The Y2K program (does anyone remember that?) came about because software developers assumed, in the early days of computing, that newer, better enterprise systems would come along very soon and that their efficient two-digit date systems would be replaced long before the year 2000 came along.

There were very few CIOs in those days, and many of them would have carefully explained to those efficient software developers that if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it, which often followed the corporate view on IT issues.

You may think of CIOs as technology enthusiasts, and they are, but these days, IT systems are almost always mission-critical. Changing them out means accepting significant operational risk. While you can’t make a car with an electronic data interchange message, if those messages don’t go out or come in, there will be no raw materials for the manufacturing line to bolt together.

As a result, risk management in large enterprises means that we can’t drop in blockchain technology wherever we see a good application. Processes that work at scale, even ones that don’t work particularly well, are still less risky than adopting new ones, especially if you need to bring a bunch of business partners along with you for the ride.

When it comes to deploying blockchains in the enterprise, this means that some things that seem like obvious applications aren’t necessarily going to get traction.

The most typical blockchain solution that doesn’t gain traction even though, on the surface, it seems like a great idea, is supplier collaboration. Blockchains are ideal for complex, multi-party solutions.

Tokenization, in particular, is a powerful tool for managing supply chains because it means that each piece of inventory is subject to double-spend controls and reconciliation when it is tokenized.

You may think that such things already happen today. They don’t.

Enterprise double-spends

While I cannot put money in your bank account without moving it from another one, it turns out that most enterprise IT systems will let me create inventory just about anywhere — and without reconciliation.

Unloading raw materials off a truck? You can “receive” goods easily and because the trucking system and the enterprise are usually not linked, there’s no single system that demands you off-load raw materials from a truck if you want to put them in a warehouse.

By using tokenization and a blockchain to link up the supply chain, we can subject inventory tokens to double-spend controls and force reconciliation across the network. The result is a process that looks much more like banking. When we model this for EY clients, they can easily find a 20% or more reduction in inventory just by improving the accuracy of operations. The return on that investment is usually very large.

The obstacle here is that nearly all large companies already have supplier relationship management systems. These handle the exchange of shipment messages, invoices and inventory data. They’re often point-to-point, between one customer and one supplier, not including third parties like contract manufacturers or shipping companies, and often detached from payments as well. In addition, these systems can’t usually see past one tier back in the supply chain, so a factory fire or a big shipping delay two tiers back won’t be visible until it’s too late to properly react.

Inadequate? Expensive? A far cry from what an integrated blockchain solution could do? Yes, yes and yes. But do these systems work from a day-to-day operations standpoint without major disruption? Mostly. Would it be risky and scary to replace them without a major crisis or burning platform? Yes.

As a consequence, while we are building supply chain collaboration and integration systems, my expectations about where and when we can push a blockchain solution forward are somewhat different.

Businesses are seeking more procurement solutions where the ROI is particularly large and measurable or those scenarios where operational success in the supply chain depends heavily on actions that take multiple tiers out of the supply chain. In both of those cases, there’s often enough value or (perhaps sometimes more importantly) big enough capability gaps to justify enterprises’ investment in new solutions.

I believe blockchains will eventually become the standard mechanism by which companies interact with each other, covering everything from the business agreement to the tokenization of products and services, delivery and supply chain tracking and integrated payments.

The path there, in the enterprise, will be an indirect one, starting with one very specific problem at a time.

This post credited to coindesk Image via Shutterstock

A new token is set to be launched on the ethereum blockchain this January, one that will be backed one-for-one by the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

The companies behind the initiative include decentralized exchange startups Kyber Network and Republic Protocol, as well as cryptocurrency custody company BitGo. What’s more, a number of ethereum-based projects are also reporting that they will support adoption of the token once released.

These include decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges and finance-focused blockchain projects participating as “launch members,” such as MakerDAO, Dharma, Airswap, Gnosis, IDEX, Radar Relay, Compound, DDEX, Hydro Protocol, Set Protocol and Prycto.

