A global blockchain technology repository with latest reports, documents, papers that are relevant across 45+ industries. To name a few among many sectors and areas that we cover are:
Banking, De-Fi, Supply Chain, Crypto Currencies, Legal, Tokenization & Digital Assets, Blockchain Use Cases, different platforms and more. Check us frequently...
Accounting & Tax
Non-fungible tokens, digital art, online marketplaces, exchanges, value-added tax… Experts highlighted investment scams as the main risk concerning the foreseeable development of NFTs. NFTs are a blockchain representation of a digital product subject in many jurisdictions to value-added tax. Are NFTs the perfect vehicle for evading Value Add Tax?
In this paper, we attempt to trace three intersecting development pathways that represent incarnations of shared ledger systems. In particular, we explore possible connections among the long-established REA and TEA frameworks, and the nascent blockchain technology. By filling in the gaps in the genealogy of shared ledger systems, we correct historical misconceptions, and give due credit to related prior works that have been insufficiently recognised. A clearer understanding of the historical evolution of shared ledger systems potentiates further cross-pollination in academic and practitioner circles, in particular between proponents of Resource-Event-Agents, triple-entry accounting and blockchain.
Digital enthusiasts associated with Blockchain technology predict that seven to ten years from now none would talk about what is Blockchain technology like not even a common man talks today about what is internet. In 2030s a common man will speak about what is the new application from the stable of Blockchain. From the perspective of accounting and reporting blockchain is also due to evolve further and bring in revolutionary developments. One can make out from the above narratives the capabilities of Blockchain technology at its present state. Alvin Toffler, one of the world’s most outstanding futurists and known for works on modern technologies, including the digital revolution, said that “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
The author is of the view that the above comment was never applicable and will continue to be not applicable to accounting and auditing professionals. However, accountants would have to evolve further, transform, and reorient themselves more for the role of a management accountants and value aggregators. The professionals of auditing fraternity will have to also evolve and make themselves savvy and confident for applying digital tools. Their roles will also evolve with the advent of Blockchain technology. The commercial world expects them to apply tools and techniques that would enable them to conduct concurrent audit using digital tools instead of applying post facto and lagging techniques. Their reports must add values by proactive alerts for risks that can cause value destruction, digital crimes, breach of data, defacing of digital displays and spawning of malwares
- Blockchain is gaining adoption quicker than the Internet did during its developmental phase
- Much broader application than just Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
Governments were not prepared for the arrival of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and various digital assets. And until recently, they did not provide clear direction on how cryptocurrency earnings should be reported. As a result, investors and businesses have struggled to remain in compliance.
Even in the midst of new “regulation” that is not yet codified, professionals and investors alike remain confused and uncertain about the future of crypto regulation for accounting and tax. The Crypto Tax Report 2020 addresses the immediate and future challenges for tax and accounting professionals tasked with reporting on cryptocurrency.
AI - IoT - Robotics - ML
In Internet of Things (IoT) environments, privacy and security are among some of the significant challenges. Recently, several studies have attempted to apply blockchain technology to increase IoT network security. However, the lightweight feature of IoT devices commonly fails to meet computational intensive requirements for blockchain-based security models. In this work, we propose a mechanism to address this issue. We design an IoT blockchain architecture to store device identity information in a distributed ledger. We propose a Blockchain of Things (BCoT) Gateway to facilitate the recording of authentication transactions in a blockchain network without modifying existing device hardware or applications. Furthermore, we introduce a new device recognition model that is suitable for blockchain-based identity authentication, where we employ a novel feature selection method for device traffic flow. Finally, we develop the BCoT Sentry framework as a reference implementation of our proposed method. Experiment results verify the feasibility of our proposed framework.
Internet of Things (IoT) networks are typically composed of many sensors and actuators. The operation controls for robots in smart factories or drones produce a massive volume of data that requires high reliability. A blockchain architecture can be used to build highly reliable IoT networks. The shared ledger and open data validation among users guarantee extremely high data security. However, current blockchain technology has limitations for its overall application across IoT networks. Because general permission-less blockchain networks typically target high-performance network nodes with sufficient computing power, a blockchain node with low computing power and memory, such as an IoT sensor/actuator, cannot operate in a blockchain as a fully functional node. A lightweight blockchain provides practical blockchain availability over IoT networks. We propose essential operational advances to develop a lightweight blockchain over IoT networks. A dynamic network configuration enforced by deep clustering provides ad-hoc flexibility for IoT network environments. The proposed graph neural network technique enhances the efficiency of dApp (distributed application) spreading across IoT networks. In addition, the proposed blockchain technology is highly implementable in software because it adopts the Hyperledger development environment. Directly embedding the proposed blockchain middleware platform in small computing devices proves the practicability of the proposed methods.
