Category Archives: Blockchain, Crypto, ICOs

Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding Partner

CDL Team | June 18, 2019

CDL libra - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerThe Libra Association announces a new initiative with the goal of increasing access to financial services and fostering financial inclusion around the world

TORONTO, CANADA – Today, Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) – a not-for-profit seed-stage startup program – announces that it will be a Founding Partner of the Libra Association. CDL is keen to contribute to the success of the Libra initiative as the sole Canadian organization and academic institution in the Libra Association at present.

The Libra Association will create Libra, a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that can empower billions of people. Libra will be built on a secure, scalable, and reliable blockchain; and it will be backed by a reserve of assets designed to give it intrinsic value. The Libra Association will govern the infrastructure and manage and evolve this new ecosystem. Libra will enable developers and businesses to build inclusive new financial service products for people around the world.

See:  Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency: Everything We Know

At this time, CDL is the sole academic Founding Partner of the Libra Association. The initial group of organizations that will work together on finalizing the association’s charter include:

  • Payments: Mastercard, PayPal, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), Stripe, Visa
  • Technology and marketplaces: Booking Holdings, eBay, Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft, Mercado Pago, Spotify Technology S.A., Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Telecommunications: Iliad, Vodafone Group
  • Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
  • Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures
  • Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking

Libra will extend CDL’s Blockchain Stream – a program developed to create startups that exploit blockchain technologies that enable novel contract design and innovative market design.

As a Founding Partner, CDL will contribute to the creation of the Libra Association, promoting activities that enhance startup innovation worldwide.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding Partner The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency: Everything We Know

PC Mag | Rob Marvin | June 18, 2019

facebook launches libra - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerFacebook's Libra Cryptocurrency: Everything We Know

Facebook's big blockchain play, consisting of the Libra coin, the nonprofit Libra Foundation, and Facebook's Calibra wallet, will create a crypto-based payments ecosystem across Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and beyond.
Facebook's long-rumored cryptocurrency finally got its big debut, and it's called Libra after all.

Facebook today released a lengthy white paper, along with a post from Mark Zuckerberg and another from VP of blockchain David Marcus, announcing the ambitious crypto initiative and all that comes with it.

The open-source Libra cryptocurrency and blockchain will be governed by the nonprofit Libra Association, while a new Facebook-owned subsidiary called Calibra will release a wallet for Libra tokens and ultimately other banking and finance products—a move that could turn Facebook into a financial services giant in addition to a social and advertising one.

See:  Facebook’s Cryptocurrency: Great Idea, Wrong Company

While the public launch of Libra won't happen until the first half of 2020, the developer testnet of the Libra blockchain is live today. There will also be a new programming language called Move for developers to build distributed applications atop the Libra blockchain, though Facebook said neither itself nor the Libra Foundation will be in charge of vetting and approving apps, meaning there could be the potential for fraudulent or scam apps.

We've heard rumblings about a secret blockchain project since last May, when Cheddar's Alex Heath reported that Facebook had been exploring blockchain and the creation of its own cryptocurrency for use within its apps since 2017. Facebook's goal is to launch a virtual token allowing anyone in the world—and particularly billions of unbanked individuals who don't have bank accounts but do have smartphones—the ability to make seamless digital payments and transfers both inside and out of Facebook's apps.

There's a staggering amount of technical detail to how the permissioned Libra blockchain works (read: not completely open like Bitcoin and Ethereum) and how the Libra Association will keep the price stable using a reserve asset pool tied to multiple currencies including the dollar, pound, euro, Swiss franc, and yen.

But for consumers wary of trusting their money and financial data to a company known for privacy problems, there are a few important points Facebook is hammering home with Libra. Not only is it ceding control of the blockchain, but Facebook's social data and Libra's financial data will be kept entirely separate. You don't need a Facebook or WhatsApp account to use Libra or sign up for Calibra.

While users will be vetted for anti-fraud protection when setting up an account, like other blockchains there will be no personal information associated with Libra and all transactions will be encrypted. Facebook can't take the data from your transaction history and use it to target ads or sell you products.

