Developments in blockchain technology have taken a leap to a whole new level – the first license for FinTech firms using blockchain distributed ledger technology has been introduced by Gibraltar’s financial services watchdog. From whitepapers, to PoC, to real-world applications and deployments, blockchain-focused startups now have a place in the official books.
Pick #1. Gibraltar launches world’s first license for FinTech firms using blockchain
Gibraltar’s financial services watchdog will introduce the world’s first license for FinTech firms using blockchain distributed ledger technology from next month in a bid to attract startups to the British overseas territory as it prepares for Brexit.
The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) will publish the guidelines on Friday for applying its new law for firms that use blockchain to “transmit or store” cash and assets belonging to others – much in the same way as a bank is authorized.
“This is the first instance of a purpose-built legislative framework for businesses that use blockchain or distributed ledger technology.” – Nicky Gomez, the GFSC’s Head of Risk & Innovation.
There will be two main advantages to firms being authorized under the new rules: it will make it easier to obtain a bank account to run the business, and it helps a business gain legitimacy with customers.
Pick #2. Andrew Ng Says Factories Are AI’s Next Frontier
Andrew Ng is the CEO of a startup called Landing.AI that will help companies figure out ways to incorporate AI. Specifically, Landing.AI (California), is working with manufacturers—including Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer and maker of Apple’s iPhones—to figure out how AI can help with product yield and quality control.
Ng says he’s interested in manufacturing in particular because it touches so much of our everyday lives. He sees it as a way to bring a digital transformation to the physical world.
Ng won’t say exactly how Landing.AI’s technology will be rolled out by Foxconn or other manufacturers on manufacturing lines. But he expects it will include visual inspections, and his team has developed a learning algorithm that, after being trained on just a few images, can be used to spot imperfections in small electronic components or camera lenses. Landing.AI believes it understands how to use AI to tune the operations of manufacturing machines such as injection-molding machines.
Pick #3. 2 Tech Giants Are Teaming Up for the Internet of Things
Amazon and Texas Instruments were collaborating on an integrated offering for the Internet of Things.
At its recent Re: Invent conference, Amazon announced AWS FreeRTOS, a new open-source operating system for microcontrollers in IoT devices. The two companies teamed up to integrate Texas Instruments’ SimpleLink MCU Platform with FreeRTOS prior to the new operating system’s unveiling. The collaboration will make the combined microcontroller easily pluggable into Amazon’s IoT platform.
Through FreeRTOS, developers can program, connect, and monitor their devices more easily. That will save IoT software developers lots of time and headaches and can speed up deployment for businesses that want to quickly implement IoT devices.
Pick #4. JPMorgan Chase and Samsung Are Partnering With IBM To Build Business Apps On Quantum Computers
IBM is partnering with corporations including Daimler AG, JPMorgan Chase, and Samsung to see if there’s money to be made in quantum. Those companies are part of the first batch of partners in what IBM is calling its “Q Network,” a group that will have access to IBM’s quantum systems and share engineering over the next several years.
Partners in the Q Network now have access through the cloud to IBM’s 20-qubit computers. With IBM already running a successful 50 qubit prototype, partners will access more advanced quantum computers over the course of the relationship. IBM’s goal is for its partners to develop applications that demonstrate a business advantage because they run on quantum instead of traditional computers using silicon-based chips. IBM hopes to see such success by 2020.
Partners such as JPMorgan Chase will send engineers to IBM’s research lab in Yorktown Heights, New York and share research back with the company on a regular basis, while also conducting experiments remotely over the cloud.
Eventual applications could perform risk analysis or adjust prices more quickly in finance, making it easier to develop new materials in manufacturing and optimize logistics faster, but to do so, the companies must learn how to run the underlying algorithms of those applications on a quantum computer, among other challenges. Others involved in the program include Barclays, Hitachi Metals, Honda, JSR Corporation, and Nagase.
Pick #5. Moody’s Outlook for CEE banks is stable as strong economic growth boosts lending
The economic growth in the CEE region is expected to be in a range between 2.4% and 3.8% during 2018.
“With employment rising, increasing domestic demand will support credit growth. SME lending is underdeveloped, but will expand gradually,” said Carola Schuler, a Managing Director at Moody’s.
The relatively low level of private sector debt leaves ample room for credit expansion, but the underwriting quality in some of the rapidly growing lending segments will be tested as these loans mature.
Slovenian, Romanian and Hungarian banks’ loan book quality has improved over the past three years, following significant balance sheet clean-up efforts and government measures, but Czech and Slovak banks’ high exposure to single borrowers and the high growth mortgage sector will continue to be a source of risk.