Aimed at replicating the utility of bitcoin in a way that’s interoperable with ethereum, the “wrapped bitcoin” or WBTC token will facilitate any decentralized application running on the blockchain.

Calling it “the best of both worlds,” CTO of BitGo Benedict Chan characterized WBTC as possessing both “the stability of bitcoin and the flexibility of ethereum.”

Chan told CoinDesk:

“It’s very similar in some ways to how people created banknotes that represented a pound of gold. A pound of gold was heavier and it took longer to trade. You could use a note which represented a pound of gold and it was well accepted.”

Keeping full custody

In the case of WBTC, BitGo is the primary custodian in charge of holding a reserve of bitcoins to back all minted WBTC tokens in circulation on the ethereum blockchain.

And unlike other stablecoins pegged to fiat currencies, WBTC tokens will feature a full proof-of-reserves verifiable directly on the two blockchains.

“The beauty of that is all we have to do is put up a webpage and show all the addresses that have the bitcoins … and at the same time, people will be able to check how many WBTC are in existence just by looking … on the ethereum blockchain,” said Chan.

Apart from a bitcoin custodian, there are also registered “merchants” responsible for disseminating and redeeming WBTC tokens to all users. Currently listed to be the Kyber Network and Republic Protocol, merchants complete transfers of WBTC for bitcoin and vice versa, in the form of atomic swaps.

As background, atomic swaps facilitate two-way cryptocurrency trades across different blockchain platforms without any risk of one party defaulting on their end of the agreement.

This ensures that for every transfer of WBTC for bitcoin (or the other way around), reserves remain “one-to-one backed and totally verifiable” as highlighted by Chan.

Keeping things moving

The initiative by BitGo, Kyber Network and Republic Protocol is envisioned to be a community-driven effort.

Looking to expand services to a growing number of WBTC users, the goal is to eventually onboard several custodians and merchants in the long run.

WBTC token dissemination structure. Image courtesy of Kyber Protocol.

To this end, Loi Luu, CEO of Kyber Network, emphasized that with the official launch of the WBTC token in January of next year, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) would also be activated and tasked with overseeing the ongoing development of the project.

Luu explained told CoinDesk:

“One of the main reasons why many projects support this initiative is because there’s a DAO that’s going to govern the whole project including making major upgrades, adding more features, adding more merchants, even adding new custodians as well.”

As of now, what remains undetermined is the list of the companies that comprise the DAO, as well as specifications on how DAO members will propose and vote on improvements to the WBTC token.

Expected to be publicized on code-sharing platform GitHub at a later date, Luu affirmed that decentralized leadership would be a key component to the success of the WBTC token.

“I think it couldn’t be that successful if the initiative is owned by Bitgo or by Kyber [Network] or Republic [Protocol] alone,” said Luu.

This post credited to coindesk Image via Shutterstock

Caroline Wozniacki, 28-year-old, Danish, No 2 ranked professional tennis star has entered a partnership with Singaporean firm, Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX) to found her own cryptocurrency token.

Earlier in the week, CCN reported that Filippino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao could launch his own cryptocurrency before the end of the year. Other celebrity personalities with plans to launch personalised cryptocurrencies include former England soccer star Michael Owen, and singer Jason Derulo, both of whom have signed with GCOX to inaugurate specialized crypto tokens.

Visibility Through Endorsements and Partnerships

Speaking to Reuters, at a signing ceremony held by GCOX, Wozniacki expressed her excitement saying:

“To be the first female athlete to have her own token is really cool…I am looking forward to expanding that before other people start getting into it.”

Wozniacki, who claimed her first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January, comes into the finals having won the China Open this month.

GCOX anticipates the launch of the first celebrity token in what could possibly be the first quarter of 2019. Naming Pacquiao, Owen and Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed al-Nahyan, an Abhu Dhabi royalty as private investors in the company, GCOX revealed that the celebrity tokens will give buyers exclusive merchandise and interactions with their favourite celebrities. The celebrities in turn will benefit by collecting proceeds from the token sales. To purchase these tokens, prospective buyers must first acquire GCOX’s own tokens called ACM, the sale of which has only recently started.

