Europe’s Very Own Blockchain Capital: Berlin

America has Silicon Valley, Asia has Singapore – but what’s the tech hub of Europe? This is a much contested topic yet one of the most often discussed. But let’s be more specific – what is Europe’s blockchain technology capital? 

Some people may suggest Switzerland, where many blockchain tech companies are based – but where are the teams of the big projects located? Where are the hackathons, the meetups, where do the developers eat and sleep? Easy answer – Berlin.

This is incredibly evident given a quick look at the city’s vibrant blockchain scene – it may just be bigger than anywhere else in Europe. And it’s growing faster than ever.

Back in 2017 during the first ICO craze, it seemed all the biggest names in crypto seemed to call Berlin home. Take a look at Lisk, the blockchain startup with its own chain which launched in 2016. At the time of its ICO in which it raised 14,000 BTC, it was the second most successful crypto crowdfund as of yet. Lisk is supported by its team, part of Lightcurve, who still proudly calls Berlin home. 

Berlin is also home to crypto projects like IOTAParity Technologies (known for Polkadot, it was founded by one of Ethereum’s original founders, Gavin Wood) and even homes the first known all-blockchain tech co-working space – Full Node – in the hip neighborhood of Kreuzberg. Full Node is currently home to projects Gnosis and Cosmos/Tendermint.

But why is Berlin so attractive to the blockchain scene? Let’s take a look at a few possible reasons.

1. Berlin is always on the fringe of the new.

Berlin is a city of constant change, a place that’s always on the edge of a new identity, though never settling for one. This philosophy exquisitely parallels the ideals behind blockchain technology – a technology that seeks to recreate the world around it, while pushing all known boundaries. This is what makes Berlin meetups and hackathons so vibrant and the perfect meeting ground for collaboration and idea-generation.

2. Berlin is non-judgmental and gives people room to grow and improve.

Blockchain technology is not exactly perfect. The industry has been rife with problems and controversies from the beginning as individuals navigate this unknown territory. The blockchain industry embraces creativity, ingenuity, and the new, even if they come with mistakes along the way. Berlin is a forgiving city. It gives its people a chance to create, explore and constantly improve. Many individuals are not only trying to accomplish goals but are also trying to improve themselves on a personal level – and Berlin fosters that individual growth.

3. Berlin is cheaper than most cities of its quality.

In places like Silicon Valley, you need a lot of money to run a startup, let alone survive. Comparably, Berlin is cheap. You can still find shared apartments for 400 EUR per month for a room, or even 900 EUR if you want to live alone – and not only in a box-sized room. You can easily eat for less than 6 EUR a day if you want to live frugally – it’s easy if you cook, or opt for the much-loved street kebabs. Although Berlin does offer the luxurious life, many blockchain technology developers are focused on accomplishing their goals, and possibly bootstrapping their projects – so the less life costs you, the better.

Although the cost of living is slowly going up in Berlin, it is still one of the best places to live in Europe, with relatively low cost-of-living. It’s also home to some of the brightest minds in blockchain tech today.

What’s On at European Blockchain Convention 2020

Source: https://eblockchainconvention.com

Despite the fact that we are still in the times of Corona, the show must go on, particularly for the blockchain industry. 

Conferences have always been one of the best ways to stay in tune with the happenings and latest developments in an industry, and for one that moves as quickly as the blockchain industry, conferences are integral. Fortunately, virtual conferences are becoming commonplace, so there’s no reason to stay uninformed.

The European Blockchain Convention will be held virtually this year on September 21 and 22 from the comfort of anywhere you choose – with all of the same learning power, but with less of the travel hassle. The conference agenda is thorough and full of powerful and knowledgeable speakers in attendance.

The tracks address a number of subjects within blockchain. The conference kicks off with a track on transformation of digital identity into a self sovereign one – one of the most widely discussed subjects in the space today. Speakers on the matter range from Concordium CEO Lone Fonss Schroder to Notabene CEO Pelle Braendgaard.

Source: https://elreferente.es

The following track explores the current state of central bank digital currencies – the speaker lineup boasts experts such as Deutsche Bundesbank’s Martin Diehl and Swiss National Bank’s Thomas Moser.

There are also tracks on blockchain solutions for the financial services industry as well as the role of blockchain in cross-border payments. Speakers on these subjects include Commerzbank’s Sebastian KraftBNP Paribas Digital Transformation Leader & Blockchain Researcher Dean Demellweek and co-founder and chair of Monerium, Jon Helgi Egilsson.

As with any good blockchain tech conference, there is a panel of experts speaking on the subject of the challenges that remain in the industry – as well as possible solutions. In addition, there will be a panel dedicated to exploring the current regulatory climate for blockchain. 

Nadia Hewett of the World Economic Forum will be joining the panel on how to facilitate international trade with the help of blockchain technology. Other speakers on the panel include the likes of Tracr CEO Jim Duffy.

There will be an exploration of blockchain technology’s impact on pharmaceutical supply chains discussed by the likes of Novartis PharmaLedger’s Clarisse Dias da Mota and Jorge A. Ferrer Roig, a Medical Informatician-Health System Specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

VeChain’s Sunny Lu will be in attendance.
Source: https://cryptoupclose.com

Even VeChain’s co-founder and CEO Sunny Lu will be present at the conference to speak on blockchain’s role in building smart cities for a better future.

One of today’s hottest topics, Decentralized Finance, better known as DeFi, will also be discussed by the likes of Bidao COO Xiaolong Zhang and Radix CEO Piers Ridyard.

The discussion around digital assets will get two subsequent panels with panels featuring Polymath Chief Product Officer Thomas Borrel and Leanne Kemp, CEO and founder of Everledger.

