By: Mike Genna
As the Blockchain Consensus 2018 kicks off its debut in New York City, the world watches blockchain get recognition from the financial mainstream.
Die-hard blockchain enthusiasts may not need this institutional assurance — commitments from nations, big business, and the like — to believe in blockchain’s staying power. But those used to using mainstream investing vehicles — homes, forex, or stocks — may need this in order to get on board and believe.
Here’s what might have changed their minds.
Banks Are Using Cryptocurrency
In a recent report by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest bank by total assets, announced that it was issuing its own cryptocurrency in a step towards enhancing the bank’s financial efficiency and improving its functionality.
The coin will have the symbol MUFG, and one coin will equate to one Yen. If you recall, this is quite similar to Tether (USDT), another famous cryptocurrency that is linked directly to one U.S dollar. These types of coins are heavily favored by traders who wish to sell their current altcoin position, but cannot convert their coins to other fiat currencies immediately.
In another press release, Mitsubishi UFJ said that it plans to use RippleNet to complete the bank’s first “nearly-instantaneous” cross-border transfer. A similar transaction by Ripple’s xRapid was able to complete the transaction over the U.S- Mexican border in about two minutes.
Halfway across the world BBVA, the second largest bank in Spain, issued the first ever corporate loan via blockchain. The bank confirmed that the entire amount of the loan was delivered with one transaction for a total of $88 million (€74 million).
Not only has the Spanish bank taken steps towards more effective and efficient solutions, but has also purchased a minor stake in the widely known cryptocurrency exchange and wallet, Coinbase. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, however; Coinbase acquired some $100 million in its latest round of funding and BBVA was not the biggest player. The NYSE’s Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the largest clearinghouse of financial securities and commodities in the world, also had taken a minority stake in the cryptocurrency exchange with undisclosed terms.
If you need any other reason to believe the legitimacy around select cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, Goldman Sachs hired their first crypto-specific employee. Reported by Business Insider, Justin Schmidt is a former crypto trader and will be “exploring ways that the company can take advantage of the nascent market of cryptocurrencies. Although most coins are proven to be worthless, there are a very select amount of coins that have practical usage, thus have real value. These coins can be traded for low fees compared to most U.S brokerage fees and reside in an extremely volatile market. Low fees and high volatility? Sounds like a trader’s paradise to me!
M&A Says It All
In the past month, there’s been a lot of talk around acquisitions in the blockchain space. DNV-GL, a global risk management and quality assurance company, bought a minority stake in VeChain in hopes to utilize its blockchain technology to track products moving across the globe. For instance, you would know where exactly the wine you are drinking originated in terms of what size barrel it was aged in, and in what region of the world the grapes grew.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), one of the Big Four accounting firms, also threw a little money at the future. Their wholly owned subsidiaries PwC Hong Kong, and PwC Singapore both bought minority stakes in VeChain, as well. The motive of PwC is very similar, in that they hope to use VeChain’s blockchain service and the nascent internet of things to better serve their clients.
The terms of both of these deals were undisclosed.
We can see that at the global level, people are starting to understand and utilize blockchain technology for the purpose of tracking objects moving around the world.
In the coming decade, we will see blockchain service providers continue to build relationships with companies the operate on global scale, and then transition to serving business that operate in a more microeconomic environment.