Deloitte Partners with Hong Kong Central Bank for Trade Finance Blockchain

‘Big Four’ professional services firm Deloitte has unveiled a partnership with Hong Kong’s central bank, as part of its drive to develop a trade finance blockchain for the Hong Kong market.

The announcement comes following the completion of successful tests of the blockchain, which is designed to reduce friction by digitizing the paperwork involved in trade finance arrangements.

In addition to involvement from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the project has also drawn contributions from the Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank, the Bank of East Asia, Standard Chartered and HSBC.

The trial spanned across the supply chain, ranging from banks to suppliers to buyers to logistics, allowing for the smooth flow of capital through trade finance arrangements throughout the chain.

The trial specifically focused on tackling the legal and regulatory dimensions, as well as honing in on security and data compliance – essential ingredients ahead of any viable mass adoption of this type of technology.

The group, spearheaded by Deloitte, said the trials demonstrate the potential effectiveness of blockchain based solutions for handling these types of commercial arrangements in a more efficient way.

“This proof of concept has demonstrated the application of DLT in digitizing paper-intensive processes through smart contracts, reducing the risk of fraudulent trade and duplicate financing, and improving the transparency and new product innovation of the industry as a whole.”

As the project moves into its next phase testing, some members of the group behind the development are introducing live clients into the framework.

Standard Chartered has said it will consider inviting clients to participate in the next stages of the ongoing trials, which it is hoped will make trade finance in Hong Kong more streamlined in the future.

An essential lubricant across many different supply chains, trade finance allows suppliers and partners to issue short term credit lines to their customers, ensuring essential cash flow from origin to market.

With blockchain based technologies capable of removing much of the currently antiquated processes involved in trade finance agreements, it is hoped the technology will make it easier to do business in Hong Kong, and with Hong Kong based companies.

Deloitte Partners with Hong Kong Central Bank for Trade Finance Blockchain

‘Big Four’ professional services firm Deloitte has unveiled a partnership with Hong Kong’s central bank, as part of its drive to develop a trade finance blockchain for the Hong Kong market.

The announcement comes following the completion of successful tests of the blockchain, which is designed to reduce friction by digitizing the paperwork involved in trade finance arrangements.

In addition to involvement from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the project has also drawn contributions from the Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank, the Bank of East Asia, Standard Chartered and HSBC.

The trial spanned across the supply chain, ranging from banks to suppliers to buyers to logistics, allowing for the smooth flow of capital through trade finance arrangements throughout the chain.

The trial specifically focused on tackling the legal and regulatory dimensions, as well as honing in on security and data compliance – essential ingredients ahead of any viable mass adoption of this type of technology.

The group, spearheaded by Deloitte, said the trials demonstrate the potential effectiveness of blockchain based solutions for handling these types of commercial arrangements in a more efficient way.

“This proof of concept has demonstrated the application of DLT in digitizing paper-intensive processes through smart contracts, reducing the risk of fraudulent trade and duplicate financing, and improving the transparency and new product innovation of the industry as a whole.”

As the project moves into its next phase testing, some members of the group behind the development are introducing live clients into the framework.

Standard Chartered has said it will consider inviting clients to participate in the next stages of the ongoing trials, which it is hoped will make trade finance in Hong Kong more streamlined in the future.

An essential lubricant across many different supply chains, trade finance allows suppliers and partners to issue short term credit lines to their customers, ensuring essential cash flow from origin to market.

With blockchain based technologies capable of removing much of the currently antiquated processes involved in trade finance agreements, it is hoped the technology will make it easier to do business in Hong Kong, and with Hong Kong based companies.

SEC Rejects SolidX ETF Proposal

The Securities and Exchange Commission has declined to accept a proposal from SolidX that would see its bitcoin ETF listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The exchange traded fund, which would have allowed investors to take exposure to bitcoin through mainstream markets, was deadlined for a decision yesterday.

It was hoped the vehicle would allow investors an alternative mechanism for trading in bitcoin, as well as introducing greater price transparency and liquidity into the bitcoin market.

The rejection represents the second refusal of a bitcoin ETF since the start of March. The first ETF, promoted by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, was seen by analysts as a 50/50, and hailed as a bellwether for gauging regulatory attitudes towards investment vehicles targeting the digital currency.