Members of food giants like Nestle and Carrefour will also be in attendance to discuss how to use the ability to track and trace to fight food fraud.

The conference wraps up with panels on the importance of DLT and blockchain standardsgovernance in decentralized systems, what Web3 will mean for the future as well as how to build blockchain applications with the potential for social impact – which will feature speaker Maria Rosaria Ceccarelli of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Despite going virtual this year, the European Blockchain Convention still offers an incredible opportunity to stay up to date on the latest innovations and research in blockchain technology – from the regulations and laws, to the latest advances in the tech – you can’t get this level of expertise anywhere else.

Blockchain Collective is a proud advocate for the pursuit of knowledge in this quickly growing and advancing space. We believe only with the sharing of information can benefit the entire world and help progress the industry more quickly.

We look forward to attending and hope you do too!

Why Blockchain Technology Will Be Bigger Than the Internet

Everything was forever changed with the arrival of Bitcoin in 2009. Though perhaps only understood by clandestine folks already deeply entrenched in the cypherpunk sphere, the ways in which this technology will change the way the world operates are still coming to light. The birth of blockchain technology (the technology which powers Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies), will change the way society functions as well as its core systems that we will never fully understand until the masses begin seeing clear signs of it. 

Novel technologies always take hold slowly over a period of time – just as it happened with the Internet. The Internet was first being used by a small group – was introduced to the small few who were already operating in the tech industry as well as tech aficionados. Email was invented in the 70s – but only became widely popular after much focus on usability for ordinary people – which happened to be way later in the 90s. Although we live in a time when technological innovation and progress is happening infinitely faster than ever before, humans are still humans – in fact, we are often the ones slowing innovation down.

This means that we have still not traversed the time it will take before we unveil the infinite benefits of blockchain technology. It will ultimately free us from reliance on systems that no longer suit the world we now live in – the digital world, which we have already entered many years ago. This does not mean the physical world will cease to exist because that is not possible. However, the digital realm will replace many aspects in the physical realm.

Blockchain technology will allow the transformation of trust and power from the hands of only a few centralized authorities into the hands of many. In a time when the world is slowly being led by only a few main players (think Facebook, Google, Amazon), decentralization, which is what blockchain technology offers, will allow for many other services to crop up. Perhaps a social media platform that behaves purely as a service to connect you to others – one that doesn’t conduct targeted advertising to its users or store your information well beyond your deletion of it.

And of course, there’s financial services. This realm of blockchain technology is gaining incredible steam with the rise of Decentralized Finance (also known as DeFi). DeFi runs on a completely decentralized exchange (also known as a DEX) making the system completely peer-to-peer. You don’t need to pay a third party any fees and everything is conducted directly between users. At the time of writing this, nearly $8 billion is locked into DeFi – which is not a small number.

Blockchain technology will eliminate the need for endless paperwork in many processes that we experience today that sometimes takes months. Think real estate for example. There are many steps involved in buying a house. All of the paperwork ensures that everything is legitimate. But what if there was a way to verify legitimacy but did not take long at all? That’s where blockchain technology comes in. As it is trustless, you can verify all the information you need instantly. By virtue of growing into a digital society, online shopping is on the rise. This means that just about anyone can become a supplier. The issue is that we currently make the mistake of holding the same trust we’ve developed into big and centralized brand names in smaller, lesser known ones. But with the use of blockchain to track a product’s supply chain, we do not need to trust – the information is simply accessible.

It is unlikely that we will ever reach a point in society where we completely eliminate large companies and we do not need to. In fact, large companies will benefit tremendously from the use of blockchain technology – they will be able to streamline processes that used to require endless paperwork, time and manpower. The implementation of this technology will lead to significant time and cost savings.

This novel technology removes the need for trust and offers complete transparency. It will allow individuals and consumers easily trace the products they use and access information quickly. 

The blockchain can represent value and it can hold valuable information. It is a gateway to the transformation of just how the world works.
At Blockchain Collective we truly believe blockchain technology will help forge a better world. Want to learn more about how to use this novel technology in your business? Learn more on our website where you can also contact us for any more information.

Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Speed Up Blockchain’s Evolution?

There is an old saying that goes “Necessity is the mother of invention,” but how about “Necessity finally sparks catchy tech buzzwords into real world usage”? 

Blockchain is one of the most overhyped words in technology today – in fact, so much as that all a beverage company had to do was add the word blockchain to its name to cause its shares to soar 200% in one day. The reality is that blockchain will not save the world, but it can truly help save the world; and it can change the world forever.

However, implementing and adopting such a novel technology is no easy task and this has been made evident by the numerous obstacles that companies and projects encounter as they try to do so. But just because it is difficult does not mean it is not going to happen and that it will not happen – there are just many factors are at play. But sometimes it takes a world event, like a pandemic, to push technology forward, and in the case of blockchain technology the pandemic might very well be COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus.

Figure represents entire world. Source: Corona.help

Into the second half of 2020, the world is still battling COVID-19. In fact, for many parts of the world, the struggle has just begun. As of mid-August, the US has reported nearly 6 million infections and 175,000 deaths – while Brazil and India have seen 3.3 million infections and 2.7 million infections, respectively. Additionally, it is feared that there will be a second wave in places like Spain, which is beginning to see a resurgence of the virus after a relatively stable summer. Given these circumstances, one thing is clear – the virus is likely to linger for the foreseeable future. Many governments that have already acknowledged this fact are scrambling to implement the best possible tools to help combat this elusive virus.

