Blockchain Weekly Recap 7-23-2016
Ethereum Hard Fork Complete, DAO Funds Rescued
After a lengthy debate and a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth, the Ethereum blockchain hard fork has been completely implemented. The new blockchain’s first block was mined mid-week, and the stolen DAO funds that prompted the fork have all been returned to a separate account that will enable investors to recover their hijacked coins. For some in the community who prioritized the thwarting of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of ether, the news came as welcome relief.
For others, the implementation of the hard fork and its resulting reversal of transactions that were supposed to be unchangeable has been a bitter pill to swallow. After all, they reason, if the blockchain can be altered like this, how secure are things like smart contracts when the community now knows that no transaction is truly final if enough people agree to alter it? That debate will likely continue to play out in the weeks and months to come. For now, however, a multimillion dollar theft has been undone, and the consensus within the Ethereum community seems to believe that to be a very good thing indeed.
Ubitquity Uses Blockchain for Real Estate Ownership Transfer
Blockchain real estate company Ubitquity recently announced that it had successfully completed what is believed to be the world’s first transfer of real estate ownership via the blockchain, using the Colu protocol. The transfer is the result of work that began in 2015, when Ubitquity launched an effort to create a proof of concept platform with an interface that could use the blockchain to store real estate records. According to the company’s CEO, the use of the blockchain in this manner can increase efficiency in real estate transfers even as it reduces costs.
ISITC Europe Identifies 10 Benchmark Standards for Blockchain
The International Securities Association for Institutional Trade Communication (ISITC) recently made news when its European branch unveiled a series of ten proposed benchmark standards that it believes could help bring greater standardization to the blockchain industry. The proposed standards come at a time when banks and others around the world are ramping up their interest in and experimentation with the technology that empowers digital currency, in hope that they can reap its potential benefits in the area of improved efficiency, real-time data sharing, and reduced costs.
Those ten benchmarks are focused on ten specific areas of interest that could benefit from standardization. They are targeted toward two distinct areas of concern, including one that is being referred to as “wholistic” in nature – encompassing integration concerns involving legal, regulatory, and governance issues – and a second category that includes all of the technological issues related to the blockchain and its capabilities. These proposals were crafted by an ISITC working group of more than 100 members, whose next action will be to present their benchmark suggestions to the broader Association at its October general meeting.
EY Startup Challenge Returns with Blockchain Focus
Ernst & Young’s EY Startup Challenge is returning for a fourth go-round, and will be held in London for the third time in early September. The six-week program will run through the demo day scheduled for October 20, 2016. The Challenge is focused this year on identifying startups that have successfully launched a blockchain beta product and achieved some level of seed investment funding. Firms that meet those criteria and are now seeking new customers and clients can apply for the event until August 14th. Six participants will be selected for entry in the Challenge, and can then join other entrants at the event’s innovation hub. At the end of the challenge, every participant will have an opportunity to showcase their company’s product solution in a demonstration.
Ernst & Young has expressed interest in solutions that target media and entertainment, particularly in the realm of content rights protection. The firm is also interested in content user rights management solutions and viable payment systems – as well as solutions for the energy trading industry. Selected entrants will gain access to a variety of workshops and mentors during their time at the innovation hub.