Blockchain research & industry insights

Take an in-depth look at blockchain technology's latest developments, projects and products.

The Agreements Network: Turning Legal Services into Legal Products

Will automated transactions increase efficiency and allow the legal industry to finally keep up with market demand? Can transactional lawyers turn their services into products? The Agreement’s Network has created a marketplace platform that invites lawyers to create and market legal products in an attempt to disrupt the $600 billion transactional law industry.

Is Data on Blockchains GDPR Compliant?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented on May 25, 2018. The regulation establishes one set of data protection rules for all companies operating in the EU, attempting to give people more control over their personal data.

GDPR was first proposed in 2012 and adopted in April of 2016, occurring at a time when the development of blockchains all over the world was gaining initial traction - creating both potential legal barriers for the implementation of blockchains and opportunities for blockchain projects to help companies navigate through the GDPR regulations.

Improving ADR with Blockchains

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings are a popular means of resolving conflicts between parties outside of the traditional justice system. Traditional litigation, which is time-consuming and complex, very often is not a practical solution for disputes. ADR proceedings such as mediation and arbitration, offer less procedural overhead, may provide faster resolution to the dispute, and have a higher degree of confidentiality than litigation. They also allow the parties to choose arbitrators that are specialized and better suited to deal with the issues at hand. Moreover, the decision-making process encourages open participation (under the guidance of the arbitrators) by all the parties to achieve a more equitable result. Thus, both arbitration and mediation are widely employed to resolve disputes and negotiate matters.

Stellar Receives Certificate of Sharia Law Compliance

The Shariyah Review Bureau, a leading international Sharia advisory agency licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, has granted the Stellar protocol a certificate of compliance with Sharia (Islamic) banking laws.  The Stellar protocol and its native token XLM emerged as a non-profit alternative to Ripple and its associated XRP token in early 2014.

Ex-Goldman Sachs Software Engineer Wants to Send $300 Million in Bitcoin to Venezuela

Jonathan Wheeler, a former software engineer at Goldman Sachs, quit his job at the prominent investment bank to focus on a humanitarian economic effort—using Bitcoin to help Venezuela fight hyperinflation.

BlackRock and Northern Trust Express Interest in Blockchain

BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world with $6.3 trillion in AUM, is reportedly evaluating the crypto-space, according to CEO Larry Fink, who told Reuters that the firm has assembled a working group focused on blockchain technology and digital assets such as Bitcoin.

Changing the Legal Paradigm: Should Attorneys Learn to Code?

 

Implementing Blockchain in the Public Sector

Governments’ interest in blockchain stems from the technology’s ability to improve security, transparency, efficiency, and speed in government services and processes. Generally, government agencies use inefficient, centralized systems that do not provide transparency. Even though many governments value agency interoperability, system infrastructure is often siloed and isolated from the others, making it time-consuming and expensive to share information and transact assets between the different parts of the government network. The current inefficiencies in government systems make government services and operations prone to error, cyber attacks, information manipulation, and corruption. Governments across the world are realizing that blockchain technology can be a practical solution to many of these problems.

Decentralized Exchanges

The primary innovation of cryptocurrency is the existence of a form of digital money that exists independent of any centralized operator.  Despite the fact that this decentralization is the main selling-point of these assets and the underlying technology, many still choose to store their digital assets on centralized exchange platforms and wallet providers such as Coinbase.

Litecoin Foundation Acquires Stake in WEB Bank

Litecoin creator and Managing Director of the Litecoin Foundation Charlie Lee announced on Twitter Tuesday that the Litecoin Foundation has acquired a 9.9% stake in the German financial institution WEG Bank AG.  The equity was received from TokenPay, a strategic partner of the Litecoin Foundation, who transferred their shares in exchange for technical assistance with various blockchain projects from the Litecoin Foundation.

The OECD Takes on Role to Help Develop Blockchain Policy

As the implementation of blockchain technology increases, so does the list of international organizations getting involved in its development. Some organization on the list include the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSC), which recently published a wide-ranging research paper that includes findings on blockchain tech; the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which partnered with Blockchain, the world’s leading software platform for digital assets, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to explore the use of blockchain technology for development; and the World Bank, which launched a blockchain lab as part of a bid to pilot projects that can improve governance and social outcomes in the developing world. Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) added itself to the list by launching a number of projects that focus the collaborative efforts of its thirty-six member states on blockchain research, development, and implementation.

