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Is This the Blockchain Firm That Will Get Enterprise to Finally Embrace Open Networks?

Concordium, whose CEO is a Volvo board member, is looking to shake up the seemingly glacial world of enterprise blockchain.



Concordium, an ambitious project whose founders have close links to companies including Volvo, IKEA, Saxo Bank and Nasdaq, is looking to shake up the seemingly glacial world of enterprise blockchain. 

The most striking thing about Concordium, which launches its third testnet next month, is the way it pushes what was once anathema to big corporates: public and permissionless blockchains.

Businesses, wary of tipping their hands and giving away any competitive advantage, have traditionally preferred the idea of private and permissioned blockchains. But many advocates of blockchain tech believe only open systems hold true transformational promise. The oft-cited analogy centers on the relevance of internet versus intranet.  

Read more: ‘Boring Is the New Exciting’: How Baseline Protocol Connected With 600 Corporates

Toeing the line between the privacy requirements of regulated businesses and full-broadcast blockchains like those of Bitcoin and Ethereum has led some very smart people to opt for an attenuated architecture when it comes to distributed ledgers. 

However, Concordium is confident it has found a third way, keeping sensitive data private using a clever identity and zero-knowledge-proof (ZKP) system, providing firms with a safe, flexible option to deploy open blockchains.

The momentum around projects like Baseline Protocol, which now has some 600 big firms using it, is a solid indicator ZKP tech is ready for prime time.

‘Something totally new’

According to Concordium CEO Lone Fønss Schrøder, sometimes you need a permission-based ledger; but in order to realize new business models, it has to come in combination with baked-in permissionless possibilities. 

“I think that’s really what large corporations are looking for,” said Fønss Schrøder. “If you look at Hyperledger, for example, or R3, I don’t think it is blockchain in the sense of really providing something new. It’s not decentralized. Companies are seeing it as just another way to do their mainframe applications. But when you talk about permissionless blockchain, it’s something totally new.”

Blockchain today simply doesn’t meet the needs of corporations, says Fønss Schrøder, and a lack of permissionless flexibility has led to no uptick in business adoption. 

Concordium’s chief marketing manager, Beni Issembert, went further: Businesses underwhelmed by today’s enterprise blockchain offerings are squarely in Concordium sights.

“Businesses that are open-minded feel a lot of frustration and desolation when it comes to using Hyperledger and R3 Corda. And we are talking to those disappointed businesses,” Issembert said.

Concordium CEO Lone Fønss Schrøder
Source: Concordium

Big-name partners

It would be easy to write Concordium off as some kind of naive newcomer – both R3 and Hyperledger declined to comment on the Concordium white paper. 

But the project, which has its roots in Denmark, features an impressive cast of players from business and academia. On the science side, Concordium’s research center at Denmark’s Aarhus University is run by widely cited cryptographer Ivan Damgard. Last September, Torben Pryds Pedersen, creator of the Pedersen Commitment cryptographic primitive, was appointed as Concordium’s CTO.

Read more: Staying Alive: Why the World of Enterprise Blockchain Has Turned to Collaborations

In terms of corporate clout, Fønss Schrøder is a boardroom director at IKEA, vice chairman of Volvo and spent 22 years at A.P. Moller Maersk. Concordium’s founder, Lars Seier Christensen, founded Saxo Bank in 1992, while the blockchain’s advisers include former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and heavy hitters from Nasdaq, Mastercard and Skype.

It’s one thing to announce a paradigm shift in the way businesses intend to use blockchain technology, but another to show hard evidence of this new permissionless demand. 

“We are already in contact with those people [Volvo and IKEA] and looking at ways to fulfill what they would like to do. But we are not only targeting 20 or 40 businesses,” said Issembert. “We are focused on the next generation of commerce, the new unicorns; firms that you don’t have to convince the best approach is an open system.”

Open use cases

It should be pointed out that Volvo has blazed a trail when it comes to tracking the minerals used in electric car batteries with the help of Hyperledger Fabric. IKEA has also done some interesting blockchain experiments with the likes of Tradeshift using the Maker protocol. 

Neither Volvo nor IKEA would confirm to CoinDesk whether they were testing Concordium at this time.

Read more: IKEA in ‘World First’ Transaction Using Smart Contracts and Licensed E-Money

If large corporations have been mostly happy with proofs-of-concept using closed enterprise blockchains, what are the new use cases that open systems like Concordium can offer? 

Fønss Schrøder said a major opportunity exists in rethinking the way procurement and supply chains work, for example. (In terms of new entrants to the enterprise blockchain space, there have also been some interesting moves from the EOS ecosystem, particularly in Latin America.)

