$1 Million: IBM Crypto Chief Sets Massive Bitcoin Price Target

IBM VP of Blockchain and Digital Currencies Jesse Lund is bullish on Bitcoin – so bullish, in fact, that he set a long-term $1 million price target.

Bitcoin Price Has Million-Dollar Potential

Lund revealed his long-term Bitcoin price target at the recent Think Conference, in an interview with Fred Schebesta.

The IBM executive pointed out that the higher the price of a crypto asset, the more utility it has. Therefore, he thinks people should focus less on the moving prices of crypto assets and more on their utility.

“If the price of Bitcoin were higher, there would be more liquidity on the network, we could be having a really different discussion with banks right now,” he says.

He adds that speculators are hurting the value of cryptocurrencies “because they’re thinking about it wrong.”

Lund sees the Bitcoin price rallying by more than $1,000 before the end of 2019.

Later in the interview, Lund made an astonishing remark as to the future of cryptocurrencies. By New Year’s Eve, he predicts the price of Bitcoin will be $5,000. However, his long-term outlook is much different.

“I have a long-term outlook. […] It goes back to that discussion about the utility of the network with a higher price. I see Bitcoin at a million dollars someday. I like that number because if Bitcoin’s at a million dollars, then the satoshi is on value parity with the US penny. And that means there’s over $20 trillion of liquidity in this network. Think about $20 trillion in liquidity and how that changes things like corporate payments.”

Lund’s view is that when the Bitcoin price gets high enough, serious banks take more interest. When this happens, the utility of the token increases at its core value proposition – less-expensive transfers of value. Both IBM and R3 Corda are working hard on creating solutions for cross-border payment solutions using multiple digital assets.

It’s not every day that someone from the old world of technology predicts such a high price for Bitcoin. The $5,000 figure may even be debatable from here, as speculators make anything possible.

Lund: Stellar is a ‘Viable Settlement Instrument’

stellar
IBM exec. Jesse Lund praised Stellar’s utility for settlement. | Source: Shutterstock

IBM recently launched its World Wire product, which in part relies on major cryptocurrency Stellar. Lund explained that Stellar is useful for cross-border payments, despite its smaller market cap.

“There’s no technical reason or technical barriers that should prevent money from flowing the same way [as information]. […] The architecture of World Wire is really a cross-border payment network, the magic of which, if you will, the novelty of it, is the ability to send payment instructions saying, ‘Hey, I’m sending you something, get ready.’ And on the other end, the receiver is making sure that who you’re sending it to is not some nefarious actor or bad actor.”

“Once that happens, and that happens really fast, then we send the value along with it. That transfer of value is made possible by digital instruments, settlement instruments, of which Lumens is one. So we see Lumens as a viable settlement instrument in this ecosystem of cross-border payments.”

Lund believes that a variety of assets should be available when making cross-border settlements. Most blockchain protocols outside of smart contract platforms don’t allow for the transfer of multiple assets. In essence, IBM’s World Wire is an alternative to R3’s Corda settlement layer, which in part uses Ripple.

Featured Image from Shutterstock. Price Charts from TradingView.


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Author: P.H. Madore
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

IBM Unveils World’s First Integrated Quantum Computing System for Commercial Use

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), IBM unveiled IBM Q System One, the world’s first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use.

IBM also announced plans to open its first IBM Q Quantum Computation Center for commercial clients in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2019.

IBM Q System One enables universal approximate superconducting quantum computers to operate outside the research lab for the first time. It’s a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing, which could one day enable breakthroughs in such areas as materials and drug discovery, financial services, and artificial intelligence.

Designed by IBM scientists, systems engineers and industrial designers, IBM Q System One has a modular and compact design optimized for stability, reliability and continuous commercial use. For the first time ever, IBM Q System One enables universal approximate superconducting quantum computers to operate beyond the confines of the research lab.