See:  Stablecoins: Experience the Stability

What We Know About Libra

Cheddar reported in December that Facebook was on a hiring spree led by Marcus, the ex-PayPal president who formerly served as VP of Facebook's Messaging products. Marcus, an early Bitcoin investor who serves on the Coinbase board, confirmed he was leaving Messenger to focus on heading "a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch."

The team has grown from a dozen members to more than 50 employees, including the former team behind blockchain startup Chainspace, which Facebook acquired in February.

Facebook explored a number of different avenues while figuring out exactly how the financial side of its cryptocurrency will work. After meeting with dozens of financial institutions and tech companeis about backing its token (including Zuckerberg's old friends the Winklevoss twins), Facebook decided to give up absolute control by setting up an independent governance body called the Libra Association, based out of Geneva, Switzerland, to oversee the token.

The 27 founding members of the Libra Assocation paid a minimum of $10 million to operate a node on Facebook's blockchain underlying the token, which will be a stablecoin—meaning Facebook's cryptocurrency will have a stable price during payments and transactions backed by a number of different global currencies beyond just the US dollar. Facebook employees will reportedly have the option of taking the cryptocurrency as part of their salaries.

At launch and for the foreseeable future, Libra will not be a permissionless blockchain other cryptocurrencies, meaning that it's not truly decentralized: not just anyone can set up a node and join the blockchain. Facebook said it couldn't figure out how to make a permissionless blockchain scalable to the number of transactions Libra is expected to see; upwards of 1,000 per second. Libra has a vague plan to transition to a permissionless system "within five years," but for now the association will focus on adding new, vetted members.

See:  JP Morgan is rolling out the first US bank-backed cryptocurrency to transform payments business

What Libra Mean for the Crypto Market

Facebook's token is poised to achieve two very important firsts for cryptocurrency: the first crypto asset launched by a major tech company with a wide global rollout across both the financial world and consumer web services, and the launch of the most high-profile stablecoin ever created.

Stablecoins are enticing but risky endeavors, and in some cases fraught with controversy. The idea behind a stablecoin is to reduce the volatility and uncertainty of crypto prices to ensure that conversions, remittances, and other transactions remain, well, stable for consumers.

There are a few ways to do this. One is to peg a cryptocurrency either as a fiat currency (or in Facebook's case, a basket of currencies) such as in the case of Tether, the most high-profile stablecoin until now, which is in theory pegged 1:1 to the US dollar. This turned out not to be entirely true, and Tether has dealt with a myriad of issues, from allegations of price manipulation to a loss of trust and investigations into in whether the coin was fully backed and was used to cover popular exchange Bitfinex's losses.

Stablecoins can also be peggged to a reserve resource like gold or silver, or in some cases it can be a coin where the supply, demand, and exchange rates are monitored and controlled to keep prices consistent. Stablecoins have gained popularity in countries like Venezuela where citizens need an alternative to the hyperinflated bolivar, but they can come in many different forms. JPMorgan's JPM Coin is a stablecoin in a fashion (albeit only for use within the bank's own private blockchain network), and IBM has partnered with blockchain payment network Stellar to let international banks launch their own stablecoins on the Stellar public blockchain.

The way Facebook has structured Libra gives the cryptocurrency instant global legitimacy, both it the high-profile members behind the effort and in tying the tokens to a number of government-backed fiat currencies. Particularly through apps like WhatsApp, Libra could also realize the promise of frictionless remittances and cross-border payments in the developing world that gives unbanked users simple, low-fee ways to send and receive money.

See:  Fidelity Will Offer Cryptocurrency Trading Within a Few Weeks

Libra is a huge market validation for crypto's long-held promise of digital payments, but the trade-off is that the permissioned, more centralized blockchain creates the transaction scalability needed while somewhat compromising the truly decentralized and distributed nature of the technology.

A Lightning Rod for Regulation

The moral is, Facebook's coin will work quite differently from Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any of the mainstream cryptocurrencies built on public blockchains. Libra won't be transacted over a public blockchain like Bitcoin where it would be difficult for Facebook to ensure the coin wasn't being used for illegal activities; the private, permissioned network set up through the Libra Association (where only verified companies control nodes) creates a network that's still decentralized to a degree, but governed and monitored by a foundation that Facebook and its partners control.

