The Week Ahead
Binance cryptocurrency exchange announced its latest venture — a crypto to fiat exchange in Singapore. The announcement came via Twitter earlier in the week.
In the Middle East, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia is in talks to join Ripple. The bank will team up with RippleNet, the currency’s blockchain network, to ensure secure ad fast transactions for customers.
The Chinese government reiterated its stance on cryptocurrency trading after the central bank issued a statement warning investors to steer clear of speculative trading.
On the flip side, the People’s Bank of China also announced a blockchain-powered trade finance platform earlier this week with plans to invest in further technology development.
And in the United States, the Winklevoss twins herald the release of their stablecoin Gemini. However controversy plagues the currency’s smart contract after critics noticed a back door in the coding. This will allow Gemini to freeze accounts at its own discretion.
TelCo Embraces Blockchain
Australian communications company Optus is looking at how new technologies can improve their business model and customer service.
This week, Coincast TV met with Optus Director Cindy Nicholson to see how one telco giant is embracing blockchain.
The executive explained that “it’s predicted that by 2025 [the blockchain industry] will be worth $176 billion, and by 2030 in the region of $2.1 trillion.”
To capitalise on these developments, Optus plans to integrate blockchain into theft protection and tracking of assets for customers and itself.
“From a fraud prevention aspect, we are excited about the opportunities blockchain will bring,” Mrs. Nicholson told Coincast TV.
These opportunities will touch other industries as well. Optus is considering implementing blockchain to reduce illegal song downloads, in a move that must be music to entertainers’ ears.
Early last year, Optus joined the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association alongside IBM and Australia Post.
Similar to brand ambassador Usain Bolt as he sprints out of the blocks, Optus is staying ahead of the competition with blockchain.
The Fiefdoms of Blockchain
“There will never be one king, or one blockchain that rules them all,” said Scott Trowbridge of Wanchain. “So having a way to connect [the different platforms] is a problem that needs to be solved.”
According to Mr. Trowbridge, the solution is inter-operability. “We see the blockchain industry right now in the age of the intranet instead of the internet.”
But what does that mean? An intranet is a private network within a company or enterprise that is closed to the public. In contrast, the internet is a world-wide web of computers linked on the same global network.
In the same sense, blockchain is not currently widely used. It is inaccessible to most people. Businesses and banks employ blockchain for transactions and transfers, but these stay within their private networks.
For many people, such as Scott Trowbridge, the ultimate goal is a global network of blockchain. His question is, “how do we get all these isolated blockchains to communicate together?”
Dr. Vidy Patdar, a professor at Curtin University, recognises how difficult it will be to achieve inter-operability.
“Inter-operability has just come into the picture this year, and there are only a number of projects that are involved,” Dr. Patdar told Coincast TV.
“Initially it was not a problem because we only had Bitcoin as a big blockchain and then Ethereum. We thought that these two blockchains would be sufficient.”
Now, it appears it will take more than two or three. Instead of crowning one platform or network, inter-operability suggests we should be connecting them all.
As Coincast TV reporter Heidi Cuthbert said in her report, “the king is dead, long live the king.”
Blockchain Takes on Video
Linius CEO Chris Richardson tuned in to Coincast TV for a chat about the challenges and rewards of developing a video hosting blockchain network.
It comes down to an issue of size and scalability.
As of 6 months ago, the Bitcoin blockchain network has already processed more than 150 gigabytes of data — and this is just from hundreds of thousands of tiny coin transactions. It is hard to imagine the amount of data and space required for transferring the same number of video files.
According to the CEO, “if you had 250 megabyte movies in there instead of little coins, it would quickly become impossible. There is no way it could scale to the amount of data you need, even in the entire internet.”
Instead, Linius proposes virtualising’ the video files.
“The raw data is separated from the components that make it a video, resulting in an infinitesimally small file that can be worked into the blockchain database.”
But what are the advantages to shrinking video files in this way? And how can people use this in their daily lives?
“We think of blockchain for video as solving the ‘double play’ problem,” Mr. Richardson explained. “Once [the movie] is out there, you can make a copy and share it with your friends… it goes everywhere.”
Looks like bad news for movie pirates around the world!
Singapore welcomes the Crypto World
This week Singapore hosted the second Consensus event of the year, coming on the heels of Consensus New York. The conferences — a mix of workshops, meet-ups, and lectures — are world famous for attracting cryptocurrency A-listers.
Speakers this year included Julien Bouteloup, founder of Flyingcarpet, and Kim-Mai Cutler, a partner at Initialized Capital.
Consensus ran between September 19th and 20th, but the fun wasn’t over. The next day kicked-off the Emergence event hosted by Wholesale Investor in Singapore.
Bitcoin Australia CEO and founder Rupert Hackett attended and spoke with investors in a panel session about security tokens and market exchanges.
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.