Apple founder Steve Wozniak hails bitcoin and blockchain as ‘next major IT revolution’ – The Independent

By Anthony Cuthbertson      May 18, 2018

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has given another powerful endorsement of cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology, hailing its revolutionary potential at a conference on Thursday.

Speaking on stage at the WeAreDevelopers World Congress in Vienna, Mr Wozniak said he believed the blockchain will have a huge impact on the technology sector, hailing it as “the next major IT revolution that is about to happen.”

Despite his positive outlook for bitcoin and blockchain, Mr Wozniak said in a separate interview at the event that he was “bothered by what technology has become,” referencing Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.

More at: Apple founder Steve Wozniak hails bitcoin and blockchain as ‘next major IT revolution’ – The Independent

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Regulators will struggle to rein in resilient bitcoin – Financial Times

From Nima Tabatabai, Westminster Business School, London E8, UK      May 17, 2018

The article, “ MBA view: will bitcoin regulation undermine its value? ” (May 16), made disappointing reading, as my fellow MBA colleagues were unable to go deeper than the superficial analysis of bitcoin prevalent in mainstream discourse.

Firstly, bitcoin is not simply a new asset like oil or equities. Bitcoin is a monetary asset, and thus, by definition, is entirely speculative in nature. Bitcoin is thought to be the hardest money created to date, epitomising the school of Austrian Economics. Due to totally inelastic supply and variable demand, volatility will remain high until the rate of entry of new money into the ecosystem is dwarfed by that already inside.

More at: Regulators will struggle to rein in resilient bitcoin – Financial Times

Massive Consensus Conference Succumbs To Blockchain ‘Echo Chamber’ – Forbes Tech #CuttingEdge

By Jason Bloomberg, Contributor      May 17, 2018

8,500 blockchain and cryptocurrency fans packed the New York Hilton Midtown to its gills this week in what organizers were calling the largest blockchain conference ever. Yet, while excitement around these technologies are indubitably at an all-time high, much of the activity at the show diverged from business reality.

The problem: most of the noise around both blockchain and crypto is little more than the community talking to itself – a massive ‘echo chamber’ that in its final analysis promises no lasting business value for its participants.

This echo chamber filled with schemers, scammers, speculators, and their various marks did not account for the entirety of the conversations at Consensus, however.

In contrast to the carnival huckster atmosphere dominating the event were firms focused on the other side of the blockchain equation: those seemingly rare but essential business models where blockchain may actually deliver real business value – in spite of all the nonsense at surrounding booths.

A bifurcation of sorts, therefore, was evident at Consensus: the sober, serious participants focused on business value vs. the insanity that is the frothy blockchain/crypto world today.

More at: Massive Consensus Conference Succumbs To Blockchain ‘Echo Chamber’ – Forbes Tech #CuttingEdge

There’s a Fundamental Divide in the World of Blockchain – PCMag.com

By Rob Marvin      May 16, 2018

The show, held during Blockchain Week NYC, showed how massively the blockchain and cryptocurrency worlds have grown, but also highlighted that there’s anything but consensus.

The Consensus conference in New York City this week was a collision of worlds. The cryptocurrency space is fresh off a volatile price boom that put it in the global spotlight, and crypto entrepreneurs are more confident than ever that the token economy is the decentralized future of blockchain. The enterprise blockchain market, meanwhile, is looking beyond coins to deploy private, permissioned blockchains across different facets of their businesses.

When you put those two camps together, the disconnect can be comical.

On the surface, the Bitcoin-led crypto space was feeling itself. There were Bitcoin Lamborghinis parked outside the Midtown venue, while an LA startup on the show floor was selling actual 18-karat cryptocurrency emblazoned jewelry and gold coins. Startups were advertising new initial coin offerings (ICOs) with dancing mascots.

The reality of how cryptocurrencies are evolving is far more nuanced. Panels delved into complex issues like the token economy, the mining boom, and advanced cryptography. Popular coins, from Ripple to ZCash, had a big presence at the show, and there was a lot of money to go around. Unicorn crypto startup Circle announced a massive $110 million funding round, a partnership with mining hardware giant Bitmain, and a Fiat-backed coin to connect US dollars to the Poloniex exchange.

More at: There’s a Fundamental Divide in the World of Blockchain – PCMag.com

CoBank: Rapid growth of blockchain brings change to ag – World Grain

By Holly Demaree-Saddler      May 15, 2018

DENVER, COLORADO, U.S. — As agribusiness interest increases and use-cases for blockchain technology become more prevalent, agriculture stands to benefit by lower transaction costs, optimized logistics, increased traceability, enhanced food and safety protocols, and potentially greater value creation across the supply chain, according to a report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

Blockchain, which is an information storage technology that allows people to record transactions in a digitized, decentralized data log maintained on a network of computers, already is being put to use by major technology companies and come commodity merchandisers.

“This technology offers an opportunity for revolutionary change in food traceability, tracking of commodities and grain trading,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The new uses of blockchain may be met with initial resistance, but those who break through and adopt technology early stand to benefit the most.”

According to the report, the technology will force supply chain partners to adapt as interest grows in direct-to-farmer marketing channels.

More at: CoBank: Rapid growth of blockchain brings change to ag – World Grain

“Don’t be on the sidelines,” speakers say of blockchain – Canadian Underwriter

By Greg Meckbach      May 14, 2018

Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, does not have a foothold in insurance yet, but it will no doubt disrupt some industries, speakers said last week at a financial industry conference.

Blockchain promises “massively new business models,” Andrew Maxwell, director of the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology program at York University, said May 10 at the Payments Canada Summit in Toronto. “It is one of the most disruptive investments that’s out there. We are not sure who it’s going to disrupt, or where it’s going to disrupt, but it is going to disrupt a lot of things over the next five to 10 years.”

Insurers exploring the capabilities of blockchain include Swiss Re, one of the carriers that founded the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative (B3i) in 2016. Blockchain could potentially “streamline paper work and reconciliations for reinsurance and insurance contracts,” the global reinsurer says.

More at: “Don’t be on the sidelines,” speakers say of blockchain – Canadian Underwriter

Jimmy Song bets Joe Lubin that blockchain tech won’t be around in five years — Quartz

By Joon Ian Wong      May 14, 2018

Onstage at the blockchain world’s biggest conference, bitcoin developer Jimmy Song said today that he’d be willing to take on Joseph Lubin’s proposed bet that “blockchain tech”—the use of a decentralized ledger without a cryptocurrency—won’t have any significant users in five years.

Lubin, a co-founder of ethereum who is worth between $1 and $5 billion according to Forbes, offered to bet Song “any amount of bitcoin” that blockchain tech projects by large corporations would have meaningful adoption within the next five years. Song is a blockchain skeptic whose personal wealth is unknown.

The details, Lubin said, could be ironed out on Twitter. The two shook on the bet on stage, amid cheers and hoots from the fully packed 2,500-capacity room at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference in New York City.

More at: Jimmy Song bets Joe Lubin that blockchain tech won’t be around in five years — Quartz