Much as classical computers combine multiple components into an integrated architecture optimized to work together, IBM is applying the same approach to quantum computing with the first integrated universal quantum computing system. IBM Q System One is comprised of a number of custom components that work together to serve as the most advanced cloud-based quantum computing program available, including:

  • Quantum hardware designed to be stable and auto-calibrated to give repeatable and predictable high-quality qubits;
  • Cryogenic engineering that delivers a continuous cold and isolated quantum environment;
  • High precision electronics in compact form factors to tightly control large numbers of qubits;
  • Quantum firmware to manage the system health and enable system upgrades without downtime for users; and
  • Classical computation to provide secure cloud access and hybrid execution of quantum algorithms.

The IBM Q Quantum Computation Center opening later this year in Poughkeepsie, New York, will expand the IBM Q Network commercial quantum computing program, which already includes systems at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, New York.

This new center will house some of the world’s most advanced cloud-based quantum computing systems, which will be accessible to members of the IBM Q Network, a worldwide community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions, and national research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.

IBM assembled a team of industrial designers, architects, and manufacturers to work alongside IBM Research scientists and systems engineers to design IBM Q System One, including UK industrial and interior design studios Map Project Office and Universal Design Studio, and Goppion, a Milan-based manufacturer of high-end museum display cases that protect some of the world’s most precious art including the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.

Together these collaborators designed the first quantum system to consolidate thousands of components into a glass-enclosed, air-tight environment built specifically for business use, a milestone in the evolution of commercial quantum computers.

This integrated system aims to address one of the most challenging aspects of quantum computing: continuously maintaining the quality of qubits used to perform quantum computations. Powerful yet delicate, qubits quickly lose their special quantum properties, typically within 100 microseconds (for state-of-the-art superconducting qubits), due in part to the interconnected machinery’s ambient noise of vibrations, temperature fluctuations, and electromagnetic waves. Protection from this interference is one of many reasons why quantum computers and their components require careful engineering and isolation.

The design of IBM Q System One includes a nine-foot-tall, nine-foot-wide case of half-inch thick borosilicate glass forming a sealed, airtight enclosure that opens effortlessly using “roto-translation,” a motor-driven rotation around two displaced axes engineered to simplify the system’s maintenance and upgrade process while minimizing downtime – another innovative trait that makes the IBM Q System One suited to reliable commercial use.

A series of independent aluminum and steel frames unify, but also decouple the system’s cryostat, control electronics, and exterior casing, helping to avoid potential vibration interference that leads to “phase jitter” and qubit decoherence.

A replica of IBM Q System One will be on display at CES.


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Author: CDR Info
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A new type of quantum computer has smashed every record

Quantum computing is progressing in leaps and bounds

Why it matters: As the quantum future looms closer, hundreds if not thousands of companies and research groups race towards constructing the first quantum computer that can outperform traditional supercomputers. However, the competition is not just between organizations, it’s also between competing methods of quantum computing.
IonQ was founded on a gamble that ‘trapped ion quantum’ computing could outperform the silicon-based quantum computers that Google and others are building. As of right now, it does. IonQ has constructed a quantum computer that can perform calculations on a 79-qubit array, beating the previous king Google’s efforts by 7 qubits.

Their error rates are also the best in the business, with their single-qubit error rate at 99.97% while the nearest competitors are around the 99.5 mark, and a two-qubit error rate of 99.3% when most competitors are beneath 95%. But how does it compare to regular computers?

According to IonQ, in the kinds of workloads that quantum computers are being built for, it’s already overtaking them. The Bernstein-Vazirani Algorithm, a benchmark IonQ is hoping will take off, tests a computer’s ability to determine a single encoded number (called an oracle) when the computer can only ask a single yes/no question.

When the algorithm is run for every number between 1 and 1023, a conventional computer gets a 0.2% success rate. IonQ’s quantum computer gets a 79% success rate.

“After two years of work, our against-the-grain bet is paying off,” IonQ’s CEO, Christopher Monroe, believes trapped ion quantum computing is the best bet. “The IonQ System is robust and industrial strength. Even at this early stage, the results show the ion trap design has all the advantages we expected and more.”

All quantum computers “isolate and manipulate quantum systems to create quantum versions of computer bits, called qubits” reads IonQ’s website. Quantum computers replace the traditional 0 or 1 logic gates processors rely on and replace them with 0 and 1 quantum gates, which are simultaneously 0 and 1 during calculations but output 0 or 1. This funky math has the potential to reinvent computing in fields like chemistry, medicine, energy, logistics and future fields like AI.

