Standard Chartered Innovation Chief Bullish on Bitcoin for Financial Institutions

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Standard Chartered Innovation Chief Bullish on Bitcoin for Financial Institutions
standard-chartered

tandard Chartered Chief Innovation Officer Anju Patwardhan is the latest senior banker to praise the potential of the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin as a way to cut costs and improve transparency for financial transactions, Finextra reports.

Standard Chartered is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London. It operates a network of more than 1,700 branches and outlets (including subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures) across more than 70 countries and employs around 87,000 people.

Patwardhan has 25 years of banking experience, with Standard Chartered and Citibank, in regional and global roles in Credit Risk and Operational Risk Management. She is an IBF distinguished fellow, the highest banking accolade in Singapore, and a fellow of Singapore Management.

Finextra notes that Citi, UBS and Barclays all have recently confirmed that they are exploring the blockchain, while a BNP Paribas analyst speculated that the distributed ledger has the potential to completely upend post-trade infrastructure.

Writing on Linkedin, Patwardhan proposes that Bitcoin could be a disruptive force for good. The financial services industry is being disrupted and digitally re-imagined, and some of the disruptors, who are working to revolutionize current business models from the ground up, could become mainstream.

“Bitcoin has been viewed uneasily as an exotic alternative currency,” notes Patwardhan. “But the banking industry is starting to see the many potential benefits of its underlying technology. For banks, the blockchain has the potential to become a technology model for a low-cost and transparent transaction infrastructure.”

Patwardhan is persuaded that the technology of Bitcoin could permit drastically reducing the price of financial services to the benefit of consumers, and be adopted to make financial transactions more secure and traceable for banks and regulators.

Of course, Standard Chartered and other financial institutions must comply with regulations (anti-money laundering, know-your-customer, etc.) and make sure that their financial technology systems aren’t used to fund undesirable activities. Of course, Patwardhan mentions drug trade or terrorism, like all banks and financial service providers are doing these days, although some restrictive regulations seem rather aimed at keeping peaceful, law-abiding citizens and business under constant surveillance.

The reason why the regulatory authorities and world of mainstream finance are warming up to the emerging blockchain-based fintech is that, contrary to naïve perceptions, bitcoin transactions are not anonymous. Every transaction and the full transaction history of any bitcoin address are permanently recorded in the tamper-proof public blockchain, and therefore open to analysis and often more easily traceable than traditional transactions (let alone paper cash transactions).

Therefore, “sanitized” implementations of blockchain fintech could become useful tools for the authorities to fight crime, as well as any activity that they find undesirable. With the use of blockchain technology, says Patwardhan, transactions can be fully recorded and traced, making the ultimate destination and use of the funds clearer.

“Whether cryptocurrencies, the likes of Bitcoin, will fail or succeed remains to be seen,” concludes Patwardhan. “But if they do take off, it is not impossible to imagine a scenario where even the central banks themselves might look at issuing digital currencies. No bank can afford to ignore what it augurs for the ongoing avalanche of digital innovations to come.”

Photo Tomkasing / CC BY-SA 3.0

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Factom Team Launches Release Candidate One, Calls for Test Participation
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Having recently reached its seed-round fundraising goal of $1 million on Bnk to the Future with Factom Inc., their sister entity the Factom Foundation has now launched a Release Candidate One (RC1), a critical step for launching the Factom network.

In a blog post on the Factom site, the company is calling on developers and interested participants to join their efforts to help test and debug the beta client in advance of making it available to the broader community. Beta will be released once the release candidate passes all necessary tests and meets all the requirements set out in Factom’s Milestone 1.

According to the blog, Factoids — the Factom currency used to purchase Entry Credits — will become tradable on Cryptsy and ShapeShift initially, with the release of the beta Factom client and the launch of the Factom network. More exchanges will be added down the line. Early contributors and purchasers of Factoids will have access to them once the genesis block has been created, which is part of beta.

Anyone interested in participating in testing the beta client can email Factom for more information or to be included on the developer Skype channel.

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Images courtesy of Factom

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Barclays Launches Fintech Innovation Hub Rise New York, Other Rise Hubs to Follow
barclays

British multinational banking and financial services company Barclays launched Rise New York, a physical space and virtual global community designed to pioneer the future of financial technology. By the end of 2016, Barclays plans to open other Rise hubs in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Barclays’ existing open innovation sites in London and Manchester (previously known as Escalators) will be rebranded as Rise locations.

“It is time to redefine financial services,” said Michael Harte, Barclays’ chief operations and technology officer. “Rise is designed to help shape the future of our industry and drive growth. We’re seeking to connect the world’s most active innovators to each other, to corporates, and to resources and support networks. By accelerating the development of groundbreaking products and services, we know that we can help to keep Barclays at the cutting edge of financial services, all while helping to revolutionize the industry.”