The original rejection sent bitcoin prices plummeting, amidst the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the regulatory environment for bitcoin and cryptocurrency derivatives.

Now, with the second such rejection in less than a month, the market has shown a similar, if less pronounced reaction, with trading down by close of yesterday.

In reaching their conclusion, the Securities and Exchange Commission cited broadly similar reasoning to their decision on the Winklevoss ETF.

“The Commission believes that, in order to meet this standard, an exchange that lists and trades shares of commodity-trust exchange-traded products (“ETPs”) must, in addition to other applicable requirements, satisfy two requirements that are dispositive in this matter. First, the exchange must have surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity. And second, those markets must be regulated.”

While many analysts had forecast another rejection from the SEC, it still comes as a blow to bitcoin developers and investors.

The continuing regulator disapproval of bitcoin derived ETFs underlines the need for further regulation in the bitcoin market, which could spell significant upheaval in the months and years to come.

With several competing investment products still vying for recognition and listing approval, these rejections highlight the gaps in present regulatory oversight.

Analysts have suggested that while now might be too early for a mainstream bitcoin ETF, the digital currency does still have a future in more traditional markets.

SEC Rejects SolidX ETF Proposal

The Securities and Exchange Commission has declined to accept a proposal from SolidX that would see its bitcoin ETF listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The exchange traded fund, which would have allowed investors to take exposure to bitcoin through mainstream markets, was deadlined for a decision yesterday.

It was hoped the vehicle would allow investors an alternative mechanism for trading in bitcoin, as well as introducing greater price transparency and liquidity into the bitcoin market.

The rejection represents the second refusal of a bitcoin ETF since the start of March. The first ETF, promoted by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, was seen by analysts as a 50/50, and hailed as a bellwether for gauging regulatory attitudes towards investment vehicles targeting the digital currency.

The original rejection sent bitcoin prices plummeting, amidst the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the regulatory environment for bitcoin and cryptocurrency derivatives.

Now, with the second such rejection in less than a month, the market has shown a similar, if less pronounced reaction, with trading down by close of yesterday.

In reaching their conclusion, the Securities and Exchange Commission cited broadly similar reasoning to their decision on the Winklevoss ETF.

“The Commission believes that, in order to meet this standard, an exchange that lists and trades shares of commodity-trust exchange-traded products (“ETPs”) must, in addition to other applicable requirements, satisfy two requirements that are dispositive in this matter. First, the exchange must have surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity. And second, those markets must be regulated.”

While many analysts had forecast another rejection from the SEC, it still comes as a blow to bitcoin developers and investors.

The continuing regulator disapproval of bitcoin derived ETFs underlines the need for further regulation in the bitcoin market, which could spell significant upheaval in the months and years to come.

With several competing investment products still vying for recognition and listing approval, these rejections highlight the gaps in present regulatory oversight.

Analysts have suggested that while now might be too early for a mainstream bitcoin ETF, the digital currency does still have a future in more traditional markets.

European Commission Outlines Plans for Regulation on the Blockchain

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has announced plans that would see the creation of a proof-of-concept blockchain model for dealing with regulation.

The project, detailed in a draft communication briefing from the Commission to the European Central Bank and the European Parliament, aims to explore the concept of a blockchain for regulation further, while helping raise awareness of the technology across member states.

A public consultation is to be launched as the first step in the project, which it is hoped could pave the way for a blockchain-based future for regulation throughout the region, as well as exploring other new financial technologies.

According to the Commission’s paper, the project could help bolster the understanding and development of blockchain solutions across member state governments and EU agencies.

“This work will also benefit from specific funding from the European Parliament for a pilot project aimed at reinforcing the capacity and technical expertise of national regulators with regard to distributed ledger technology.”

The latest project is only the latest move from the European Union to embrace blockchain technology.

In February, the Commission revealed it was already progressing several blockchain trials for public administration functions, designed to improve efficiency and transparency while reducing cost in administering public sector policy objectives.

It also comes at a time where the Commission appears to be alert to the need for further regulation, particularly as far as digital currencies are concerned.

Cash transaction limits for digital currencies, as well as more active oversight of business use cases for the blockchain, are among some of the proposals already working their way through the commission.