The specific ‘trapped ion technology’ the IonQ’s quantum computer relies on replaces the supercooled silicon that Google, IBM and Rigetti use with ytterbium, a silvery rare earth metal. The ionized ytterbium is suspended in an oscillating electromagnetic field, where it’s manipulated by engineers who program the lasers that input, store and retrieve information.

While ‘trapped ion’ quantum computing still has some hurdles to overcome, namely slow operation times and massive sizes, the accuracy and scalability of the technology means that IonQ will be letting companies use its computer sometime next year. It’s also got a peer-reviewed journal article on the developments that will be published in the coming months.

Quantum supremacy, the moment that the best quantum computer is better than the best traditional computer, is approaching rapidly. While even IonQ will admit that they don’t know what the “killer app of quantum computers” is yet, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be too long before we’re all taking it for granted.


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Author: Isaiah Mayersen
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IBM Helps Kenyan Agriculture Flourish On Twiga Blockchain

Blockchain tech helps farmers and vendors access financing.

It’s eight in the morning in Kinangop, a small rural town 55 miles north of Nairobi. For Joseph Kimani, a small-scale farmer, today is a big day. Kimani has been a farmer for two decades, but finding a market for his products has been a constant thorn in his side. There have been plenty of middle men to facilitate selling farm products, but they are all out to exploit the farmers.

Today, Kimani is having his vegetables picked by Twiga Foods, an agricultural marketplace that is changing many farmers’ lives. The startup buys food from farmers and then distributes it to thousands of vendors across the country.

The convenience alone is a godsend to farmers, but there’s more. Twiga buys at a higher price than local middle men and pays instantly via M-Pesa, the globally renowned mobile payment network. It also makes it possible for its clients to secure loans for their businesses, using blockchain technology.

The Informal Sector Continues To Be Marginalized
For most people, blockchain is the technology that powers Bitcoin. Beyond that, they don’t know much. However, in Kenya, blockchain is doing much more. It has given the thousands of farmers an immutable and real-time measure of their creditworthiness.

Twiga employs blockchain technology to keep track of the transactions carried out by its clients. Using its data, the clients can also assess their ability to access loans and other financial products. While in most developed countries such data is easy to acquire, the narrative is quite different in Kenya, and Africa as a whole.

Agriculture in Kenya accounts for over 50 percent of the GDP and provides the livelihood for 80 percent of the population. However, those involved in this sector continue to be marginalized by financial institutions, which deem them un-creditworthy. With most of the trading being done informally, data is difficult to collect.

Blockchain Changing Lives
Twiga is not only changing the lives of farmers but the vendors as well. The 5000+ vendors who use the platform get to request the products they require, which are then delivered at a day’s notice. Before, they had to go to the market, where the quality isn’t assured and where they had to haggle over the prices. After making the purchase, they then had to transport the products to their stalls. This consumed both time and resources.

The vendors also get the benefit of having their data collected and stored on the immutable distributed ledger. For vendors, the data is even more crucial than for the farmers as they require constant financing to grow their businesses.

According to the World Bank, the lack of an established credit bureau is one of the biggest challenges facing small enterprises. These enterprises face a $330 billion lending gap, with Kenya –East Africa’s largest economy- accounting for $7 billion.

The IBM Partnership
Twiga -which is Swahili for giraffe- was founded in 2014 and has grown by leaps and bounds since. It was last year’s partnership with IBM, however, that has transformed it into a multi-million dollar company and one of Africa’s most promising startups.

IBM used its expertise in distributed ledger technology, machine learning and data processing to develop Twiga’s blockchain platform. Now, the users can get the loan application process done entirely on the blockchain, making it easier, faster and more transparent.

Isaac Markus, a researcher with IBM, explained:

We analyzed purchase records from a mobile device and then apply machine learning algorithms to predict credit worthiness, in turn giving lenders the confidence they need to provide microloans to small businesses. Once the credit score is determined, we used a blockchain, based on the Hyperledger Fabric, to manage the entire lending process from application to receiving offers to accepting the terms to repayment.

Providing Real Solutions
Blockchain technology has been hailed as revolutionary, and rightly so. In the future, even the internet could be decentralized. However, it’s the solutions that are available right now that matter.