GCOX CEO Jeffery Lin is quietly optimistic about potential sales, telling Reuters:

“We are trying to $300 – 600 million”.

GCOX Filling Some Big Boots

An excerpt from the GCOX website reads:

“The ACCLAIM token (symbol: ACM) is the base token for all Celebrity Tokens creation, trading in the inbuilt DEX, with a total of 1 billion and a minimum unit of 0.00000001. The ACCLAIM token serves as a mean of exchange for the many different Celebrity Tokens corresponding to different celebrities.”

GCOX ultimately aims to be a global leader in the popularity index and the choice popularity index for celebrities; to be the platform of choice for fans to connect and engage with their idols and celebrities; and to bring business fundamentals to the world of blockchain and create value for fans, celebrities and investors.

CCN recently covered a series of stories outlining the growing relationship between sports and cryptocurrencies, led principally by European soccer teams. PSG and Juventus recently became the first globally recognised football clubs to announce plans for their very own fan token. English Premier League sides Newcastle United and Cardiff City have also expressed interest in raising money through crypto markets.

This post credited to ccn Image from Shutterstock.

On July 31, the price of bitcoin fell by 4 percent, from $8,150 to $7,800, as both major cryptocurrencies and small market cap tokens plummeted in value.

Within hours after its 4 percent drop, the price of bitcoin rebounded from $7,800 to $8,150, demonstrating an instantaneous recovery from its relatively large drop. However, other major digital assets and tokens failed to recover, falling by large margins against both bitcoin and the USD.

Bitcoin’s Recovery

On July 30, CCN noted in its report that the value of bitcoin is likely to drop from the $8,150 possibly down to the higher end of $7,000, due to the instability in the market.

“If BTC fails to maintain its volume and falls below the $8,100 mark, it is possible for BTC to test a major support level at $8,000 and eye a drop below the $8,000 mark. If BTC finds stability in the lower end of the $8,000 region, a short-term bottom will likely be found at $8,000, with expected recovery to $8,500,” the report of Crytowhale read.

As expected, the price of bitcoin fell below the $8,000 mark, but the rapidly recovery of bitcoin from the $7,800 level was not foreseen by the majority of traders, as it occured in such a short period of time.

Some investors, including Peter Brandt, have stated that in the mid-term, a price surge to $9,400 is a possibility for BTC, after a possible pullback in the upcoming days. Given that BTC has tested the $10,000 two times in the past three months, a movement to the mid-$9,000 region is a plausible scenario.

It is also important to acknowledge the movement of funds from other major digital assets and small market cap tokens to BTC, demonstrated by the lack of volume and momentum showed by most cryptocurrencies.

Tokens like WanChain, Decentraland, Ontology, and ICON, which have recorded strong performances against BTC upto June, have fallen by nearly 30 percent against both BTC and the US dollar since early July.

Even EOS, a $7 billion blockchain protocol backed by billionaire investors such as Peter Thiel and Mike Novogratz, has fallen by more than seven percent over the past 24 hours, despite the quick recovery of BTC from the $7,800 level.

Based on the lack of confidence of investors in the short-term trend of the cryptocurrency market as shown by the poor performance of alternative cryptocurrencies, a pullback is most likely. If the current trend continues, the price of BTC will likely drop below the $8,000 mark again in the next few days.

Polymath’s 40 Percent Increase Overnight

Tokenized securities blockchain project Polymath has surged by 40 percent overnight after the listing of Binance. For many months, Polymath has found demand from investors on OKEx and other major platforms, but struggled to sustain its movement due to its lack of presence on Binance. While a drop in the near future is expected due to the lack of momentum in BTC and the cryptocurrency market, Polymath experienced a larger surge in price than investors expected.