Based in the Castro Building on 23rd Street, in the heart of Silicon Alley, Rise New York will host the first Barclays Accelerator program in New York. The Barclays Accelerator program, offered in partnership with the Techstars global network, includes mentorship and opportunities for financial technology startups to access industry experts, influencers and potential clients. The program covers all areas of fintech, from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to wealth management, investment banking, big data and cryptocurrencies.

“With Rise and the Barclays Accelerator, we are unlocking the power of open innovation,” said Derek White, Barclays’ chief design and digital officer. “By using our collective resources, we hope to accelerate the speed of innovation in financial services, and potentially unlock significant benefits for millions of people across the globe.”

In March, speaking at the Morgan Stanley European Financials Conference in London, Barclays’ CEO Antony Jenkins warned that the “banking sector has not yet felt the ‘full disruptive force’ of technology – but it will.” He elaborated on the growing concern among financial institutions that faster, cheaper payment systems will start to seduce their consumer and business customers in the coming years.

After the last Barclay Accelerator program in London, several fintech startups that participated in the program started to explore opportunities with the bank. Barclays signed a deal with Swedish Bitcoin company Safello to explore how the blockchain could be used in traditional finance.

The 11 companies that will participate in the Barclays Accelerator program in New York were selected from hundreds of applications received over the past four months from companies based in 55 countries. Among the participants, Bitcoin company Chainalysis offers a service that provides financial institutions with the means to obtain regulatory compliance through real-time analysis of the blockchain. The company provides an API for sophisticated in-depth real-time blockchain transaction analysis.

 

Chainalysis customers – including regulatory entities, law enforcement and financial service providers – have tools to trace all transactions recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain and determine the origin of the bitcoin held by any address.

Chainalysis’ snooping angers the underground, crypto-anarchist parts of the Bitcoin community, but it’s evident that mainstream financial operators like Barclays want to promote a totally different concept of regulated digital currencies and fully compliant operators.

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Overstock Wants to Clean up Food Distribution – and Wall Street
skyscrapers

Overstock.com is expanding its already popular online produce delivery service by teaming up with farmers in 35 states, Retailing Today reports. The partnership means that nearly half of Americans currently have access to this continuously expanding service.

Overstock’s newest fresh-food partner, Front Door Farms, whose products are now offered through Overstock’s Farmers Market, delivers to the customer’s door two or three days after harvest.

“We chose Front Door Farms because it works with local farmers to harvest fruits and vegetables that are fresh and nutritious,” said Overstock CEO Patrick M. Byrne. “Our goal is to deliver fresh produce the way farmers grow it, as opposed to the food-like substances delivered through this nation’s agribusiness supply chains. Products sold in Overstock’s Farmers Market are designed to inspire creativity, fun and imagination in kitchens using the best ingredients.”

That’s very good news for those consumers who prefer to bypass traditional mass-distribution channels and buy directly from food producers for a healthier and greener life. It’s also very good news for bitcoin users, because Overstock is the largest online retailer to accept bitcoin payments for all the products offered via its web store.

Those who are paid in bitcoin and wish to pay in bitcoin for most of the goods and services that they need – a small but fast-growing population – will find Overstock’s new initiative appealing. Buying food in bitcoin is also a useful strategy to escape the growing surveillance of bank transfers to and from bitcoin exchanges and “bitcoin banks,” which could become a bottleneck in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

If banks start rejecting transfers from Circle or Coinbase, consumers will have more options to use their bitcoin directly, without having to go through the banks.

In other Overstock news, the company wants to extend its promotion of fresh and clean ways to Wall Street.

“We have started building things that replace what Wall Street does,” said Byrne to TheStreet, referring to the announcement in June of the first crypto-securities to be offered on the blockchain. “It does them far cheaper, and with far more transparency, and without any of the opportunity for rigging.”

Byrne stated that he is interested in “cleaning up” Wall Street.

Overstock’s platform, known as t0.com, can augment other trading exchanges and power financial transactions. Overstock filed a registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking permission to issue public crypto-stock, and purchased a stake in stock brokerage firm Pro Securities, whose technology will power the crypto-stock exchange. Byrne said to expect further announcements about the platform this summer, and that it presents an “extraordinary opportunity” for Overstock because it has the potential to be disruptive.

In fact, the crypto-stock exchange could sidestep traditional stock exchanges such as NYSE and NASDAQ and issue corporate stock directly over the Internet.

These two stories seem only related by their origin, but there is a common thread. In both cases, Overstock wants to move beyond legacy systems with too many intermediaries, wasteful inefficiencies and potential for fraud, toward a streamlined, cheaper and more sustainable way of life.

