with the opportunity to experiment with the technology at minimal cost, enabling them to reduce the financial risks associated with any test failures.
UK Mutual Fund Houses Unite to Explore Blockchain
With much of the financial industry’s attention focused on the R3 consortium’s exploration of the blockchain, little attention has been paid to other collective efforts to realize the benefits of distributed ledger technology. For example, few have paid much attention to the fact that five of the UK’s largest mutual fund houses have banded together to launch their own blockchain exploration projects.
Together, the five houses currently manage nearly one and a half trillion dollars worth of assets. The partnership includes Henderson Global Investors, Schroders, Aviva Investors, Aberdeen Asset Management, and Columbia Threadneedle Investments. The project’s goals include trading cost reduction, and improvements in transfer times for securities.
ASX Financial Update Outlines Blockchain Strategy
In its most recent financial results report, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has provided new insight into its plans for blockchain innovation. The report indicates that the exchange increased its spending for technology innovation, with much of the expenditure targeted toward its effort to replace its equity settlement system with a new system that employs distributed ledger technology. ASX is continuing with efforts to replace its trading platform with new systems that improve risk management, with an eye toward reducing costs and transaction settlement speed.
Nasdaq Uses Blockchain to Enable Remote Shareholder Voting
Nasdaq is reportedly utilizing the blockchain to enable remote voting for e-Residents who own shares in Estonian online businesses. The voting option provides a novel solution for one of the most pressing challenges facing those international shareholders: the need to be physically present during such votes. The planned option would enable a shareholder to use his or her private key to validate identity prior to any vote, offering assurances to companies that only actual shareholders are participating in the voting process. If successful, the system could be applicable to political elections as well.
KB Kookmin Pursuing new Blockchain Payment and Remittance Service
One of the largest South Korean banks, KB Kookmin Bank, has reportedly partnered with Bitcoin service firm Coinplug to develop a new blockchain-based payment and overseas remittance service. If successful, the venture would be the first of its kind in Asia. The bank has also announced that it plans to create several other blockchain services covering areas like data storage for online bank account verification processes. That verification is more important than ever, due to recent changes in the validation protocols that have modified the previous in-person identity verification requirement.