FSB Develops Framework for Financial Stability Implications of Crypto-Assets

Financial Stability Board and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures | July 16, 2018
On July 16, a crypto asset monitoring framework, focusing on channels from crypto asset markets that may give rise to financial stability risks, was presented to G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs by the Financial Stability Board and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures. “Monitoring the size and growth of crypto asset markets is critical to understanding the potential size of wealth effects, should valuations fall,” warned FSB. “Market-related figures, such as metrics on prices, trading volumes, and volatility may be manipulated by generally prohibited practices such as wash trading, spoofing, and pump and dump.”

FINRA Wants to Know All About Member Firms’ Crypto Activities

FINRA | July 6, 2018
FINRA issued a Notice to encourage each firm to promptly notify FINRA if it, or its associated persons or affiliates, currently engages, or intends to engage, in any activities related to digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and other virtual coins and tokens. Until July 31, 2019, FINRA encourages each firm to keep its Regulatory Coordinator abreast of changes in the event the firm, or its associated persons or affiliates, determines to engage in activities relating to digital assets not previously disclosed.

Cryptocurrencies: Looking Beyond the Hype

Annual Economic Report, Bank of International Settlement | June 17, 2018
“Cryptocurrencies promise to replace trusted institutions with distributed ledger technology,” according to the Bank of International Settlements. “Yet, looking beyond the hype, it is hard to identify a specific economic problem which they currently solve. Transactions are slow and costly, prone to congestion, and cannot scale with demand. The decentralized consensus behind the technology is also fragile and consumes vast amounts of energy. Still, distributed ledger technology could have promise in other applications. Policy responses need to prevent abuses while allowing further experimentation.”

The World of Blockchain

Fortune’s Balancing the Ledger, Bridget van Kralingen | 07/17/18
A the end of 2016, IBM created a special division to focus on the development of blockchain software that is secure, permissioned, scalable and easy to build, according to IBM’s Bridget van Kralingen in this Fortune interview. IBM invested heavily in the development of blockchain software for both small developers and big enterprises. In a partnership Linux Foundation and 200 other organizations, IBM heavily supported the development of an open source Hyperledger software, which is the fabric that blockchain is built on. Ms. Van Kralingen discusses all things blockchain and IBM’s efforts to help create blockchain solutions for payment and supply chain applications.

The First All-Blockchain Insurer

The Boston Consulting Group, Roberto Bosisio, Kaj Burchardi, Tim Calvert and Max Hauser | June 8, 2018
What would an “all-blockchain insurer” look like? This Boston Consulting Group article illustrates how insurers would store all the transactional data relating to its contracts on one or more blockchains. When a claim is filed with an all-blockchain insurer, the transaction might well be conducted automatically. Indeed, insurers, who participated in early blockchain pilots described aspects of the insurance value chain becoming “transactionless.”

Blockchain Technology Is “Almost Must Have” for Business

CNBC.com, Sergio Ermotti | June 18, 2018
“It’s almost a must,” said USB CEO Sergio Ermotti in a CNBC interview. “The freeing up of resources to become more efficient will come through technology and blockchain is a great way to allow us to … reduce costs. …Our industry will continue to be under pressure, in terms of gross margins. It’s no doubt. The only way you can stay relevant is not only by being strong in terms of capital, in terms of products, the quality of the people you have, advice you give to clients.”

Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century

Office of Management and Budget | June 21, 2018
On June 21, the Trump administration released this blueprint for implementing a massive overhaul of the federal bureaucracy that touches virtually every federal agency. The blueprint identifies the use of technology—including the use of large data sets and cloud infrastructure—to improve customers’ experience.

How Railroads Are Using AI to Improve the Customer Experience

ZDNet, Mark Holt | June 20, 2018
Trainline CTO Mark Holt explains how his firm is using artificial intelligence, large data sets and the cloud to improve customers’ experience. AI and Google Voice technology is being used to provide customers rail delay predictions and (future) price predictions.

Construction Under Tech — The Build

A16z, Martin Fischer, Saurabh Ladha, Christopher Rippingham, and Hanne Tidnam | June 15, 2018
In Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z podcast, this episode looks at what happens when you go from planning to actually putting boots on the ground in construction projects. How can tech translate rich data sets into the just-right types, amounts, and levels of information for each different piece of the incredibly complex, dynamic, time-and-space problem that is a building site? Martin Fischer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford; Saurabh Ladha, cofounder and CEO of Doxel, which uses AI to real-time measure progress and inspect quality on construction projects; and Christopher Rippingham, who leads technology and innovation leadership for nation-wide commercial contractor and manager DPR Construction discuss how AI is introducing something fundamentally—no, foundationally—different for the construction industry: the feedback loop.

Electronic Stickers Will Streamline Large Scale Internet of Things

Purdue Engineering | July 17, 2018
Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have developed a new fabrication method that makes tiny, thin-film electronic circuits peelable from a surface. This new “transfer printing” technique eliminates several manufacturing steps (and the associated costs), but also allows any object to sense its environment or be controlled through the application of a high-tech sticker. Using these stickers, billions of objects—ranging from smartphones and watches to buildings, machine parts and medical devices—can become wireless sensors of their environments, expanding a network called the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

The “Amazonization” of Banking

Accenture | July 2018
Industries leaders such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba have shown that technology-driven platform-based business models provide explosive growth and profitability. Open APIs and open platform banking are set to change the shape of financial services completely, according to Accenture. This surge of Open Banking APIs and a regulatory push—particularly in the EU—to open business models, the platform economy is set to disrupt the financial services industry in a big way. Will Open Banking lead to the “Amazonization” of banking?

Internet of Things Facilitates Smart Cities

Georgia Tech Center for Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies | July 2018
Georgia Tech’s white paper, developed by the IoT Thought Leadership Working Group of the Georgia Institute of Technology Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies, answers the following key questions about the development of smart cities: (1) what are the opportunities for, and limits of, Smart Cities and connected users/communities?; (2) what data ownership and security issues are associated with IoT and how will they be addressed?; (3) what will IoT business models look like and what would constitute “success”?; and (4) what possible roadmaps can lead to the IoT revolution becoming the IoT of the future?