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Fort Network @ Blockchain For Finance Conference

As part of the Blockchain For Finance Conference 2018 in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, the IFSC’s Dogpatch Labs hosted a pre-conference pitch session attended by about 60 people. The third talk was about the Fort network, and was given by Matthew Arnett, the company’s CEO and looked at their platform for linking real-life assets with non fungible tokens (NFTs). The platform aims to enable liquidity for a range of sectors with real-life assets (ranging from precious metals, property, artwork etc), by creating non fungible asset-backed tokens and uses the ERC721 token popularised by Crypokitties to tokenise illiquid assets. The platform builds

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As part of the Blockchain For Finance Conference 2018 in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, the IFSC’s Dogpatch Labs hosted a pre-conference pitch session attended by about 60 people. The third talk was about the Fort network, and was given by Matthew Arnett, the company’s CEO and looked at their platform for linking real-life assets with non fungible tokens (NFTs).

The platform aims to enable liquidity for a range of sectors with real-life assets (ranging from precious metals, property, artwork etc), by creating non fungible asset-backed tokens and uses the ERC721 token popularised by Crypokitties to tokenise illiquid assets. The platform builds a protocol layer on top of a blockchain (in this case ethereum), which sits among an off chain custodial layer, audit, security, asset management and verification layer, and in short enables people who hold assets to create tokens for verifiable real-life assets, which can then be traded. It aims to bridge dAPPs, ERC1155 templates, the fort protocol and a blockchain platform layer.

The platform has been designed to address a number of challenges surrounding digitising assets, namely provenance, governance, transparency, custodianship and liquidity, with the Fort protocol aiming to particular work on the latter two. The example he gave was a painting, where a museum is a custodian, and if they wanted to sell parts of it, they could issue 100 tokens which relate to 1% ownership of the painting, and enable them to sell parts of the painting. The painting would remain held in the museum on display, although the ownership could be shared without moving it (or tearing it to shreds á la Banksy).

People using the platform can sign into the Fort terminal, which lists a range of different items which can be bought, sold and leveraged. On top of this is a super dApp which is linked to all stakeholders who are informed of ownership changes as they occur. The platform also has a NFTwerks platform, which is a white-label solution for different sectors. Banks or traders can plug this into their system to build out an ecosystem, or developers can build their own dApps on the protocol, with equity providers, investment funds or real estate companies mentioned as examples.

He then went onto showcase some live examples, where they have partnered with a gold and silver bullion provider, and enable people to buy gift vouchers for gold which can be purchased with fiat, wire transfer or cryptocurrencies. I asked what would happen if someone wanted to redeem the voucher for gold, and he said that it’s held in custody of the bullion company, so while you own the gold, you can’t get it in your hand.

A second example he showed was a partnership they have with NGC, a dealer of rare coins. They have a particular coin which only has 14000 which are held in their US based vaults, and they have tokenised them to enable people to own them.

Fort is also looking to build a Non Fungible Token alliance to build inter-operable systems running on the ethereum and neo blockchains.

After the talk, the crowd asked a couple of questions. Who are their partners? Capgo is their distribution partner, with NGC being their custodial partner. Another question arose about handling money laundering, and Matthew explained that the platform has an AML/KYC wrapper. While you can buy into the platform without, if you want to move or sell your tokens, KYC/AML is required via World Check.

The following day at the conference, I caught up with Matthew to get some more questions outside of the pitch environment. First up I asked why he was in Ireland, and he replied that they are looking at where they want to position themselves within the European market, as there are custodians already here, data centres here and to generally build relationships. Next I mentioned that Irish regulations haven’t kept up in the crypto space with other jurisdictions such as Malta, and he said that while this may be the case, Irish regulations around custodianship are already in place and established. All an existing custodian would need to do is build a dApp to use with existing assets. Fort aren’t themselves doing banking, as they’re a platform provider.

One topic not mentioned during their pitch was how they’ll make money from the platform, so Matthew explained there’s a few approaches. Firstly, they have the NFTwerks platform, around which they can make money from training and transaction fees. They can also charge for platform customisation and a subscription fee to use the platform. The platform is b2b, and the terminal where people can buy the assets is consumer facing. The platform is also in closed beta at the moment, starting with NFT for Gold and Silver. Going forward, they’ve three tiers of users they’re looking at, firstly existing people who sell already as brokers and distributors, with an existing userbase. Secondly, they’re targeting existing wealth management companies, for example Capco’s partnership will allow them to offer NFT as a new class of commodity. Their third target market is the general public, who already have a portfolio.