One key finding is that the net number of jobs lost or gained is an artificially simple metric to gauge the impact of digitization. For example, eliminating 10 million jobs and creating 10 million new jobs would appear to have negligible impact. In fact, however, doing so would represent a huge economic disruption for the country—not to mention for the millions of people with their jobs at stake. Therefore, policymakers and countries that want to understand the implications of automation need to drill down and look at disaggregated effects. Understanding the future of jobs is a tall order, but the groundbreaking analysis we conducted helps governments, companies, and individuals take the critical first step to prepare for what is to come.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain (BC) are two of the most significant disruptive technologies of our time, set to have a major impact on future societies and economies. As transversal technologies, AI and blockchain can potentially disrupt a wide range of sectors and will likely play central roles in the success of Europe’s green and digital transitions, and in strengthening its technological sovereignty. Regions lagging behind in the AI race will probably see diminished global market shares in several industries, from finance and e-commerce to manufacturing and mining. Investments in AI research and development (R&D) are also crucial for security and defence, so underinvestment could undermine Europe’s national security.3 AI is expected to have a significant impact on progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially on climate4 but also on diversity and inclusion, notably “gender smart” technological development. Both AI and blockchain have their own degree of complexity, but their development can be mutually reinforcing, for example on the integration of machine learning (ML).
This study highlighted that Blockchain technology is not just for financial transactions or cryptocurrencies. Rather, Blockchain is seen as an emerging technology for securing crucial applications. Since 2019, there has been massive growth in the publications in the Blockchain domain. Many countries contribute to the research of Blockchain and its applicability, but China and the United States are leading in the contribution. Bibliometric analysis was conducted for “Blockchain” AND “Artificial Intelligence” publications. Most of the literature was available in the English language. About 930 documents out of 957 documents were retrieved from Scopus, and 417 documents out of 442 documents were from Web of Science core collection (and are in English language only). For analysis, documents from all of the languages are considered. Network analysis was completed by using the VoSviewer tool for co-citation, co-occurrence, citation, and bibliographic coupling analysis based on documents, authors, sources etc. Each technology has its degree of complexity, but both Blockchain and AI are in situations where they can benefit from each other and help one another. The integration of machine learning and AI into blockchain, and vice versa, can improve basic Blockchain architecture and increase AI capabilities, respectively. In this study, the focus is Blockchain for Secure AI and open innovation. It can make AI more coherent and understandable, and we can track and determine why decisions are made in learning models and how much trustworthy they are. Blockchain and its ledger can record all data and variables that go through a decision made under AI models. AI can securely access heterogeneous data through Blockchain while maintaining the privacy of data providers and data.
Architecture & Tech
Pseudonymisation is increasingly becoming a key security technique and a way to implement data minimisation in various contexts, providing a means that can facilitate personal data processing, while offering strong safeguards for personal data protection. Complementing previous relevant ENISA’s work, in this report we analyse advanced pseudonymisation techniques and specific use cases that can help towards the definition of the state-of-the-art in this field.
From different network architectures to different consensus algorithms to different native token designs, there are hundreds of ways to construct a smart contract platform. Based on our analysis of just seven different platforms, the likelihood of a “one chain to rule them all outcome” appears all but impossible. Indeed, the more analytical rigor these platforms are assessed with, the more apparent it becomes that predicting which platform(s) will succeed over the long term is challenging. In many respects, they are very similar. In other respects, they could not be more different.
Today, there are hundreds of billions of dollars denominated in cryptocurrencies that rely on blockchain ledgers as well as the thousands of blockchain-based applications storing value in blockchain networks. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based applications require solutions that guarantee quantum resistance in order to preserve the integrity of data and assets in their public and immutable ledgers. We have designed and developed a layer-two solution to secure the exchange of information between blockchain nodes over the internet and introduced a second signature in transactions using post-quantum keys. Our versatile solution can be applied to any blockchain network. In our implementation, quantum entropy was provided via the IronBridge Platform from CQC and we used LACChain Besu as the blockchain network.
Increasing the transactional throughput of public blockchains is the primary focus of blockchain research today. Achieving this without compromising security or decentralization is the holy grail and will be pivotal for many broader economic use cases on public blockchains. This thesis provides a structured overview of potential scaling solutions before thoroughly introducing and comparing zero-knowledge rollups and optimistic rollups. Both are promising layer 2 solutions that claim to scale public blockchains significantly in the near future. Furthermore, this thesis introduces fundamental concepts such as zero-knowledge proofs and examines potential attacks based on game-theoretic principles.
Popular distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems using proof-of-work (PoW) for Sybil attack resistance have extreme energy requirements, drawing stern criticism from academia, businesses, and the media. DLT systems building on alternative consensus mechanisms, foremost proof-of-stake (PoS), aim to address this downside. In this paper, we take a first step towards comparing the energy requirements of such systems to understand whether they achieve this goal equally well. While multiple studies have been undertaken that analyze the energy demands of individual Blockchains, little comparative work has been done. We approach this research question by formalizing a basic consumption model for PoS blockchains. Applying this model to six archetypal blockchains generates three main findings: First, we confirm the concerns around the energy footprint of PoW by showing that Bitcoin’s energy consumption exceeds the energy consumption of all PoS-based systems analyzed by at least three orders of magnitude. Second, we illustrate that there are significant differences in energy consumption among the PoSbased systems analyzed, with permissionless systems having an overall larger energy footprint. Third, we point out that the type of hardware that validators use has a considerable impact on whether PoS blockchains’ energy consumption is comparable with or considerably larger than that of centralized, non-DLT systems.