Further support for developing the technology will be welcomed by analysts, and reflects a growing trend amongst governments and public sector authorities globally towards embracing distributed ledger technology.

With potential applications and use cases in a number of sectors and public scenarios, from finance to agriculture and shipping, development of technologies on the blockchain is widely considered to hold the key to benefits including significant cost savings, improved recording, tracking and compliance, and greater efficiency in processing transactional data.

European Commission Outlines Plans for Regulation on the Blockchain

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has announced plans that would see the creation of a proof-of-concept blockchain model for dealing with regulation.

The project, detailed in a draft communication briefing from the Commission to the European Central Bank and the European Parliament, aims to explore the concept of a blockchain for regulation further, while helping raise awareness of the technology across member states.

A public consultation is to be launched as the first step in the project, which it is hoped could pave the way for a blockchain-based future for regulation throughout the region, as well as exploring other new financial technologies.

According to the Commission’s paper, the project could help bolster the understanding and development of blockchain solutions across member state governments and EU agencies.

“This work will also benefit from specific funding from the European Parliament for a pilot project aimed at reinforcing the capacity and technical expertise of national regulators with regard to distributed ledger technology.”

The latest project is only the latest move from the European Union to embrace blockchain technology.

In February, the Commission revealed it was already progressing several blockchain trials for public administration functions, designed to improve efficiency and transparency while reducing cost in administering public sector policy objectives.

It also comes at a time where the Commission appears to be alert to the need for further regulation, particularly as far as digital currencies are concerned.

Cash transaction limits for digital currencies, as well as more active oversight of business use cases for the blockchain, are among some of the proposals already working their way through the commission.

Further support for developing the technology will be welcomed by analysts, and reflects a growing trend amongst governments and public sector authorities globally towards embracing distributed ledger technology.

With potential applications and use cases in a number of sectors and public scenarios, from finance to agriculture and shipping, development of technologies on the blockchain is widely considered to hold the key to benefits including significant cost savings, improved recording, tracking and compliance, and greater efficiency in processing transactional data.

Coinbase Cleared to Begin Litecoin and Ether Trading

Digital currency startup Coinbase has received the go-ahead from authorities in New York, in a move that paves the way for trading in cryptocurrencies Litecoin and Ether through their exchange.

Their approval makes Coinbase only the second exchange to support ether trading, and the first exchange in New York authorized to process litecoin transactions.

In doing so, they follow in the footsteps of the Winklevoss brothers and their company Gemini Trust Company as the only two companies currently licensed to facilitate ether transactions.

Announcing approval of the Coinbase application, the superintendent of New York’s Department for Financial Services, Maria Vullo, said that the move had demonstrated the importance of the regulatory system in fostering a positive environment for fintech startups.

“DFS has proven that the state regulatory system is the best way to supervise and cultivate a thriving fintech industry, like virtual currency. New York will remain steadfast in pushing back against federal encroachment efforts like the OCC’s proposal to impose a one-size-fits-all national bank charter that increases risk and seeks to usurp state sovereignty.”

Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong said the approval could be attributed to the company’s approach to security and compliance.

“At Coinbase, our first priority is to ensure that we operate the most secure and compliant digital currency exchange in the world…New York is an important market and we look forward to expanding our services for New York customers as swiftly as possible.”

Litecoin is the sixth largest cryptocurrency in the world by market cap, with capacity for up to four times the number of mineable units afforded by the bitcoin network.

Ether is the cryptocurrency derived from the ethereum blockchain, an emerging digital currency that is at present only available via the GTC, and now Coinbase, channels.

The approval from New York regulators is a significant scalp for Coinbase, and no doubt an important step in helping ether and litecoin reach a wider audience of investors.

Cryptocurrency analysts are hoping the decision in New York blazes the trail for other startups looking to offer digital currency exchange, as well as encourage other regulators worldwide to follow suit.

Coinbase Cleared to Begin Litecoin and Ether Trading

Digital currency startup Coinbase has received the go-ahead from authorities in New York, in a move that paves the way for trading in cryptocurrencies Litecoin and Ether through their exchange.

Their approval makes Coinbase only the second exchange to support ether trading, and the first exchange in New York authorized to process litecoin transactions.

