VC blockchain investment hits US$1.3 bln, topping 2017 funding – ejinsight

May 24, 2108

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 24

Translation by Jonathan Chong [Chinese version 中文版]

About US$1.3 billion has been invested in blockchain companies in the first five months this year, surpassing the amount of venture capital in the field for the whole of 2017, Crunchbase reports.

A number of large funding rounds related to blockchain technology have been reported this year.

Orbs, an Israeli startup that offers blockchain as a service for consumer brands, raised US$118 million.

Ledger Wallet, a Paris-based bitcoin wallet maker, raised US$75 million; Project Shivom, a German company that applies blockchain technology to genomics, raised US$32 million; and blockchain analysis platform Chainalysis raised US$16 million.

More at: VC blockchain investment hits US$1.3 bln, topping 2017 funding – ejinsight

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Blockchain is Transforming How Supply Chain Giants are Operating – EconoTimes

May 24, 2018

“Blockchain. Blockchain. Blockchain. That’s all I hear about when I go to meetings.” This was Ken Brown’s sentiment during the Global Supply Chain Summit conducted on Tuesday. Brown is the senior vice president of SICPA North America, a supply chain security firm.

The popularity of blockchain among supply chain giants is understandable since the technology offers transparency, precise monitoring, data security, and acceleration of transactions. All of these benefits can drastically improve a company’s operation that is involved in the supply chain ecosystem.

Ralph Carter, FedEx’s vice president of trade and international affairs, said that traditional strategies mostly focused on control and collection of revenues. But because of blockchain enabling companies to operate securely and rapidly in the digital world, border management is being integrated into that design.

He added that efficient borders are required in today’s competitive market in order to stay relevant. “People need to be able to move items in and out quickly,” Carter said.

Indeed, commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Kevin McAleenan said that the proliferation of e-commerce has increased the incoming and outgoing numbers of shipping activities. This, in turn, placed a lot of weight on his agency. He has to keep the trade flowing while simultaneously increasing protection of consumers from counterfeit products, as well as being vigilant of illicit activities.

More at: Blockchain is Transforming How Supply Chain Giants are Operating – EconoTimes

China’s State Council Orders Faster Blockchain Development – CoinDesk

By Wolfie Zhao      May 24, 2018

China’s State Council, the country’s central administrative branch of government, has sent its highest-level order demanding that local authorities speed up blockchain technology development, it was revealed on Thursday.

The order, first issued by the State Council on May 4 to provincial and municipal governments, addresses a variety of strategies required to continue the reformation of the Guangdong Pilot Free-Trade Zone.

One area of focus is to accelerate the development of financial technologies, which includes the expedition of “developing and implementing blockchain applications under existing regulatory frameworks,” the document states.

Authorized by the State Council in 2014, the Guangdong Free-Trade Zone is a designated region within China’s Guangdong province that integrates with Hong Kong and Macau to build a more internationalized free market.

More at: China’s State Council Orders Faster Blockchain Development – CoinDesk

Smart ‘Battleships’ Are Right Around the Corner – The National Interest

By Salvatore Babones      May 17, 2018

Blockchain database technologies will power tomorrow’s internet of things – and that could include the Navy’s onboard weapons systems.USS Wisconsin (BB-64) Firing a broadside to port with her 16/50 and 5/38 guns

Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017 made “blockchain” a household word. However, Bitcoin is only one use case for the application of the basic database architecture called blockchain. A much more important application just over the horizon is the internet of things: the idea that many pieces of everyday technology will be made “smart” by interconnecting them with each other and sensors over the internet, allowing them to communicate and act in real time. For instance, a road would be able to alert a smart car about ice or snow on the ground and the car would be able to slow down in response. When the internet of things is added to the security of blockchain, more powerful technology can be built, and this could include military hardware such as the United States Navy’s next generation of surface combat ships.

How could such database technology run a battleship, and what would that look like?

A typical U.S. surface combatant ship, like the Arleigh Burke class destroyer, combines powerful radar systems with a host of different weapons systems. These weapons include ninety or more missile launch cells (each one capable of launching one of a dozen different missile types), two independent Phalanx close-defense systems, six torpedo launchers, a five-inch gun and several machine guns.

The challenge is to make all these combat systems work together without damaging the ship itself. America’s opponents have often fielded bigger, badder weapons than the United States, but the secret to naval success is systems integration. As the British proved at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, superior fire control trumps superior firepower.

For the U.S. Navy, systems integration still means the aging but effective Aegis Combat System. Now in its fifth decade of operation, Aegis is a centralized command and control system that links sensors and weapons together similar to how a boxer’s brain links his eyes and fists. But that very centralization is also a weakness; knock out the brain and you knock out the boxer.

More at: Smart ‘Battleships’ Are Right Around the Corner – The National Interest

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

Amazon Launches Blockchain Cloud Partnership With Ethereum Studio ConsenSys’ Kaleido

Blockchain News      May 16, 2018

Amazon has partnered with blockchain incubator ConsenSys to enable its customers to build and manage their own blockchain platforms in an easy-to-use manner with ConsenSys’ Ethereum-based cloud platform called Kaleido.

The move is part of an effort to make blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin, more accessible to customers of Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing arm of Amazon.com.

“Introducing Kaleido to AWS customers is going to help customers move faster and not worry about managing blockchain themselves,” Amazon Web Services said in a statement.

More at: Amazon Launches Blockchain Cloud Partnership With Ethereum Studio ConsenSys’ Kaleido – ccn