Bloomberg reports that Facebook will test its stablecoin first in India for WhatsApp transfers, with the goal of realizing one of cryptocurrency's ultimate goals: seamless cross-border payments and remittances anywhere in the world.

Facebucks will shine a bright light on the cryptocurrency market as a whole, and it'll also come with increased regulatory scrutiny from US agencies, including the SEC and CTFC, as well as countries worldwide. Rolling out a global stablecoin of this kind that's pegged to multiple currencies and backed by giants of the tech and financial worlds will force the kind of accelerated regulatory action that the cryptocurrency market has been waiting for.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding Partner The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Stablecoins: Experience the Stability

3iQ and Mavennet | Fred Pye and Kesem Frank | June 18, 2019

stablecoins  - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerStablecoins are now a necessary step to mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, as proven by the way they’ve been used to hedge the massive volatility of the market over the past couple of years. Their simple premise enables the seamless pairing of crypto-to-fiat pegged cryptocurrency. It might sound overly simplistic, but this straightforward innovation has spurred the growth of a new crypto asset class that measures in billions of dollars in aggregate market cap (e.g. Tether, USD Coin, TrueUSD, Paxos and Gemini Dollar).

As much as this asset class is still gaining momentum driven by the current and common use case, the potential of stablecoins goes well beyond the tactical value of a trading tool.

Stablecoins are strategically important because they represent a bridge between legacy fiat-based systems and the new digital and decentralized currency underpinnings we collectively call “blockchain.”

 

The dream isn’t necessarily a prediction or extension of the purist’s vision  

Bitcoin - blockchain’s earliest network - was born from tumultuous years in the traditional financial system. These were years defined by mistrust; not just towards the people at the helm of the financial system, but of the system itself. It’s no surprise that Bitcoin’s innovators and early adopters were driven by a vision of an extraneous system that completely rejected the legacy framework, giving birth to decentralization, immutability and deflationary currency to name a few.

See:  FaceCoin: Here’s What Facebook Could Build In Blockchain And Cryptocurrency

Early blockchain advocates argue this is the only acceptable implementation for this technology, with any deviation being a compromise. However, it is the same purist vision of “utility backed value” that makes bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies that follow similar design) incredibly susceptible to speculation and volatility.

Regardless of where you stand, it is important to clarify that this article is by no means meant to criticize the original blockchain. The questions we pose are not around bitcoin’s value, rather on its stability and ability effectively deliver the utility necessary for any currency.

 

Do stablecoins and “just” tokenizing fiat currencies deliver enough benefit?

The short answer is yes. Blockchain is an incredibly powerful architecture that provides significant benefits to the assets represented on it. There are many key benefits to blockchain based tokenized fiats, however speed, span and cost are worth a closer look.

A tokenized asset can be moved around the globe at an efficiency that user of current day systems could never dream of, let along compete with. A transaction between wallet holders on opposite sides of the globe would be settled in seconds (or minutes, depending on the network) not days or hours for an average fee totaling fractions of a dollar regardless if they are worth a few dollars or a few million dollars.

Blockchain architecture is vastly beneficial even when the assets it underpins aren’t “crypto-native.” Specifically, the transparency and immutability inherent to the architecture enable incredibly powerful new methods of bookkeeping and reporting such as Triple Entry Accounting (TEA) as well as Automated Audits. These pose a substantial improvement to current accounting tools, that eventually will change the risk profile inherent to every financial transaction.

See: Is This Behind The Latest $25 Billion Bitcoin And Crypto Price Rally?

Even the trivial action of checking on your assets involves logging-in or calling our bank and asking it to report back what and how much is owned – lacks a true, direct line of sight.

 

Let’s get really, boring.

Even the most adherent purist will admit that the power blockchain vastly increases with the growth of its userbase. So basically, it is in everyone’s

best interest, early adopter and newcomer alike, for the network to grow by appealing to the mainstream.