For the 15,000 farmers and vendors, blockchain is not just a hype word that people are using to attract funding. It’s a real solution to a real problem that has plagued them for decades.

 


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Author: Steve Kaaru
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IBM Identifies Blockchain Pioneers within Automotive Industry

Computing giant IBM has published a report that details the extent of the impact that blockchain can have in the automotive industry with favorable findings. The report identifies “Auto Pioneers” who are aggressively pursuing blockchain with significant investments into researching the technology.

Results

Titled Daring to be first: How auto pioneers are taking the plunge into blockchain, the study is the result of a survey in which 1,314 automotive executives took part, namely original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers. The survey had a global reach with respondents coming from ten countries including the United States, China, Germany, and India.

To begin with, the study found that a majority of both OEMs (61%) and suppliers (62%) believed that within the next three years, blockchain would be a disruptive force. Additionally, the study found that 56% of OEMs and 52% of suppliers believe that investments made into blockchain by their respective companies will be “highly influenced by the opportunity to develop new business models”. According to the study, newer models such as on-demand ridesharing could benefit from blockchain solutions that are geared toward fleet management services. For OEMs, there is a strong opportunity for blockchain in this area to manage payment transactions, enhance participant authentication and so on.

The nascent nature of the blockchain industry rolls in tandem with the very early stages of implementation on a commercial scale. As a result, very few executives felt that their organization was prepared for the tech. Only 10% of suppliers felt they were prepared, compared to OEMs (32%) who appear to be more confident in this context. The IBM study offers some context for this by adding that among executives, there is a general lack of understanding of their companies’ blockchain strategies, 39% of OEMs and 51% of suppliers were only “slightly aware” of such strategies.

Obstacles

Furthermore, skill shortages were cited as a concern among the survey’s respondents; a decent proportion of both OEMs (37%) and suppliers (42%) found this to be the case. In the instance of perceived barriers, “regulatory constraints” also appeared to be an issue – OEMs (42%), suppliers (33%).

When it comes to taking action, OEMs are ahead of suppliers; the report notes that most of the “action is still in the experimentation phase”, and it also found that only 12% of OEMs and 28% of supplier executives could confirm that their companies aren’t even considering blockchain at present.

Among the numerous data-points to take away from the IBM study, there is a particular strand of survey respondents that proved to be far more proactive in their pursuit of the tech.

Eager

Dubbed as “Auto Pioneers”, these respondents are positioned in this category due to the meeting two criteria points they meet. One, they “report familiarity” with their organization’s blockchain strategy, and secondly, these participants have reported that their companies are in one of three stages: experimenting, piloting or implementing. For clarity, it should be noted that Auto Pioneers make up only 15% of the total surveyed.

These Auto Pioneers are moving rapidly into the space, with 95% of them to be “investing aggressively” into blockchain, compared to 56% of other OEMs and 26% of other suppliers. Additionally, Auto Pioneers are set to lead the way across the board when it comes down to new business models that will influence blockchain investments.

Other takeaways include:

  • 54% of executives expect new business models to influence investments in blockchain.
  • At least 50% of the OEM executives in each country believe that blockchain solutions will have a high impact on fleet management services.
  • 55% of OEMs and 47% of suppliers say implementing blockchain will improve imperfect information in their business networks.

According to a press release, Ben Stanley, Automotive Research for IBM’s Institute of Business Value said: “We are in the very early stages for blockchain in auto, but there lies huge potential… In 2019 we expect to see blockchain start to really take off, particularly with secure data sharing, car and rideshare transactions and in-vehicle marketplaces.”


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Author: Eddie Mitchell
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ADNOC Uses IBM Blockchain in the Oil and Gas Production Value Chain

The new application designed for the oil and gas production value chain brings the IBM Blockchain to Abu Dhabi’s national oil company.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is embracing the possibilities of blockchain. The company recently announced a successful partnership with IBM.

The two have piloted an IBM blockchain based automated system that integrates the oil and gas production activities across the entire value chain. The platform can be used for tracking, validating and executing transactions at every stage, going right from the production site to the consumer.