Artists & IP
In this paper, we provide a holistic survey of multimedia content protection applications in which blockchain technology is being used. A taxonomy is developed to classify these applications with reference to the technical aspects of blockchain technology, content protection techniques, namely, encryption, digital rights management, digital watermarking and fingerprinting (or transaction tracking), and performance criteria. The study of the literature reveals that there is currently no complete and systematic taxonomy dedicated to blockchain-based copyright protection applications. Moreover, the number of successfully developed blockchain-based content protection systems is very low. This points towards a research gap. To fill this gap, we propose a taxonomy that integrates technical aspects and application knowledge and can guide the researchers towards the development of blockchain-based multimedia copyright protection systems. Furthermore, the paper discusses some technical challenges and outlines future research directions.
BeatBind aims to become the long-awaited platform for music event organization, with BBND being the cryptocurrency token used for all its transactions. The current state of the music events industry is highly fragmented, everyone's individual networks limiting their reach. The Internet proved that's not how the world needs to operate - as other industries move toward open digital solutions, the music event industry is lagging heavily behind. Scalping and ticket forgery steal value from organizers, and a lack of data mining and collection in the industry makes revenue predictions inaccurate, which in turn makes events risky ventures - hurting artists, venues, and fans equally
This discussion paper is based on a unique methodology to assess the impact of new and emerging technologies on the infringement and enforcement landscape related to IP. The methodology has been developed by the Impact of Technology expert group of the European Observatory on Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights that was established in early 2019.
Aviation & Space
In conclusion, aircraft leasing is an industry which has grown massively in recent years, and is set to continue growing at such a pace. To sustain this growth however, the industry as a whole will have to innovate and use cutting edge technologies, of which blockchain is particularly suited to bolster its growth. In this article we have discussed how...
As a novel source of risk and return, Bitcoin deserves attention from managers seeking a diversifying alternative for inclusion into their portfolio. After a decade on the scene, sufficient data have been generated to validate its benefits. Despite high inherent volatility, prudent risk weighting within a portfolio can maximize gains from Bitcoin inclusion while limiting exposure to the truly dramatic swings. In a highly variable world where the diversification benefits of traditional assets may be weakening, Bitcoin differentiates itself as an asset class.
In this special edition of the Digital Investor, we have updated our bitcoin fair-value estimate. Due to institutional investors’ growing bitcoin adoption, the network’s size can no longer be measured accurately with the number addresses. A network of 50mio users seems plausible, implying a bitcoin fair value of USD 50,000. Our mining parity model shows that mining activities have moved in line with prices. We also show that mining activities for ETH and ETC decoupled from their prices when Ethereum 2.0 was launched on 1 December 2020.
Blockchain & Business
- The number of global crypto users reached 106 million in January 2021
- Strong growth in Bitcoin adoption was the main driver for January’s 15.7% increase in the global crypto population
- Likely events that drove crypto adoption was the huge growth of DeFi last summer, PayPal’s opening up crypto services, and massive institutional adoption and facilitation of cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain & Education
Blockchain can enable greater trust and transparency through decentralization, cryptography, and the creation of new incentives. Best-known as the digital underpinning of Bitcoin, it has evolved into a foundational technology with promise in many areas and applications. The financial sector is investigating blockchain as a means to replace expensive and inefficient payment systems, and it could reshape supply chains - particularly in combination with the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence - while boosting the practical, day-to-day use of smart contracts, digital currencies, and digital identities. However, blockchain is not a silver bullet. Many questions remain about the best use of the technology and its governance.
Oracle Blockchain Platform provides customers with a development platform for building their own networks. It can quickly integrate with Oracle SaaS and third-party apps, as well as other Oracle Cloud Platform services or other blockchain networks. Plus, it enables users to provision blockchain networks, join other organizations, and deploy and run smart contracts to update and query a shared ledger. Oracle’s blockchain platform leverages advanced technology, along with the company’s decades of experience across industries and its extensive partner ecosystem, to enable customers to conduct trusted transactions among suppliers, banks, and other trade partners
Central Banks - CBDC - Banking
There are two forms of money most commonly used in the UK. Central bank money is a liability of the central bank. It is available to the public in the form of cash. It is also available to commercial banks in the form of central bank reserves. Private money mainly takes the form of deposits in commercial banks – that is, claims on commercial banks held by the public. This ‘commercial bank money’ is created when commercial banks make loans to households and companies – referred to as the ‘real economy’.
New technologies, changing customer expectations, emerging players and evolving business models are driving tectonic shifts in the payments landscape – and a potential outgrowth of this disruptive force is a new take on the form of traditional money itself. CBDCs are drawing strong interest as central banks explore ways to improve digital commerce, reinforce systemic resilience and preserve the foundational role of fiat money in global finance.
