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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 Pros and Cons of Issuing Central Bank Digital Currency

Central Bank of New Zealand | June 2018
Over the past decade, the financial services industry has been disrupted by a range of new technologies, including private, digital currencies. Central banks are considering how they can take advantage of these new technologies to help deliver their core functions. This article by the Central Bank of New Zealand evaluates the pros and cons of a public digital currency issued by a central bank across four functional areas: currency distribution, payments, monetary stability and financial stability.

An Introduction to Crypto

Andressen Horowitz, Linda Xie | May 4, 2018
At Andressen Horowitz’s Intro to Crypto event, Linda Xie provides an introduction to cryptocurrencies. Xie, co-founder and managing director of Scalar Capital, previously product manager at Coinbase, and author of a popular series of beginner’s guides on cryptoassets, argues that the world of cryptos is so much more than money.

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.”

Follow My Vote on the Blockchain

FollowMyVote.com | June 14, 2018
This infographic, published by Follow My Vote, illustrates how blockchain technology is used to build a secure online voting platform. This technology can be used by governments to reduce election costs, increase voter turnout, make voting more convenient and accessible and ensure elections are honest.

How Blockchain Will Change Our Lives

Heritage Foundation, Jonathan Johnson | June 12, 2018
Jonathan Johnson, president, Medici Ventures and a board member for Overstock.com, discusses how blockchain technology is democratizing capital by eliminating the middlemen and removing cost and friction. Specifically, Johnson discusses how blockchain is helping the unbanked participate in the financial system and “unleashing dead capital” around the world by providing immutable records on the ownership of assets.

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.

Smart Cities: Digital Solutions for a More Livable Future

McKinsey & Company | June 2018
McKinsey & Company’s view of each city’s technology base looked at the extent of sensors and devices, the quality of communication networks, and the presence of open data portals. Among the most advanced are Amsterdam, New York, Seoul, Singapore, and Stockholm—but even these front-runners are only about two-thirds of the way toward what constitutes a fully comprehensive technology base today. In general, cities across China, East Asia, Europe, and North America have relatively strong tech bases, as do select cities in the Middle East. But those in Africa, India, and Latin America lag behind, particularly in installing the sensor layer, the most capital-intensive element.

Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood™

Global Energy Institute | May 23, 2018
Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood™ features high-performance, energy-efficient system, cutting-edge interconnectivity and a dedicated microgrid creating a one-of-a-kind community for homeowners. The Smart Neighborhood™ illustrates what the grid of the future looks like and provides a model for cities all throughout the country.

Smart Cities Are Already Here

NBC News, Mach | May 18, 2018
Recent projections show that by 2050, two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. Which makes it imperative that our future cities aren’t vast urban hellscapes but are instead smart urban centers with a dash of sci-fi: devices, roads, and lampposts all talking to each other—making life in cities safer and smoother. And this transformation…is already beginning