Blockchain technology is all the rave right now, with startups looking to decentralize everything from money to voting rights to exclusive clubs. So, it shouldn’t come as a massive surprise to learn that some tech research firms are expecting blockchain revenues across the world to hit around $10 billion by 2023.
This news comes to us via ABI Research, who put together the study. What’s most interesting about the increase in blockchain development is that this is despite the drop off of initial coin offerings (ICOs) as of last year. It seems that institutional investors are still interested in the technology spawned by Bitcoin despite public funding rounds not being as prevalent.
“VC funding is catching up to ICOs, with 620 rounds totaling US$3.1 billion in 2018, up from 153 rounds at US$850 million in 2017,” reads the post. Then, Michela Menting, a Blockchain & Digital Security Research Director at the company, states:
“Tighter regulation (including securities) and taxation (as foreign currency, income, financial asset, etc.) on cryptocurrencies in a number of countries are prompting investors to look beyond ICOs towards more stable VC-based investment for blockchain startups focusing on support infrastructure, retail, supply chain, and enterprise applications.”
In addition, the company expects “middleware,” or blockchain software that isn’t financial or insurance-based, to take a step up as well, considering they haven’t been performing incredibly well due to a lack of revenue. “While the crypto-winter has dampened spirits somewhat despite successful completion of many pilots, the dip in enthusiasm is temporary and will serve to filter out the superficial and fraudulent offers from the market,” says Menting.
Ford Test Driving Blockchain for Energy-Efficient Vehicles
Ford is giving a little more road to a blockchain pilot program aimed at improving fuel efficiency.
On Tuesday, the auto-giant said it will use blockchain to monitor and automatically implement fuel efficient driving modes for a fleet of vehicles in Cologne, Germany. This is part of a wider pilot program also happening in London and Valencia, Spain.
In collaboration with the City of Cologne, Ford outfitted 10 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with cellular modems that enable geofencing. As the vehicles enter low-emission zones, they will automatically switch to electric-drive.
The metadata, such as when the vehicle enters or exits a zone as well as the miles driven, will be recorded to a blockchain.
The pilot addresses the issues municipal authorities face in administering and implementing low-emissions zones by transmitting data to officials in real-time.
“Security, trust and transparency of emissions data are of paramount importance to all stakeholders in this project, and are key for our vision of cleaner air in the city,” said Gunnar Herrmann, chairman of the management board, Ford-Werke GmbH.
The pilot is part of SmartCity Cologne, a collaborative program to promote climate protection and energy transition.
On Monday, CoinDesk reported that 5 major automakers including BMW, Honda and Ford are working with the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) to implement automatic payments for tolls, parking meters and similar vehicular payments.
Italian Banking Association Uses Blockchain to Test Data Reconciliation Successfully
The banks from the Italian Banking Association (ABI) have processed a reconciliation of data from an entire activity of the year using the blockchain technology. According to the group’s press release, the tests were successful and proved that the technology could be very useful to local banks.
During this first test, the group processed around 200 million data entries using the blockchain system, which is called Spunta Project. The success is proof that the platform can be used to verify the data quickly.
At the moment, the project has eighteen Italian banks participating and 35 nodes that process the transactions and operations. This means that 78% of the banks present in the country are a part of this project.
According to the reports, the system will be officially implemented on March 1, 2020. Most of the necessary tests were already made, so the technology is ready to be more widely used by the banks which are a part of the national association.
The Spunta Project is officially led by ABI Lab, a research team created by the ABI. It also has the participation of NTT Data, Sia network and the R3 network with its Corda technology.
This is far from the only case in which banks are using the blockchain to achieve better results when processing data. In fact, blockchain technology is impacting the banking sector more than almost any other sector and specialists believe that it will be responsible for huge changes in the upcoming years.
Swedish central bank now looking into plausibility of issuing ‘e-krona’ CBDC
According to the Head of the Swedish central bank, Facebook‘s Libra project has given incentive to central banks across the world to review and investigate the development of new financial technologies. Stefan Ingves, Governor of Sveriges Riksbank, told CNBC,
“It has been an incredibly important catalytic event to sort of shake the tree when Libra showed up out of the blue, and that forced us to think hard about what we do. Part of my job is to produce a good/service called the Swedish krona which is convenient to use for Swedish citizens, and if I’m good at that in a technical sense then I don’t have a problem. But if I were to start issuing 20-kilo copper coins the way we did in 1668, then we soon would be out of business.”
As the use of cash continues to fall in Sweden, the Swedish central bank has been looking into the possibility of issuing its own digital currency. Several local business in the country no longer accept physical currency, with some even putting up signs to warn customers before they enter the store. As of now, Sveriges Riksbank is looking to investigate the plausibility of an ‘e-krona’ digital currency, which it says could be introduced if it decides to do so. However, it isn’t the only central bank looking into this.
China has already announced that it is close to launching its own digital currency while just last week, the Swiss National Bank declared that it was looking into the use of digital currencies in trading.
With Libra having lost backing from more than a few companies recently, Ingves warned that Facebook would be faced with challenges as it moves forward with the project. He said,
“In this day and age we have to twist things in our heads and do things based on the assumption that nothing is on paper, and then when we talk about money everything is going to be digital in one form or the other. But the old issues — private sector money or public sector money — they are basically identical, and if history gives us any guidance at all then almost all private sector initiatives have collapsed sooner or later.”
Just yesterday, The Libra Association announced the appointment of members to the Board of Directors, with the Board including David Marcus, former PayPal executive and Head of Facebook’s blockchain strategy. Currently, the group has 21 members, 7 fewer than its original 28 after Mastercard, PayPal, Visa and four more members backed out.