I then asked how they’ve raised funds so far, did they do an ICO? He said they didn’t go the ICO route and instead raised money privately, and are continuing to raise a bit more, and are using their own NFT to issue some equity after a vesting period. Give that they’re based in The Bahamas, I asked where their development team is based and he said they’ve 8 full time developers (expanding to 20) in Vietnam. If you’d like more information on the Fort Network, you can contact them at Fortnetwork.io

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Source: https://bitcoinsinireland.com/fort-network-blockchain-for-finance-conference/

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Respected Financial Historian Calls for Bitcoin Integration into U.S. Financial System

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Financial historian and Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Niall Ferguson, has penned a lengthy piece on Bitcoin which is getting noticed by the crypto community.

In it, the former Harvard and Oxford University professor commented on how the traditional naysayers and debunkers have softened their collective stances this year as the asset outperforms most other traditional investments.

Big Bitcoin Endorsements

The piece was re-tweeted a number of times, most recently by 10T Holdings co-founder Dan Tapiero who observed that this could garner huge attention. Of particular note were the comments on the integration of Bitcoin into the U.S. financial system;

“Rather than seeking to create a Chinese-style digital dollar, Joe Biden’s nascent administration should recognize the benefits of integrating Bitcoin into the U.S. financial system,”

Ferguson made additional references to China’s digital yuan adding that its potential for adoption for remittance payments or cross-border trade settlements is ‘substantial’.

The Bloomberg columnist had previously written on the virtues of Bitcoin stating that there are far fewer coins in circulation than there are millionaires on the planet.

“If millionaires collectively decided to hold just 1% of their wealth as Bitcoin, the price would be above $75,000 — higher, if adjustment is made for all the bitcoins that have been lost or hoarded.”

Big Names Paying Attention

He made reference to a number of big names in the financial world including Paul Tudor Jones, Stan Druckenmiller, Bill Miller, and even Ray Dalio that are now appearing to turn bullish. Even ardent Bitcoin detractors such as Peter Schiff and Nouriel Roubini, also mentioned in the article, have started to change their tune.

He added that adoption has much further to go, quoting Argentine-born tech investor Wences Casares who stated after ten years of working well without interruption, with close to 100 million holders, adding more than a million new holders per month and moving more than $1 billion per day worldwide;

“it has a 50% chance of hitting a price of $1 million per bitcoin in five to seven years’ time.”

The advantages of sovereignty and scarcity are obvious at a time when the supply of fiat money is exploding, Ferguson added, concluding that there was a clear demand for more privacy when it comes to a payment system that will inevitably replace cash.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/respected-financial-historian-calls-for-bitcoin-integration-into-u-s-financial-system/

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Further Declines in Bitcoin Price Possible Though Grayscale is Crucial, Notes JPM Analyst

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Although Bitcoin has recovered from its vigorous price losses during the Thanksgiving massacre, analysts from JPMorgan Chase & Co believe that further declines may still occur.

The strategists pointed out that Grayscale, through its Bitcoin Trust, will play a significant role in future BTC price developments.

Is Bitcoin To Head Further South?

The primary cryptocurrency reached a new yearly high of $19,500 last week; thus, it came less than 3% away from the 2017 all-time high of $20,000. As the community began speculating on how long it will take to surpass that level, the trend reversed viciously.

Bitcoin headed south and lost over $3,000 of value in hours. Nevertheless, the cryptocurrency has recovered most of its losses and trades north of $18,000.

A JPM analysis, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, recently said that the Thanksgiving price drops had cleared the “previous froth in momentum traders’ positioning.” However, the strategists hinted that Bitcoin could still go lower.

“Momentum traders such as commodity trading advisors and other quantitative funds likely played a big role in the slide by unwinding long Bitcoin futures positions. Momentum traders have room to further propagate” the Bitcoin decline, noted the analysts cited by Bloomberg.

Apart from broaching “momentum traders,” the strategists also discussed various other reasons behind the price developments. Those included the rumors of new regulations proposed by the Trump administration and profit-taking.

Grayscale Is Key

The JPM strategists also highlighted the significant role of Grayscale and its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust on the market. The cryptocurrency manager is the most preferred company for institutional investors to receive exposure to Bitcoin (and other digital assets) without worrying about storing the funds.

This has been exemplified through 2020 as Grayscale has reported back-to-back recording-breaking quarterly results. The assets under management (AUM) have exploded in the past 12 months to over $10 billion. Somewhat expectedly, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has the most substantial share.

The analysts asserted that if there’s a decline in the interest towards GBTC, this could damage the narrative that Bitcoin has become a favorite among institutional investors:

“A failure by the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to receive additional inflows over the coming weeks would also cast doubt to the idea that institutional investors such as family offices have embarked on a trend of embracing Bitcoin as digital gold replacing traditional gold as a long-term investment.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/further-declines-in-bitcoin-price-possible-though-grayscale-is-crucial-notes-jpm-analyst/

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Bitcoin Breaks New All-Time Highs Targeting $23,000

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Source: https://cryptobriefing.com/bitcoin-breaks-new-all-time-highs-targeting-23000/

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