The majority of global financial institutions surveyed believe that central banksshould develop central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDCs), according to a joint study by IBM Blockchain World Wire and the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) released Oct. 25.

The study includes 21 central banks that participated in the OMFIF’s research between July and September 2017. The reports notes that participants failed to find a compromise on whether governments should issue their own cryptocurrencies, as well as were divided over the associated processes of managing and accessing those CBDCs, tech news media The Next Web notes.

76 percent of respondents have reportedly expressed uncertainty about the efficiency of distributed ledger technology (DLT) deployments, while most financial institutions surveyed said that they believed that central banks should issue their own digital currencies.

Still, 38 percent of financial institutions in the study are actively exploring and trialling CBDC, while the rest — 62 percent — are reported as completely not active in this field.

Apart from providing statistics on opinions towards central bank-issued digital currencies by global financial institutions, the report also includes a number of approaches to establish CBDCs, as well as offers guidance for institutions on how to manage the associated challenges.

On Oct. 23, a senior executive at U.K.-based bank HSBC Craig Ramsey claimedthat both CBDCs and blockchain deployments pose a “great challenge” to existing real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems.

Last week, the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) deputy governor Masayoshi Amamiya claimed that CBDCs are unlikely to improve the existing monetary systems, since controlling the economy through CBDCs only works if central banks eliminate fiat money from the financial system.

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A blockchain developed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, in collaboration with the University of Sydney, has completed a global test on Amazon’s ubiquitous cloud computing network to process 30,000 transactions

As reported yesterday, the ‘Red Belly Blockchain’ – developed jointly by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Concurrent System Research Group (CSRG) at the University of Sydney – was put to use in a successful trial on Amazon Web Services (AWS), a popular cloud infrastructure provider.

While the blockchain has previously been tested to scale substantially – up to 660,000 transactions per second– on a single localized network of 300 machines, the full scale of its trial on AWS has now been revealed.

Deployed across 1,000 virtual machines in 14 of 18 geographic regions serviced by AWS, “a benchmark was set by sending 30,000 transactions per second from different geographic regions, demonstrating an average transaction latency of three seconds with 1,000 replicas”, a CSIRO announcement confirmed.

The geographical locations of the nodes running the blockchain include North America, South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific (Sydney).

Fundamentally, the experiment was to showcase the Red Belly Blockchain’s scalability while retaining the technology’s core characteristics in security and speeds, the agency said. Their blockchain relies on a unique consensus mechanism that performs and scales without adhering to the ‘proof of work’ mechanism used by popular public blockchains like bitcoin and ethereum.

“Real-world applications of blockchain have been struggling to get off the ground due to issues with energy consumption and complexities induced by the proof of work,” Dr Vincent Gramoli, senior researcher at CSIRO’s Data61,” Dr Vincent Gramoli, senior researcher at Data61 and head of the university research group said.

He added:

“The deployment of Red Belly Blockchain on AWS shows the unique scalability and strength of the next generation ledger technology in a global context.”

Concurrently, the CSIRO is also part of a data consortium with technology giant IBM that is actively developing a large-scale, cross-industry blockchain platform dubbed the Australian National Blockchain (ANB). The nationwide blockchain platform will be powered by smart contracts.

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IBM and members of the U.S. Congressional Blockchain Caucus discussed the use of blockchain for ID systems, payments, and supply chains during a meeting today, September 24, according to a press call attended by Cointelegraph.

IBM recently published a report entitled “The Impact of Blockchain for Government: Insights on Identity, Payments, and Supply Chain” made in collaboration with the U.S. Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

The report summarizes a series of roundtable discussions between U.S. Representatives Jared Polis (author of “The Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act,” which proposes to abolish crypto taxes below $600) and David Schweikert, along with Thomas Hardjono, technical director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Jerry Cuomo, vice president for blockchain technology and CTO at IBM.

IBM and MIT held three meetings with members of Congress, discussing the need for government funding of blockchain innovation and regulatory sandboxes, in which the state would be able to test different solutions before they are brought to the market.

As Cuomo said during the press-call, experts could study blockchain “the whole day”, but eventually it must be made available to citizens. He stressed that it was “time for the [U.S.] to start acting” on blockchain integration in daily life. “Blockchain is ready for government, let’s get government ready for blockchain,” he added.

Rep. Polis, who previously proposed making Colorado a “national hub for blockchain innovation in business and government,” said that the state has only begun to see “the promise of blockchain technology,” which exceeds cryptocurrencies and tokens.

