UBS CEO Ermotti calls blockchain “must-have” for companies and banks

HOME TECH BLOCKCHAIN UBS-CEO ERMOTTI CALLS BLOCKCHAIN “MUST-HAVE” FOR COMPANIES AND BANKS
Sergio Ermotti, Managing Director of the Swiss banking giant UBS, thinks a lot of the Blockchain. In an interview with the US news channel CNBC, he predicts a bright future for distributed ledger technologies this week, especially in the financial sector. For banks in particular, these technologies represent a groundbreaking opportunity. For companies, they have almost become a “must-have”. Meanwhile, more and more financial institutions worldwide are focusing their attention on the potential of the blockchain.

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti is anything but a crypto fan – the Swiss has proven this several times in the past. However, this does not distract him from the blockchain technology behind the crypto currencies. What’s more, in an interview with the US business intelligence agency CNBC this week he emphasizes the special potential of the blockchain for the banking sector.

“The blockchain is almost a must-have. Technologies will [in the future] free up resources and make us [banks] more efficient. The blockchain is a great opportunity that allows us to reduce costs.”

The same Bitcoin news are necessary as long-term business pressure on banks is growing

In times of flourishing digitalisation of the entire financial sector, they are confronted with dwindling profit margins. Particularly in the Bitcoin news, more and more private companies are outpacing traditional financial institutions like this: https://www.onlinebetrug.net/en/bitcoin-news-trader/.

“Our industry will continue to be under pressure in terms of gross margins. There is no doubt about it. The only way to remain relevant is not only through capital, products, employee quality and customer service. You also have to be able to derive the right prices from this,

said the UBS Managing Director about the advantages of the upcoming blockchain application. In addition to the adaptation in the transaction business, distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are said to have decisive predictive power for markets and customer behavior. In the future, banks could make use of this for their business areas.

Nevertheless, Ermotti stressed on June 18 that customers and banks still have to be patient. It would take another five to ten years for the blockchain to break through.

Then, however, the 58-year-old is certain that there will be a breakthrough. The blockchain will prove to be “as groundbreaking and far-reaching for the banking sector as the [financial market] regulation of the past ten years”.

Banks and the blockchain: Together into the future?

While banks are believed to be the most clearly threatened by DLT in their business model, more and more financial institutions are focusing on the potential of the technologies. For example, a study conducted last week by US consulting firm Greenwich Advisors shows that the efforts of financial institutions in the blockchain sector more than doubled last year. A total of 1.7 billion US dollars are said to have been invested by banks worldwide in the research and development of DLT solutions in 2017.

One of these banking hopes is the company R3. According to the consortium, more than 200 financial institutions, regulators, trade associations and technology companies have joined forces. Among them are such big names as Microsoft, Barclays, HSBC and UBS. Their goal will be to develop blockchain solutions for business applications, especially banking payments.

Furthermore, the Swiss are currently researching their own blockchain application together with the US software giant IBM. Their trading platform Batavia is intended to put the financing of international goods traffic on a secure footing in the future.

This week, UBS’s initiatives and the assessments of its Managing Director Sergio Ermotti underscore a global trend: banks in particular are keeping a close eye on the potential of distributed ledger technologies.

The new concepts must become more suitable for everyday use

What would you see as the biggest current challenges of the Lightning Network and the most interesting current solutions?

The biggest challenge is currently the implementation of the many new concepts that further improve the current early beta version of the Lightning Network and make it “more suitable for everyday use”. The Lightning Network is an open source project, as is Bitcoin.

How can you imagine your work on the Bitcoin secret, what do you do concretely?

And as is often the case in the open source sector or in IT in general, there is a lack of more good, long-term developers who can implement the many exciting concepts. Some concrete suggestions for Bitcoin secret improvement are Atomic Multipath Payments (AMP), splicing and a working implementation of Watchtowers. Fulmo and the Lightning-Hackday – Educational work and #BUILDL for the Lightning Network. Your company Fulmo is specialized in the adaptation of the Lightning Network.

We started as a research start-up and try to give ourselves and others a good overview of the current status and development of the Lightning Network. For this purpose we are organizing the Lightning-Hackday, a mixture of Hackathon and Barcamp. The event brings developers, users and curious people together to learn, teach and develop as much as possible about this new technology. On the Lightning-Hackday the RaspiBlitz was created, a Bitcoin- and Lightning-Network-Full-Node, which runs on a Raspberry Pi and should enable everyone to run their own node very fast and cheap.

