June 1, 2016
It hasn’t even been a week since we reviewed some cases of blockchain pilots across industries, and news on activities around blockchain and partnerships to leverage it in one way or another are emerging. This time, let’s look at some of the latest cases of companies and partnerships taking a different approach to blockchain adoption – blockchain open-source projects (similar to Hyperledger Project, Openchain, Multichain).
As Yorke Rhodes III, Blockchain Business Strategist, DX, shared on Tuesday, Microsoft is collaborating with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys, and developers across the globe on an open-source, self-sovereign, blockchain-based identity system that allows people, products, apps, and services to interoperate across blockchains, cloud providers and organizations.
Microsoft’s goal in contributing to this initiative is to start a conversation on blockchain-based identity that could improve apps, services, and more importantly, the lives of real people worldwide by enabling self-owned or self-sovereign identity.
This collaboration was announced at the ID2020 conference, held at the United Nations last week in New York, where UN members, private companies, and government agencies gathered to define the problem of identity in the world. The goal of ID2020 is to have a legal identity for every person without the need for identification by 2020.
Microsoft will be working with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to leverage their current Bitcoin and Ethereum-based identity solutions, Blockstack and uPort, in order to produce a cross-chain identity solution that can be extended to any future blockchains or new kinds of decentralized, distributed systems.
A little more than a week ago, String Labs announced its Grants Program for open-chain finance projects to support community initiatives. As the company shared, it welcomes innovative finance project proposals globally to apply for a grant between $2,000 to $10,000 per project. Moreover, as some of the DAO critics feared, the company considers granting DAO tokens for the projects directly related to its autonomous finance DAO (mirror asset/credit system).
CommonAccord, a startup recently selected by L’Atelier, BNP Paribas' FinTech accelerator, is an initiative to create global codes of legal transacting by codifying and automating legal documents, including contracts, permits, organizational documents and consents on distributed ledgers.
James Hazard, Founder of CommonAccord, explained that the journey towards digitalization of legal documents started to some extent with Microsoft Word. As he shared with IBTimes UK, "Word, is somehow weirdly, wildly complicated in its inner workings, which is why nobody has ever been able to write something that's totally compatible with it.
Hazard believes that blockchains and smart contracts are, essentially, open source finally arriving at transacting and the key is a common record format.
You can think of blockchain as the best solution for the worst case, where there isn't any other mechanism for trust. Where parties know one another or know someone in common, law and reputation provide alternative mechanisms," he added.
The quiet work of blockchain on the Thunder Project has produced its first results. After the internal test, the company behind the worlds’ most popular bitcoin wallet announced the release of Thunder Network Alpha.
As the company states, Thunder has the potential to facilitate secure, trustless and instant payments. It has the ability to unleash the power of microtransactions, to allow the bitcoin network to handle heavy loads, and to increase user privacy. In this Alpha version, we prove that it can be done.
Blockchain describes The ThunderNetwork as a way to send money off-chain to other parties in a trustless manner based on the lightning.network. The lightning.network is a P2P network between thousands of nodes that builds payment channels. Using 10 random nodes at a time, these payment channels create a large network-like mesh.
At the beginning of the May, Chain, a leading provider of blockchain technology, announced the public release of Chain Open Standard 1 (Chain OS 1), an open-source blockchain protocol developed over the last 18 months through a unique collaboration between the Silicon Valley company and global financial services firms (Capital One, Citigroup, Fidelity, First Data, Fiserv, MUFG, Nasdaq, State Street and Visa).
The Chain Open Standard is already powering several blockchain projects at leading financial companies. The standard was being opened up to the wider financial community for the first time on the day of the announcement.
The Chain Open Standard was purpose-built to enable high-scale financial applications to run on permissioned blockchain networks while meeting the stringent regulatory, security and privacy requirements of the financial services industry.
Jim McCarthy, Executive Vice President, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships at Visa, commented, "Visa and Chain have been collaborating to explore how a blockchain architecture can operate at Visa's scale to the benefit of our clients. The Chain Open Standard is the culmination of many months of iteration and problem solving, and we are pleased to be playing an ongoing role in that process."