Thankfully, there is an army of people working to facilitate better, more palatable access to crypto for a wide array of audiences. Many of them have been educated by some of the most profound processes of digital transformation of recent decades, and are leaning on these insights to lean on applicable lessons for this particular opportunity.

For instance, let’s look at smartphone adoption. In just a decade the majority of the world’s population has been converted into devoted user of the technology. While there are multiple applicable takeaways and lessons to analyze, consider the name itself “Smart-Phone.” If you own one, it probably isn’t necessary to point out that most of the time the “phone” aspect of the device isn’t used at all. In fact, data shows that “calling people” isn’t even a top ten use for most users. Still, there is a very important reason that these pocket computers were named “phones”; to spur their adoption. Anchoring the terminology to something people widely understood, the phone, enabled it to be familiar and easily adoptable. It is much easier to have a meaningful conversation, when we have a common mental framework to base it on.

 

What’s next?

While they’re based on new and different technology, for stablecoins to go mainstream they must rely on an ideal, common framework that most people readily accept (or a simple formula such as one coin equals one dollar). If we can agree here, we can progress to having the more important conversation as to why the coin is actually a better dollar than a dollar, but we’ll be doing so standing on a solid and shared foundation.

See:  Architecting a New World: Investment Crowdfunding and Digital Assets

Currently, we are in the process of an implementation that will inherit all the benefits covered above but will also comply with the applicable regulation/ legislation in place. In current markets dominated by USD based stablecoins, it is important to remember that we need to deliver efficiencies around foreign exchange for stablecoins to truly become strategic in importance.  This will be possible through a Canadian Dollar backed crypto asset such as Qcad, that will unlock the next adoption stage of blockchain and will generate direct benefits for Canada.

Stablecoins will continue to play a major role in broader crypto adoption, and for our part; a CAD-backed crypto asset will be an important step in the evolution to mainstream adoption of blockchain. We are very excited to be engaged in architecting the future of financial systems; good things are coming.

 

Fred Pye 200 - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerFred Pye, President and CEO, 3iQ

Fred kick-started his career as a precious metal and foreign exchange trader at Guardian Trust. He later joined Fidelity Investments, where he was part of a team that saw its assets rise from 85 million to over 7.5 billion. Next, Fred started his own firm, which worked diligently with Canadian regulatory bodies to establish the first mutual fund in Canada that was allowed to take short positions. Finally, as founder and CEO of 3iQ, he and his team have worked cooperatively with the OSC for the last 2 and a half years to launch the first regulated Bitcoin fund in Canada. This fund will be the first major exchange-traded cryptocurrency fund in North America.

 

Kesem Frank 200 - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerKesem Frank, Chief Maven, Mavennet

Kesem is a technology strategy expert specializing in blockchain powered enterprise architecture. Following a leadership position in Deloitte’s Blockchain practice, Kesem co-founded Nuco, one of the earliest enterprise blockchain platforms and a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. In his capacity as COO, Kesem led multiple projects, positioning blockchain at the core of future business platforms for fortune-1000 companies.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding Partner The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Facebook’s Cryptocurrency: Great Idea, Wrong Company

Forbes | | June 17, 2019

mark Z. facebook - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerAll the signs are that Facebook is about to launch its cryptocurrency on June 18, a project known internally as Libra, and that soon, apparently, we will all be using. So what are the implications of a company with 2.4 billion users launching its own currency?

Strategically, the movement makes sense for Facebook: at a time when many question the its dominance of social networks and when a majority of its own shareholders say they want to see the back of Mark Zuckerberg, the company announces a very ambitious project of universal appeal giving it a central role in the world economy, in the wake of innumerable cryptocurrency projects of dubious legality, irresponsibly speculative and wasteful in terms of energy, aimed among others at people in countries with unstable currencies or limited banking penetration. As Jack Dorsey has said, this maybe the perfect moment to create a universal currency for the Internet era, reflecting the trend toward a universalization of the world. However, what is less clear is whether this currency should be in the hands of Facebook.

