Solving real problems in infrastructure, finance and e-commerce
It’s exactly two years since we published “Avoiding the pointless blockchain project“, a checklist of questions to ask when assessing permissioned blockchain use cases. The post obviously struck a nerve and continues to attract thousands of monthly readers on our site and others. People are still hungry for content that goes beyond the blockchain hype to assess this technology objectively.
The good news is that, judging by our incoming inquiries, the market’s understanding of blockchains has greatly improved over the last two years. I would estimate that 60% of the blockchain use cases we now hear are commercially and technically sound. Nonetheless there is still plenty of confusion – companies determined to use a blockchain when a regular database would fit better, startups using “blockchains” in their branding but nowhere else, and widely reported but pointless blockchain projects which use a single node or a group of nodes under a single party’s control.
To recap what I’ve written before, the core value of a blockchain is to enable a database or ledger to be directly shared across boundaries of trust, without putting any single party in charge. A blockchain lets a group of actors achieve real-time reconciliation of validated, authenticated and timestamped transactions, without the cost, hassle and risk of relying on a trusted intermediary. The chain provides meaningful value when it’s maintained by consensus between multiple nodes, each of which is controlled by a party with different interests. This protects against individual participants (or small groups thereof) from corrupting or deleting past transactions.
MultiChain 1.0 was released a few months ago, and we’re delighted to now share the details of some of the early MultiChain-powered blockchains in production. Each application described below was independently built by a third party using the regular MultiChain software and APIs. All are running in a network of four nodes or more, with multiple active validators. Most importantly, in each case the blockchain is addressing a real business problem that could not be solved by a regular database.
Workflow management for infrastructure projects
Construtivo is a Brazilian software company which builds solutions for the design and construction phase of large infrastructure projects. For the past 15 years, Construtivo’s general approach has been to deliver software-as-a-service (SaaS), in which the company acts as the central trusted intermediary for managing project data. This is the traditional approach to ensuring that all stakeholders maintain a consistent view of a project’s status and progress.
To satisfy their customers’ desire for greater transparency and auditability, Construtivo have now integrated MultiChain into their solution, providing the option of storing crucial project data on a blockchain alongside Construtivo’s database. Several infrastructure projects in South America are already making use of this option. Each project has its own chain, with nodes run by both Construtivo and stakeholders such as contractors and engineering companies. Depending on the project’s requirements, the chain can record plans, contracts, and other workflow-related information, and can be browsed through a web-based interface.
The typical MultiChain network for an infrastructure project has 4 nodes, with an average transaction size of 15K. All nodes in each chain participate in the validation process, with control over user permissions remaining in Construtivo’s hands. As with most of our users, Construtivo researched a number of blockchain platforms to find a suitable fit. When asked why they settled on MultiChain, Rodrigo Trindade, systems analyst at Construtivo, cited its speed, simplicity and ease of integration with their application.
Shared ledger for a catastrophe bond
Solidum Partners is an investment advisory company which specializes in creating catastrophe bonds. These are financial instruments which pay investors a high rate of yield compared to regular commercial bonds, but have a risk of partial or no repayment if a particular event occurs. In essence, purchasers of catastrophe bonds are acting like insurance companies, providing the capital to cover unlikely losses and making a tidy profit so long as those losses don’t materialize.
In order to be easy to trade, non-physical securities like catastrophe bonds are traditionally held by a trusted intermediary on their owners’ behalf. Trades in the security are “settled” virtually via an update of the intermediary’s records. For Solidum, the intermediary of choice had been Euroclear, which holds over $30 trillion in financial assets on behalf of investors, or more than 10% of the world’s total. Naturally, with around 4,000 employees at 15 offices around the world, Euroclear doesn’t provide this service for free.
Due to recent changes at a banking partner, Solidum lost access to Euroclear and had to seek another way. So they issued a new $15 million catastrophe bond directly onto a MultiChain blockchain, along with dollar denominated tokens that could be used for transacting. If you like, they performed two private placement Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), but with real underlying assets instead of a white paper and the hope of future value.
The blockchain enables safe “delivery-vs-payment” transactions, in which two users exchange dollars and bond units in a single step – a feat which traditionally requires help from a trusted intermediary. Aside from avoiding this middleman’s fees, using a permissioned blockchain gave Solidum easy and direct control over who can participate in the system, without triggering the same heavy regulation as Euroclear and its peers.
