The Week in Blockchain
It has been a tough week in the crypto community, with some people calling it a
crypto-geddon. Bitcoin price is now below US$6000, and ether has absolutely crashed.
Coincast TV’s Tessa Dempster reports that this latest panic may be triggered by the SEC’s latest rejection of crypto-related ETFs.
In industry news, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is the first bank to deliver a blockchain bond in the world.
“Using Ethereum blockchain technology, the [CBA] will launch the Australian dollar kangaroo bond — the bondi,” she told viewers.
And there is speculation that Facebook is getting into blockchain, after news that executive David Marcus will be leaving his board position at CoinBase to join the social media giant in a full-time role.
Know Your Tokens
Today’s blockchain businesses are taking the investing world by storm — they have a new way of raising funds and a new way of operating.
Coincast TV spoke with blockchain legal expert Toby Hicks to learn more.
“There is a new community set up raising significant amounts of money to develop an idea,” he explains. “But it’s not a traditional business model.”
These companies are using ICOs instead of IPOs to raise funds. Rather than buy shares on the stock market, investors purchase tokens that give them access to a technology.
Reporter Heidi Cuthbert compares this process to crowdfunding. As a result, all you need is an internet connection to make your first cryptocurrency investment.
While you don’t need accreditation or much experience to get started, it helps to understand the different types of tokens available during an initial coin offering.
There are two types: utility tokens and security tokens.
“A utility token gives you a right to participate within a certain community,” the legal expert told Coincast TV, adding that “in many instances those community platforms don’t currently exist.”
In contrast, a security token has elements of a traditional share in a company such as voting rights or dividends.
Consequently, according to Mr. Hicks, “investors are going to be able to get more disclosure and have more certainty around the receipt and trading of those tokens.”
For more information, head to Bitcoin Australia’s ICO guide here.
Bamboozled by Blockchain
Confused about cryptocurrency? Interested in buying some but not sure how? Enter Bamboo, a mobile phone app designed to make investing easy.
Bamboo rounds up leftover change from small daily transactions to buy crypto assets, whether it’s 20 cents from a $3.80 coffee or 50 cents from a $6.50 movie ticket.
To sign up, users enter their name, email and password. After connecting with a bank account, their portfolio is ready to go.
To learn about the app revolutionising crypto investment, Coincast TV’s Tessa Dempster caught up with the Bamboo team in Perth.
Phil George, CEO at Bamboo, favours simplicity.“We’ve built an app that makes it easy for anyone with a mobile phone and a bank account to get started in a matter of minutes.”
According to him, the app’s unusual investment method is a response to people’s busy modern lifestyles and changing personal finance management.
“We are used to thinking ‘I need this, I need it now’, […] so making saving automatic seems like the solution to that.”
“At the end of the year people open up Bamboo app and they might see a thousand dollars […] from all the transactions they made.”
While not yet launched, expect to see Bamboo in the App Store later this year.
Madonna Shines a Ray of Light on Ripple
The Queen of Pop is teaming with the Ashton Kushner-backed Ripple cryptocurrency to raise funds for poverty-stricken orphans in Malawi.
The charity, Raising Malawi, targets children in rural areas hardest hit by AIDS. Since its founding in 2006, Raising Malawi has built 14 schools and enabled more than 10,000 children to study.
Ripple will match every dollar donated to Madonna’s campaign up until the end of August.
In a video posted to Youtube, the singer said that “the best birthday gift you could give me is to help me help these kids.”
However, this is not the first time Ripple has taken a strong position against injustice.
In May, the cryptocurrency group partnered with actor Ashton Kushner to shine light on habitat loss and deforestation. Together, they donated more than US$4 million to the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund.
Sydney’s WholeSale Investor Convention
During the last week of July, the Harbour City hosted the 2018 Tech and Crypto Convention.
The event saw hundreds of blockchain enthusiasts and high-level investors converge to discuss what’s happening in the community.
“You’ve got some of the most exciting blockchain technology projects coming through,” said Leigh Travers of DigitalX. “You’ve got a mix of industry heavyweights attending and new funds as well.”
Likewise, Blockchain Global’s Sam Lee left the event feeling optimistic. “We can see Australia being a leading country for blockchain innovation,” he told Coincast TV.
A wide range of blockchain-powered businesses attended the event, from a team of fire prevention specialists to an anti-fraud voting startup.
Jamie Skella works at Horizon State, a company using blockchain to strengthen electoral systems in Australia.
“We’re trying to help eradicate corruption in our electoral processes, and other democratic processes both locally and abroad,” Mr. Skella explained.
For budding initiatives like Horizon State, Sydney’s Tech and Crypto Convention is the place to showcase new ideas and get industry feedback.
Castles, Dragons… and Blockchain?
Surrounded by the Mediterranean’s turquoise waters, Malta is an island paradise off the coast of North Africa whose castles are home to Lannisters, Tyrells, Starks and the occasional dragon in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
But things are about to get a lot more crowded.
Malta’s government is now inviting foreign cryptocurrency businesses and investors to set up shop, and a series of regulatory and legislative changes are underway to lay down the welcome mat.
Neel Krishnan at DigitalX is excited to see what happens. “Malta is creating a laboratory for blockchain companies to work directly with the regulator to figure out what innovations are needed.”
Above all, Mr. Krishnan appreciates this moment for the industry to experiment with regulation. “It creates the opportunity for us to improve the standards […] and to hold entrepreneurs’ feet to the fire.”
Around the world, businesses are jumping at the chance. Last year Hong Kong-based crypto exchange Binance relocated to the island, and plans on hiring 200 local employees.
Even Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is onboard. The statesman tweeted his support of blockchain and hopes Malta will become “the choice for world class FinTech companies.”
Looking forward, Paul Calleja at the Consulate of Malta in Perth preparing for big changes. But first, the dragons have to go.
“Game of Thrones has been important because it has put the world’s attention on Malta. But if Malta can be the hub of cryptocurrency it will secure [the nation’s] future.”
Tune in next week to hear about the latest in cryptocurrency news, blockchain updates and global fintech events at Coincast TV.
For a quick summary of the weekly updates, check out Bitcoin Australia to read our review of the next episode.
Liz is a Canadian journalist and writer for Bitcoin Australia. Connect with her on Twitter @Elizabeth_Utley, or on Linkedin as Elizabeth Utley.