Daily Review: Blockchain Finds Adoption in Registries

The application of blockchain technology for operating registries – whether land, business, or estate – has seen certain development by a few governing authorities and by a relatively small number of tech startups.

The UAE, the Republic of Georgia, and Estonia are among the rare cases. The Estonian KSI Blockchain technology protects Estonian e-services such as the e-Health Record, e-Prescription database, e-Law and e-Court systems, e-Police data, e-Banking, e-Business Register, and e-Land Registry. By using blockchain technologies, National Agency of Public Registry in the Republic of Georgia (NAPR) can provide its citizens with a digital certificate of their assets, supported with cryptographical proof published to blockchain. Even the European Land Registry Association has been paying attention to the opportunities blockchain technology opens to the sector.

Aside from the news on The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), unveiling the new joint blockchain project Dubai Blockchain Business Registry Project, insurer Beazley has partnered with three companies to build a blockchain-based registry that will manage insurance for crisis situations such as mass shootings. The registry will use blockchain to speed a response to mass casualties and their financial aftermath by allowing policyholders and insurers to catalog coverage and share real-time information about threats and claims through one source.

Pick #1. DED and DSOA Unveil Blockchain Commercial Registry Project for Improved Ease of Business

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) have unveiled a joint blockchain project that was developed in collaboration with Smart Dubai and IBM to improve ease of doing business in Dubai and facilitate foreign direct investments.

The joint initiative, called Dubai Blockchain Business Registry Project, seeks to empower the Unified Commercial Registry (UCR) project, the first blockchain-enabled trade license repository launched by DED, to store and update company registration information issued by DED as well as the free zone authorities in Dubai.

The Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, which is the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), the integrated free zone technology park, will be the first free zone to implement the pilot project.

The collaborative effort will streamline the process of setting up and operating a business, roll out digital exchange of trade licenses and related documentation for all business activities, and ensure regulatory compliance across Dubai’s business ecosystem. While DSO is the first free zone to share license information over blockchain, other entities will be able to query and publish data as required.

Read more.

Pick #2. Goldman Sachs to Open a Bitcoin Trading Operation

Goldman Sachs is about to begin using its own money to trade with clients in a variety of contracts linked to the price of Bitcoin. While Goldman will not initially be buying and selling actual Bitcoins, a team at the bank is looking at going in that direction if it can get regulatory approval and figure out how to deal with the additional risks associated with holding the virtual currency.

Rana Yared, one of the Goldman executives overseeing the creation of the trading operation, said Goldman had concluded that Bitcoin is not a fraud and does not have the characteristics of a currency. But a number of clients wanted to hold it as a valuable commodity, similar to gold, given the limited quantity of Bitcoin that can ever be mined in a complex, virtual system.

In the next few weeks – the exact start date has not been set – Goldman will begin using its own money to trade Bitcoin futures contracts on behalf of clients. It will also create its own, more flexible version of a future, known as a non-deliverable forward, which it will offer to clients.

The bank’s first digital asset trader, Justin Schmidt, joined Goldman two weeks ago to handle the day-to-day operations. Mr. Schmidt is looking at trading actual Bitcoin if the bank can secure regulatory approval from the Federal Reserve and New York authorities.

The firm also has to find a way to confidently hold Bitcoin for customers without its being stolen by hackers, as has happened to many Bitcoin exchanges. Mr. Schmidt and Ms. Yared said the current options for holding Bitcoin for clients did not yet meet Wall Street standards.

Read more.

Pick #3. Paytm Mall Launches PoS Solution; Partners with Asus for Exclusives

Further boosting its online-to-offline play, Paytm Mall today launched a connected PoS solution for retail stores enabling shopkeepers to manage their offline and online customers. Paytm also forayed into a strategic partnership with Asus India to implement this connected PoS solution at Asus retail stores, with plans to expand the offering to other brands and retail stores.

The PoS solution enables retailers to manage their store inventory on the cloud with complete visibility on the available stock, view sales, manage pending orders, instant customer billing, and payments, among other facilities.

The company, which claims to have exited FY18 at a gross merchandise volume (GMV) run rate of $3 billion, is targeting $10 billion run rate by the end of this fiscal. Paytm Mall also plans to triple its offline presence from the current 75,000 by the end of 2019.

Asus recently also inked an exclusive partnership with India’s biggest online retailer Flipkart for the latter to become the only sales channel for Asus ZenFones.

Read more.