Making the Oil and Gas Industry More Efficient

The latest implementation of blockchain technology by ADNOC will help in reducing the time taken to execute transactions between the operating companies of ADNOC. It will be helpful in improving the operational efficiencies of the company across its value chain. It will also be helpful in improving the reliability of production data by helping to make transactions more transparent.

The project was announced during World Energy Capital Assembly in London by Abdul Nasser Al Mughairbi, digital unit manager at ADNOC. The company also focused on its ambitions and early successes in embedding Blockchain and upcoming technologies like AI to its business to help unlock new value in their business, improve operational efficiency and drive profitability.

Believing in Blockchain
Al Mughairbi commented on the adoption of blockchain at ADNOC, saying:

“We believe this could be the first application of Blockchain in oil and gas production accounting anywhere in the world. It demonstrates how ADNOC is leveraging innovative partnerships to unleash the power of technology and creative thinking to enhance efficiencies and deliver greater performance.”

He called blockchain a “game changer” and suggested that the use of the technology will help in noticeably reduced operating costs as it eliminates time and labor consuming processes and helps in the generation of long-term sustainable value. The goals align with the 2030 smart growth strategy adopted by the company.

VP of Chemicals and Petroleum Solutions at IBM Zahid Habib said that the pilot would help ADNOC take a huge step forward in asset provenance, allowing it to track every molecule of oil, right from the oil well to the consumer. It will digitally reinvent the hydrocarbon value chain of the company.


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Author: Viraj Shah
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Microsoft Knocks out IBM for Enterprise Blockchain Crown: Report

Microsoft’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (Baas) platform has taken the top spot in a ranking compiled by market foresight advisory firm ABI Research.

Per the report , Microsoft managed to beat competitors in the ranking owing to the advantage it has on the actual implementation front where a wide range of platform services are offered.

It also helped that Microsoft’s BaaS platform is deeply integrated with its Azure cloud service, which commands the second-largest market share in the public cloud services market globally.

Big Blue

IBM came second after Microsoft, and the two firms were leagues ahead of other vendors such as Oracle, Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Cisco, SAP, HPE, Huawei, and Tencent. ABI Research assessed the tech companies based on a wide range of innovation metrics.

“Each vendor was analyzed on innovation metrics such as market penetration, proof of concepts and pilots, and ecosystem support, and implementation metrics such as platform diversity, primary features, developer resources, and integration with their own solutions,” wrote ABI Research in a press release.

Part of the reason for Microsoft’s and IBM’s dominance is the fact that they have been in the blockchain space for longer than most of the other vendors, such as Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and enterprise software behemoth Oracle.

Huawei launched its BaaS platform last month, while Oracle unveiled its blockchain platform in May.

$7 Billion Market

IBM blockchain

This comes at a time when the BaaS market is expected to balloon to US$7 billion in the future, according to a research analyst at Bank of America, Kash Rangan. As CCN reported in October, Rangan projected that the multi-billion dollar opportunities presented by the expansion would be reaped by marrying blockchain with the current cloud computing infrastructure and enhancing some parts of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms.

At the time, Rangan gave the example of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure as a service that stood to benefit by integrating BaaS. Other vendors that Rangan highlighted included Amazon, which he noted was positioned to gain from blockchain technology both as a vendor of cloud services and as an online retailer.

“Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from Blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient,” CCN reported Rangan as having written in a client note.

Rangan’s forecast of how much the BaaS market will be worth in the future assumed that 2 percent of servers would be allocated to running blockchain at an annual cost per server of US$5,500.

Some of the tech firms that Rangan listed as likely to be major beneficiaries of the expansion of the BaaS market but were not analyzed by ABI Research when compiling the BaaS platform rankings included VMware and Salesforce.

Images from Shutterstock


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Author: Mark Emem
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Microsoft Knocks out IBM for Enterprise Blockchain Crown: Report

Microsoft’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (Baas) platform has taken the top spot in a ranking compiled by market foresight advisory firm ABI Research.

Per the report , Microsoft managed to beat competitors in the ranking owing to the advantage it has on the actual implementation front where a wide range of platform services are offered.

It also helped that Microsoft’s BaaS platform is deeply integrated with its Azure cloud service, which commands the second-largest market share in the public cloud services market globally.