How blockchain technology can help information-sharing in real-time

Blockchain facilitates the sharing of information in real-time and the information that exists on the blockchain cannot be tampered with. In this way, governments could create a system where hospitals in their countries each blast out information on the blockchain, updating one another and the public (anyone can access the information on the blockchain) to keep a closer eye on infection rates and daily increases. Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues with the virus, which has likely led to many unnecessarily lost lives, is a lack of good and verifiable information. If there hadn’t been such miscommunication, the world would perhaps be better equipped to handle the virus. Inherently transparent, blockchain technology also provides a neutral ground for countries who may not necessarily have the best relations but are united in their fight against the virus.

Tracking outbreaks

Currently, one of the biggest issues regarding Coronavirus is that although states and provinces are reporting their infection numbers, they are hardly specific – the reporting is limited to large areas, therefore it is impossible to discern whether or not you are safe and clear to travel in certain parts of town. Blockchain could help with this. As a report by BBVA points out, “blockchain can be used for tracking public health data surveillance, particularly for infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19”. Individuals can even anonymously report whether or not they are infected by the virus, thereby helping others determine where they can safely travel. Although there is a concern that individuals could falsely report infections, a mechanism could easily be put in place – such as the requirement of including a piece of information that can only be retrieved from the hospital once a positive-test is determined.

Supply chain management for healthcare items

One of the most disheartening consequences of COVID-19 was its exposure of the complete unpreparedness of countries everywhere, most notably developed countries. With mass shortages of personal protective equipment, ventilators and ICU beds, governments faced great desperation in a height of need. But the hope is that great lessons have also been learned. Given blockchain technology’s successful use in the supply chain industry, why not implement the same tool specifically for the medical supply chain industry? The blockchain could be used to track medical supplies, thereby ensuring that there cannot be another shortage disaster. There are many moving parts in the supply chain, but “the entire process of record and verification is tamper-proof by every party, while also allowing anyone to track the process,” the BBVA report also added.

Read more about successful blockchain implementation for supply chain and much more on our blog

Source: MiPasa

What is being done in blockchain right now to combat COVID-19?

One of the most promising initiatives using blockchain to fight the virus is MiPasa. According to its official website, “MiPasa is a multi-party, multi-source verifiable data sharing platform, built for the challenging road ahead” and uses IBM’s enterprise-grade blockchain Hyperledger Fabric. Behind MiPasa is the World Health Organization, tech giants IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft as well as enterprise blockchain platform HACERA. Among its goals is to provide verified Coronavirus data to help both governments and individuals make better decisions for themselves and their communities.

Many others also see the pandemic as an opportunity to provide useful, lifesaving tools to the world. Enterprise-focused blockchain company ShareRing has also launched a contact tracing system to offer to 2.6 million hotel and other hospitality providers based on the blockchain, according to a Cointelegraph report. It will come in the form of an anonymous e-passport app in order to combat privacy invasion that many have been fearful about.

So there you have it. There is definitely strong reason to be very optimistic that blockchain technology can help save countless lives. And there is no better reason than this to speed up blockchain’s evolution.

Blockchain M&A: Are We Headed Towards Mass Consolidation?

Every industry experiences waves of consolidation. Whether it be in financial services, technology or industrials, M&A is often necessary to drive innovation and create greater market efficiency. Given the sheer number of blockchain and cryptocurrency projects operating today, consolidation is inevitable and we’re already beginning to see the early signs.

In April, PwC released its second Global Crypto M&A and Fundraising ReportThe report noted that following a year of relatively steady deal activity and fundraising, the sector experienced a sharp drop in both – a 40% drop in deal volume and a 76% drop in deal value in 2019 over 2018. 

And there is unlikely to be a recovery this year given the toll that Coronavirus is likely to take on the world’s economies. However, the report noted that as a result of the virus, there may be further consolidation fueled by the sell-off of smaller companies to larger companies that are better suited to weather the likely economic headwinds. PwC expects to especially see larger key players acquire companies that offer “ancillary services”, such as “crypto media, compliance, research”.

Source: PwC

According to the report, APAC and EMEA saw an increase in deal volume and fundraising from 2018 to 2019 compared to the Americas, which experienced a drop. This trend is expected to continue. As the industry continues to mature and further institutionalize, we will see a shift from investments into blockchain infrastructure projects into investments into crypto exchanges and solutions-based services – particularly into compliance and regulatory solutions. The report also predicted that we should see “further consolidation in the industry with some of the larger well funded or profitable firms buying some of the smaller players in the market”.

What sorts of M&A deals DID occur in 2019? Nine out of 10 deals came from crypto businesses making strategic acquisitions. with the biggest one being cryptocurrency exchange Kraken’s $100 million acquisition of trading infrastructure company Crypto Facilities. However, 2020 has seen one of the biggest deals in crypto to date – Binance’s $400 million acquisition of CoinMarketCap.

As for fundraising, traditional VCs, incubators and family offices will continue to be the single largest source of funding for crypto projects, according to PwC. But we are also likely to see a rise in funding from established corporations.

You should expect to begin seeing much more deal flow and investments into crypto and blockchain companies, but more likely towards the end of the year and into 2021. Deal sizes will likely vary given the variety of projects in the space – ranging from smaller projects providing very useful ancillary services while larger and more established companies have grown tremendously since 2017 and may consider a sale or a post-seed round investment. Although the deal volume was much greater in 2018 and 2019 compared to 2020, we are only in the nascent stage of a still relatively new industry – which means, this is only the beginning and we can expect to see much more activity over the next several years and beyond.

How To Become a Blockchain Developer

You may (or may not) be surprised to hear that software developers are among the most sought-after professionals today. As we propel into the future and greater aspects of life move online, we will rely on these engineers of the new world. Also known as programmers, developers can do many types of different work – Frontend or Backend development, Development Operations (DevOps), and much more. But there’s one particular industry within the development sphere that is stirring great interest and high demand – blockchain development.

