Blockchain Weekly Recap 6-25-2016
Toyota Financial Services Joins R3 CEV
Automaker Toyota’s finance company is now a part of the R3 blockchain group. In an announcement on Thursday, Toyota revealed that Toyota Financial Services has joined R3, and intends to conduct tests of blockchain technology this year to evaluate its potential uses in both financial and nonfinancial areas of the company’s operations. By joining the consortium, Toyota will be able to gain access to lessons learned by other companies that have already been testing distributed ledger applications.
For its part, the automaker envisions this technology as being useful in a wide range of areas within its operations – providing, for example, an improved system for tracking auto parts and facilitating communication between vehicles and road sensors. The company even sees a role for the blockchain in helping to better manage real-time monitoring of parts, providing a more reliable buffer against disruptions in the supply chain.
Greenwich Survey: Blockchain Investment to Exceed $1 Billion in 2016
A recent survey conducted by Greenwich Associates has sobering news for anyone who assumed that the hype and excitement surrounding the blockchain would soon fade. The results of its survey of 134 decision-makers around the globe revealed that their exploration of the technology and attempts to bring it to market can be expected to continue throughout 2016. Moreover, the finance and tech companies that those respondents represent may ultimately invest in excess of a billion dollars on this technology over the course of the year.
Judging from the results of the survey, it would appear that blockchain’s sales job is all but complete, and the only real question now is when the capital markets can expect to see distributed ledger technology injected on a widespread basis. At this point, the respondents indicated that the reliance on old legacy systems continues to be one of the major obstacles preventing more rapid adoption of the technology.
FSOC Calls Bitcoin and Blockchain Threats to Financial Stability
A new report released by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) has identified both the blockchain and Bitcoin as potential threats to the continued stability of America’s financial system. Noting that many of the existing market participants are only now beginning to familiarize themselves with distributed ledger technology, the FSOC cautioned that this lack of experience could prove problematic if unknown operational vulnerabilities come to light only after the technology is implemented on a large-scale basis. The report also cited an increase in trading delays and transaction failures, and the potential for a 51-percent attack.
The report is noteworthy not only for what it says, but for what it does not say. The fact is that the FSOC is comprised of representatives from many of the most powerful regulatory bodies in the United States – including the Federal Reserve and SEC. Blockchain enthusiasts can take comfort from the fact that the report did not suggest a ban or any type of draconian restrictions on the technology’s development.
Blockchain’s Role in Reducing Corruption
For all the talk of financial industry giants and their ongoing effort to make the blockchain their own, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there is more to distributed ledger technology than just the settling of transactions and movement of assets. There are some who envision an even more noble role for this nascent technology, particularly in the area of improving governance. In an effort to realize that vision, think-tank New America joined with blockchain firm Bitfury and the National Democratic Institute this week to announce the formation of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative. That initiative has as its main objective the goal of uniting technology innovators, financiers, and governments in a common effort to adopt blockchain technology in areas that can improve governance.
The initiative is focused on projects that will promote what the group refers to as “global change for good.” These include blockchain applications for land titling, voting rights protections, identity protection, and vaccine delivery. By using the more transparent distributed ledger technology to replace existing governance infrastructure, the group believes that corruption can be dramatically reduced, and positive engagement between citizens and their governments can be enhanced.