Bitcoin Veteran Raises $150 Million To Bring DAOs And NFTs To The Blockchain That Started It All

It’s summer 2017. Muneeb Ali, a PhD candidate in computer science at Princeton, is finishing his thesis, detailing his experience of building Blockstack—a decentralized blockchain-based internet, enabling users to own their data. Inspired by the founding father of modern computers and fellow Princeton graduate, Alan Turing, and the work of Bitcoin’s anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, Ali was exploring applications beyond financial use cases that could be built atop the largest decentralized payments network.

Fast forward to the present day. Dr. Ali has just raised $150 million to build New York-based Trust Machines, a company he co-founded with Princeton computer science professor Dr. JP Singh, which seeks to unleash what they consider “the true potential of bitcoin” by developing decentralized finance applications, DAOs and NFTs on the rebranded Blockstack, now called Stacks, a smart contracts network linked to bitcoin.

Investors in the round include Breyer Capital, Union Square Ventures, Digital Currency Group, GoldenTree, Hivemind, among others. The valuation was not disclosed. At stake is the potential for bitcoin to thrive in Web3.

“We believe that bitcoin can be more than a store of value; it can also be the settlement layer and platform for Web 3,” said Jim Breyer, founder and CEO of Breyer Capital and early Facebook investor. “We’re excited to support Trust Machines and their mission to help bitcoin reach its potential.”

The participation of high-profile investors like Breyer is a vote of confidence to bitcoin’s growth prospects. Despite its success, bitcoin’s ecosystem has seen slower development than other so-called Layer-1 chains, such as Ethereum and Solana, as of late. Unlike these networks and their respective assets, bitcoin has gained mainstream support as a “store of value” due to its scarcity. But this narrative is presently being challenged by bitcoin’s increasing correlation with risky assets like stocks.

Trust Machines aims to convert bitcoin’s trillion-dollar value into more productive capital and grow an economy of bitcoin applications, according to Ali. “Bitcoin as a programmable Layer 1 is so underappreciated,” he laments.

With raised capital, Trust Machines plans to aggressively hire bitcoin core developers to build products that would enable bitcoin investors to participate in the budding sector of decentralized finance, though the lion’s share of its value is currently locked in Ethereum. Think yield-bearing opportunities for bitcoin holders, social applications, DAOs, bitcoin-native NFT experiences and swaps, to name a few.

“Over the last four or five years, we’ve been building the infrastructure (Stacks) to make it possible to build those applications,” says Ali. “And now that the infrastructure has matured, we’re building these applications.”

Ali after his PhD thesis defense at Princeton University in 2017 standing next to Brian Kernighan, an early developer of the C programming language and UNIX operating system.

Ali had first heard of bitcoin in 2011 from Princeton professor Arvind Narayanan, who later wrote one of the most popular college textbooks on the subject and served on Ali’s thesis committee, but had not read Satoshi’s white paper for another two years. “One thing that really fascinated me,” he recounts, reflecting on Stacks’ beginnings, was “What else can we do with this technology?”

To answer that question, Hiro, a New-York based company he cofounded to build developer tools for Stacks, has raised a combined $75 million from investors including Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, Winklevoss Capital, and even Harvard Management Co., the firm managing the university’s $41.9 billion endowment, which bought a cumulative $11.5 million in Stacks tokens in 2019. Last month, the Stacks mainnet celebrated its one-year anniversary with over 2,500 smart contract deployments and 50,000 wallet downloads.

In many ways, bitcoin smart contracts could be considered the Holy Grail of crypto. Platforms like Stacks or RSK, another network supporting bitcoin smart contracts developed by Argentina-based IOVLavs, show that the developer ecosystem around bitcoin can innovate and enable support for Web 3.

Hiro, which Ali has until now headed, will from now on be led by Alex Miller, currently Hiro’s Chief Operating Officer, though Ali will stay on as chairman of the board. Diwaker Gupta, currently VP of Technology, will take on the role of Hiro’s Chief Technology Officer.

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I report on cryptocurrencies and other applications of blockchain technology. I also write the weekly Forbes Crypto Confidential newsletter and contribute to our premium research service Forbes CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor. A Russia native, I am a graduate of NYU Abu Dhabi and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Source: Bitcoin Veteran Raises $150 Million To Bring DAOs And NFTs To The Blockchain That Started It All

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Virtual company may raise $200 million, largest in crowdfunding”. 17 May 2016. Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via Reuters.

India’s Largest Private Port Operator Partners With Blockchain Platform TradeLens

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India’s largest port operator APSEZ has partnered with IBM’s TradeLens platform to digitize its supply chain process.

The largest multi-port operator of India, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ), has partnered with the blockchain-based supply chain solution platform TradeLens.

