Community News

This Week in Blockchain 02.22.19

Global Crypto

As blockchain enthusiasts continue to wait for mass adoption of the technology, larger entities are exploring cryptocurrencies. Brazil’s Banco BTG Pactual is hoping to raise $15M by offering a security token that is backed by US-based stablecoin, the Gemini dollar.

Beginning in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the bank is using the ethereum platform receive investment and distribute dividends to investors in an attempt at boosting the depressed real estate market.

Meanwhile in Thailand, the government has decided to allow blockchain-based securities “to be issued and traded.” This required an amendment to the nation’s Securities and Exchange Act, with hopes that platforms will be more easily tokenized in the future.

Warehouse Transformation

One of the more interesting collaborations in blockchain is between iconic American apparel company, Levi Strauss, Harvard’s public health graduate school, and the think-tank, New America, to monitor employee health and safety in the jean manufacturer’s warehouses. Consensys is jumping in to provide the blockchain solution.

On the face of it, creating an immutable record for employee replies is a positive step forward. That said, the fact that the apparel company is doing away with outside auditors to focus on self-reporting can be problematic. Of course, auditors can be open to managerial influence, but relying on self-reporting can also be troublesome if workers are afraid to express any problems in the warehouses. Either way, having permanent, unchangeable records is an important step toward transparency.

14th Century Crypto

Written language began with accounting. The very first evidence of the process that would produce literature and mythology involved counting livestock, grain, and other agricultural goods. For roughly 8,000 years humans have been trying to keep track of our stuff. Blockchain merely represents the next phase in that process.

Modern accounting began in 1494, according to William Wright, with an Italian monks well-circulated book on arithmetic, geometry, and proportions. While the Fertile Crescent was the first chain of cities trading with one another, by the fourteenth century an entirely new class of accountants were necessary to track goods being sold, bought, and traded overseas.

The monk, Luca Pacioli, remains influential; every time double entry accounting is employed we have him to thank. Since the publication of his book that has remained the standard of accounting. But we’re at a turning point. Wright believes that an equally monkish figure, Satoshi Nakomoto, has created the next phase of accounting. In fact, Wright says that the end of modern banking was predicted all those centuries ago by the Italian.

The ideas were not new, but like Pacioli, he wrote existing ideas and shared information of a new decentralized ledger system to replace the aging business model of modern banking.

Read Wright’s entire article for the history lesson, as well as to remind yourself that the span of centuries (and even millennia) is not as long as we sometimes believe.

Protect Your Assets

One of the big promises of blockchain is increased security. Of course, this is going to take some time to work out, given the number of stolen crypto that has occurred and general scalability issues. New technologies will face unforeseen challenges; vigilant security will always be required.

Over on Medium, Felix Leber offers five ways to protect your privacy on blockchain. Read the entire article for nuanced understanding, but the basics are offered in this graph:

Closing Thought

“[Harvard scholar, Mancur] Olson’s memorable conclusion is that the small and organized will dominate the large and disorganized” — Tim Wu, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age