Technology is driving dramatic change in the U.S. payments system, which is a vital infrastructure that touches everyone. 1 The pandemic accelerated the migration to contactless transactions and highlighted the importance of access to safe, timely, and low-cost payments for all. With technology platforms introducing digital private money into the U.S. payments system, and foreign authorities exploring the potential for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in cross-border payments, the Federal Reserve is stepping up its research and public engagement on CBDCs. As Chair Powell discussed last week, an important early step on public engagement is a plan to publish a discussion paper this summer to lay out the Federal Reserve Board’s current thinking on digital payments, with a particular focus on the benefits and risks associated with CBDC in the U.S. context
Staking is an exciting approach towards creating a secure and cost-ecient consensus mechanism. Currently, some of the top tokens by market capitalisation such as EOS, Tron and NEO rely on PoS as their consensus mechanism. Furthermore, Ethereum’s plan to migrate from PoW to PoS is a sign of the increasing popularity of proof-of-stake within the blockchain ecosystem.
Blockchain, the foundation of Bitcoin, has received extensive attentions recently. Blockchain serves as an immutable ledger which allows transactions take place in a decentralized manner. Blockchain-based applications are springing up, covering numerous fields including financial services, reputation system and Internet of Things (IoT), and so on. However, there are still many challenges of blockchain technology such as scalability and security problems waiting to be overcome. This paper presents a comprehensive overview on blockchain technology. We provide an overview of blockchain architechture firstly and compare some typical consensus algorithms used in different blockchains. Furthermore, technical challenges and recent advances are briefly listed. We also lay out possible future trends for blockchain.
Proof of stake is a consensus mechanism for digital currencies that is an alternative to proof of work used in Bitcoin. The main declared advantages of proof of stake approaches are the absence of expensive computations and hence a lower entry barrier for block generation rewards. In this report, we examine the pros and cons of both consensus systems and show that existing implementations of proof of stake are vulnerable to attacks which are highly unlikely in Bitcoin and proof of work approaches in general.
Consulting & Business
This report summarizes data gathered from 3,834 people across 89 countries. It aims to understand and outline the opportunities that the digital economy presents for solving real-world problems, whilst highlighting the key differences in usage between genders, countries and ages.
2020 was an incredible year for cryptocurrency. Despite the devastation wrought by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, Bitcoin has shattered its previous price records, largely driven by the increased that many in the cryptocurrency community have long speculated would drive the asset to new heights. However, cryptocurrency remains appealing for criminals, primarily due to its pseudonymous nature and the ease with which it allows users to instantly send funds anywhere in the world, despite its transparent and traceable design. But the good news is that cryptocurrency-related crime fell significantly in 2020.
Cash—anonymous and liquid—has long served as a tool for criminals. Cryptocurrency, with its similar characteristics, may likewise struggle to ever completely shake its bad reputation, despite illicit transactions making up less than 0.5% of Bitcoin’s yearly volume in 2020. Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) are the front line in preventing financial crime and identifying bad actors. However, inadequate anti-money laundering controls at a VASP can end up facilitating the flow of criminal funds around the world. As VASPs continue to mature and adopt stronger security measures, CipherTrace has found that criminals are beginning to set their sights on greener decentralized finance services over their centralized counterparts.
Since 2018, we estimated that the cost of global cybercrime reached over $1 trillion. We estimated the monetary loss from cybercrime at approximately $945 billion. Added to this was global spending on cybersecurity, which was expected to exceed $145 billion in 2020. Today, this is $1 trillion dollar drag on the global economy. This is our fourth report on the cost of cybercrime. Our reports surveyed publicly available information on national losses, and, in a few cases, we used data from not-for-attribution interviews with cybersecurity officials. Our 2018 report found that cybercrime cost the global economy more than $600 billion. Our new estimate suggests a more than 50% increase in two years.
The importance of more comprehensive and standardized information gathering in ransomware investigations, whether provided by victims or gathered by law enforcement, cannot be understated. This may require Congress, Federal agencies, or State and Local governments to remove legal barriers and potentially provide incentives for public and private sector entities to be able to report ransomware incidents without fear of additional damages. Ransomware is a crime that can threaten every aspect of our lives, from infrastructure and commerce, to national security risks. And while some argue that the nature of cryptocurrency facilitates the crime of ransomware, its nature also facilitates incomparable visibility that benefits law enforcement immensely. By incentivizing and encouraging the reporting of cryptocurrency addresses that are associated with known threat actors, and by providing the resources necessary to understand and combat them, law enforcement and the U.S. government as a whole will be able to do more comprehensive analysis of ransomware attacks, provide better threat prevention assistance to the public, and protect the country from national security risks.
These “Guidelines for Digital Forensics First Responders” (the “Guidelines”) have been prepared as technical guidelines to provide information and advice on digital forensic approaches that may be adopted when seizing and analysing different kinds of devices. These Guidelines are solely for the use of law enforcement professionals having the necessary legal basis or authorisation to perform the actions described herein.
Crypto & Market Report
If 2020 was the The Year of the ₿ull, then 2021 was without a doubt the year crypto went mainstream. Last year, the cryptoasset industry experienced breakthroughs in adoption, regulation, policy, broader infrastructure development, technical upgrades, and on top of it all, all-time high prices. The industry also saw crypto enter mainstream pop culture amid the rise of memecoins like DOGE, NFTs proliferating and catching the attention of high-tier celebrities, and speculation over the future of the metaverse.
