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FinTech Connects… with Richard Gendal Brown, Chief Technology Officer, R3

Richard Gendal Brown of R3 talks middleware and market-level transformation through blockchain technology

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R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a global ecosystem of more than 300 participants across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.

I spoke to their Chief Technology Officer, Richard Gendal Brown to get his take on the blockchain market, business uses and R3’s open source blockchain platform, Corda.

How exactly do you envisage blockchain bringing increased efficiencies at market level?

If you look at what the IT industry has achieved over the last 50 or 60 years, it is all about optimisation by taking previously manual processes and automating them. This enables formerly impossible or unaffordable things to happen and it’s all about improving firms.

You saw that through the first computer revolution, then ERP, CRM and integration. It’s all about improving the efficiency of individual firms. But, if you take stock of what’s been achieved it almost feels like the industry has reached the end of that road. Whereas if you were to look at the markets in which firms operate, they still look very similar to how they looked 50 or 60 years ago. The markets themselves with one or two exceptions, have not been transformed.

For example, take syndicated lending. The banks in that market have installed software that’s made them very efficient. But, the communications process at the level of the market is archaic.  

One of the things that particularly inspired us at R3 about platforms like Bitcoin and Ethereum is that they operate at the level of entire markets. Whoever owns and trades Bitcoin and Ether use the same platform and that’s how the entire market is able to transact.

So a lesson we drew from that was what if you could do the same things with normal markets? What if you could apply those same principles to bring a level of commonality and consistency, just as IT did for individual businesses? It doesn’t just reduce cost, but alongside this brings a quality of data and new opportunities.

So, long story short, this is about doing to the markets what IT did for firms.

What are some real world, business use cases?

Most consumers think of insurance as pretty efficient. It can be done online via a comparison website. But in the corporate world, where complicated risks need to be placed, to get all the property in a company’s portfolio insured they have to go through a broker, underwriter, reinsurance and all the rest. It’s like a business negotiation that has to be carried out in getting corporate insurance.

It’s inherently decentralised, there is no-one in charge of the market. So you get the situation where the component parts are very efficient themselves, but the communication between them is very inefficient. What we do now see is that insurers are coming together to create inter-firm workflow and inter-firm blockchain solutions to massively improve the efficiency of the process.

How realistic is it to ask entire markets to change the way that they operate, given they have been doing so in a certain way for such a long time?

Collectively as an industry we have begun to realise what works. You could argue that the answer is obvious, that incentives matter. All the successful companies that we’ve seen are one where we’ve managed to crack the nut of making it a win win scenario for everyone involved. The incumbents, the service providers, the consumers, everybody benefits and everybody shares in the efficiency and the opportunities that are created.

It’s that old adage, lots of things change, but the rules of economics always stay the same.

How close do you think we are to achieving the kind of market-wide optimisation that blockchain can promise?

We are pretty close. We’ve already seen small scale deployment. 2020 is the real year of production at scale. So if we were to have this conversation next year I’d be talking about the efficiency that has been delivered and we might even be at the point where there is a secondary market on the horizon.

You can almost measure it by the amount of paper that is being carried around in people’s arms east of Bishopsgate.

So, if Corda can be considered ‘middleware’ for markets, does that mean it can be applied to every industry?

One of the most serendipitous moments of my career was when I realised that a platform we had designed for a very narrow set of use cases in the financial market was highly general purpose. It was actually the insurance industry that told us this. They were almost banging on our door asking why we were only talking about Corda in the context of banking, when the underlying data model is perfect for modeling an insurance policy.

So that made us wake up and realise that we were sitting on something that was far more general. Since we started talking about that and helping people understand it we’ve had multiple industries; banking, insurance, healthcare, oil and gas, take up the solution. You name an industry and there are people building solutions on Corda.

We realised that for Corda to be truly successful, it had to be on an open platform and it had to be accessible for all. We couldn’t do everything at R3, we had to create space for entire ecosystems and software developers to come to the fore using their knowledge of their own verticals.

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Source: https://www.fintechconnect.com/blockchain/articles/fintech-connects-with-richard-gendal-brown-chief-technology-officer-r3

Blockchain

Facebook’s Diem Unveils Its Latest Stablecoin Plans and Strategic Move to the United States

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Diem, the cryptocurrency project headed by Facebook originally known as Libra, recently announced its plans to launch a stablecoin with its focus scaled back to the United States. 

The company stated earlier this year that it would be relocating its primary operations from Switzerland back to the United States, and would withdraw its payment system license application from Switzerland’s financial regulators. “Diem is simplifying its plans for [its] USD stablecoin issuance by shifting its main operations from Switzerland to the United States,” they said.

This decision was later confirmed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. 

Stablecoins are digital currencies pegged to a fiat currency, with Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) being two prominent examples. California-based Silvergate Bank will become the sole issuer of the Diem USD, while also managing its dollar reserves. 

Diem to Launch Wholly New Subsidiary Diem Networks US Alongside Crypto Bank Silvergate

In a strategic partnership, the two firms have created a new subsidiary called Diem Networks US — which will run the Diem Payment Network (DPN) to facilitate transactions of Diem stablecoins within its network. 

“Silvergate is a leader in financial innovation and an ideal partner for Diem as we move forward with a blockchain-based payment system that protects consumers and enhances the integrity of the financial system,” said Stuart Levey, chief executive officer of Diem.

“We are committed to a payment system that is safe for consumers and businesses, makes payments faster and cheaper, and takes advantage of blockchain technology to bring the benefits of the financial system to more people around the world. We look forward to working with Silvergate to realize this shared vision.” 