As traditional companies scramble to implement or even build their own blockchain solutions, they will demand blockchain developers. Although there is currently a shortage of them around the world, this is a field that is not as difficult to break into as you’d think. With hard work and dedication, anyone could become a blockchain developer. So just how, are you wondering?

Becoming a blockchain developer

There are multiple roads an individual can take to become a developer. If you’re more of a fan of the traditional route, you can enroll at a university to study computer science. This is generally the best degree you could get if you want to become a developer. A degree in computer science is very thorough and will provide a great foundation for a career as a software developer.

But if you’re resourceful and don’t want to spend several years studying in school, the Internet has made it incredibly easy for the ambitious to educate themselves by taking free or paid online courses through education platforms like Udemy, Codecademy, or General Assembly. The keywords here are resourceful and ambitious. Coding is difficult work and requires a tremendous amount of patience. Self-education is already not for the faint-hearted, but coding is simply another layer of tough. If you think you’d fare well with this approach, I commend you and recommend learning one or more of the most popular coding languages used today. This includes the likes of C++, Rust, and Go for backend development, as well as JavaScript and interface-focused frameworks such as React and VueJS for frontend development.

In conjunction with learning how to code (or simply wait until you’ve nailed that step first), learn all about blockchain technology. There are endless resources on the Internet that can teach you everything you need to understand this novel technology. Watch videos on YouTube, read one of the many written books on the subject (such as “The Internet of Money” by Andreas M. Antonopoulos) or read articles – there is no shortage of information on this subject.

Once you’ve gotten to the point where you are comfortable coding in one or more languages and understand how blockchain technology works, I recommend exploring Layer 2 development using Solidity. Solidity is an object-oriented programming language that was developed by a team on the Ethereum project that is used to write smart contracts. You don’t necessarily need to know this language to become a blockchain developer, but it’s a huge plus.

Learning to be a blockchain developer

So now comes the fun part – let’s call it field work. Given that blockchain technology is heavily focused on open source work, meaning the code is available for anyone to use, anyone is also able to contribute to open source blockchain projects. I recommend finding yourself an interesting blockchain project that is coded in a programming language you are familiar with (or learn it first!) and then contribute to the project. You can find virtually all open source blockchain projects on GitHub, where you can contribute by making pull requests to help fix bugs or make helpful suggestions.

After you’ve spent a few weeks or a few months doing this, and feel comfortable with your level of knowledge, you can begin applying for entry-level positions at blockchain projects. And if you do not hold a degree from a university, don’t worry – just make sure you’re able to demonstrate your deep skills via your GitHub or samples from projects you’ve worked on. Join the Telegram and Discord channels of your favorite projects, get involved in the community and stay active – you will land yourself an exciting job at one of the thousands of blockchain projects out there!

Could Blockchain Technology Save Democracy?

There’s no denying that the state of political affairs across the globe is growing increasingly more worrisome. Just turn on the television or scroll through Twitter and it might seem as though people everywhere are protesting, indicative of a growing divide between individuals and their governments. 

What exactly does this mean? Are governments growing more totalitarian or are individuals simply becoming more informed? Or does it mean something else entirely? There isn’t one single answer, but one thing is clear – something needs to change. And in today’s technologically-charged world, aren’t there any cutting edge tools we could use to enact real change? Enter blockchain technology.

Blockchain and Democracy

Blockchain technology is an immutable, decentralized and distributed public ledger. This means that any information on the blockchain relies on its validation by many individuals. Each block can store information that absolutely cannot be tampered with. And best of all, there is not one single central authority governing the blockchain – it is as democratic as it gets. For these reasons, one of the strongest use cases for blockchain is for governance and voting.

At the present moment, the democratic model allows a country’s citizens to vote their government officials into power. For example, citizens in the US have the ability to participate in local elections as well as general elections. But many of them do not participate at the local level, which are arguably more vital than the vote for who becomes president. One reason for the lack of participation is because today’s modern individual is busy and voting is done in person. And the fact that not everyone participates in these elections carries major implications for what happens in a country. 

So why, in a world where almost everything that can be, is becoming digitized, is voting still paper-based and done in-person? The reason might be because, historically, a secure way to vote digitally did not exist. A voting system could easily be hacked, deeming this alternative too risky. But what is one system that has never been hacked? Bitcoin. Why? Because Bitcoin was built with blockchain technology. Blockchain technology resolves the security issue for digital voting.

Not only will blockchain technology enable secure voting, it will make voting as simple as a click of a button. Not only will it result in extreme convenience and time-savings, it will equate to massive cost-savings for governments. Individuals will become active participants in a democracy and able to audit results to trust that their vote counts. The public ledger will allow anyone to view the anonymous votes.

So before frustrated individuals experience a complete loss in faith in governments, blockchain technology needs to be given a fair chance. We’re quickly propelling into the future – isn’t it time we behave more like it?

Blockchain for Enterprise: Banking and Financial Services

Companies are only as good as the technology they’re powered by. This is certainly the case when it comes to money. Would you still choose to keep your savings in a bank account if you didn’t believe their cybersecurity was top-notch? Of course not. As individuals with unlimited choices, it is our right to expect only the best. But what happens when technological innovation moves faster than an entire industry can keep up with? This is precisely what we are seeing across a multitude of industries, all because of the birth of blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology has clearly exposed the vulnerabilities inherent to many of today’s systems. These legacy systems succeeded in creating greater efficiency for many years. However, they are no longer compatible with today’s world and will need to adapt if they do not want to become outright obsolete – this includes banking and the greater financial services industry.