Crypto Assets & Hedge Funds // Coins & Tokens
Crypto Token & Digital Currency
The processes, considerations and resources imparted in this guide only skim the surface of the opportunities that exist in working with cryptocurrency. Indeed, one of the key challenges of putting this guide together came down to the need to be fastidious about what to include. As you continue to explore the cryptocurrency ecosystem, you can engage more broadly by experimenting with or using open blockchain protocols not mentioned here. You can also engage in more depth, diving further into the possibilities around programmability, governance and scalability.
The digital currencies powering the financial system of the future are likely to come in a variety of different versions. Some will be issued by central banks (what we currently call central bank digital currency, or CBDC), but others may be issued by the private sector and backed by central bank liabilities. As policymakers become more familiar with the pros and cons of issuing a digital currency (essentially the why), it’s natural that they will begin to turn their attention towards how a digital currency could be issued. Although there is still some debate as to whether digital currencies necessarily need to be issued using blockchain-based technology, the following report will, nonetheless, provide a detailed description of how a digital currency, either issued by a central bank or backed by a central bank liability, could be issued on the Celo blockchain.
The crypto-asset space is both highly active and highly polarizing. While many market entries have been pursued for a variety of financial applications, the matter of which firm(s) will establish dominance in the global sphere is yet to be determined. Industry players who choose to act now can count on a variety of development to provide various competitive advantages. Ripple’s regulatory troubles in Mexico have created a fleeting opportunity for a new actor to establish dominance in the US-Mexico remittances space. In India, the private sector has an opportunity to demonstrate all the good crypto-assets may do within the economy – soothing key government actors and potentially gaining powerful allies in the process. Lastly, a globally established firm can cut through the array of competition in Indonesia through a combination of organic and inorganic tactics in order to bring the market to the next stage in its crypto-journey.
Crypto-Digital Assets & Tokenizing
Cryptoassets all have unique characteristics, features and use cases. The optimum regulatory framework will take this into account, being adaptable, flexible, tailored to specific emerging risks, and clearly defined to serve both consumers and industry.
Alternative investments are attracting ever more investors. According to the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association, in the fifteen years between 2003 and 2018 the size of the global investment market doubled, while alternative investments almost tripled to USD 13.4 trillion. This would mean around 12% of all worldwide investments were allocated to alternative investments. CAIA Association members expect this allocation to rise to 18-24% of the global asset market by 2023
2020 was a milestone year in crypto. Crypto prices—as measured by the Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index—soared nearly 300%. Many institutional investors—from hedge fund managers like Paul Tudor Jones1 and Stanley Druckenmiller,2 to the chief investment officers of firms like BlackRock3 and Guggenheim Investments4—either announced allocations to crypto or declared their interest in the space. Against this backdrop, Bitwise, the leading provider of index and beta crypto funds, and ETF Trends, a leading provider of news and analysis in the ETF space, joined forces for the third consecutive year to conduct The Bitwise/ETF Trends 2021 Benchmark Survey of Financial Advisor Attitudes Toward Cryptoassets. The goal was to benchmark how financial advisors—who manage roughly half of all wealth in America—are thinking about crypto after the developments of 2020, including whether and how they are allocating to crypto in client portfolios.
These are the questions investors and observers must wrestle with in the years to come. We hope that this document has provided a foundation and a framework for doing that. One thing is for certain: The emergence of a new asset class and financial ecosystem is a rare event, and the potential for cryptoasset-powered blockchains to move the world forward is exciting.
Chainlink is one of the most crucial middleware protocols in digital assets industry. We think that the use of Chainlink will grow with growth in various on-chain and off-chain protocols. It is reasonable to expect that increasing use will be favourable for price growth. Recent price run-up is supported by on-chain activity. Distribution of LINK is a cause of concern for us currently, and we would like to see better distribution over time.
How much decentralization is enough for real-life purposes can only be proven in practice. The current architecture of major cryptocurrencies seems sufficient to provide many of the benefits of decentralization, such as high network availability and censorship resistance. In the future however, as adoption grows and regulatory frameworks solidify, we might get a better idea which models actually prevail under the test of time.
This toolkit is designed as a starting point for policy-makers seeking to understand the risks and opportunities posed by DeFi businesses and services, and to devise the best policy responses. The particular manifestations of DeFi, and the policy questions they pose, will change over time, as will activity levels and other aspects of the larger blockchain and digital asset world.
DeFi is a new, fast-growing area. Yet it remains immature, with a variety of unresolved economic, technical, operational, and public policy issues that will be important to address. Although some protocols have attracted significant capital and the associated network effects in a short period of time, the DeFi sector remains volatile. DeFi has the potential to transform global finance, but activity to date has concentrated on speculation, leverage, and yield generation among the existing community of digital asset holders. In addition, the very flexibility, programmability, and composability that make DeFi services so novel also expose new risks, from hacks to unexpected feedback loops among protocols.
Retail investors, professional traders, institutional actors, regulators, and policy-makers will need to temper enthusiasm for the innovative potential of DeFi with a clear understanding of its challenges. Developers are actively working to address vulnerabilities and introduce new mechanisms to manage risks efficiently, but the process is ongoing. DeFi will ultimately succeed or fail based on whether it can fulfill its promise of financial services that are open, trust-minimized, and non-custodial, yet still trustworthy.