He stressed the importance of creating the best legal  framework for innovation and blockchain implementation, which could significantly improve the quality of life of Americans. Polis also added that blockchain might address “the real lack of trust in centralized institutions.”

Polis further mentioned the importance of relevant crypto taxation. “We want to make sure that people using cryptocurrencies won’t pay taxes for buying a cup of coffee or a magazine,” he said. However, when later asked on tax holidays for crypto startups, IBM CTO Cuomo said that was “a really big question” that had not yet moved much beyond “small dollar amounts.”

During the call, Rep. Schweikert — who previously urged the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to clarify crypto taxation — said that medicine and social projects would see the most benefit from blockchain solutions. However, he noted that specific encryption standards should be elaborated to protect data — an aim pursued by the caucus’ partnership with several institutions such as MIT and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, U.S. Congressman and Blockchain Caucus member Tom Emmer announced that he would introduce three bills to support the development of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, as well as establish a safe harbor for taxpayers with “forked” digital assets.

 

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New research from fintech analysts Juniper House has found that blockchain’s traction with large enterprises has risen by 11 percent this year, according to a press release published September 11.

Juniper’s Blockchain Enterprise Survey: Deployments, Benefits & Attitudes (Second Edition) found that 65 percent of responding large enterprises – defined as those who employ a minimum of 10,000 staff – are “considering or actively engaged” in blockchain deployment, up 11 percent from the corresponding 54 percent figure last year.

Further data analysis shows that nearly a quarter of firms have moved beyond blockchain proofs-of-concept onto trials and commercial rollouts. The potential scope of the technology’s application has also expanded, with only 15 percent of firms’ proposed blockchain applications relating to payments – as compared with 34 percent last year.

The press release notes there has been “significant” interest in fields across logistics, authentication and smart contracts.

Even as Ethereum (ETH) has taken a battering on the spot markets recently, Juniper’s findings also reveal that nearly half of responding firms are planning to harness the platform’s token standardization potential to launch their proprietary dApps (Distributed Applications) on the Ethereum blockchain.

Among firms that had already invested over $100,000 in blockchain indicated they planned to spend “at least” the same sum in the coming year. Juniper noted that this demonstrates “largely positive” initial feedback on investment in the technology, sufficient for firms to bolster their existing commitments to pursuing its development.

Juniper research co-author James Moar is however quoted as pointing towards potential challenges posed by integrating blockchain into legacy systems:

“The findings illustrate the need for companies to engage in a prolonged period of parallel running new systems alongside the old, to iron out any issues that might arise.”

Interestingly, among the incumbent tech giants, IBM was found to be the most popular company for blockchain solutions – 65 percent of respondents named it as their “go-to” choice – outstripping rival firm Microsoft by almost 10 times, which scored 7 percent and was ranked second.

A major recent survey by “Big Four” auditor Deloitte found that among businesses faced with implementing legacy-constrained blockchain solutions, 74 percent of all the respondents to the survey said their executive team believes there is a “compelling business case” for their deployment.

 

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Tech giants Alibaba and IBM are vying for the top spot on a new list that ranks global entities by the number of blockchain-related patents filed to date, published August 31 by iPR Daily.

iPR Daily — a media outlet specializing in intellectual property — says it consolidated data as of August 10 from across China, the EUAmericaJapan and South Korea, as well consulting the International Patent System from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

China’s Alibaba only just seals first place, having filed a total of 90 blockchain-related patent applications, whereas IBM has to date filed a total of 89.

In third place is Mastercard — with 80 filings — followed by Bank of America, with 53. Fifth on the new list is China’s central bank, People’s Bank of China (PBoC), which has filed a total of 44 patent applications devoted to its project for central bank digital currency.

As Cointelegraph has reported, WIPO data has previously indicated that the highest number of patent filings for blockchain technology in 2017 came from China, which filed 225 that year as compared with the America’s 91 and Australia’s 13.

China’s embrace of the technology is counterbalanced by an increasingly stringent stance against decentralized cryptocurrencies, which has intensified yet further in recent weeks.

This split position is mirrored by Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, who has been vocal in his endorsement of blockchain, even while reserving skepticism for cryptocurrencies.

IBM for its part has been steadily expanding its involvement in blockchain across diverse fields, recently signing a five-year $740 million deal with the Australian government to use blockchain and other new technologies to improve data security and automation across federal departments, including defense and home affairs.

 

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