Moiz Kohari, State Street’s global chief technology architect, has traded his position at the custodian bank for a move into the startup world, he told CoinDesk.
Kohari helped kickstart the bank’s wide-ranging technology transformation program structured on a bedrock of distributed ledger technology (DLT) from the point he joined State Street in September 2016. Prior to that, he spent five years as head of technology innovation for London Stock Exchange Group.
While Kohari and the co-founders of his new project are officially in stealth mode, he said that at a high level, the incipient startup will focus on the data privacy space and how enterprises interact with users in this area.
Kohari told CoinDesk:
“We are looking at how best to create a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that allows enterprises to really provide compliance to [data privacy] regulations and at the same give control of that data directly to the users. It will use both DLT and traditional types of data stores such as [Amazon Web Services’] S3. We think this is an underserved area and a great opportunity.”
Data as an asset
Kohari explained that the work he did in the open source community building a DLT backbone for State Street’s custody business informs the new privacy project. The difference is that the latter treats data itself as the asset class.
“Normally we don’t think of data as an asset class,” said Kohari citing as typical examples consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII) or the way data is managed in the adtech space. “It’s about how do you represent that information in such a way you allow consumers to take direct control of that data, instead of enterprises allowing it to happen via archaic interactions in emails and written communications.”
Many of Kohari’s team members have been working as maintainers of Hyperledger Fabric for some years now and adopted the open-source blockchain tech with his team at State Street. Kohari further confirmed that work on Fabric continues within the bank.
“That journey continues in full force and I’m very excited to see where that will land and the huge implications of how that changes the custody world so you can create reconciliation-less systems,” he said.
State Street declined to comment.
Examining the Reported Fall in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investments in the Year 2019
Examining the Reported Fall in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investments in the Year 2019
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The year 2019 witnessed a sharp drop in Blockchain and cryptocurrency investments as suggested by a report. This year’s investment data fell short compared to last year’s as enthusiasm wanes on the part of investors. 2019 may have been an eventful year for bitcoin as it shot into prominence both with investors and multi corporations; however, it lacked the propensity to increase enthusiasm amongst investors to strike a deal. A recent report indicates a sharp drop in private funding including initial coin offerings (ICOs) and venture capitals in the year 2019.
Comparing the last year 2018 investments with this year 2019, only a quarter of last year’s investment has only been recorded this year 2019 on investments through ICO and venture capital.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investments
The eventuality began in December 2018 with a nose-diving crash of cryptocurrency price points, the worst ever to be recorded in the last two years. The year 2018 had started on a very good note with an impressive market cap which went down right as the year ended. Though there was a slight improvement to this, investments still went below the mark. This could be attributed to other currencies not carrying so much weight as bitcoin. So the impact was minimal. Other currencies have failed to arouse the interest of the investors like bitcoin which accounts for a whopping 70% of valuation recorded so far. Years 2017 and 2018 were historic in the record of blockchain and cryptocurrency investments as there was a push up in this regard, however, this could only be attributed to bitcoin’s impressive market cap.
The market, however, took a downturn resulting in the reduction of venture funding of upcoming crypto-based companies. Private funding reduced by close to 50% in the year 2019 as when compared to the year 2018. This may depict that interest may be waning in Blockchain and cryptocurrencies ultimately force dropping the investment as well.
There is however light at the end of the tunnel as all hopes are not lost. Two leading cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, and a South Korean exchange have raised three hundred million dollars ($300 million) all together in rounds of funding.
Chinese Blockchain Firm GXChain Raided by Police
Chinese authorities cracked down on a high-profile blockchain company that provides data services to online peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders.
The police in the eastern city of Hangzhou on Wednesday raided and sealed the office of Hangzhou Cunxin Data Technology Co., the operator of blockchain project GXChain. The police told Caixin that further information will be disclosed later.
Phone calls to the company’s founder and Chief Executive Huang Minqiang and another employee by a Caixin reporter wouldn’t go through. Chinese bitcoin tycoon Li Xiaolai, a major investor with a 7.5% stake in the company, declined to comment.
The reason for the crackdown was unknown, but some said they suspected it may be related to the company’s personal credit data business.
“I have no idea why the police took action against GXChain,” said Dovey Wan, founding partner of blockchain-based investment company Primitive Ventures, on Twitter Wednesday. “The trigger might be their data business—they sell processed personal credit data, which is a highly sensitive area now in China.”
Wan also posted a video on Twitter showing GXChain’s office gate being sealed by police and saying “all executives of the company are now with the police for interrogation,” citing a source close to Hangzhou local police.
Founded in 2016, GXChain is a blockchain company that offers data uploading, storage and exchange to enterprises in industries including internet finance.
Among the clients listed on GXChain’s website are Alibaba-backed ZhongAn Technology, online loan search platform Rong360.com and New York-listed P2P lending platform PPDAI Group.
GXChain is known for using data scraping and data crawling to obtain personal credit data from online marketplace Taobao and digital payment platform Alipay. GXChain is one of a few companies that can extract a Zhima Credit score, a private personal credit-scoring program run by Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group. Zhima Credit doesn’t share the scores with any third party, and there are some technical difficulties to extract the data, an industry participant told Caixin.
Data crawlers sometimes could cross the line because clients that buy the data are not authorized to use it, the industry participant said.
GXChain CEO Huang once told Caixin that GXChain’s vision is to return the ownership of data to users, and he expressed outrage over the misuse of personal data by the industry.
Even though GXChain is high-profile in the blockchain industry, it was not included in the first batch of 197 blockchain-based information service providers that were granted registration in March by China’s cyberspace information regulator.
Santander Issues $20 Million End-To-End Blockchain Bond on Ethereum
Major Spanish bank Banco Santander has issued what it claims is the first end-to-end blockchain bond.
In a Sept. 12 news release, the bank revealed that it had issued a $20 million bond directly onto the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, where it will remain until the end of its one-year maturity.
Faster, cheaper and simpler than legacy systems
Santander has claimed that its use of blockchain technology for end-to-end bond issuance represents a first step towards a potential secondary market for mainstream security tokens.
As the news release outlines, Santander issued the $20 million bond — which carries a quarterly coupon of 1,98 — while one of the Santander Group’s units purchased the bond at market price.
Santander Securities Services operated as tokenization agents and custodian of the cryptographic keys used for the issuance, with Santander Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) acting as a dealer.
The transaction was conducted on the public Ethereum blockchain, with Santander securely tokenizing the bond in a permissioned manner. Both the cash used to complete the investment and the quarterly tokens were tokenized, with the bank noting that the high degree of automation involved dramatically reduced the number of intermediaries required for the process.
Noting that the blockchain bond transaction was faster, more efficient and simpler than legacy systems, Santander CIB says it will now engage with its clients to move the initiative from the project stage through to development.
The blockchain bond initiative continues the work begun by Santander’s blockchain lab in 2016, with additional support from London-based fintech Nivaura — backed by Santander InnoVentures — and legal advice from global law firm Allen & Overy.
Last month, Cointelegraph reported that Santander now plans to expand its implementation of Ripple’s xCurrent payments technology to a number of Latin American countries. The bank had first introduced the technology in Spain, Brazil, Poland and the United Kingdom back in April 2018.
Also last month, the World Bank revealed it had raised an additional ~$33 million for its Kangaroo bond due August 2020 using blockchain technology.
The World Bank likewise claimed a first in stating that the initiative represented the first bond that has been created, allocated, transferred and managed through its life cycle using distributed ledger technology.