DeFi offers exciting opportunities and has the potential to create a truly open, transparent, and immutable financial infrastructure. Because DeFi consists of numerous highly interoperable protocols and applications, every individual can verify all transactions and data is readily available for users and researchers to analyze.
DeFi has unleashed a wave of innovation. On the one hand, developers are using smart contracts and the decentralized settlement layer to create trustless versions of traditional financial instruments. On the other hand, they are creating entirely new financial instruments that could not be realized without the underlying public blockchain. Atomic swaps, autonomous liquidity pools, decentralized stablecoins, and flash loans are just a few of many examples that show the great potential of this ecosystem.
The Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space has been all the craze this year, with an estimated value of over $11B locked in the DeFi lending market alone.1 It’s likely that you’ve seen new DeFi platforms with impressive annual percentage yields (APY) advertised for different cryptocurrencies listed on these platforms. Depositing your crypto for a high return can be an appealing offer especially in today’s world of negative interest rates and fiat debasement. The generous rates DeFi offers relative to traditional yield-bearing instruments is enticing, but we believe there are significant implied and realized risk premia worth considering. While we intend to outline the risks specific to decentralized lending platforms in this note, we hope it serves as a useful guide for navigating DeFi as the broader ecosystem continues to innovate and disrupt the existing financial industry.
DLT & Blockchain
Earth & Blockchain
Blockchain solves a lot of the problems regarding disaster medical response. It reduces the time to involve new actors in the response, enhances confidentiality of records, gives the patient the ownership of his/her data to quickly share it with consent and it can handle the load of requests for medical records. Knowledge about the effects of disasters are known, yet the systems today are not prepared for them. The information is scattered across databases in different physical locations and when they are destroyed, the data is lost. Blockchain also provides more valid information since the ledger can only be updated through the consensus mechanism which consists of a set of rules that must be followed. Additionally, it can serve as a template for sorting out responsibilities afterwards. Information about who treated what patient at what time is logged in the ledger and in the event of malpractice, the source can easily be found.
Enterprise blockchain is going through a 60-30-10 adoption challenge. Around 60% of enterprises are still unclear about blockchain, highlighting the nascence of the concept. Nearly 30% of enterprises are struggling with how to get started, and the remaining few with successful proofs of concept or pilots are struggling to get to production. A balanced approach to blockchain is critical to driving meaningful success—you can no longer ignore blockchain as a value creation lever, but don’t also get sucked into all the hype!
Based on the six protocols analyzed for this report, we can see that the number of developers contributing to the largest portion of the enterprise blockchain market has multiplied by 12 in the past three years, demonstrating a strong commercial interest. It is also clear to see that activity (both in terms of contributions to the codebase and general activity of the surrounding communities) in this part of the enterprise blockchain landscape has reached a degree of stability, pointing to a departure from the earlier formative years prior to 2018. The shapes of the different protocols’ community and composition of their teams have become clear, with some industry leaders (namely Fabric and Corda) making up a significant amount of all activity, while others still vie for scale and consistency in their contributors
It is primarily delivery, not disillusionment, that’s the reason for the apparent slow-down in blockchain / distributed ledger technology (DLT) activity. Those companies who were selling in 2017 (and for whom early engagements proved successful) have been busy building in 2018/19… and we’ll see the results in 2020, in terms of business value driven to end users. HQLAX, Insurwave and the ABI Lab Spunta project are all examples of business networks showing success now
Since launching in 2015, Ethereum has garnered significant interest as the second largest blockchain network. But even as the network has matured into a robust settlement layer for billions of dollars of peer-to-peer value transfer, investors often find it difficult to identify the investment case. It’s helpful to take a step back and consider Bitcoin’s value proposition: the promise of a global, verifiable accounting system. This accounting system, supported and secured by the most powerful computing network in the world, allows users to track value with a high degree of confidence.
Finance - Markets - Investing - Trading
The cryptoasset market has been on a wild, unpredictable ride over the last five years. Building on the growth of 2016, the market experienced an incredible bull run in 2017 only to collapse during the so-called crypto winter of 2018. The market has been on a long, gradual road to recovery since the collapse, and to a certain degree, the bottoming out of the market in 2018 could be considered the pivotal point when cryptoassets began their march toward institutional legitimacy and a much stronger foundation as a viable asset class. The great bitcoin market rally that started during the second half of 2020 appears to validate this thinking, with the price reaching record highs. The question is no longer if but rather when institutional participation will finally occur.
In 2020, more operating companies began allocating cash to digital assets and cryptocurrencies. This is a new dynamic and a departure from more conventional investing by funds and others in this space. One telling example is MicroStrategy Inc., which announced, last December, that it had made more than $1B in total Bitcoin purchases in 2020, a move that it characterized as an investment that would “provide the opportunity for better returns and preserve the value of our capital over time compared to holding cash.”1 Some companies have followed suit, and others may now be wondering how to invest in Bitcoin and other digital assets. There are a variety of reasons for adding digital assets to a company’s balance sheet, whether it’s seeking asymmetric risk return observed over previous years or as a natural hedge against fluctuating fiat currencies; whether it’s part of a corporate strategy to embrace modern, open technologies; or as a complement to an operational strategy that includes accepting digital assets as payments.