Blockchain in finance

Banking has been around since the dawn of civilization. The industry has evolved tremendously over the decades in order to meet the demands of the new technologically-advanced world. The banks moved quickly to embrace the internet and mobile. And then came the non-brick and mortar banks like N26 and Revolut who realized the brick-and-mortar model was no longer a prerequisite for banking. As if that wasn’t enough of a threat to competition, blockchain technology came along with the promise of distributed ledgers and smart contracts to remove the need for third parties and a centralized system.

But the need to adapt is not new to banks which is why many have already realized that blockchain technology is here to stay. And those who realized they could use this novel technology to their own benefit will prevail as the winners of the new digital age.

Blockchain solutions for financial services

Blockchain technology holds promise for traditional banks for many ways. Let’s take transaction processing for example – this technology will help simplify and speed up transactions – both local and cross-border payments. Blockchain’s inherent distributed ledger system is ideal – it boasts much quicker processing time (a matter of seconds) and greater efficiency (automation and distribution removes the potential for human error), not to mention all of this at a fraction of the cost (nominal fees).

One of the most exciting features of blockchain technology is the distributed ledger and recording system. The system is self-regulating, in that only valid transactions are ever able to be recorded on the blockchain and can be done in a matter of seconds. This is what makes this technology so perfect for use by enterprises, especially in financial services.

Capital Markets also stand to benefit tremendously with the adoption of blockchain technology. This might be why Nasdaq announced last month that it has partnered with R3 to provide a platform for digital asset marketplaces on R3’s Corda blockchain. Nasdaq has integrated its Nasdaq Financial Framework with R3’s ledger technology. This might help lessen the complexity involved in trading assets.

Permissioned or private blockchains are most compatible with banks and other financial services institutions. This means that the blockchain will require authorized access and will follow appropriate regulatory procedures. Those who validate transactions on the blockchain will be pre-selected and trusted. So although a private blockchain is not fully open the way Bitcoin’s blockchain, for example, is, it still presents the same benefits of the technology.

Companies providing any level of financial services to customers will need to consider how they can implement blockchain technology solutions to incorporate the most cutting-edge technologies in their service-offerings. Fortunately, we’re here to help you. Blockchain Collective is a marketplace where innovation-savvy companies can find top talent to bring to life real solutions with blockchain technology. We match the industry’s top developers, system architects, consultants, product and project managers with startups and large companies who want to stay competitive in this new digital age. So fear not, we have you covered. Learn more about us and why we love what we do at blockchaincollective.co.

Blockchain Basics: What Is A Smart Contract?

If you don’t know what a smart contract is, you are not alone. A vital ingredient to help steer the blockchain revolution, smart contracts, along with much else in blockchain technology, aren’t widely understood by everyone. And, really, why should you know or even care about a smart contract? Yes, at the present moment, the technology is complicated. But aside from satisfying sheer curiosity, you should know what a smart contract is because smart contracts will change the facilitation of everyday transactions between individuals and businesses.

Nick Szabo, a well-known computer scientist and cryptographer first coined the term smart contract in the early 1990s, to describe a computer protocol that could digitally facilitate a contract between two parties without the need for a third party. However, smart contracts became popularized by blockchain technology as smart contracts allow for transactions of greater complexity to take place and be recorded on the blockchain or distributed ledger. Transactions that occur on the blockchain are immutable i.e., they cannot be tampered with, but can be viewed at any time.

Smart contracts and Blockchain

Smart contracts contain lines of code, or rules, stored persistently within the blockchain network that computers or nodes execute – if the smart contract is handling authentic data, the contract is executed and the ledger’s state is updated. Everyone on the blockchain network records and validates this transaction once it is completed.

One widely used analogy to help individuals better visualize smart contracts involves a vending machine. Most people on earth know how an ordinary vending machine works. You pick a snack option, put in some coins, press the snack’s corresponding number, and out comes your snack. The same thing happens with a smart contract – you interact with the smart contract to carry out a transaction that the smart contract was specifically coded to do. The smart contract contains pre-written code on the blockchain that can execute a number of different transactions whether it be to sell or buy something, to vote, or to simply update a ledger with new information about something on the supply chain. The agreement is automatically executed on a completely transparent blockchain.

Smart contracts can be used on both public blockchains as well as enterprise, or private, blockchains. Smart contracts on public blockchains will allow individuals to carry out complex transactions with anyone else, unrestricted, whereas smart contracts on enterprise blockchains carry less independence. However, both forms are incredible for different reasons. Smart contracts on the public blockchain allow for more freedom and less reliance on centralized figures, however when used on the enterprise blockchain, smart contracts will allow transactions – such as payments, tracking of items, etc. – to move with incredible speed.

With the use of smart contracts, transactions such as the purchase of a car or a house will cost a fraction of what they currently do given the amount of individuals involved in closing both types of deals. For example, a smart contract will contain all relevant information on a car or a house – there is no need for lawyer or notaries, and long waiting times. In the future, if countries do move towards voting on the blockchain, smart contracts will be paramount, as they will provide greater transparency and can be easily audited in case of potential issues.

The possibilities are endless with smart contracts. They will usher in a totally new way of doing business. Interested in learning more about how you can implement blockchain technology solutions to optimize your business? Blockchain Collective has your back – from development to marketing to project management, we do it all. Visit us at blockchaincollective.co to learn more.

Your Food on the Blockchain

If you’re ever eaten a banana or a pineapple, chances are it was distributed to you by Dole Food Company. The 150-year old company is one of the largest producers of fruits and vegetables in the world. And this legacy company sees the great potential in blockchain technology. 