Building your own LApps at the Hackathon

You are hosting the third Lightning-Hackday on the first of September. The second Lightning-Hackday was a Barcamp/Hackathon. The event offered various forums for interested people to talk about and experience the Lightning Network. What awaits visitors at the beginning of September?

The Lightning Hackday is designed as an event where you can learn and try out everything about the Lightning Network. If you already have some previous knowledge, you can try to build your own LApp at the Hackathon. We’ve invited a few speakers from the major implementations. There are for example Christian Decker from Blockstream, Fabrice Drouin from Acinq, Johan Halseth from Lightning Labs or Giacomo Zucco from RGB Project. But the special thing about the Lightning Hackday is that the “speakers” are also participants, and the participants are also speakers. Anyone who has an idea, a question or a problem can offer a session within the framework of the bar camp and talk concretely about their desired content. And it quickly happens that Christian Decker sits in the audience and learns something. All participants meet at eye level, unbiased, with a common goal: to help shape the Lightning Network and move it forward together.

All that remains is to thank Jeff for the interview and recommend a visit to the Lightning Hackday to the reader. If the last hackday can be used as an orientation, the event will be worthwhile for every tech enthusiast and interested person!

John Key: crypto trader never wants to have invested in Bitcoin

New Zealand’s former prime minister, John Key, is currently getting fired up over the distribution of fake news about alleged Bitcoin investments he is said to have made. Key foams at the New Zealand Herald (NZH) because Facebook has not yet complied with his request to delete these false statements.

Bitcoin’s ability to transform payments on a global scale is very exciting for the crypto trader

In fact, the statement, which was misused for advertising purposes, comes from British entrepreneur and Virgin founder Richard Branson, who once announced that he had invested in Bitcoin because he believed in its potential. John Key, on the other hand, never put this statement on paper. Also, the former crypto trader, who led New Zealand for eight years, never told Bloomberg news agency that his investment in Bitcoin crypto trader increased from $1,000 in the end to $300 million. Anyone with a healthy dose of common sense will immediately realise that the story cannot be true when it comes to the margin.

The CryptoSoft website in question also claims that you can turn 50 dollars into a fortune. Legal and free of taxes, of course. The Bitcoin is the foundation stone for the emergence of thousands of new millionaires. Those who participate join financially strong moguls like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Apparently some people’s greed is much stronger than their common sense, otherwise the website would have been shut down long ago. Despite the record drive of the Bitcoin course towards Mars, you must never switch off your brain when it comes to money.

This is all the more true as soon as completely exaggerated profit promises are made. Twitter currently advertises quite intensively for the oh so promising crypto-trading software via partly anonymous accounts. Others send their scam warnings into the ether to advertise on their own behalf. One can only say: Welcome to the Internet – welcome to the Wild West!

John Key: Facebook does not live up to its responsibility

In the media the conservative politician Key foams and attacks the operators of Facebook. So far they have refused to delete the “fake news” postings in question. Key told the NZH:

“That’s disgusting. People are really in danger and you’d think Facebook takes its responsibilities seriously.”

Key, who is currently on the board of ANZ Bank New Zealand, learned about the unfair practices of people who actually wanted to thank him for his great investment tips. The NZH has asked Facebook for a statement, so far without success.

The NZH publishing house, NZME Publishing, also tried its luck on its own behalf. In addition to a photo of Key, the advertisers also misused the newspaper’s logo for their own purposes. However, the efforts of the legal department have so far been futile because those responsible conceal their identity. In the Whois entry of the domain, as is usual with fraud sites, the real name of the operator is not listed, but that of an Internet service provider who anonymizes all information. Also the server location of the fake side is obscured, by the CDN offerer Cloudflare was interposed. At least the backers of the crypto rip-off cannot be accused of not mastering all the tricks that are common in the grey area of the web.

The Gold Rush of the Blockchain Hackathons

Hackathons and incubators, which were originally reserved for up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs, are now opening their doors to blockchain projects.