APSEZ plans to integrate TradeLens’s blockchain solutions across 10 of its major courier management facilities across ports in six Indian states — four in Gujarat and one each in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Chennai, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Digitizing to curb supply chain shortcomings exposed by the pandemic

According to the local business news outlet, Business Line, APSEZ’s move to digitize its supply chains comes as an effort to reduce the impact of vulnerabilities of the traditional current supply chain system. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic exposed the drawbacks of the present supply chain that heavily relies on paperwork and manual processes.

The report quoted an unnamed logistics industry official saying:

“During the pandemic, we realized the price of not digitizing the industry. There will be a mindset change now and more firms will adopt the technology.”

Developed by Maersk and IBM, TradeLens is expected to help APSEZ make information sharing more time and cost-efficient, transparent, and secure.

A study by QBIS Consulting on Total Transport and Logistics Costs (TTLC) estimated that digitizing supply chain workflow can save importers of a single major port up to $220 million annually. Exporters too could save around $40 million each year. The nationwide saving could scale to as much as $860 million.

Digitizing supply chains worldwide

TradeLens has made consistent progress in partnering with major industry players in an effort to digitize their supply chains.

In December 2019, TradeLens announced its partnership with a major Asian shipping terminal Cái Mép International Terminal. The following month, Oman’s largest port, Port of Salalah also partnered with the company to digitize its supply chain. Cointelegraph reported in March that Standard Chartered became the first bank to join the TradeLens platform.

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Every day, around the world, millions of shipping containers in motion. An incredible achievement of logistics, coordination and communication. But legacy data systems and manual document handling cause friction that costs both time and money for businesses and people throughout the supply chain. TradeLens is a digital shipping platform, powered by blockchain, that enables unprecedented transparency, collaboration and efficiency in global supply chains. Learn more about TradeLens: https://www.tradelens.com #TradeLens #Blockchain #Demo

UAE Leverages Blockchain Technology to Flatten Corona Curve

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Blockchain is finding its way into almost everything these days. From banking to medical insurance, to even growing flowers, the technology is positioned by most as a one-size-fits-all. Now, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is causing countries around the world to search for novel ways to curb the spread. Some countries recommend malaria drugs, while some turn to the blockchain. 

Everyone Turns to Blockchain

Entrepreneurs from Dubai-based startup incubator In5 are leveraging blockchain technology, along with 3D printing and robotics, to ensure the wellbeing of the UAE population.

Blockchain has found its way into the distribution and tracking of medical and essential resources. In5-backed Liber Health, a patient identification platform using the technology, has created a “contactless” system to recognize patient data.

Liber touts its method is “safer” than others on the market, such as those using devices like fingerprint scanners which are likely to spread germs via contact.

CEO Syed Abrar Ahmed spoke to local publication Emirates 247 on the topic:

“The platform could save thousands of patent lives lost due to medical errors caused by the lack of auditable health data.”

He added Liber is “compatible and scalable” with every existing electronic medical record (EMR) system and healthcare application “in the world.” The startup is also in talks with private and public entities that want to incorporate Liber’s platform for their use.

Meanwhile, other startups like 3Dinova are using 3D printing to create facemasks and door handles that people can operate with their elbows, in an uncanny solution to minimize hand contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.

UAE has been a mixed bag for crypto and blockchain startups. Its government has leveraged blockchain for various projects previously, such as replacing official paperwork with digital platforms and for the storage of tamper-proof medical data.

Crypto-focussed projects in the country include partnering with RippleNet for cross-border transfers and the use of Ethereum and Hyperledger for creating a digital business registry platform.

Despite the above, no legislation for blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies exists yet, and while the government has claimed developing such regulations, there’s nothing definitive on the market as of 2020.

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Italian Govt Commits €15M to Protect ‘Made in Italy’ With Blockchain

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To combat counterfeit goods, the Italian government has allocated €15M to develop and implement blockchain and other tech-based solutions.

Counterfeit “Made in Italy” products are sold in marketplaces around the world. The Italian government is now fighting back against these knockoffs by investing €15 million ($16.2 million) towards the development of a blockchain-based solution.

According to a new report by dGen, counterfeits of the “Made in Italy” label caused a loss of €12.4 billion ($13.4 billion) in 2016 alone. Such losses directly impact both the income and future survival of many Italian artisans.

The prestige of being “Made in Italy”

The Italian fashion industry, and the country’s association with artisan craftsmanship, both feed into the prestigious reputation of the “Made in Italy” label. Indeed, if it were registered as a brand, it would be the third-most valuable global property (after Coca Cola and Visa).