Big Blue

IBM came second after Microsoft, and the two firms were leagues ahead of other vendors such as Oracle, Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Cisco, SAP, HPE, Huawei, and Tencent. ABI Research assessed the tech companies based on a wide range of innovation metrics.

“Each vendor was analyzed on innovation metrics such as market penetration, proof of concepts and pilots, and ecosystem support, and implementation metrics such as platform diversity, primary features, developer resources, and integration with their own solutions,” wrote ABI Research in a press release.

Part of the reason for Microsoft’s and IBM’s dominance is the fact that they have been in the blockchain space for longer than most of the other vendors, such as Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and enterprise software behemoth Oracle.

Huawei launched its BaaS platform last month, while Oracle unveiled its blockchain platform in May.

$7 Billion Market

This comes at a time when the BaaS market is expected to balloon to US$7 billion in the future, according to a research analyst at Bank of America, Kash Rangan. As CCN reported in October, Rangan projected that the multi-billion dollar opportunities presented by the expansion would be reaped by marrying blockchain with the current cloud computing infrastructure and enhancing some parts of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms.

At the time, Rangan gave the example of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure as a service that stood to benefit by integrating BaaS. Other vendors that Rangan highlighted included Amazon, which he noted was positioned to gain from blockchain technology both as a vendor of cloud services and as an online retailer.

“Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from Blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient,” CCN reported Rangan as having written in a client note.

Rangan’s forecast of how much the BaaS market will be worth in the future assumed that 2 percent of servers would be allocated to running blockchain at an annual cost per server of US$5,500.

Some of the tech firms that Rangan listed as likely to be major beneficiaries of the expansion of the BaaS market but were not analyzed by ABI Research when compiling the BaaS platform rankings included VMware and Salesforce.


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Author: Mark Emem
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New Effort to Tackle Global Ocean Plastics Crisis Uses Blockchain

Household supplies multinational SC Johnson has announced a pioneering partnership with Plastic Bank, a plastic waste recycling startup, to tackle the threat of global ocean plastics by increasing the rate of recycling across less privileged areas of Indonesia.

Plastic Bank, which currently has a successful proof-of-concept program running in Haiti uses a custom cryptocurrency solution running on IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric protocol to interface between plastics buyers and individual plastic waste collectors, providing a reliable way to reward individual recyclers for collecting ocean-bound waste plastic.

Ocean Plastics and Indonesia
A 2015 report by Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment names China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam as the five countries cumulatively responsible for over 55 percent of the plastic waste that finds its way into the ocean. According to the report, raising plastic collection and recycling rates across these five countries to 80 percent would cut the global ocean plastics leakage rate by 23 percent.

While many solutions have been attempted to this end, they have largely met with limited success because a substantial number of the areas directly responsible for ocean plastics leakage are impoverished areas with limited infrastructure and security problems which make recyclers susceptible to robbery or theft if they are rewarded with cash. Indonesia is of particular concern because the country is home to the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity and its coral reefs, which are threatened by plastics leakage are central to the food chain that sustains millions of people in the area.

In order to effectively incentivise a sufficient number of Indonesia’s estimated 28 million people living in poverty, Plastic Bank uses a blockchain solution linked to a mobile app that reliably rewards individual plastic collectors for the amount of plastic they bring into collection centres using digital tokens instead of cash.

Speaking about the importance of Plastic Bank’s Indonesian partnership with SC Johnson, founder and CEO David Katz said:

“This partnership with SC Johnson is the first of its kind in Indonesia. It will help create more opportunities for people living in poverty and will offer waste collectors an important sense of pride. SC Johnson is the first CPG company to scale a program of this kind in Indonesia that will benefit a wide range of socio-economic demographics including local residents living below the poverty level.”

According to information released by SC Johnson, collection centres with a minimum capacity of 100 metric tonnes of plastic per year will be operational by May 2019, with the first centre in Bali to be opened officially on October 28. In addition to providing incentives for eliminating ocean plastics leakage, the program will also educate local communities in Indonesia and beyond about the environmental and social implications of plastic pollution and the opportunities presented by recycling.