In doing so, they follow in the footsteps of the Winklevoss brothers and their company Gemini Trust Company as the only two companies currently licensed to facilitate ether transactions.

Announcing approval of the Coinbase application, the superintendent of New York’s Department for Financial Services, Maria Vullo, said that the move had demonstrated the importance of the regulatory system in fostering a positive environment for fintech startups.

“DFS has proven that the state regulatory system is the best way to supervise and cultivate a thriving fintech industry, like virtual currency. New York will remain steadfast in pushing back against federal encroachment efforts like the OCC’s proposal to impose a one-size-fits-all national bank charter that increases risk and seeks to usurp state sovereignty.”

Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong said the approval could be attributed to the company’s approach to security and compliance.

“At Coinbase, our first priority is to ensure that we operate the most secure and compliant digital currency exchange in the world…New York is an important market and we look forward to expanding our services for New York customers as swiftly as possible.”

Litecoin is the sixth largest cryptocurrency in the world by market cap, with capacity for up to four times the number of mineable units afforded by the bitcoin network.

Ether is the cryptocurrency derived from the ethereum blockchain, an emerging digital currency that is at present only available via the GTC, and now Coinbase, channels.

The approval from New York regulators is a significant scalp for Coinbase, and no doubt an important step in helping ether and litecoin reach a wider audience of investors.

Cryptocurrency analysts are hoping the decision in New York blazes the trail for other startups looking to offer digital currency exchange, as well as encourage other regulators worldwide to follow suit.

A Fork In The Road? Bitcoin Unlimited Vies For Top Spot

Bitcoin Unlimited, the development group trying to introduce an improved blockchain for bitcoin, has attempted to tackle fears of market disruption, as it continues to press the benefits of introducing new software into the bitcoin ecosystem.

The group argues that through further decentralization and less centralized planning, their blockchain offers several advantages over the current bitcoin blockchain. However, with the current model already well established, there remain some concerns about the potential for a split between these two models.

As the bitcoin market continues to grow and mature, concerns are being increasingly raised about the impact of an upgrade to the current technology powering the currency, and the potential for a split in the market between the two software platforms.

Seen in some quarters as an inevitable hurdle to come in the development of bitcoin, there are fears this so-called ‘fork’ could ultimately prove disruptive to investors, while damaging confidence in the market and in bitcoin as a currency, if a secondary blockchain were to launch.

Addressing these concerns, a spokesperson for Bitcoin Unlimited said that exchanges are already well prepared for the possibility of a split.

“In the unlikely case of a blockchain split, we are not terribly concerned what exchanges decide to list the two tickers as in terms of name, however we strongly advise that exchanges observe Nakamoto Consensus: the chain with most proof-of-work IS the bitcoin currency unit (currently known as BTC or XBT). We are encouraged that exchanges are well prepared for the event of a blockchain split and that this will result in the market deciding which bitcoin will be the most useful and thus valuable in the long term.”

The news comes following the attempts of some 20 bitcoin exchanges to clarify how they would treat bitcoin under divergent blockchains, as well as contradictory statements from Bitcoin Core, the original development group responsible for managing the current technology behind bitcoin.

It remains to be seen whether the proposed fork in bitcoin technologies will occur, and if so, how investors and companies already engaging in the bitcoin ecosystem will respond to the development.

A Fork In The Road? Bitcoin Unlimited Vies For Top Spot

Bitcoin Unlimited, the development group trying to introduce an improved blockchain for bitcoin, has attempted to tackle fears of market disruption, as it continues to press the benefits of introducing new software into the bitcoin ecosystem.

The group argues that through further decentralization and less centralized planning, their blockchain offers several advantages over the current bitcoin blockchain. However, with the current model already well established, there remain some concerns about the potential for a split between these two models.

As the bitcoin market continues to grow and mature, concerns are being increasingly raised about the impact of an upgrade to the current technology powering the currency, and the potential for a split in the market between the two software platforms.

Seen in some quarters as an inevitable hurdle to come in the development of bitcoin, there are fears this so-called ‘fork’ could ultimately prove disruptive to investors, while damaging confidence in the market and in bitcoin as a currency, if a secondary blockchain were to launch.

Addressing these concerns, a spokesperson for Bitcoin Unlimited said that exchanges are already well prepared for the possibility of a split.