In its recent sustainability report, Dole stated that in order to better address food safety, it plans to “implement blockchain product-tagging technology and/or advanced traceability solutions in all Dole divisions by 2025”. The company is already rolling out its blockchain solutions in the US. In fact, the company is partnering up with Walmart, IBM and others to show just what blockchain technology is capable of – cutting the average time necessary for food safety reviews – from weeks to seconds. So long as the fruits and vegetables are recorded on the blockchain, they can be easily traced through the supply chain. Therefore, in the case there is an issue with the produce, or simply that a consumer wants to know where its food came from, it can be easily tracked. Dole continued, “eventually, consumers will be able to scan each bag of salad or package of vegetables in-store to get information about its journey from farm to store shelf.” 

Dole isn’t the only legacy company jumping on the blockchain train. Food giants Nestlé and Unilever are also interested in implementing blockchain solutions to their businesses. Walmart has already completed two blockchain pilot programs, and has been able to effectively decrease its trace-back time on mangos from over six days to just 2.2 seconds. 

Nestle will allow consumers to trace Zoégas coffee, one of its coffee brands, back to its origins in Brazil, Rwanda and Colombia. Consumers will be able to view the time and location of harvest, the coffee’s roasting period and more. And last year, Nestlé’s Australia division launched a blockchain-powered supply chain project called “Chain of Origin”. Legacy companies like Nestlé see the importance of adapting to the times by implementing technologies that will make their companies infinitely more efficient.

Blockchain technology will even help address food fraud – which is when food is either tampered with, misrepresented or mislabeled. This happens more often than you might think. For example, this can often happen with olive oil, wine, milk, coffee, tea, fish and other staples. One of the most widely-publicized cases of food fraud involved wine expert Rudy Kurniawan. He was able to get away with selling and auctioning off counterfeit wine for years before he was finally caught. He would fill old and expensive vintage bottles of wine with inexpensive wines. And unfortunately wine fraud specifically is on the rise. But blockchain technology can help stop this.

Georgian wine franchise brand Vault Wines is already implementing blockchain solutions by using “smart-contract technology to create a digital contract of wine purchase between consumer and winery”. It has teamed up with EY to do this and provide information such as the geography of the wine, cultivation (which pesticides and fertilizers were used in the wine-making process), as well as distribution and sale information.

So there you have it. A company located in the world’s oldest wine region as well as legacy food companies with over 100-year old histories realize the potential of this incredible technology to cut costs, save time, and provide customers with peace of mind and a plethora of information to educate and help them understand their food better. This is a win-win for all.

We believe this revolutionary technology will catapult new and old companies into a better future. Interested in implementing blockchain solutions for your own company? Well, we’ve got the right people to help you do just that. Learn more at blockchaincollective.co or contact us directly.

Blockchains for Enterprise: Can They Work?

Several years ago when blockchain technology first appeared on the scene, the idea that it could one day be used by businesses seemed very distant. But now, companies around the world are quickly embracing the technology that holds so much promise. As a 2019 report by IBM pointed out, “after years of experimentation and with experience from established live networks, we have a clear picture of what a trusted and transparent enterprise blockchain should look like.” In fact, research and advisory firm Gartner stated that blockchain is a top technology trend for 2020.

From financial services, supply chain-dependent industries like pharma, energy, retail and food services, to identity management – blockchains can enable better functionality, increased efficiency, time savings, transaction speediness, not to mention a massive reduction in operating costs. It is also worth noting that “more than twice as many blockchain early adopters report high revenue growth and profitability compared to those not yet adopting blockchain technology”, according to the IBM report.

One of the most exciting use cases, companies with supply chains are among those who stand to gain the most benefits from using blockchains. Today’s consumer is more mindful than those of the past about how they spend their money. They understand that they have an infinite number of options to choose from – and they are more environmentally and socially conscious than ever before. They demand to know where their food came from and who made the clothing they wear – and this is only the beginning. The phrase “vote with your dollars” couldn’t be a more apt motto that today’s consumer lives by. 

And it is those companies who understand this who will embrace blockchain technology as it allows them to demonstrate every single phase in the production cycle. Some of the world’s oldest companies like IBM, Ford Motor Company, LG Chem and RCS Global are currently working together on building a blockchain to show how materials in the cobalt supply chain are produced responsibly – “from mine to end manufacturer”. IBM has even launched IBM Food Trust to enable consumers to fully trace their food products through a permanent, permissioned and shared record.

Not only does it provide the transparency that individuals want from companies, it also allows companies themselves to keep better track of transactions and interactions that take place along their supply chain. This way, they can better demonstrate compliance and deal with issues quickly in case they arise.

Even professional services giant Ernst & Young launched the EY OpsChain Public Finance Manager last year to assist governments in improving transparency and tracking budgets and expenditures. EY states, “blockchain will integrate information and process within and across enterprise boundaries and has the potential to streamline and accelerate your business processes, increase protection against cybersecurity and reduce or eliminate the roles of intermediaries.”

Although companies have the ability to build their own proprietary blockchains, the well-established blockchain Ethereum has set up Enterprise Ethereum to offer organizations the ability to build, test and deploy decentralized applications. They can be private, consortium or hybrid implementations of Ethereum’s codebase. In fact, Ethereum is leading the DeFi (Decentralized Finance) movement, where projects are building on top of the Ethereum blockchain, as financial services has proved to be one of the most promising use cases of blockchain technology.

So yes, not only can blockchains for enterprise work, but 2020 is the year for it – and if you run a business, there is no better time to consider implementing this incredible technology. Here at Blockchain Collective, we enable forward-thinkers, movers and shakers, and simply those who understand the new world we live in. 

Blockchain Collective is a marketplace where we match top talent with businesses looking for real solutions with the implementation of blockchain technology. Our cutting edge developers, system architects, consultants, product and project managers can build from the ground up. Learn more at blockchaincollective.co.