Each participant in the network has their own MultiChain node, giving them direct control over their on-chain assets. While a trustee knows the real-world identity behind each address on the blockchain, participants do not know each other’s. (Unlike many financial use cases, the level of activity is not high enough for this veil of confidentiality to be broken.) After completing AML and KYC checks, users are given access to the chain by Solidum and can then transact with each other directly. The network currently has around 10 nodes, 4 of which are permanently online and participate in the consensus process.
When asked why they chose MultiChain, Cedric Edmonds, partner at Solidum, cited its simple built-in support for delivery-vs-payment exchange transactions, as well as its general stability and ease of use.
Transaction notarization for e-commerce
Cryptologic, a blockchain consultancy based in Rosario, Argentina, have built and deployed a system for notarizing e-commerce transactions, in order to help resolve disputes between buyers and sellers. Their first customer is MercadoLibre, Latin America’s most popular e-commerce site, which has almost $1 billion in annual revenues.
Under usual circumstances, when a customer makes a purchase from an online merchant, they have to trust that merchant to record the transaction securely and permanently. But in practice, nothing stops employees of the merchant from deleting or modifying transaction records, and this can serve as a back door for delayed delivery or goods to end up in the wrong hands. By contrast, if each transaction is recorded on a blockchain whose contents are publicly visible, and whose control is spread among a number of different parties, then this record becomes far more difficult to retroactively change.
To preserve confidentiality, transaction data is hashed before being embedded in the chain. The hashes provide a mechanism for timestamping and notarization, and are sufficient to settle later disputes if either party reveals the unhashed transaction. The network currently contains 7 permanent nodes, spread between Cryptologic, various government offices, and a partner abroad. Since transactions contain hashes only, they are fairly small, and the network has seen a peak rate of 50 transactions per second (still well below MultiChain’s maximum throughput).
When asked why they chose MultiChain, Maximiliano Cañellas, CTO at Cryptologic, said they found it really easy to use, with great features like streams, and that the product is very stable, having run for 10 months without interruption.
General lessons learned
These are some early examples of permissioned blockchains in production. The networks are still small, with modest transaction volumes that are far from the limits of products like MultiChain. So it’s important not to extrapolate too much.
Nonetheless, it’s interesting to note what these applications have in common. First and most importantly, they all derive from a genuine desire for decentralization, rather than using a blockchain for a blockchain’s sake. In all three cases, there were clear reasons to choose a blockchain architecture over messaging or a centralized database.
Second, none of the chains have yet transitioned to a decentralized model for governance. All still rely on a single administrator, who onboards new users and grants them permission to transact. It remains to be seen how often decentralized governance (as supported by MultiChain’s admin consensus model) is viable or necessary in practice. Perhaps it is sufficient for the blockchain to provide a transparent view of all administrator activity, while leaving control of this activity with a single party.
Finally, the nature of these applications confirms our view that blockchains are a general purpose technology for shared databases, and not restricted to particular industries or verticals. The lion’s share of media coverage might be received by specific use cases, such as interbank settlement, supply chain finance and shared identity. But in reality, blockchains can be applied whenever we seek to avoid centralized control over a digital system of record. It’s time to think more broadly about the types of problems that this technology can solve.
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By The Numbers: The Rate Bitcoin Must Climb To Reach $100K By July
Bitcoin is a numbers game through and through. There are only 21 million BTC. The code and its consensus algorithm are both made up of complex math. The total coins are slashed in half every four years, and so on and so fourth.
Most important of all, here’s the growth rate Bitcoin price must hit steadily to reach $100K per BTC by July 2021 according to one crypto capital manager – as well as the one thing that could get in the way.
Bitcoin Price Growth Rate Should Take Crypto Valuation To $100K By July
Bitcoin’s growth from virtually worthless to more than $60,000 per » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin came to be reads as if it was ripped from a sci-fi film: Mysterious person takes a shot at all money, and takes no credit for the monumental effort.
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/satoshi/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>Satoshi’s creation is now more than a decade old and has grown far beyond most people’s expectations. Over the last year alone, the leading cryptocurrency by market cap has grown at a daily average rate of 0.65% since April, resulting in a nearly a ten times climb in value.
At the current pace, according to crypto capital manager Timothy Peterson, Bitcoin price would reach $100K by June 30th.
At only a daily growth rate of 0.64% the top crypto should hit $100K by July | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
The One Factor That Could Cause BTC To Fall Short Of Target
Bitcoin price must maintain comparable momentum over the last year to keep climbing at a similar rate and reach more than $100K per » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin. The number is now closer to the current price action than $10K is, and thus potentially more achievable.
Price predictions for the next cycle top reach as much as $400K, with estimates more steeped in reality ranging from $125,000 to $325,000 per BTC.
