Blockchain research & industry insights

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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