DeFi: Blockchain’s Latest Revolution

It is the year 2020 and the entire world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic caused by a virus known as Covid-19. So far, the virus has globally infected and killed over 3 million and 230,000 individuals, respectively, and has brought the world to a screeching halt — in turn, economic deterioration to both strong and weaker countries alike. Governments are scrambling to keep their nation’s companies and residents afloat, namely by printing excessive amounts of money — and it may still not be enough to help them weather the storm.

But let’s rewind just a bit. Over 11 years ago, when Satoshi Nakamoto created the first Bitcoin block, known as the Genesis Block, the first peer-to-peer electronic cash system was launched. This block contained a very cryptic message with a very obvious meaning: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”. Bitcoin was created as a response to the centralized financial system and all of the issues that come along with it. The Great Recession merely exposed this system’s frailties — and Covid-19 is doing just the same. The global economy is based on centralized financial systems, of which individuals do not have control over their own money — banks and other entities do, and they’re often held unaccountable and lack transparency. Satoshi Nakamoto opened the world’s eyes to the possibility of a new system and made way for a novel idea — DeFi, short for Decentralized Finance.

Although Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies offer a way to conduct peer-to-peer trading without the need for intermediaries, this does not mean it has found a way to decentralize the current financial system — it has mainly addressed currency issuance and storage. While currency is the first layer, necessary for the existence of DeFi, DeFi is Layer 2 — it seeks to build a decentralized financial ecosystem in which your digital currency can interact. DeFi seeks to replace our current centralized financial system with a new one, that includes digital asset management, smart contracts, protocols and decentralized apps (dApps), all of which are built on the blockchain. Because it is built using blockchain technology, DeFi will give individuals complete control over their assets. Decentralized networks and open source software are at the heart of DeFi — this means they are built on a transparent and trustless framework — they do not require middlemen.

DeFi has already shown strong progress with projects tackling monetary banking services, peer-to-peer lending, among countless other financial instruments. The Lightning Network, which is a Layer 2 payment protocol, operates on the blockchain and allows for individuals to conduct transactions amongst themselves. Then there’s Dharma, a self-proclaimed cryptobank that allows individuals to deposit and withdraw stablecoins, and generate interest through a borrower and lender network which is completely decentralized.

Although we are only at the beginning, there are dozens of other promising projects in the DeFi space that are set to influence financial services across the globe. You can expect to see many other innovative financial services tools surfacing that will understand how to implement blockchain technology to make banking, borrowing and investing simpler, cheaper and faster.

At Blockchain Collective, we believe this cutting edge technology will completely disrupt all industries as we know it — especially financial services. Interested in implementing blockchain solutions to your company? We can help you build from the ground up with the world’s best blockchain developers, system architects, consultants, product and project managers, and much more. Learn more on our website and keep in touch via Twitter.

Pioneer the Future with Blockchain Collective

On 3 January 2009, bitcoin was born thereby forever changing the world. Although we still don’t know who exactly invented it (we simply know the creator(s) by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto), we are indeed certain of its potential to change the way everything as we know it. Over the last decade, multitudes of developers, economists, scientists, businessmen, and idealists alike have voiced their opinions on how it would shape society. And although we are only at the beginning, its impact thus far is undeniable.

The first decade of the 21st century saw some incredible technological achievements, but it is only now in 2020 that we are truly beginning to see just how much the world has changed – and just how much we, as a society, need to adapt and sync with it. The world can no longer do things as it once used to. The outdated systems are clearly falling apart. Traditional media, communication, gaming, business services, leisure, travel, the way we shop and simply function at a basic level are being completely disrupted. Therefore, the saying “Adapt or Die” has never been more apt than it is today.

This is why Blockchain Collective was born. We realize this breakthrough technology’s ability to change all aspects of life and we wholeheartedly welcome it. Blockchain Collective is a marketplace where top talent meets companies who are looking for real solutions with the implementation of blockchain technology. We match cutting edge developers, system architects, consultants, product and project managers with startups, larger companies as well as more traditional companies who are looking to stay a step ahead in today’s world.

Blockchain Collective’s data-driven approach combines human psychograms, value assessments and coding tests to meet the unique needs of small to large enterprises. We understand blockchain technology can seem intimidating – but with the right tools and help, it doesn’t need to be. Whether it is building blockchain solutions from scratch or simply adding and implementing blockchain technology infrastructure for your company, we have you covered.

Although easily the biggest force of the future, this burgeoning technology is still fairly nascent. Therefore it is difficult and time-consuming to find individuals who understand their way around blockchain technology. We also understand that many startups simply do not possess the means to find attractive talent, let alone locally. Blockchain Collective takes care of the vetting, paperwork and red tape to enable you to focus on what you’re good at and why you started your mission to begin with – you can see us as your success enablers.

Blockchain Collective was founded by Andre, who realized that although many startups and companies understand the benefits and incredible potential of blockchain technology solutions, they do not know how to go about implementing them. Andre himself is a serial entrepreneur and creative technologist with 15+ years of experience in product engineering.

So, welcome to the future. We hope to be by your side for it.

A Review of Some of the Hottest Projects in DeFi Right Now

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the hottest trend in crypto right now – Decentralized Finance, also known simply as DeFi. Behind today’s most popular cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin and Ethereum – is blockchain technology, which is considered Layer 1. You can think of DeFi projects as comprising Layer 2. DeFi includes financial products such as digital asset management, smart contracts, protocols and decentralized apps (dApps) – all built on the blockchain. DeFi is already slated to tackle monetary banking services, peer-to-peer lending and other financial instruments. Let’s review some of the most popular DeFi projects today.