Bitcoin and Blockchain fanboy market and the news spy

Of course, the blockchain sector is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, the advent of blockchain hackathons and startup incubators has brought about a major change in the adoption of this technology.

The previous strategy of many Bitcoin companies was the news spy to first address the Bitcoin and Blockchain fanboy market. The hope in this business strategy is to gain enough momentum to be accepted by the mainstream.

Scott Robinson, Vice President of Plug and Play Fintech, Scott Robinson, as the founder of an incubator, has met a number of startups who want to revolutionize existing technologies based on the blockchain. He believes that this strategy will not work:

“Ultimately, the channel through which a novel financial application reaches many customers is through the major players in the financial landscape.

The Accelerator Plug and Play

Entrepreneurs in the Bitcoin and blockchain sectors have recognized these problems. They hope that hackathons, which are often organized by large companies in the financial sector, can be used to build networks with them.

The fact that hackathons are helpful in building such networks has long been recognized by startups in other industries.

The Accelerator Plug and Play helps startups to do this and has been working in this context since 2014 with 96 very young companies, many of which are still in the start-up phase.

However, the work of the Accelerator is also worthwhile for large companies: cooperation with hackathons and incubators helps them to come into contact with a new type of technology without having to make large investments of their own. This also allows their established business to grow.

More and more large companies are taking advantage of this opportunity. Capital One, to give one example, organized a hackathon in San Francisco in July 2015 together with Chain. At this event, 70 employees were flown in to work together with Blockchain experts on blockchain-based solutions.

Hackathons like Capital One’s “bring those who know a lot about finance, but little about the blockchain, together with their counterparts, the blockchain experts without a large financial background,” says Robinson.

Network effects on a Bitcoin loophole

There are some more or less successful Bitcoin and Blockchain startups that continue to participate in hackathons or have connected accelerators. The Bitfury Group, a company providing blockchain services, has raised $90 million in capital for Bitcoin Mining Services. With this money they were able to set up their own accelerator, the Blockchain Trust Accelerator.

Bitcoin loophole supported by Ernst & Young

Nevertheless, this company joined an Accelerator supported by Ernst & Young. Bitfury received a review for the Bitcoin loophole last week for the best pitch for a digital rights management solution based on the blockchain. This helped her to carry her Blockchain-based solutions to large companies together with Ernst & Young.

“Of course, we are very proud of the result. We have established a good business relationship with senior partners. We quickly understood that such a relationship with Ernst & Young is a good way to offer blockchain solutions to multinational companies,” said Mark Taverner, Head of Business Development at Bitfury.

Darren Tseng is co-founder and vice president of product at Adjoint, a distributed ledger platform that enables smart contract-based solutions for financial services. He founded his company in June, but continues to participate in hackathons.

“I participate in them for fun and networking,” said Darren. These hackathons don’t have much to do with his work at Adjoint, but on such hackathons you can find new friends as well as potential developers.

Places of pure creativity

Hackathons are also a good breeding ground for new ideas and potential employees or cooperation partners.

Jeremy Gardner, founder of the Blockchain Education Network and Entrepreneur in Residence at Blockchain Capital, is enthusiastic about hackathons: “This is the best breeding ground for new ideas I have ever known.

“Forcing programmers to get from a sketch sheet to a working demo within 24-72 hours produces a very special, raw form of creativity. You can’t find this kind of creativity anywhere else”.

Gardner has been responsible for the organization of hackathons for several years. Some time ago at the Distributed Health Hackathon he decided to become Saavha Co-Founder and Head of Business Development at the startup. Saavha is a startup who wants to secure appointments with the doctor on the blockchain.

He is of the opinion that programmers and other developers, even if they are already employed in a company or have a running startup, should continue to participate in hackathons. This is the only way to bring them together with new concepts, products and potential cooperation partners.

“The ROI is clear for simple participants, but it can also be helpful for companies to send their programmers to such events.

Marshall Islands Decide Own Crypto Currency “Sovereign”

The government of the Marshall Islands wants to introduce its own crypto currency, the “Sovereign”. This was published this week by the government of the dwarf state via social media. A bill to this effect was passed on Monday, so that the way is now clear for the island currency. After Turkey and Iran, the Pacific state is the third country to respond to the successful launch of Venezuelan Petro by issuing its own currency.