See:  FaceCoin: Here’s What Facebook Could Build In Blockchain And Cryptocurrency

Technically, the project is not terribly interesting: although the company has hired a lot of talent with experience in the world of cryptocurrencies, what it has built is a stablecoin anchored to a basket of currencies, securities and organizations to avoid excessive control by a single player (including Facebook), and thus any potential speculation: the company has spoken with financial institutions to provide capital in the form of billions of dollars of international fiduciary coins and low risk securities as collateral to stabilize the price of the currency. Companies interested in operating a node have to contribute $10 million to validate transactions with the currency, to vote in future operations and above all to avoid argument about Facebook’s excessive power. The company plans to cede control of its cryptocurrency to an external independent foundation based in Switzerland.

Facebook’s currency can be transferred at no cost through Facebook products, including Messenger and WhatsApp, and the company is working with retailers to accept it as payment, which may involve commissions and possibly some agreement with ATM network managers to allow exchange with other currencies. There may even be incentives for users ranging from payment for advertising to promotions of schemes similar to loyalty programs. The company may even pay interest to users for deposits in its currency, a move designed to avoid suspicion of the company holding onto interest.

See: 

In addition to the attention the project will attract, including from the regulators, it will raise awareness of cryptocurrencies, dynamizing the environment and possibly helping it evolve. Facebook’s currency is designed to be user friendly and as easy as any other conventional currency, allowing everybody, not just the experts, to join it.

The currency will also allow us to know once and for all how many real users Facebook has: they will all need to be identified in order to prevent money laundering or other criminal uses. This will be particularly important in failed states or where few people have bank accounts.

In many ways, a universal currency, drawing on the experience of other cryptocurrencies and aimed at populations who for many reasons are outside the traditional economy sounds like a good idea. However, the problem is that the company behind has the worst reputation for privacy, along with ethical standards that have seen it involved in accusations of electoral manipulation and even genocide. As far as Facebook is concerned, its users are raw material, and the idea it would have access to my financial records terrifies me.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding Partner The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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3iQ Presents Evidence at Public Hearing with Ontario Securities Commission

3iQ | Fred Pye | June 12, 2019

3iQ bitcoin fund - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerWe sincerely thank the Canadian digital asset industry for their support at our public hearing last week with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). The hearing room was at fu LLP, for their continuous support and tremendous performance through the entire hearing process.

Since 2016, 3iQ Corp. (3iQ) has been working to bring a public bitcoin fund to market for Canadian retail investors. 3iQ chose to proceed “through the front door” with the OSC to ensure that The Bitcoin Fund addressed all of the regulatory concerns raised by OSC Staff. At the hearing, 3iQ submitted compelling evidence to prove that the custody, pricing and audit of The Bitcoin Fund could be performed in compliance with National Instrument 81-102 and other applicable securities law governing retail investment funds in Ontario. OSC Staff arguments relating to the Bitcoin Fund “not being in the public interest” of Canadians were addressed and 3iQ believes we presented a strong case that the time for this product and structure is now.

3iQ entered into evidence that a cryptoasset custodian which is regulated as a trust company by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) affirmed that it would be in the position to act as the sub-custodian of the Bitcoin Fund, and that the safety of the Fund’s bitcoin should meet the expectation of the regulator. It was also entered into evidence that 3iQ’s Global Cryptoasset Fund received a clean audit from Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (RCGT).

See: 

Fintech Fridays Episode 32: Rallying behind Bitcoin with Frederick T. Pye

3iQ submitted that events such as the QuadrigaCX losses in Canada and other platforms being hacked globally show the need for a disciplined product such as The Bitcoin Fund. It was highlighted that generally, the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which were rejected by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are structurally different than The Bitcoin Fund. The closed-end structure of The Bitcoin Fund requires a daily Net Asset Value (NAV) calculation, but redemptions at NAV are only available annually and therefore daily trading is not likely to be impacted by intraday price movements in bitcoin. Consequently, the risk of market manipulation in the downstream bitcoin market is unlikely to have a negative impact on The Bitcoin Fund or its investors. The Manager controls the subscription process for new units of The Bitcoin Fund, and bitcoin is purchased for the Fund from platforms and dealers that hold the “BitLicense” or are otherwise regulated by the NYSDFS.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding Partner The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Crowdfunding trends: Blockchain and video games most popular projects

Net Imperative | June 12, 2019

lending landscape - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerBlockchain and video games are the most lucrative industries for crowdfunding projects, getting million of pounds in funding for popular projects, according to new research in Europe.

