Business of Blockchain: March 12, 2019

Gil Amran
Gil Amran

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3 years ago

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This week in blockchain business: Facebook is making its preparations, Lyft is getting involved a little, dApps aren't dead after all and big companies are still pushing for mass market adoption.

Facebook is coming to an exchange near you

The New York Times reports that Facebook's crypto project is coming along pretty quickly. According the report, Facebook has already had conversations with several exchanges about listing its upcoming cryptocurrency for WhatsApp.

The Verge has recently written up an opinion piece on Facebook's latest strategic pivot from public news feeds to private conversations via its Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp apps. This sheds a lot of light on the role blockchain plays in Facebook's new strategy as its purported stablecoin can help monetize its messaging apps.

Share your taxi bill with your insurer

Lyft, the ridesharing giant, has signed a deal with Estonia's Solve.Care. The deal allows Solve.Care's crypto wallet users to schedule rides with Lyft to medical appointments and pharmacies and share the expense with family members, insurers and employers.

dApps are still chugging along

Voatz, the blockchain-based mobile voting app will be used in Denver's May municipal election. The app will only be used by active-duty military, their eligible dependents and overseas voters using their smartphones. Voatz has already had 30 pilots and seems to be one of the feelgood stories for dApps.

Civil, the blockchain-based journalism project, had a disastrous ICO in 2018, but is determined to make their project a success. Civil is now focused on slowly (and quietly) building out its network with the announcement of 100 small and medium-sized newsrooms around the world.

First Korea, then the world

The Galaxy S10 is set to be Samsung's first crypto-enabled smartphone. That's interesting, but what's even more interesting is Samsung's plan to create mass adoption through Samsung Pay. According to a report in the Korean publication, Donga (via CCN), sources claim that Samsung Pay will be the crypto wallet. Samsung Pay currently has 10 million users.

MIT Technology Review's Mike Orcutt gives a breakdown of the importance of blockchain phones like Samsung's S10 to mass market adoption. According to Orcutt, user experience is key and goes well beyond simply integrating a crypto wallet.

Boring blockchain is still good blockchain

Tuna giant, Bumble Bee Foods, will be placing its fish on the blockchain. Bumble Bee will be using blockchain to track its yellowfin tuna from the time its caught to the time its on the store shelves. Consumers will be able to scan QR codes on Bumblee ahi steaks to find out more information about each steak.

Carrefour is also going the QR code route with its Carrefour Quality Line (CQL). As the next step in its blockchain strategy, Carrefour will allow customers to scan its CQL milk to see when and where the milk was collected and how the cows were fed.

Alibaba is getting closer to using blockchain for its supply chain. Alibaba VP, Liu Song, told China's People's Daily that the company may use blockchain for complex supply chains with the goal of creating a “closed-loop ecological system that could be linked with local governments”. He also indicated that they are working on blockchain projects for IoT, international logistics, customs brokers, and trade finances.

Blockchain and finance

According to Nasdaq's blockchain product manager, Johan Toll, the company is trialing a blockchain system to tokenize its platform. The trial uses blockchain to emit share issuance of stocks, removing intermediaries and legacy systems in order to speed up the entire process.

Square, the payment processor led by Bitcoin fan, Jack Dorsey, has released its quarterly report and things are looking good for crypto. Square reported (on page 7 of the report) $52 million in fourth quarter bitcoin revenue and $167 million for the year. While this is only a small portion of Square's revenues and slightly lower than previous numbers, its still a significant amount of money.

Recent VC funding

  • Kakao, the Korean messaging giant, raised $90 million in a private coin offering for its crypto unit, Ground X, with plans to raise a similar amount again soon.
  • Figure, a blockchain home loan platform, raised $65 million in a Series B round from Morgan Creek and others, bringing its total funding to $120 million.
  • ThunderCore, a blockchain platform, raised $50 million in a Series A from Arrington XRP and Pantera among others.
  • Tagomi, an end-to-end crypto brokerage, raised $12 million from the likes of Pantera and Paradigm. Tagomi has raised a total of $28 million.
  • Curv, an institutional cloud-based wallet, raised $6.5 million in Seed funding from Team8 and Digital Currency Group.
  • Finturi, a blockchain-based platform for taking loans against invoices, raised €2 million in angel funding.
  • Coin Metrics, a crypto market data startup, raised $1.9 million in Seed funding from Fidelity Investments among others.

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