First Petro, soon cryptosoft Sovereign?

The list of countries hoping to issue their own national cryptosoft currency in the future grows by one more member. The sovereign, which means sovereign or ruler in German, is to advance the financial interests of the Marshall Islands in the future like this Is Cryptosoft a Scam? Beware, Read our Review First. A corresponding draft law was passed on Monday, 26 February.

“The purpose of this law is the explanation and publication of a digital decentralized currency on basis of the Blockchain technology as public advertisement of the republic of the Marshall islands”, it says in the bill.

President Heine describes the project

The happy news was spread by the government of the dwarf state, which with only 72,000 inhabitants is one of the smallest countries in the world, via the state Telegram account.

“The fact that we are finally issuing our own currency and using it alongside the US dollar is a historic moment for our people. It is a further step to realize our national freedom”, said President Hilda Heine to Finance Magnates. The Marshall Islands do not have their own national currency. Due to their historical proximity and an association agreement with the USA, only US dollar notes are in circulation here. This is to be changed by the sovereign.

The technology behind the currency is to come from Israel. The start-up Neema wants to use public protocol data in order to keep the concern of criminal use to a minimum. In addition, accounts are to be linked with the government’s identification data, as reported by the Israeli tech news site CTech.

Marshall Islands: tax haven in the South Seas
Similar to Venezuela, the sovereign is to be issued as part of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The associated financial injection is likely to be welcomed in the island state. For in addition to declining tourism and a manageable production of tropical fruits, the domestic economy is limping.

“The government of the Marshall Islands will invest the proceeds to advance its efforts against climate change, for green energy, health care as well as towards those affected by the US nuclear tests and education. The sovereign is to be distributed directly to the citizens,

The difficult economic situation in the country is also related to the tax situation. The islands are regarded as tax havens and are blacklisted by the EU Commission. Only the US compensation for the nuclear bomb tests in the region literally keeps the islands threatened by climate change afloat. Every year, the USA sends up to 62.7 million US dollars to the Pacific.

Difficulties with the software

As a general rule, anyone who makes an impression on hackathons can open further doors. Tseng took part in an Ernst & Young Startup Challenge, a six-week program that focused on blockchain applications this year. There he and his team won the award for the company with the “greatest investment potential”.

This is particularly exciting as it is currently still more of an obstacle than a help to be a professional blockchain software developer.

Into the future with Hackathons

“Distributed Ledger technology is still very early in the adoption cycle. Technologies that are very new tend to be less user-friendly and therefore have a higher entry barrier.”

The 18 year old founder of the Blockchain Startup Mesh has six years of experience with the Blockchain at his young age. According to him, Blockchain technology has many strengths, but usability is not one of them.

Since he was twelve, Mate Bitcoin has mined on graphics cards and built several online wallets. In general, he came into contact with computers and programming early on: The computer on which he started mienne Bitcoin was built when he was nine. He played games that were still in the beta phase, debugged them and learned to reproduce the mistakes they had.

But working on video games is easy compared to working on the blockchain: there is no developer toolkit for the blockchain. The infrastructure that would allow a large adoption of the blockchain in the developer scene still needs to be developed.

Some blockchain APIs do exist, but according to him they are not exactly flexible

However, Tseng believes that this will change: The blockchain technology is being accepted by banks and financial institutions like Hyperledger or R3. Just this week Richard Glendal Brown, CTO of R3, wrote a blog post about Corda, the smart contract platform of R3.

The blockchain will continue to take big steps into the future – as it has done since 2008. Blockchain enthusiasts will continue to start businesses and spend their free time on hackathons.

The industry will catch up now that the first links between startups and large companies have been established; according to Mate, this will lead to the “blockchain revolution” in which these large companies will fully adopt the blockchain. Hackathons are the ideal way to find real use cases.

Hackathons, incubators and accelerators “very quickly show whether an idea makes sense for large companies,” says Plug and Play’s Robinson.

Dr. Philipp GieseDr. Philipp Giese works as Chief Analyst for BTC-ECHO and specializes in chart analysis and technology. The doctor of physics has many years of professional experience as a technological consultant at his disposal. In addition, he is the central contact person in the BTC-ECHO Discord Channel and, as a speaker and interviewer, maintains an exchange with startups, developers and visionaries.