“In the unlikely case of a blockchain split, we are not terribly concerned what exchanges decide to list the two tickers as in terms of name, however we strongly advise that exchanges observe Nakamoto Consensus: the chain with most proof-of-work IS the bitcoin currency unit (currently known as BTC or XBT). We are encouraged that exchanges are well prepared for the event of a blockchain split and that this will result in the market deciding which bitcoin will be the most useful and thus valuable in the long term.”

The news comes following the attempts of some 20 bitcoin exchanges to clarify how they would treat bitcoin under divergent blockchains, as well as contradictory statements from Bitcoin Core, the original development group responsible for managing the current technology behind bitcoin.

It remains to be seen whether the proposed fork in bitcoin technologies will occur, and if so, how investors and companies already engaging in the bitcoin ecosystem will respond to the development.

IBM Launches Its First Commercial Blockchain

Technology company IBM has announced the commercial launch of its new blockchain, complete with detailed plans for the first two deployments of the technology.

Based on the open source Hyperledger Fabric codebase, the blockchain is thought to be one of the first of its kind to be commercially deployed, as it prepares for launch at IBM InterConnect 2017 in Las Vegas.

The technology will be debuted in front of 20,000 developers at the event, who will no doubt be keen to assess the potential tied up in the technology. It is thought that the blockchain could hold significant efficiency and cost savings for companies, banks and government agencies worldwide.

The launch of the IBM Blockchain product is expected to pave the way for similar launches in 2017 and beyond.

With developers working on blockchain models for a range of industries and use-cases, the technology is expected to continue to play a significant role in driving innovation and productivity in the months and years ahead.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain at IBM, stressed the importance of their development on the open-source Fabric platform.

“Hyperledger Fabric is the operating system for IBM Blockchain, and the IBM Blockchain built an environment to develop, govern and operate a production, permissioned blockchain.”

One of the deployments of the technology will see IBM offering identity verification, a project which already has backing to the tune of $27 million from a consortium of six Canadian banks.

It is thought that the project will help streamline client onboarding, while enabling financial firms to exchange relevant information more quickly and securely with partners and regulators.

The second deployment launching with the technology will see the blockchain used in carbon credits trading, in a project that has earned early support from Chinese energy companies.

The blockchain will be used to track ownership of carbon credits, recording the data on the distributed ledger to improve transactional speed and efficiency.

The launch looks set to be one of many similar moves scheduled for this year, with a number of other tech firms working in partnership with private and public sector organisations to bring their blockchains to the market.

IBM Launches Its First Commercial Blockchain

Technology company IBM has announced the commercial launch of its new blockchain, complete with detailed plans for the first two deployments of the technology.

Based on the open source Hyperledger Fabric codebase, the blockchain is thought to be one of the first of its kind to be commercially deployed, as it prepares for launch at IBM InterConnect 2017 in Las Vegas.

The technology will be debuted in front of 20,000 developers at the event, who will no doubt be keen to assess the potential tied up in the technology. It is thought that the blockchain could hold significant efficiency and cost savings for companies, banks and government agencies worldwide.

The launch of the IBM Blockchain product is expected to pave the way for similar launches in 2017 and beyond.

With developers working on blockchain models for a range of industries and use-cases, the technology is expected to continue to play a significant role in driving innovation and productivity in the months and years ahead.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain at IBM, stressed the importance of their development on the open-source Fabric platform.

“Hyperledger Fabric is the operating system for IBM Blockchain, and the IBM Blockchain built an environment to develop, govern and operate a production, permissioned blockchain.”

One of the deployments of the technology will see IBM offering identity verification, a project which already has backing to the tune of $27 million from a consortium of six Canadian banks.

It is thought that the project will help streamline client onboarding, while enabling financial firms to exchange relevant information more quickly and securely with partners and regulators.

The second deployment launching with the technology will see the blockchain used in carbon credits trading, in a project that has earned early support from Chinese energy companies.

The blockchain will be used to track ownership of carbon credits, recording the data on the distributed ledger to improve transactional speed and efficiency.

The launch looks set to be one of many similar moves scheduled for this year, with a number of other tech firms working in partnership with private and public sector organisations to bring their blockchains to the market.