The label’s high profile associations have led to an ever increasing problem with counterfeit goods. These fakes facilitate intellectual property theft, and tarnish the reputation of the label, the brands, and artisans who the label represents. They also cost the industry billions of dollars as a whole.

Blockchain to the rescue

The Italian government has acknowledged the threat of counterfeiting and identified blockchain technology as a potential solution. The government recently allocated €15 million to support the rapid implementation of digital technologies, including the financing of a joint project between IBM Italy and the artisan community.

Aspects of the industry that are being considered for improvement include: authentication of goods and raw materials through the supply chain, a secure ledger of intellectual property rights, provable sustainability and ethical practices, and closer relationships between brands and their customers.

It is hoped that such measures will curb the rise of counterfeit goods and secure the future of Italian artisans.

Fashion is not the only area in which Italians have been valuing authenticity as of late. Cointelegraph recently reported that Italian firm, LKS, has created a blockchain-based system that can allegedly prevent the spread of fake news

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How Sony Keeps Innovating With Blockchain Technology

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Sony Corporation (Sony) has been at the forefront as the world’s leading innovator for years. This has resulted in Sony owning the largest music business through Sony Music Entertainment, operating the largest video game console business and being the leader in video game publishing business. This isn’t surprising as Sony has been a household name since the early ‘90s and their current position at the top is just Sony’s natural spot. The Japanese company is heavily invested in several new technologies including blockchain and AI, and the speed at which their testing and investments in the space are rolled out is remarkable.

Last week it was announced that Sony have developed a high-speed processing technology that facilitates data transactions for a new breed of database platform called Blockchain Common Database (BCDB). The work was done as part of a transportation-focused Mobility as a Service (MaaS) initiative led by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management back in 2019. What makes this technology interesting is that they have achieved successful execution and storage of seven million transactions per day, simulating a real-world scenario where buses, cars, bikes and taxis all share their location and other metrics.

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Of course, Sony is no stranger to investing in the blockchain space. In 2018 they announced that they are working on a platform that will control and manage digital content and rights. They have also created a portal for managing educational course records and transcript management through blockchain, an initiative conducted by Sony Global Education along with Fujitsu.

Since Japan has been one of the first countries to recognize the value of digital assets and begin creating a positive regulatory framework toward cryptocurrencies and specifically bitcoin as early as 2017 we have seen a lot of blockchain and digital assets investments coming from the Far East. Sony, through their investments arm Sony Financial Ventures (SFV), have participated in the latest funding round of the Securitize platform. This platform, which specializes in digital securities, has a strong connection to Japan and Asia but their roadmap is focused globally.

With all the work and investments they are putting into the enterprise blockchain space, Sony will be a strong contender for next year’s 2021 Blockchain 50 list. The list has already welcomed the presence of one of Sony’s competitors, Samsung. Overall, Sony is showing a strong desire and willingness to innovate in using blockchain technology for supplementing their existing infrastructure and business use cases. From those efforts, the net winners will be their consumers and partners, who will benefit from access to better and faster services at an eventually optimized price.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I am an enterprise blockchain architect based in New York. I have deep technical expertise in blockchain and DLT protocols and systems. My coverage includes weekly round-up of enterprise blockchain developments. Previously, I co-founded BlockEx which developed several financial services products including an innovative Digital Asset Exchange Platform with bonds issuance capabilities.

Source: https://forbes.com

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Check out a written version of this script on our website: https://blockchain.wtf/2018/05/series… Business on the Blockchain is a new series aimed at keeping you up to date on all of the big business moves towards blockchain technology. More and more businesses are exploring cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and we’re here to help you understand how some of these businesses are making this transiton. It’s an exciting time for blockchain adoption, check out which businesses are jumping onto the wave! Sony has been one of the most popular consumer technology brands for a good while now. They are Japanese based, but no matter where you live, you’ve likely heard of htem. Whether it be the Walkman or the Playstation, Sony has long cemented itself as giant in technological innovation over the span of several decades. They are constantly trying to create technology that will address today’s problems. The issue that Sony has turned to the blockchain to solve: Representing digital rights. On April 26th a patent was published, and it revealed that Sony had applied to use blockchain technology as a means of tracking digital rights. They have named it the Blockchain-Based Digital Rights Management (DRM) By implementing an immutable blockchain, ownership could be imprinted via transaction, permanently placing this information across multiple nodes. Reach out and sign up for our mailing list at: https://blockchain.wtf/contact-us/ Interact with us on social media and stop by our website: * Website: https://blockchain.wtf * https://twitter.com/blockchainwtf * https://facebook.com/blockchainwtf * https://steemit.com/@blockchainwtf * https://medium.com/@questions.blockch…
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