“It could be smart contracts, which actually will function as marketplaces for you and your whole procurement sector,” said Fønss Schrøder. “I think about what Maersk has been doing, but the disadvantage for Maersk is that this should never have been built on a permission-based blockchain; it should have been permissionless. But that’s the kind of logistical use case I’m sure we will be able to support.”

Volvo board member Fønss Schrøder also sees plenty of uses for open blockchains in the car industry, across secondary markets, for instance, and the service agreements that come with that.

“Nearly every car sold by Volvo has some kind of lease arrangement or car-care, and blockchain is well suited to support this on the insurance side and on the service side,” said Fønss Schrøder.

Public, but private

As far as the ZKP secret sauce, Issembert called this the “backbone of the network,” but could not disclose details.

“For the ZKP design approach, we are going to come to the market with our own solution. It’s not something that has been seen yet,” he said.

Read more: WATCH: ‘Big Four’ Exec Says Privacy Is Key to Enterprise Blockchain Adoption

Next month sees Concordium’s third testnet come into being, with a view to going live in January 2021. 

“We will have the smart contract layer ready and then we will see which corporations will build on it,” said Fønss Schrøder. “It will be very interesting. I don’t think we will disappoint you.”


The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



Christine Lagarde Is Not a Big Fan of Digital Currencies



Christine Lagarde – the president of the European Central Bank – has issued a warning about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, calling them highly speculative and saying that they are “suspicious.”

Lagarde: Crypto Is NOT Cash!

Bitcoin and digital assets have shot up like crazy over the past year. The idea is that these assets are becoming hedge tools against inflation and other economic problems caused by the current presidential administration and ongoing coronavirus fears. While many people have garnered newfound respect for these assets, Lagarde feels very differently, and says that they are not cash and should not be treated as such.

In a recent interview, Lagarde commented:

I think we have to distinguish between cryptos that are highly speculative and suspicious occasionally, and high intensity in terms of energy consumption assets, but they’re not a currency.  Cryptos are not currencies, full stop. Cryptos are highly speculative assets that claim their fame as currency, possibly, but they’re not. They are not.

Among the big price highlights to occur for digital assets over the past several months include bitcoin reaching a new all-time high of approximately $64,000 per unit in April. In addition, Ethereum also experienced a new high of about $4,000. Other assets, such as Solana, Ripple’s XRP and Binance’s BNB, have also incurred triple-digit gains.

These currencies – and many others like them – are not garnering affection from Lagarde, though she was rather praising of stable currencies in her interview, claiming:

You have those stable coins that are beginning to proliferate, which some big techs are trying to promote and push along the way, which are a different animal and need to be regulated, where there has to be oversight that corresponds to the business that they’re actually conducting, irrespective of how they name themselves.

Many banks and governments across the globe have been looking at stable coins as of late, recognizing that cryptocurrencies are becoming much more prominent and that they need to stay current to compete. The ECB itself ultimately launched a digital euro project earlier in the year under Lagarde’s direction and guidance. She continued her praise of the stable currency space with:

And in all that, you have the central banks who are prompted by a demand of customers to produce something that will make the central bank and central bank digital currencies fit for the century we are in. I was keen to push the issue, the CBDC issue, on our agenda because I believe that we have to stand ready for that.

Stable Currencies May Provide Solid Answers

One figure sharing this sentiment is Benoit Coeure, the head of innovation at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He recently stated of stable currencies:

CBDC (central bank digital currencies) will be part of the answer. A well-designed CBDC will be a safe and neutral means of payment and settlement asset.

Tags: bitcoin, Christine Lagarde, stable currencies
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Ethereum, Solana, VeChain Price Analysis: 22 September



The entire cryptocurrency market has been facing severe bearishness over the past few weeks. The king of altcoins, Ethereum broke down below crucial support levels and would incur selling pressures from all around. That effect would automatically trickle down to the other smaller altcoins in the market like VeChain.

However, thanks to its recent rally, Solana seemed to be in a relatively better place to continue its upward trajectory if market sentiments improve.

Ethereum (ETH)

ETH/USD | Source: TradingView

Ever since the correction that happened on El Salvador’s Bitcoin Day ETH/USD has been trading in a very narrow range between $3100 to $3500. It had briefly broken out of the range, only to fall back down into it, before correcting even more.

This was a worrisome signal since it broke down (white arrow) below the descending triangle pattern on the chart as depicted by the pink lines. Ethereum prices also broke below the next support level of $2990 as depicted by the yellow trend line. So unless the prices are able to rally back from current levels to the range of $4000-$4400, the short term future for this counter remained bleak.