FinTech & Payments
One of the most innovative and far-reaching technologies that has emerged in recent years is the Internet of Things (IoT), with its potential to embed communication into industrial and domestic appliances, machines and devices, to send and receive data. But the potential for IoT extends far beyond enabling a machine to order its own replacement supplies and parts. In particular, by combining the communication value of IoT with innovative payment capabilities, leveraging virtual accounts and blockchain technology, the result is a powerful and potentially disruptive cash management value proposition. Furthermore, this is not a vision of the future, but a proposition that can be achieved today
At its core, a digital Pound must reflect the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, in keeping with the integral role played by sovereign currency in the relationship between the state, businesses and individual citizens. Building on this notion and translating it to the context of a digital currency, the FPWG has identified a set of principles that will be fundamental to a well-designed digital Pound. These principles, whilst yet to be fully defined, should not only comport with British values, but also aim to promote good behaviours in all actors, and to ensure the success of a UK retail CBDC for all sectors of society and the economy
Putting it all together, CBDCs are likely a more efficient and effective way to deliver the benefits of digital money than either free-floating cryptocurrency or private stablecoins. The specific use cases, including financial inclusion, some cross-border payments, and financial stability monitoring, are perhaps not as compelling as the ubiquity of projects in this area would suggest. However, the potential for a non-USD alternative set of payment rails to gain traction is arguably a geopolitical risk factor worth managing. There are a number of choices in the design of a CBDC that are critical to its success and transformative potential. First and foremost, a retail token runs the risk of disrupting fractional reserve monetary systems and disintermediating banks. This argues for a segregation between central bank and private money, even if both are migrated to a digital token-based architecture. The choice of protocol is key to efficient processing of
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are increasingly pervasive, but in the banking industry, the implementation of AI applications is still in its infancy. As these technologies continue to mature, banking offers the ideal application area for such intelligent applications. Facilitated by decreasing costs of data storage and processing, as well as rapid advances in AI technologies, banks today have a major opportunity to formulate an AI strategy and deploy AI applications.
Governance - AML - KYC
We explore the economics and optimal design of “permissioned” distributed ledger technology (DLT) in a credit economy. Designated validators verify transactions and update the ledger at a cost that is derived from a supermajority voting rule, thus giving rise to a public good provision game. Without giving proper incentives to validators, however, their records cannot be trusted because they cannot commit to verifying trades and they can accept bribes to incorrectly validate histories. Both frictions challenge the integrity of the ledger on which credit transactions rely. In this context, we examine the conditions under which the process of permissioned validation supports decentralized exchange as an equilibrium, and analyze the optimal design of the trade and validation mechanisms. We solve for the optimal fees, number of validators, supermajority threshold and transaction size. A stronger consensus mechanism requires higher rents be paid to validators. Our results suggest that a centralized ledger is likely to be superior, unless weaknesses in the rule of law and contract enforcement necessitate a decentralized ledger.
Blockchain technology was created as a response to the trust crisis that swept the world in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Bitcoin and other blockchain-based systems were presented as a “trustless” alternative to existing financial institutions and even governments. Yet, while the trustless nature of blockchain technology has been heavily questioned, little research has been done as to what blockchain technologies actually bring to the table in place of trust. This article draws from the extensive academic discussion on the concepts of “trust” and “confidence” to argue that blockchain technology is not a ‘trustless technology’ but rather a ‘confidence machine’. First, the article provides a review of the multifaceted conceptualisations of trust and confidence, and the relationship between these two concepts. Second, the claim is made that blockchain technology relies on cryptographic rules, mathematics, and game-theoretical incentives in order to increase confidence in the operations of a computational system. Yet, such an increase in confidence ultimately relies on the proper operation and governance of the underlying blockchain-based network, which requires trusting a variety of actors. Third, the article turns to legal, constitutional and polycentric governance theory to explore the governance challenges of blockchain-based systems, in light of the tension between procedural confidence and trust.
This thesis seeks to answer the question whether the FATF travel rule is an effective means to combat money laundering via virtual currencies. The travel rule, also known as ‘recommendation 16’, requires virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to collect and exchange information about their customers. For the purpose of preventing and detecting money laundering the travel rule aims to increase the amount of information available about users transferring virtual currencies.
This thesis comprises of multidisciplinary, descriptive research and statements that are both predictive and normative. To gain a deeper understanding of the properties of virtual currencies, this thesis includes a multidisciplinary section exploring Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer payment system and ‘bitcoin’ as a currency for transmitting value. Subsequently, this thesis analyses the risks of money laundering associated with virtual currencies and the current legal framework addressing those risks. This thesis will be concluded by predictive and normative statements about the effectiveness of the FATF travel rule.
Digital currency is often hailed as a solution for long-standing challenges within the currency and payments ecosystem, yet little rigorous evaluation of its fitness for purpose and viability has been conducted. Critical issues related to digital currencies remain unresolved, ranging from consumer protection, education and privacy to technical and regulatory interoperability.