The Courts of the Future: Closing the Gap Between Innovation and the Law

The past few years have witnessed the emergence of disruptive technologies, such as blockchain, that promise to revolutionize the way business is conducted across many industries. As these technologies continue to evolve and seep into our daily lives, people, companies, and societies quickly adapt and assimilate to them. The law, however, does not.

Payments Giant MasterCard Applies for Public Blockchain Patent

Payment solutions giant MasterCard has filed a patent application for a public blockchain to verify credit card transactions. The patent was entitled “Method and System for Instantaneous Payment Using Recorded Guarantees.”

Digital Asset Custody:  A Hurdle to Wall Street and Main Street Investors

Cryptocurrencies were designed to be a secure storage of value, one that gave the holder sole autonomy over their funds. This lead to speculation that cryptocurrencies might topple the financial system and return sovereignty over money to the people by eliminating the need for a trusted third party such as a bank in the exchange and storage of value.

Goldman Sachs to open a Bitcoin Derivatives Trading Operation

The finance giant Goldman Sachs has announced that the investment bank will begin using its own funds to trade a variety of derivatives contracts tied to the price of Bitcoin with the bank’s large institutional clients. Goldman Sachs has historically maintained a more open mind to cryptocurrency than most of its competitors. Back in January, the investment bank issued a nine-page report to some of its clients entitled “Bitcoin is Money.”

Reaching Consensus: How Decentralized Networks Make Decisions

Consensus algorithms are the means by which individual nodes in a distributed system come to an agreement regarding which data to validate as accurate and which to disregard.  In the case of cryptocurrency, this takes the form of deciding which transactions to honor and which to decline. These algorithms make it very difficult and expensive for someone to attempt to attack the system.

KYC, AML, and the SEC: Exchange and ICO Regulations

As more and more money flows in and out of cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges, these institutions are finding themselves subject to the laws and regulations imposed on the broader financial services industry.  Some find that this is burdensome, and detracts from the libertarian, anti-bank ethos of cryptocurrency. The crypto-to-crypto exchange Shapeshift, for instance, refuses to serve customers in the state of New York, due to New York’s controversial BitLicense.

Blockchain-Based Online Voting

Could Distributed Ledger Technology Aid Corporate and State Governance?

Meet the Speakers - Blockchain & Law: Morning Symposium

 

The Agency Problem: Aligning Incentives between Corporations and Capital Providers

 

The New Financial Paradigm:

Understanding Blockchains' Impact across the financial system - Report 2

 

This report addresses the challenge of overcoming incentive problems between those within a firm and those outside it. Corporate managers have greater information about the value of a firm than outside creditors and investors do. Unchecked, this information asymmetry can result in incentive mismatches between corporate managers, external creditors, and external investors, reducing firm value by causing:

The New Financial Paradigm: Understanding blockchains' impact across the financial system

 

“Blockchain will become the ‘beating heart’ of the global financial system.”1

- World Economic Forum


Rarely does a single technology impact the entire financial system. Now, blockchain is poised to do just that. How will financial practice change as a result? What do financial professionals need to know in order to benefit from a technology that MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito predicts “will do to the financial system what the internet did to media.”2

Best 5 Podcasts for Understanding Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain in 2018

With Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices in the news more and more these days a lot of people are asking, "What is this stuff and how does it work?" Lucky for you there are a slew of podcasters out there doing their best to inform people but with new podcasts popping up each day how do you know the right ones to listen to? To make it easy for you we've listened to almost every podcast on crypto and blockchain available to bring you our top 5 picks so you can start listening and learning today!

 


Looking back at Blockchain in 2017, and What’s Ahead for 2018

It’s hard to predict or understand how a new technology will be used, even when we’re given a lot of clues. It’s especially difficult to envision how a versatile technology, like the blockchain, will drive new products and services compared to a specific one, like a 3D printer. We take a look at how blockchain and cryptocurrency evolved this year in unexpected ways, and make our predictions for 2018, knowing full well the odds are against us.

Top 10 — Differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum

 

VCs Are Chasing the ICO Gold Rush

 

How to Participate in an ICO in 3 Easy Steps

 

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