The latest in the business of blockchain: Google and Facebook continue their blockchain activities, lessons learned and pivots taken and how consumers really view blockchain.
Here we go again…
The internet is dominated by FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) and now, they’ve set their sights on blockchain.
Following big moves from Facebook and Amazon, Google has just released six new blockchain datasets for Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Zcash.
Speaking of FAANG, Facebook has acquired the smart-contract startup, Chainspace. Chainspace uses sharding to make blockchain transactions more scalable, something that should be very important to Facebook if they are really working on the blockchain-based remittance platform as widely reported.
Lessons learned from false starts
When KamaGames launched its KamaGames Token, it looked like a surefire success. The gaming company has over 100 million social casino game players and received customer requests to incorporate crypto. Ultimately, the project failed to live up to even KamaGames’ most pessimistic expectations. CEO Andrey Kuznetsov explains why tokenezation failed, blaming the poor user experience caused by Ethereum’s slow transaction speeds and the crypto bear market.
In another case of learning from blockchain-based false starts, potential Airbnb competitor, Bee Token, has pivoted to a B2B fee-based model from its original B2C token-appreciation model. The Uber alumni founded company realized that demand was weak and revenue was needed to keep things running. Bee Token is also planning to raise a seed round soon in addition to its 2018 $4.5 million ICO.
Developing world, developing blockchain
Some of the most promising adoption use cases for blockchain are happening in countries you rarely think about for innovation. Why?
- They have less to lose than the US or Europe, so they’re less risk averse
- Blockchain offers an opportunity to take big jumps forward
In the Philippines for instance, Unionbank, one of the country’s largest banks, recently announced plans to launch the country’s first crypto ATMs. This launch is part of a collaboration with the Philippine government and its central bank.
In Argentina, commuters in 37 cities can now re-fill their public transportation cards, the SUBE card, with bitcoin. It’s worth noting the surging popularity of cryptocurrencies in Argentina where the Argentine peso inflation rate is a whopping 47%, second only in Latin America to Venezuela’s 1.35 million percent .
Promising first steps
BeefChain? The amazing-named startup teamed up with the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Business Council and packaging giant Avery Dennison to trace the first US beef export all the way from Murraymere Farms in Wyoming to a restaurant in Taiwan. RFID tags and blockchain were used to trace the shipment throughout the supply chain and prove its provenance. It’s beginning to look like supply chain on blockchain will be a future industry standard.
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a pilot program featuring blockchain and other technologies to ensure counterfeit drugs don’t find their way into consumers’ hands and bodies. The FDA is accepting applications now to be part of this pilot program.
Ever wondered what non-techies think about blockchain? What features are most attractive to them or how close are we to really getting mass market adoption?
We wonder about this all the time, so we decided to find out. Our recently published (free) Consumer Blockchain Index is the result of a survey of 1,200 American consumers across demographic groups about how they view blockchain. Included are extremely useful insights for anyone who wants to create consumer-focused blockchain-based apps. Check it out here.
Orbs co-founder, Uriel Peled, breaks down the VC activity in blockchain in 2018 as well as provides an outlook for 2019. Some tidbits from 2018: 60% of venture capital went into decentralized products, 20% into infrastructure, 10% exchanges and 10% stable coins.
Movers & shakers
- Facebook has acquired Chainspace.
- SendFriend, a Philippines-based remittance service that uses Ripple’s xRapid, raised $1.7 million from MIT Media Lab, Barclays, the Mastercard Foundation, Ripple, Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures, and 8 Decimal Capital.
- Dharma Labs, which created a decentralized lending protocol, raised $7 million from Coinbase, Y Combinator and Ripple, among others.
- NXM Labs, which safegaurds the security and integrity of systems such as blockchain, raised $5.5 million in a pre-Series A.
- Lumedic, which created a blockchain-based revenue cycle platform for healthcare, was acquired by Providence St. Joseph Health. Providence operates 51 hospitals, 829 clinics and has over 2 million clients.
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