Banking on Blockchain Update: September 28, 2018

Welcome to Navigator’s weekly update “Banking on Blockchain”. Each week, we put together a curated list of the latest news highlights and announcements for blockchain in Canada and around the world.

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Canada in Focus

Major audit and consulting firm Deloitte will help the Institutes RiskBlock™ Alliance blockchain consortium expand into Canada. The US based consortium, which represents 31 risk management and insurance companies, focuses on the application of blockchain technology in the insurance industry. The move is part of the alliance’s international expansion strategy, beginning with collaboration with Canadian-based property-casualty and life insurers.

Canadian-based cryptocurrency trading platform Coinsquare has  announced that it has secured an official banking relationship with one of the major Canadian banks. The company has not yet released the details of the relationship, though CEO Cole Diamond says, “this is a tremendous boost not only for Coinsquare but for the entire Canadian cryptocurrency industry.”

While not known for their high-tech industry sector, Medicine Hat, Alberta is facing the high energy demands poised by cryptocurrency mining in their region. As a result, environmentalists and residents have expressed concern about the unprecedented energy usage. The reliance on fossil fuels is a danger identified by environmentalists, though the Toronto-based mining company Hut 8, who are operating in the area, have indicated that renewable energy is not reliable enough to sustain their business.

Canada’s first ever Bitcoin mutual fund, First Block Capital Inc. has said that Canada is a better environment for emerging technologies than the United States. CEO Sean Clark discussed the underlying factors in detail with CCN, indicating that the regulatory bodies understand the benefits of the technology, and are open to innovation more generally. In comparison, Clark says the United States have been less open to embracing this technology.

On the World Stage

Computer manufacturer Dell EMC has announced plans to invest in emerging technology, including blockchain. The company said on Wednesday that it is looking at blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cloud compliance. The interest in blockchain comes from the company’s top clients beginning to adopt the technology. Dell EMC is looking to help these clients manage the new workloads on Dell servers.

Companies investing in blockchain technology is a trend that we are likely to see continue as the technology becomes more prevalent. This week, telecommunications giant AT&T announced the creation of a suite of blockchain solutions designed to work with technology from IBM and Microsoft. The technology will aim to bring additional transparency and accountability to the most complex supply chains.

It is not only businesses that are embracing the technology; an arbitration body in the Chinese city of Nanjing has launched an online ruling system which apparently has a built-in blockchain network for depositing and storing data in legal disputes. The product is still in its testing phase but once complete, will change the way data is stored. The Nanjing committee asserts that the online system will allow parties involved in contract disputes to simultaneously view digital evidence over a tamper-proof and distributed network. The integration of blockchain tech is two-fold; to facilitate the issuing of rulings within 30 days following a filing and in loweing the costs incurred during legal disputes.

Lastly, President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, announced a new initiative to create a national blockchain-based credit bureau. This announcement was made at the U.N. General Assembly meeting on Thursday. The project is in partnership with technology non-profit Kiva, the U.N. Capital Development Fund, and the U.N. Development Programme. This “credit bureau of the future” is being poised to radically transform the country’s financial landscape.