Corionx

Built on the Ethereum blockchain, CorionX is a blockchain-based ERC20 utility token. According to its whitepaper, “the token will be used for supporting the Global Stablecoin, CBDC and Cryptocurrency Popularization & Education Movement and serving an access to the Foundation’s services and utilities.” The project is heavily in favor of the spread of stablecoins, CBDCs, OpenFinance and DeFi solutions and hopes hopes to help create one platform for stablecoins.

The Initial Exchange Offering kicked off in mid-August and will conclude on September 1.

THORChain

Another noteworthy project is THORchain, which is attempting to create a decentralized liquidity network with its facilitation of cross-chain liquidity pools with no pegged or wrapped tokens. RUNE is its native utility token. 

As a DeFi project, it allows for swapping between assets across chains and allows users to stake assets in order to earn yields. It incentivizes users by offering lending and borrowing on any asset as well as staking assets in liquidity pools in order to support fee earning. It is run on the Binance blockchain.

Jolocom 

Today’s digital user is more conscientious of its data than ever before. And one of the best technologies to address the need for more digital privacy is blockchain technology. 

There are many projects addressing identity solutions but one that particularly stands out is Jolocom, a universal identity protocol that is attempting to build an open source system for people and organizations to create and interact with digital and self-sovereign identities. Based in European blockchain hub of Berlin, Germany, it is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) for identity registration and resolution. It has been around for several years and though the project keeps a low profile, it offers promising solutions for a complicated problem.

Aave

Ethereum blockchain-based Aave is a non-custodial, open source protocol supporting the creation of money markets, allowing users to earn interest on deposits as well as borrow assets. 

Originally touting a P2P lending strategy it describes as similar to ETHLend, Aave decided to pivot into a pool-based strategy where “lenders provide liquidity by depositing cryptocurrencies in a pool contract”. At the same time, in the same contract, the funds can be borrowed against with the placement of a collateral. In Aave’s model, the interest rates for borrowers and lenders is decided by an algorithm. 

In order to offer high liquidity, Aave utilizes the lending pool model, with loans backed by collateral and represented by derivative tokens which accrue interest. 

Opyn

And finally, there’s Opyn. Opyn’s goal is to secure decentralized finance by allowing users to take control and protect DeFi deposits and hedge risk. Users have the option to buy or sell protection. Opyn is built on the Convexity Protocol which is a generalized options protocol built on Ethereum’s blockchain that allows DeFi users to create put and call options. It also allows for an easy interface to buy and sell options. Each option depending on the Convexity Protocol is integrated through an oToken smart contract. 

One significant point is that all of its users’ funds are stored in their respective wallets – no one else’s.

Final Thoughts

DeFi already encompasses a total value of over $7 billion as of August, and this number is only set to increase. The growing network of financial software on the blockchain will continue to revolutionize the world of digital money. It is clear that blockchain technology’s financial services use case is well on its way to grand adoption.

No One Is Talking About How Blockchain Could Disrupt These Three Industries

People have been speculated on the plethora of use cases for blockchain since this novel technology broke out into the scene years ago. You often hear about how blockchain technology will impact the financial services industry, supply chain management, and governance. But there are so many other industries that will highly benefit from its application – even if no one is talking about them yet. Let’s take a look at three industries that could be disrupted by blockchain technology.

How could Blockchain disrupt energy

We are entering a new dawn in energy technology as individuals become more and more educated on climate change and its implications for the future of the planet. Along with greater awareness, the solar energy industry has made huge leaps in making solar panels more accessible and affordable than ever. In fact, solar panel installation has fallen by several thousand dollars over the last five years, which is why so many homeowners are opting for this renewable energy source. And oftentimes, solar panels generate excess energy which can be stored. But what if you wanted to trade this excess electricity? With blockchain technology, you can sell electricity directly to others in the most transparent way possible, without the need for an intermediary. Just as peer-to-peer lending, ride-sharing, and Airbnb, the peer-to-peer solar energy trading industry is set to increase in the future because of blockchain technology. Perth, Australia-based Power Ledger is already using the blockchain to facilitate the commodity trading of renewable electricity generated from rooftop solar panels, as well as energy stored in batteries.

Industries Blockchain will disrupt: Education

As we forge ahead into the future, it is not uncommon to see individuals making huge career changes. With the boom of online education platforms, practically anyone can find a way to re-train and get the education they need or want. While this is incredibly positive, it also means that it could be more difficult to determine whether or not an individual actually has the education credentials that they claim to have. Oftentimes, candidates lie on their resume about their educational background. Given that hiring managers are usually very busy, they do not bother to go back and verify all their candidates’ education credentials. Once again, blockchain technology can come to the rescue to combat the potential of companies hiring individuals with false credentials. Student records are mostly documented via paper, which is very inefficient. Deploying a blockchain in the education sector could help speed the verification process. For example, Sony Global Education and IBM teamed up to develop an educational platform which utilizes blockchain to secure and share records of students. Another company, Learning Machine, is working with MIT Media Lab to launch an open source tool to record academic credentials on the blockchain.

Blockchain disruption in transport

As cities continue to expand and develop, so will their public transportation systems. Although public transportation are the single most important component of cities, they are often chock full of pain points for commuters. Whether it be lateness, overcrowdedness, or simply high cost, solving its issues is no simple task. But with the use of blockchain technology, cities could gather valuable data that will help them make better decisions when it comes to their public transportation system. A blockchain could also be utilized to store and share information on the journey experience such as whether or not a train was late or crowded. England-based DOVU is one such platform that allows users to earn tokens for sharing information about their commutes, which will in turn help to improve transportation systems. Mobility companies can also get a closer look into their customers’ experiences to help create a smarter public transportation system. 

These are just a few potential use cases among hundreds of others. Blockchain technology will revolutionize everything we do. Want to learn how you could implement this incredible technology to streamline your business? Learn more at blockchaincollective.io.