Blockchain Weekly Recap 2-6-2016
UNICEF Innovation Fund to Invest in Blockchain Startups
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently opened its Innovation Fund to blockchain companies willing to pursue distributed ledger solutions for at-risk children around the globe. The Fund was launched last year with the intent of discovering and investing in open source solutions that can improve children’s lives.
With $9 million in funding raised since its launch, the Innovation Fund is pursuing three separate areas of investment. These include infrastructure needs such as financing, utilities, and transportation, educational products, and information technology that can help decision-makers. Startups that are interested in pursuing blockchain applications in these areas are being encouraged to apply for this UNICEF funding.
Equibit Secures $150,000 Closing Its Angel Funding Round.
Equibit, a Toronto based blockchain company, closes its angel funding round after securing $150,000 investment from a UK based investor. Equibit offers a blockchain solution for OTC securities, allowing issuers to communicate with shareholders securely, distribute earnings, collect votes, and update shareholders at minimal cost. The funding will allow Equibit to hire additional developers in order to accelerate bringing their products to market.
Digital Asset Holdings Exceeds $60 Million in Funding Round
Blockchain company Digital Asset Holdings has revealed that its most recent round of funding has topped the $60 Million mark, after recent investments from both IBM and Goldman Sachs. Those companies joined a list of investors that already included firms like The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Citi, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., and Accenture.
For Goldman Sachs, this latest investment in the blockchain comes on the heels of its investment last year in Circle’s Bitcoin funding effort. The finance giant’s continuing interest in blockchain technology is just one more indication that the firm is serious about its efforts to engage with the new technology. For IBM, this will be the first time that the company has publicly invested in a technology firm of this kind.
Blockstream Series A Funding Hits $55 Million
Blockstream recently announced that its Series A financing round brought in $55 million in funding - more than doubling the results of its first investment round. The company has announced that it will use the funding to further expand its efforts to develop additional commercial applications that rely on the blockchain. Investors included Horizons Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Digital Garage, and others.
Though many recognize Blockstream as the company behind the so-called sidechain technology, CEO Austin Hill affirmed that his company is still committed to further developments that utilize the Bitcoin blockchain. At the same time, the Blockstream vision envisions a world in which there are many blockchains that are capable of seamlessly interacting with one another.
JPMorgan Chase Launches Blockchain Project Trial
In collaboration with blockchain company Digital Asset Holdings, JPMorgan Chase has recently started a trial of its blockchain project. The new project is designed to cut costs and facilitate improvements in trades, loan settlement, and other operational concerns. The effort is particularly noteworthy, as JPMorgan is the largest banking interest in the United States, and its current commitment to developing blockchain solutions for its banking needs is just one more powerful reminder of the financial industry’s growing interest in this technology.
Identity Management Firm Cambridge Blockchain Wins Santander Competition Top Prize
An identity solutions startup company called Cambridge Blockchain won the $15,000 top prize at Santander InnoVentures’ Distributed Ledger Challenge last week, beating out more than a hundred competitors. The company’s winning pitch was focused on its identity exchange platform that uses the blockchain to facilitate the exchange of specific information while still maintaining user privacy.
Proposals from other finalists included a system that would create real estate smart contracts using blockchain-based programmable transactions, a “dark pool” platform for private startup equity that would maintain privacy while using the blockchain for settling trades, and two pitches involving solutions designed to cut business costs.
And in Case You Missed It…
We all appreciate our first responders, and many of us have had personal interactions with the fine men and women who serve as law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service providers. One of those firefighters, Brandon Cheliak, is the founder of a group called Fire Fighters for Digital Currency. Brandon is also the author of a recent DCEBrief article that examines how the blockchain could be used to enhance firefighting and other emergency services. If you haven’t already checked it out, it’s a thought-provoking read: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Could Provide a Tech Revolution for the Fire Service.