Zug. Crypto Valley, the independent but government-supported hub set up to “take full advantage of Switzerland’s strengths to build the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem,” has taken on venture-capital firm Lakestar as a strategic partner. Lakestar will chair Crypto Valley’s recently established Venture Building working group, which brings together participants from both blockchain-specialist companies and the wider technology sector. Lakestar’s role will be to identify and assist in supporting and scaling “technology companies led by exceptional entrepreneurs”. In return, Crypto Valley will give Lakestar access to its ecosystem and startup community; this will give the venture-capital firm “a deeper understanding of the problems which innovators within the blockchain sector are attempting to solve”. Oliver Bussmann, president, Crypto Valley, says: “Lakestar’s experience of investing in and assisting technology entrepreneurs effectively scale and internationalise will provide unique insight to support the work of Crypto Valley and our members.”
Frankfurt. Commerzbank and thyssenkrupp have successfully replicated an FX Forward transaction using a blockchain. The EUR/PLNFX Forward deal, which amounted to EUR 500,000 with a one-month tenor,was initiated by thyssenkrupp using Commerzbank’s FX Live Trader flagship platform. The deal confirmation was sent to thyssenkrupp directly via CORDA, the distributed ledger designed for finance by the R3 blockchain consortium. The use of a blockchain eliminates the need for a manual or semi-automated reconciliation between client and bank. Thus, it significantly reduces operational risks in FX transactions. Nikolaus Giesbert, Divisional Board Member, Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities and Trade Finance & Cash Management, Commerzbank, told us: “Reconciliation is a major issue for banks when trading FX. Significant resources are dedicated to resolving the issues that occur during the matching process. This deal demonstrates how the use of distributed ledger can transform and digitise the processes in this space.”
New York. Market creator BOX Digital and fintech developer tZERO have announced an initiative to form an exchange that will list and publicly trade security tokens for companies that issue, or convert existing stock to, security tokens. CEO of the new venture will be Lisa Fall, current CEO of BOX Digital. “We look forward to building a world-class platform,” says Fall. tZERO will contribute cash and license tZERO’s blockchain technology. BOX Digital will contribute expertise and personnel toward obtaining regulatory approval. Saum Noursalehi, CEO of tZERO, says: “Together, we will continue to work with the SEC as we develop a first-of-its-kind platform that will integrate blockchain capital markets into the current U.S. National Market System.”
Singapore. Blockchain platform Zilliqa, known for its use of sharding technology to achieve higher calculation throughput and thus a more readily scalable blockchain, has now launched its “new, more secure” smart-contract programming language, Scilla. This, the company suggests, would have prevented the DAO hack. Until now, many smart-contract applications have lacked security. Scilla “offers developers a way to prove properties about their contracts before deployment, thus preventing unexpected behaviour”. Scilla will be integrated into the Zilliqa protocol and will “allow developers to easily and safely build smart contracts and even port over their existing projects in the future”. Scilla will also be sharding-friendly. “We set out to create a better blockchain platform that is scalable and secure, and we are getting closer every day,” says Dr Xinshu Dong, CEO, Zilliqa. The company is also offering a USD5 million seed-grant program for apps to be built on the Zilliqa platform.
Beijing. Blockchain is a “breakthrough” technology, and part of “a new generation of technology”, China’s President Xi Jinping told a meeting of the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering at end-May 2018. Widely reported, the speech is being taken as a sign that China will be investing heavily – more heavily than it does already – in technology innovation and development, and also that the country’s present ban on Bitcoin trading and sales of new digital tokens may soon be lifted. Watch this and many other spaces.