A new study by SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk uncovers the sectors and countries where the introduction of the alternative finance marketplace is being felt the most, and the current value of the industry.

Key Findings:

• Blockchain and Video Games Named The Most Lucrative Industries For Crowdfunding – 31 Blockchain crowdfunding projects averaged funding of over $177 million, whilst the Video Game sector that has seen the most projects to exceed $1 million, with 38 in total.
• 3D Printing, Wearable Tech, and Software – All make the top 10 most successful crowdfunded industries and have a combined total funding of $17.1 million
• The UK Is Paving The Way – $20 billion of alternative finance funds has been raised, this is over double the volume of all other countries combined.

See:  Architecting a New World: Investment Crowdfunding and Digital Assets

In recent years, Alternative Finance funding channels that exist outside of the traditional finance system have revolutionised how small and medium enterprises are able to operate. The rapid growth of the Alternative Finance industry, in areas such as Crowdfunding, is making it increasingly less ‘alternative’, but where is this development seen the most?

Comparison service SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk has taken an in-depth look at the countries and sectors where the development of the alternative finance marketplace is being felt the most, and the current value of the industry.

Alternative Finance by Country

Peer-to-peer lending, online alternative finance, and crowdfunding are 3 of the most prominent forms of alternative finance which many countries have started to adopt. Below are some of the countries that have been quick to get involved:

UK Out in Front – In a study of just under 20 European nations, the United Kingdom ranks well ahead of its continental counterparts with an estimated volume of $20 billion raised through alternative finance according to recent figures. This figure is over double the volume of all other countries combined.

Germany and France Top Mainland Europe – While both nations have a long way to go to catch the figures showcased in the UK, impressive levels of P2P lending and Equity-Based Crowdfunding makes them the only other countries to exceed a $1 billion volume across the key alternative finance markets.
Crowdfunding by Sector

Arguably the most mainstream form of alternative finance in terms of awareness, Crowdfunding has provided normal people to impact the success of business enterprises of any size. We’ve analysed of the most successful industries and the level of funding they have been able to gather.

See:  European Parliament Adopts First Reading Position On Proposed Regulation And Directive On European Crowdfunding Service Providers

Blockchain Most Funded – Blockchain technology has seen its popularity and value increase hugely in recent years, particularly with the recent wave of interest in the Cryptocurrency world. In our research, we found 31 Blockchain crowdfunding projects which averaged funding of over $177 million.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding Partner The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Blockchain Technology and the UN: The Sustainable Development Goals

BlockX Labs | Laura Marissa Cullell | June 11, 2019

UN SDGs - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerCan technology progress human rights? Provide humanitarian aid? Help combat Climate Change? Address issues of identity, trafficking, and provide access to food?

The answer to these questions is potentially yes! Blockchain is a fantastic space to explore these issues right now.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been working on my thesis on Blockchain, Human Rights and International Law for the U.N. Mandated University for Peace. I have had the chance to learn about a plethora of innovative projects, pilots, and ideas that human rights activists are currently working on to make the world a better place. Is it lucrative? Not always. But it does help make a tangible difference.

For those that are unfamiliar, in 2015, all 193 members of the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution implementing a 15-year plan of achieving 17 Sustainable Development, global goals by 2030 (SDGs). Each of these goals has targets to achieve, totalling 169 different targets. The SDGs cover a broad range of social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water, sanitation, energy, environment, and social justice.

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SDG No. 2: Eradication of Hunger

World Food Programme — Building Blocks

UN Aid programs have been wrought with countless cases of fraud, red tape, hefty administrative fees and mismanagement of funds. In order to provide the maximum amount of aid to those who need it the most, the World Food Programme (WFP) implemented a pilot project in 2017 called Building Blocks. It was an early experiment that enabled the transfer of WFP Food and cash on a public Ethereum blockchain through a smartphone app to vulnerable families in Pakistan, addressing SDG Goal №1 and 2- poverty and hunger.