Diem’s strategic shift to the United States comes at a time of a rapidly evolving regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. 

Some municipalities and states such as Miami and Wisconsin have embraced the recent innovation, whereas regulators such as the newly-appointed SEC Chair Gary Gensler have critiqued the autonomy of the crypto industry. 

With crypto ETFs and related financial products under intense scrutiny by the SEC, it remains to be seen whether Diem’s decision to relocate back to the United States will bear any fruit.

Featured image from ShutterStock

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://bitcoinist.com/facebooks-diem-unveils-its-latest-stablecoin-plans-and-strategic-move-to-the-united-states/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=facebooks-diem-unveils-its-latest-stablecoin-plans-and-strategic-move-to-the-united-states

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Blockchain

Crypto Research Firm Delphi Digital Launches Latest NFT Fund

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Delphi Digital, a New York-based crypto research and venture firm, recently launched its latest on-chain fund to invest in non-fungible token (NFT) projects. 

The fund, referred to as Delphi InfiNFT, is based on decentralized finance (DeFi) investing protocol Syndicate. “It will enable automation of deposits, cap table, distributions, fund management, reporting, etc.” said Anil Lulla, co-founder of Delphi Digital. 

“NFT’s are changing digital ownership rights, as well as how creators are interacting with their communities. Along with the growth of the NFT space, there is supporting infrastructure that needs to be built alongside it. The goal of this fund is to find the protocols that are moving the NFT space forward and building the infrastructure that is needed.”

Delphi Digital has partnered with NFT investor Gmoney for its NFT fund, who famously purchased a CryptoPunk NFT for a record price of 140 Ethereum worth approximately $180,000 at the time. Gmoney and Delphi will co-manage the fund together. 

According to their website, the fund will look to create an investment portfolio consisting of 20 protocols through InfiNFT. “We plan to deploy at least 80% of the fund’s capital in the first 6 – 9 months as we find protocols that fit with our thesis,” the team report read. 

“We will identify and select leading NFT networks through our networks and communities. We’ll be working directly with the teams we invest in to help them become a core piece of the NFT ecosystem long-term.

Delphi’s InfiNFT is backed by IDEO CoLab Ventures, Divergence Ventures, Axie Infinity, Compound Finance, and Fractional, among others. 

The recent steep Ethereum selloff led to massive losses in market cap across the NFT markets. According to NFT Valuations, Cryptopunks’ total market valuation dropped $600 million this past week — representing over a 66% loss. In spite of the recent volatility, investors like Delphi Digital appear to be confident in the long-term prospects of the non-fungible token space.

Ethereum (ETH/USD), alongside the broader crypto market, suffered week-long losses following the news of Tesla cutting its Bitcoin payments. At press time, Ethereum is down 9.3% in the past week. Source: Tradingview.com
Featured image from UnSplash 

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://bitcoinist.com/crypto-research-firm-delphi-digital-launches-latest-nft-fund/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=crypto-research-firm-delphi-digital-launches-latest-nft-fund

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Blockchain

Cardano, Uniswap, Chainlink Price Analysis: 16 May

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Cardano introduced some target levels at $2.53 and $2.69 via the Fibonacci Extension tool. Uniswap needed to garner bullish strength for a break above $43-$45 resistance. Lastly, a descending triangle breakdown on Chainlink could see a 7.5% retracement towards its 50-SMA

Cardano [ADA]

Source: ADA/USD, TradingView

If buyers were looking to make profits on large-cap alts during the recent turbulent broader market, Cardano was a must inclusion in every portfolio. Weekly gains of 36% were the highest among the top 10 coins by market cap and underlined ADA’s independence from broader market sentiment. Fibonacci Extension tool was used to identify potential target points for the current rally. The 372.2% and $361.8% extension levels stood at  $2.53 and $2.69, respectively. With buying pressure still on the rise according to Awesome Oscillator, ADA made a strong case for an extended rally.

In case of pullbacks, these extension levels can also act as support lines. RSI’s overbought territory indicated the need for stabilization and a dip in volumes could mean some southbound action. Nevertheless, key factors could allow ADA to sustain higher levels moving forward.

Uniswap [UNI]

Source: UNI/USD, TradingView

A descending triangle breakdown showed losses of 8% from the bottom trendline, but buyers stepped in at $35.6-support. In fact, this support has been under the spotlight during recent dips and only reinforced the area as a buffer against extended losses. On the 4-hour timeframe, OBV’s sharp fall was an interesting development which explained why bulls have failed to topple $43-$45 resistance. Considering the dearth of constant buying pressure, Uniswap could trade between $44.4 and $35.6 over the coming days.

A breakout above $44.4 on high volumes would result in a bullish trend but the market was not yet ready for such a swing. Awesome Oscillator’s wavy trajectory suggested that neither side had been fully able to assert dominance.

Chainlink [LINK]

Source: LINK/USD, TradingView

While Chainlink did see losses over the last 24 hours, the bulls held on to $41.2-support – an important development. A descending triangle was prominent on the daily timeframe and a breakdown could see a sell-off between $35.7-39.1. Those hoping to trade on a breakdown can observe the 4-hour timeframe for more sensitive price action.

Awesome Oscillator registered a series of red bars as selling momentum dragged  LINK from a high of $61.9 to a low of $39.7 during the present downtrend. MACD also confirmed a bearish presence in the market. To negate LINK’s pattern, buyers would need to target a rise above $45.6-resistance.


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Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://ambcrypto.com/cardano-uniswap-chainlink-price-analysis-16-may

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