The rally could really be over if the historically accurate signal is right again | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
There’s a chance, however, the cycle top is in, according to the Pi Cycle Top Indicator. If the historically accurate tool is right yet again, the leading cryptocurrency’s daily growth rate will begin to decline from here on out until another bull market breaks out.
Bitcoin price wouldn’t make it to $100K by July, and a return to prices much lower would follow. If that’s the case, crypto investors would have to wait a while longer for the number one cryptocurrency by market cap to reach that ultimate target.
Featured image from Deposit Photos, Charts from TradingView.com
Bitcoin’s time has come: TIME magazine to hold BTC on balance sheet
Institutional fund manager Grayscale has partnered with acclaimed New York-based magazine TIME to produce an educational video series on the subject of crypto assets.
The partnership was announced on April by Grayscale’s CEO, Michael Sonnenshein, with Sonnenshein revealing that TIME and its president, Keith Grossman, will receive payment in Bitcoin.
Further, TIME does not intend to convert the Bitcoin it receives through the deal into fiat, and will hold the crypto asset on its balance sheet. No further details of the partnership have been revealed so far.
— Michael Sonnenshein (@Sonnenshein) April 12, 2021
TIME was first published on March 3, 1923, with the magazine and online publication having been active in the crypto space of late. In March, TIME cashed in on the NFT mania by dropping a set of tokenized magazine covers on NFT marketplace SuperRare, with the “TIME Space Exploration – January 19th, 1959” NFT fetching 135 ETH worth almost $250,000 on March 30.
“The media industry is undergoing a rapid evolution. TIME is seeking a Chief Financial Officer who can help guide its transformation,” the listing said.
According to Bitcointreasuries.com, TIME will become the 33rd publicly traded company to hold Bitcoin on its balance sheet. TIME joins the ranks of top U.S. companies Microstrategy — who have invested billions into BTC from August 2020, Square — who added 4,709 BTC to their treasury in October, and Tesla — which purchased $1.5 billion worth of BTC in January. Multinational investment corporation Blackrock also began dabbling in crypto during February, profiting more than $360,000 from a small long using Bitcoin futures.
This deal marks a significant partnership between giants of the mainstream and crypto worlds. Grayscale was founded in 2013 and has $46 billion worth of crypto assets under management, including roughly 3% of Bitcoin’s total circulating supply.
Moonstake integrates with Sylo to bring their staking protocol to the Sylo Smart Wallet
Moonstake, a staking pool protocol and service provider, has announced a new partnership with Sylo, a decentralized software development firm and the creators of the Sylo Network and Sylo Smart Wallet.
Through this collaboration, Moonstake will connect Sylo with their robust API/SDK solution, thereby enabling staking functionalities in the Sylo Smart Wallet and allowing Sylo users to earn passive income from their idle crypto assets.
Founded in 2010, Sylo is committed to decentralization and has created an ecosystem consisting of digital consumer wallet software, applications, infrastructure, and developer tools in order to usher in a decentralized future worth looking forward to.
A unique wallet app that combines digital asset management with decentralized communication, the Sylo Smart Wallet is a savvy decentralized e-wallet that enables users to purchase, store, track, send, and receive crypto assets, explore the world of Ethereum dApps by means of a Web3 Browser, pay with cryptocurrency in the real world, and provides secure communications by chat or audio/video call.
“We’re pleased to offer our community of global users yet another way to access the benefits of crypto. As always, our user flow has been designed with simplicity in mind, and staking via Moonstake in the Sylo Smart Wallet will make earning from digital assets simple enough for people everywhere.”
– Dorian Johannink, Co-Founder and Business Director of Sylo
Born over a year ago with the aim to create the largest staking network in Asia, since its inception Moonstake has developed highly user-friendly wallets for both Web and Mobile (iOS/Android) that are compatible with over 2000 cryptocurrencies.
After a full-scale operational launch in August 2020, Moonstake’s total staking assets have grown rapidly to reach USD 800 million in staked assets over just six months. Within a year of its founding, Moonstake became ranked in the top 10 of the world’s premier staking service providers and it continues to strongly expand its business.
“The Sylo Smart Wallet is an interesting e-wallet that combines the functionality of a flexible digital asset management tool and a secure instant messaging app. We are happy to help proper crypto projects like Sylo enable staking in their wallet so that users can have more ways to earn with crypto. With a wide selection of PoS coins and attractive yield rates from our high-quality staking pools, we are confident that users will be pleased with their staking experience on Sylo powered by Moonstake.”
– Mitsuru Tezuka, Founder of Moonstake