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Author: David Hundeyin
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When the next crypto bull run happens, it’s going to be epic

The current overall market cap for the crypto space is a shadow of what it once was. 2018 has tested the patience and skill of everyone involved. Crypto asset prices are down at least 75% across the board for the most part. But strangely enough, institutions and mainstream entities continue to gain interest and involvement. Logically, all this interest should make the next bull run huge (when the market finally turns around).

Significant Mainstream Interest

The Elusive Bitcoin ETF

The approval of a Bitcoin ETF seems to be the most referenced topic in crypto this year. The Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) appears to be getting closer to a decision on approving a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC has reviewed numerous Bitcoin ETF proposals this year, with no approvals yet.

A possible decision may come in late December for the Van Eck/SolidX ETF, which appears to have the best chance for success.

A Bitcoin ETF would provide a way for institutional (wealthy) players to enter the market and feel that their funds are safe. The market cap all-time high for the cryptocurrency industry has never surpassed $1 trillion, which is not very high, considering global involvement. The crypto space needs more people and money in order to grow. A Bitcoin ETF is a way to increase people’s involvement in crypto, offering an option with regulatory backing (by the SEC).

Ethereum Futures Coming

Everyone in crypto last year remembers the impact Bitcoin futures made on the market, starting last year’s end of year bull run. Money flooded into the crypto space like never before. Bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) showed significant mainstream interest in the crypto space and resulted in the legitimization of cryptocurrency (to a degree).

This year, the CBOE plans to launch Ethereum futures, possibly before the end of the year. This shows that institutional interest is still growing and that Bitcoin futures were not simply a failed experiment. People still want to become more involved in crypto, even after a tough year.

Nasdaq Crypto Exchange Interest

Earlier this year in late April, Adena Friedman (Nasdaq CEO) made comments expressing interest in possibly becoming a crypto trading platform.

Nasdaq further states they will likely wait for regulation to be sorted out, and for the crypto space to mature. But the point is – the interest is there from one of the most prominent financial entities. A Nasdaq crypto exchange would make the crypto space even more legitimate.

Crypto Hedge Funds

90 crypto hedge funds have launched so far this year, with another thirty estimated before years end. 600 hedge funds total are projected to launch this year (including traditional markets). If 120 of those 600 are crypto hedge funds, that means crypto would comprise 20% of that.

It makes sense that these hedge funds are only launching as the result of interest in the crypto space. Crypto hedge funds also provide another on-ramp to crypto involvement for traditionally-minded people.

IBM’s Food Blockchain

IBM is another giant in the world of traditional markets. They are currently developing a method to track food using blockchain technology. IBM Food Trust as it’s called, is also collaborating with giants such as Nestle, Walmart, and Kroger.

Mainstream business giants see the potential in blockchain and crypto, and are becoming involved. More involvement leads to greater blockchain solutions to world difficulties (such as food origins and tracking).

ICE and the Bakkt Platform

ICE stands for International Exchange. They plan to launch Bitcoin futures trading in November, on a platform/ecosystem called Bakkt.

The big news is that these Bitcoin futures will be settled in actual Bitcoin, as opposed to the current CME and CBOE options that are cash settled. This would require the actual purchase of Bitcoin, causing more demand for Bitcoin holdings.

Bitcoin only has a total supply of 21 million coins. ICE will need to buy large amounts of Bitcoin for trading on the Bakkt platform. If entities like ICE continue to buy Bitcoin, less supply is available for the general public. Less supply could mean greater demand and higher price for Bitcoin.

Ripple, xRapid, And The Banks

Ripple/XRP is a touchy subject in the crypto space. Some people like it, and some see its centralization as a problem that goes against one of cryptocurrencies best qualities – its decentralization. Whether in support of Ripple or against it, Ripple news is still a sign that mainstream use and interest is building.

At its swell conference this year, Ripple announced the launch of xRapid – a product to change global remittance payments. There is said to be a significant amount of interest for xRapid’s potential from financial institutions.

It seems as though most of this information has not significantly impacted crypto asset prices (with the exception of Bitcoin ETF speculation in July). It will be interesting to see what happens when the crypto market finally turns around, and people start seeing the price action relating to such interest.


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Author: Benjamin Pirus
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