In February 2018, San Francisco-based blockchain startup Ripple, which focuses on providing a fast and secure global payment system, has added five new customers in the banking and remittance (money transfer) sectors. The banks are Itaú Unibanco – the largest private bank in Brazil – and IndusInd of India. The remittance providers are Zip Remit of Canada, InstaReM of Singapore and Beetech of Brazil.

Ripple Strengthens Reach to Emerging Markets

These financial institutions are joining more than 100 companies already connected to RippleNet, Ripple’s decentralized global network of banks and payment providers. These businesses will increase RippleNet’s service to emerging global markets, where almost 90 percent of people under 30 reside.

“Now, RippleNet members will be able to process a large number of payouts in Southeast Asian countries through InstaReM’s secure rails,” Prajit Nanu, co-founder and CEO of InstaReM, said.

A Feb. 21 press release states that Ripple’s use of blockchain technology can offer customers lower costs and transfer times, which can be especially helpful in developing countries “where financial flexibility is limited.”

Patrick Griffin, head of business development at Ripple, believes blockchain can deliver a payment system that works in favor of, not against, individuals in emerging markets, “Whether it’s a teacher in the U.S. sending money home to his family in Brazil or a small-business owner in India trying to move money to open up a second store in another country.”

Ripple Releases Dual Academic Papers for Review

Also on Feb. 21, Ripple announced that its research and development team published two new academic papers for peer review, one on the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol, and one introducing Cobalt, a new asynchronous consensus algorithm. These are the first peer-reviewed academic papers released by Ripple.

Ripple’s XRP is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency in February 2018, by its market cap of about $38 billion. XRP’s price is about $0.97 as of the 21.

Blockchain

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and hedge fund company Polychain Capital are investing $61 million into a non-profit organization that wants to develop a decentralized ‘Internet computer’ using the blockchain.

Swiss-based DFINITY Stiftung has announced that $21 million of the $61 million will go toward the development of the network, with the rest of the funding allocated to DFINITY’s Ecosystem Venture Fund, reports Reuters.

According to its website, DFINITY is ‘building a new kind of public decentralized cloud computing resource,’ which ‘rests upon a new blockchain computer that is similar in concept to Ethereum but has vastly improved performance and, ultimately, unlimited capacity.’

The funding invested by Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z) and San Francisco-based Polychain Capital brings the total project funding to over $100 million.

Speaking to Business Insider, Dominic Williams, DFINITY’s president and chief scientist, said that DFINITY’s next-generation technology will allow applications and companies to be built on a decentralized ‘cloud 3.0.’

We’re building a system that will enable the Internet to act as a giant computer, he said. It will be an open protocol, it won’t be supported by a company, it will be supported by whoever connects their computers to that protocol.

Williams states that the Internet computer is interesting for a number of reasons: it can host traditional business systems by acting as a cloud and it will provide an alternative hosting platform compared to Amazon or Google Cloud.

It will provide a different kind of technology stack, he added. The total cost of ownership of these business systems will be dramatically lower.

According to the website, supporting human capital required could see costs cut by as much as 90 percent.

In addition to businesses, Williams is hoping that decentralized applications will be built on the DFINITY network, such as Uber, Dropbox, or eBay, according to a company statement.

The DFINITY team is truly exceptional, said Ryan Zurer, Venture Partner at Polychain. What DFINITY is building represents one of the most important technological innovations that we have ever seen since the very creation of the blockchain.

Some of the funding is also expected to go toward creating a ‘NASA for decentralization.’

Williams explained that with millions of companies on the Internet computer it requires a ‘team of thousands of people’ to analyze the performance of the computer as well as search for security threats.

The team is hoping for a beta version of the network to be up and running later this year.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

top 25 cryptocurrency exchanges

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business recently announced that it would be offering a course in Blockchain technology. BlockExplorer has learned some specifics about the upcoming course; Perianne Boring, the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s founder and president will be joining the University’s faculty as an adjunct professor. Perianne will be teaching the course with John Jacobs – former CMO and VP of the Nasdaq stock exchange

One of the biggest challenges facing the Blockchain industry is Blockchain-ready talent,” “In order for this industry to reach mass adoption, we need to develop a workforce that can support it. I am honored to join the faculty at Georgetown McDonough in helping to prepare the future generation of professionals in this exciting technology frontier.” – Perianne Boring

What the course on Blockchain technology will cover

The course will start by covering the evolution of financial technology. With guest lectures from industry professionals such as Brent de Jong – chairman of Emergent Technology Holdings and founder of G Coin, Jordan Kruger – the director of research and operations at bloq, and Karl Muth – the founder of Haystack.

BlockExplorer’s source specifically mentioned that the course discusses Internet of Things devices, robo-advising, and algorithmic trading would be covered in its first half. With more blockchain specific topics discussed in the second half. Such as cryptocurrencies themselves, Initial Coin Offerings, regulation and policy.

“The markets are evolving and Georgetown McDonough is too,” – John Jacobs

This course is a good development for the future of blockchain development and specifically its use in cryptocurrencies.

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business will also be hosting the third annual DC Blockchain summit from March 6 to March 8. The summit will involve discussions on key market developments; such as ICOs, Bitcoin futures, cryptocurrency trading and investment, smart contracts, legislative and regulatory trends. This summit is one of a few expected in the next months

 

British Blockchain Association

The first U.K. not-for-profit organisation with the aim of promoting the adoption of the blockchain technology across public and private sectors in the country launched today.

Unveiled at Fintech’s London Blockchain, the British Blockchain Association’s (BBA) goal is to work with organisations and individuals in the distributed ledger sector by adopting the technology’s solutions that benefit U.K. companies, the government, and the wider society.

In an announcement, co-founder Dr. Naseem Naqvi, said:

The BBA has high aspirations – we already have a growing network of partners and members from across the world and our goal is to work together to influence and connect policymakers, academics, businesses, entrepreneurs, investors and venture capitalists with the overall goal of increasing the awareness, understanding and adoption of blockchain technology in the UK.

British Blockchain Association to promote blockchain technology in the UK

The team at the BBA consist of industry and academic experts that specialise in areas including distributed ledger technologies, blockchain governance, information technology, and computer science. Members of the association feature the likes of the United Nations Development Programme GCPSE, Nordic Blockchain Association, Abt Associates, and QADRE.

As the organisation is a not-for-profit, it states that any financial proceeds will be invested back into the development of new initiatives. One such initiative is The British Blockchain Association Student Forum (BBA-SF). Through the creation of this the BBA aims to bring greater awareness of the distributed ledger and its potential to a younger generation, inspiring them to engage with the technology.

According to figures, graduates searching for blockchain-related jobs increased by 223 percent in the past 12 months. In order to give graduates a better opportunity of landing the position they want in the sector the BBA has secured representatives in Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Boston Massachusetts, and Greece. The BBA-SF is also responsible for networking and hosting student meetups across the U.K.

Dr. Mureed Hussain, BBA co-founder, said:

This is an exciting focus for us, if we can inspire students to engage in blockchain technology we are upskilling a workforce who can directly influence their future employers and implement blockchain technology into industry at a much earlier stage.

According to Dr. Hussain, members will have access to their advisory board, local and national events, and networking opportunities. Access will also be provided to members only content including the JBBA, Europe’s first and only peer reviewed journal that is dedicated to distributed ledger ecosystems.

With greater attention being levied at the technology it’s hoped that the association will help to boost the U.K.’s interest in the sector.

Featured image from Shutterstock.