Within months, the WFP expanded the pilot to a Syrian refugee camp in Azraq, Jordan to successfully facilitate cash transfers for over 10,000 Syrian refugees on its blockchain payments platform. According to CCN, the implementation of blockchain technology also enabled Syrian refugees to buy food from local retailers using a biometric scan of their eye where each transaction was recorded on a blockchain, rendering the use of cash, bank cards, and paper vouchers obsolete. In this case, the refugees did not need to share any sensitive data with banks or mobile operators, benefiting from greater security and privacy through an immutable, secure blockchain.

Now, the World Food Programme is currently expanding its Ethereum-based blockchain after saving millions of dollars in bank transfers by utilizing decentralised blockchain technology. Currently, the WFP feeds over 100 million people across 80 countries.

SDG No. 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

ID2020 and Digital Identities

Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights stipulates that “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.” The Sustainable Development Goals (2015–2030) include target 16.9 which aims to “provide legal identity to all, including birth registration, by 2030.” ID2020 believes this must include the >20M refugees worldwide and seeks to provide.

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ID2020 is an alliance of governments, NGOs, and the private sector, along with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. All of these entities seek to use blockchain technology to give refugees a digital identity. They have currently teamed up with Accenture and are looking at rolling out an inter-operable, user-owned and controlled digital identity to its hundreds of thousands of staff. They hope that this initiative will evolve to a standard background check which can be distributed to potential clients using a biometrics system that can manage data on fingerprints and irises.

Improvements on failed Governance Models

One of the biggest advantages of using blockchain technology lies in its’ governance mechanisms. Blockchains enable trust which would, in turn, help mitigate corruption. Current international and domestic governance models are wrought with bureaucracy, red tape, and inefficiencies, which hinders access to these key governance structures.

The UNDP proposed a model of Good Governance which provides a cursory framework for how governments should operate:

  1. Participation — all citizens have the right to an equal voice in decision making
  2. Rule of Law — fair an impartial legal frameworks specifically regarding human rights.
  3. Transparency — based on free flow of information, where processes, institutions and information is always readily accessible.
  4. Responsiveness — Institutions and government agencies serve all stakeholders.
  5. Consensus Orientation — acknowledging differing interests and attempts to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interests of the group and (where possible), on policies and procedures
  6. Equity — All citizens regardless of gender, have opportunities to maintain their well-being
  7. Effectiveness and Efficiency — Allows both processes and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources
  8. Accountability — where decision makers in government, the private sector, and civil society organizations are accountable to the public as well as to institutional stakeholders.

Blockchain strengthens trust, and promotes information sharing between institutions and the public. It can have an impact on democratic voting models and promote the principles of good governance. A blockchain operates on the principles of consensus, accountability and transparency between all parties.

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According to Guillaume Chapron, “Local communities could be empowered to manage their natural resources through ad hoc voting. For example, fish might be traded on a platform only if harvest quotas were approved by a community-based democratic process.”

By digitizing governance models and facilitating the creation of digital societies, such as e-Estonia, achieving access to just and peaceful institutions is definitely attainable.

Blockchain and the progression of Human Rights

Kobina Hughes believes that blockchain presents an opportunity for the Internet development community to claim a degree of recognition in the human rights realm.

It only makes sense that technology is being utilised to promote gender equality and address current social concerns in ways that are only able to be explored now due to innovations in technology.

The fact that Blockchain is currently being adopted by governments and international organs is a wonderful first step at utilizing technology for promoting human rights for all.

Laura Marissa Cullell - Creative Destruction Lab joins the Libra Association as first named academic Founding PartnerLaura Marissa Cullell is the HR,  Marketing & Operations Officer at BlockX Labs.  She is an MA Graduand of the UN University of Peace in International Law and Human Rights. She loves puns, glitter, and reading an obscene amount of books.  You can reach her at: lcullell@blockxlabs.com

 


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