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:

“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.