The Relative Strength Index dropped below 40 mark which would add to the selling pressure in this currency pair. The MACD, which suffered a bearish crossover a few weeks back entered the negative territory too. The prices have also moved significantly below the 20-day Moving Average line (marked in green) to further add to the bearishness.

Solana (SOL)

SOL/USD | Source: TradingView

Solana has been one of the best performing coins in the past month and a half and its rally propelled it to the seventh biggest coin by market capitalization. Since mid-August, 2021 it rallied nearly five times in price (blue channel), before correcting sharply a month later in line with the entire market and that correction turned into a bearish trend ever since.

Due to the nature of the recent rally, the only logical level of support for the prices would come near $20. However, if Solana prices are able to breakout of the white channel from current levels to above $160, the earlier rally may resume.

Despite the major correction over the past few days from $200 to current prices, indicators had turned extremely bearish yet. The Relative Strength Index remained near the 50 mark so there was still some bullishness.

The MACD which suffered a bearish crossover still remained well within the positive region as well. The prices however, broke down below the 20-day Moving Average (green) but again, it isn’t too far away to retest those levels. So overall, bullish sentiment in this particular coin still persisted.

VeChain (VET)

VET/USD | Source: TradingView

The VET/USD currency pair was extremely volatile and fell significantly from its all time highs. Since then it was trading within a very wide range however, a promising chart pattern was beginning to emerge for this particular coin.

A bullish cup and handle pattern was seen (white lines) and a breakout over $0.12-$0.16 can result in a major rally. The level of support for VeChain was around $0.06 and that should hold fine based on historical data.

Although, the indicators did not show as much enthusiasm on the bullish side. The Relative Strength Index touched 30 levels and currently was around 37 which was very weak. The MACD too breached the zero line and crossed over into the negative territory.

The prices also dropped below the 20-day Moving Average (green) over two weeks ago and were not able to break out of it ever since. So overall, this coin, much like many others in the market, faced the heat of extreme bearishness in the market and would require a convincing breakout over $0.16 to be bullish again.

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Mike Novogratz Reveals Key Bitcoin and Ether Price Levels For Crypto Market To Remain In ‘Good Shape’



Two Key Reasons Why Bitcoin Will Skyrocket In Q1 2020

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Even as the cryptocurrency market continues to face a major moment of truth this week, Mike Novogratz is highlighting the $40,000 and $2,800 prices for Bitcoin and Ethereum respectively as key levels for bulls.

Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday, the Galaxy Digital C.E.O stated that the bearish move did not come as a surprise to him as it was only a standard behavior of the market washing shorter-term risk out.

BTCUSD Chart By TradingView
BTCUSD Chart By TradingView

“We held $40,000 overnight in Bitcoin and $2,800 in Ethereum. I think those are very important levels for people to watch. As long as those hold, I think the market’s in good shape” 

Markets got a little too long

He noted that for a moment, investors had almost missed the Web 3 flight by focussing more on the major layer 1 networks getting the markets “a little too long”.

A drastic turnaround of investors putting their money in other assets could have caused an equilibrium shift leading to the drop. He also noted that the intensified Evergrande Crisis in China could also have largely contributed to the drop, particularly pointing at the stable coin FUD.

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“People have got this idea that tether’s got their stable coins backed by Chinese commercial paper and if that was the case and Evergrande blows up, you got to think that Chinese course of paper is worthless and so, some of this was a reaction to say, oh my goodness if tether goes that would be really a bad thing!”

Regulatory Uncertainty

Escalating turf wars between the SEC and the cryptocurrency industry is also a major catalyst to this week’s sell-off. Novogratz pointed out that there was a general feeling of nervousness by investors on the FED coming after stable coins amid SEC’s recent wars with Crypto exchanges.

During a presentation with the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Tuesday last week, SEC’s Chair Gary Gensler’s reference to crypto industry as the “Wild West” or the old world of “buyer beware” asserting that the crypto industry lacked enough investor protection only seemed to escalate tension in the already stressed market.

This week, Coinbase shelved its plans to launch a 4% interest-yielding Lending product following a warning to institute legal proceedings from the SEC. This move is widely seen as reflecting in this week’s market movements with Grayscale Investments’ CEO Michael Sonnenshein on Tuesday calling for legal clarity from regulators.

“Where we are today there needs to be some more guidance from the SEC and we really have to move to a place of actual regulation beyond just enforcement actions which we continue to see,” he told CNBC.

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