The opportunities and risks for digital financial inclusion have yet to be fully evaluated. With a variety of central banks now evaluating the notion of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in various forms and the independent emergence of “stablecoins”, technological, governance and regulatory frameworks are needed to address gaps and guide digital currency choices and implementation. To establish these frameworks, careful assessment and dialogue are needed between critical actors and stakeholders.
Government & Org
We created this report to assist governments in exploiting the next era of technology in their own operations, within their economies and society, and with their allies and global partners. The Blockchain Research Institute produced it in collaboration with the Washington DC based Chamber of Digital Commerce and a group of experts from several countries. To make the report more concrete, we chose to focus on the opportunities and challenges facing the new administration in the United States as an exemplar of what government could do.
Blockchain is a great example of enabling a public-private partnership that seeks to merge interest of the federal government and commercial innovation while increasing cohesion and efficiency. Blockchain is designed to be a principle-based regulation system that provides high safety standards, legal certainty, and a stable environment for transactions. It provides an immutable (unchanging), transparent record of the truth.
Blockchain is an emerging technology that has recently been the focus for many researchers who have highlighted its diverse applications including healthcare. Transparency in managing unsolicited patient complaints is important in healthcare for both patients and healthcare providers; in addition, patient complaints analysis is significant to the continued quality improvement. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to understand the nature of patient complaints management in the healthcare settings, explore the implications of blockchain on the management of patient complaints, and identify limitations in the usage of blockchain. Structured qualitative review and content analysis of the literature methods were used through multiple inclusion and exclusion phases for the scope of this research. Blockchain technology characteristics have been analyzed and approximated with desired features in the patients’ complaint management. Patient complaints provide valuable information to drive continuous improvements in healthcare. Blockchain is described as transparent, decentralized, immutable and anonymous. Results of this research found that a complaint Management system that is built on blockchain technology might have desired features that involve data integrity, security and transparency. Blockchain does have certain limitations that involve cybersecurity, scalability, confidentiality, readiness to adopt it, and is uncertainty about its impact. As a conclusion, implementing a system to manage patient complaints that is based on blockchain technology is promising, due to its desired possible features.
As we’ve written before, technology doesn’t create prosperity— and the quality of healthcare that comes with it—any more than it destroys privacy, property rights, and peace of mind. However, in this digital age, technology is at the heart of just about everything— good and bad. Let’s commit to working toward the common good within our operations and through our relationships with customers, employees, and supply chain partners. Primum non nocere. The opportunities described throughout this report ought not be taken as one-time feel-good initiatives. Rather, they are integral to ongoing business and governmental concerns, opportunities that should pull us out of this crisis and prepare us for the next.
It is a global collaboration including leaders in finance, banking, healthcare, supply chains, manufacturing and technology. We are a community of many enterprise blockchain technology projects including distributed ledger frameworks, smart contract engines, client libraries, graphical interfaces, utility libraries and sample applications. Hyperledger was first launched in December 2015.
A blockchain is best understood in the model of state-machine replication , where a service maintains some state and clients invoke operations that transform the state and generate outputs. A blockchain emulates a “trusted” computing service through a distributed protocol, run by nodes connected over the Internet. The service represents or creates an asset, in which all nodes have some stake. The nodes share the common goal of running the service but do not necessarily trust each other for more. In a “permissionless” blockchain such as the one underlying the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, anyone can operate a node and participate through spending CPU cycles and demonstrating a “proof-of-work.” On the other hand, blockchains in the “permissioned” model control who participates in validation and in the protocol; these nodes typically have established identities and form a consortium.
ICO - STO - ETO
Switzerland is one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of DLT adaption and is an international hub for innovative companies comprising a wide network and profound expertise. The strong collaboration between the DLT ecosystem and the conventional finance industry helps to promote a sustainable growth of STOs in Switzerland.
This document seeks a policy which compliments the VFA regime and continues to support innovation and new technologies for financial services in the area of STOs without compromising investor protection, financial integrity and financial stability. It has been prepared with the EU framework in mind and with the objective of providing guidance on the applicability of relevant EU legislation vis-à-vis STOs.
This article presents a comparative analysis of the application of US and EU securities laws to initial coin offerings (ICOs), or token sales. An extensive token taxonomy framework is proposed to categorize digital assets in order to advance a more precise discussion on the legal classification and regulation of tokens. For the US, a full analysis of the application of the Howey test to different types of tokens gives insight into classification of tokens as a security (“investment contract”) under Section 2(a)(1) of the US Securities Act of 1933 and 3(a)(10) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The analysis shows that most, if not all, so-called utility tokens can be classified as a security. A possible ‘sufficiency-of-decentralization-test’ is also explored, while taking prior case law and the multiple dimensions of decentralization of blockchain projects into account.
Crypto-assets are a type of private asset that depends primarily on cryptography and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). There are a wide variety of crypto-assets. Examples of crypto-assets range from so-called cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies, like Bitcoin, to so-called digital tokens issued through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Some crypto-assets have attached profit or governance rights while others provide some consumption value. Still others are meant to be used as a means of exchange. Many have hybrid features. Crypto-assets are relatively new and the market is evolving. There are more than 2,000 crypto-assets outstanding.