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I/O Digital to Release World’s First Decentralized Identity SideChain For Bitcoin
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Bitcoin Press Release: I/O Digital sets to release the first ever decentralized identity sidechain using a distributed  blockchain based DNS system. This system, known as DIONS (Decentralized I/O Name Server) will utilize the I/O Digital blockchain to attach sensitive identity credentials to a specific Bitcoin (XBT) or I/O Coin (IOC) address.

The system allows for the registration of aliases, avatars, documents, making them fully transferable between users. DIONS will offer strong security by integrating a fully fledged RSA cryptosystem (using a 2048 bits long key).

DIONS will support a decentralized messaging system. The system will enable fast, easy and secure communication between users. Not only will users be able to send encrypted private messages, they will also have the option to broadcast messages to the wider world via a decentralized Twitter-esque micro-blogging service. This service could also be used as a “reddit” like service, that could revolutionize the centralized service, into the first one of a kind decentralized blogging service.

Businesses, as well as being able to make use of their own brand names, can now use unique IDs to serve as a customer, invoice, or reference numbers (e.g. HSBC:8008135). This provides a more familiar format for customers more accustomed to the naming conventions of email. It also allows businesses to benefit from vastly reduced fees and the robustness and easy auditability of a decentralized distributed database.

I/O Digital’s Blockchain also aims at servicing holders of intellectual property, rights management, certificates of authenticity and condition reports. A hash value included in an I/O transaction can serve as Proof of Existence for any digital file, be it a legal document, an application’s source code, artwork or a piece of music. The timestamp of the block that the hash value is included in, becomes a timestamp of the file itself, creating immutable proof that it existed in that form at that particular moment in time.

I/O Digital is also departing from the normal Bitcoin QT wallet. The team has developed the first full HTML5 cryptocurrency wallet in the world, that doesn’t use the classic Bitcoin-QT wallet. Allowing for a more user friendly front end and a more versatile wallet system.

How will I/O Digital deal with data bloat?

To alleviate data bloat and to enable bitcoin users the ability to use DIONS, I/O Digital introduced a Project Codename “I/O Chameleon”. Developed over a twelve-month period, I/O Chameleon is a framework which will allow for the creation of any number of unique and interoperable I/O Digital sidechains. These auxiliary blockchains will each have unique properties suited to the particular set of services and applications that they will support. This network of blockchains, or “superchain”, will afford unparalleled flexibility to I/O users, allowing any of a number of configurations and features to be seamlessly adopted depending on the use case.

The framework itself will collate data from the various chains and allow the application of generic control policies via an extensive high level API. For end users this means access to the full range of I/O Digital functions, applications and services from a single interface – a web front end from which to easily manage an array of advanced decentralized applications.

Though the blockchains comprising the Chameleon network will initially be limited to I/O Sidechains, they will incorporate a 2-way Peg to the Bitcoin Blockchain, that will allow Bitcoin users the ability to use the DIONS system. In the near future, it will be technically possible to include other projects, should another project develop an especially secure, useful feature or application, the development team with consensus from the community, may choose to integrate it into Chameleon so that I/O Coin and Bitcoin users may also benefit from it.

I/O Coin was founded in July 2014 by Joel Bosch, the CEO of an Apple IT Services company, with over 10 years experience in Management IT Services. with an idea and vision to create a legitimate cryptocurrency focusing on user friendly applications. As the blockchain project progressed, I/O Digital was branded as the umbrella for various applications and their focus is to provide advanced blockchain services to individuals and companies interested in the economic and security benefits offered. I/O Digital’s core development team is fully transparent. The team is led by Joel Bosh, Lead Developer Derek Hatton, POS Security & Systems Management Sam Gabsi, HTML5 Wallet Developer Pat Smuk and Community  & Investor Relations Richard Groen.

I/O Digital is not just a cryptocurrency, but an entire blockchain based decentralized application development project, built out on I/O Coin’s blockchain. Anyone is welcome to use the I/O Digital blockchain for their own services, and interested parties can contact Richard Groen, the I/O Digital community and investor relations manager at richard@iodigital.io

To learn more about I/O Digital please go to: http://www.iodigital.io/

To trade I/O Coin (IOC) with Bitcoin please go to:
https://bittrex.com/Market/Index?MarketName=BTC-IOC

Visit I/O Coin on bitcointalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=695855.0

View the I/O Coin roadmap infographic at: http://iocoin.io/upload/ioc_infographic_final_release.jpg

Media contact:

Name: Richard Groen

Email: richard@iodigital.io

Phone: +31(0)853 011 010

 

This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an endorsement by Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Media, LLC. Bitcoin Magazine does not certify the accuracy of the above information provided by I/O Digital.

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