First-Ever Smart Contracts Symposium Draws Influencers from Across Industries, Unveils White Paper
Federal Reserve Releases DLT White Paper
Singapore sets forth its Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines
First-Ever Smart Contracts Symposium Draws Influencers from Across Industries
The Chamber was host to the world’s first Smart Contracts Symposium in New York earlier this month. The event drew more than 250 of the world’s leading financial institutions, legal experts, blockchain technologists and innovators together to discuss how smart contracts are no longer just a concept – they are quickly becoming a reality. In his keynote address, smart contracts expert and early adopter, Nick Szabo, provided insight into the world of smart contracts as he sees it, from conception 20 years ago to today. In addition, participants were first to witness the exclusive debut of Ivy, Chain’s new language for smart contracts straight from its product architects. The event also drew speakers from Bloq, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, ConsenSys, Deloitte, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, IBM, Microsoft, Norton Rose Fulbright, Perkins Coie and Symbiont.
For event highlights, photos and videos, click here.
Rumi Morales of the CME Group Joins Chamber Board of Advisors
Rumi Morales joined the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Board of Advisors in December. Morales leads CME Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace. Prior to joining CME Group in 2010, Morales led the APAC business of Goldman Sachs’ Global Markets Institute in Hong Kong. She was named to Crain's Chicago Business 2014 Tech 50, Institutional Investor's 2015 and 2016 Fintech Finance 35, and Crain's Chicago Business 2015 40 Under 40 lists.
Chamber Report Now Available:
Smart Contracts Use Cases in Insurance
At the Blockchain Insurance Summit on November 8, 2016 in Chicago, the Chamber’s Director of Operations, Jason Brett, presented a talk entitled, “Smart Contracts Use Cases in Insurance.” His presentation provided a variety of specific use cases applicable to the insurance industry, emphasizing how smart contracts can provide more accurate underwriting, streamlined claims processing and an overall improved customer experience. This presentation has been repurposed into a report and is now available on our website.
Smart Contracts Use Cases in Insurance, click here to view.
Chamber Hosts Inaugural DC Blockchain Center Event
(from L to R: Perianne Boring, Chamber of Digital Commerce; Val Srinivas, Deloitte; Emmanuel Aidoo, Credit Suisse; Carol Van Cleef, BakerHostetler; Andrea Tinianow, State of Delaware; Chuck Thompson, Blockchain Consulting LLC; Kevin Batteh, Partner, Delta Strategy Group)
In late November, we hosted our first public event in the DC Blockchain Center, with the Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG). Our event consisted of a vibrant panel discussion with speakers from both the blockchain and structured finance communities. The panel explored the complex nature of structured finance and the potential benefits blockchain technology and smart contracts could bring to the securitization industry. This event included a discussion around how blockchain technology could bring better regulatory visibility into structured finance such as mortgage backed securities, an area that is still not fully transparent and a major contributor to the Housing Crisis of 2007-2008.
This month, CoinDesk unveiled its list of the top 10 most influential people in blockchain, naming our founder and president, Perianne Boring among them. CoinDesk attributes Boring’s recognition to having “played a key role in getting things done in a town where many things don't.” View the full list here.
Federal Reserve Releases White Paper to
Promote Discussion of DLT Technology
This month, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs published a white paper entitled “Distributed Ledger Technology in Payments, Clearing, and Settlement.” The primary purpose of the white paper is to examine what role distributed ledger technology (DLT) might play in transforming payment, clearing, and settlement (PCS) processes. As DLT technology matures, the extent of its impact on PCS will be a result of which DLT components are ultimately adopted and implemented. The white paper provides a background on the PCS processes and technological components of DLT.
To view the Federal Reserve’s white paper, click here.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney Appointed Director of
Office of Management and Budget
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) was named by President-Elect Donald Trump as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This role is perhaps the most influential post when it comes to regulatory affairs. Rep. Mulvaney has been a staunch advocate for blockchain technology and co-founded the Congressional Blockchain Caucus on Capitol Hill in September 2016. This appointment portends well for the blockchain industry.
The Securities and Exchange Commission held a forum to discuss the evolving financial marketplace and innovation in financial services. Forum panel topics included blockchain technology, as well as automated investment advice or robo-advisors, online marketplace lending and crowdfunding, and how they may impact investors. Of note was the second panel titled “Impact of Recent Innovation on Trading, Settlement, and Clearance Activities,” moderated by Valerie Szczepanik, Head of the SEC Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group; Assistant Director, SEC Division of Enforcement. Panelists discussed new financial uses of blockchain technology, how distributed ledger can help with treasury and trade, as well as new distributed ledger projects in the pipeline.
Singapore is Now Accepting Regulatory Sandbox Applications
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s Central Bank, recently published its much-anticipated regulatory sandbox guidance, which sets out the objective and principles of the sandbox and provides guidance to applicants applying to participate in the sandbox. Depending on the experiment, MAS will provide the appropriate regulatory support by relaxing specific legal and regulatory requirements for the duration of the sandbox. Upon successful experimentation and on exiting the sandbox, the sandbox entity must fully comply with the relevant legal and regulatory requirements. The MAS sandbox is now accepting applications on their website.
The Land of Lincoln unveiled a state-wide initiative to promote blockchain technology in the State of Illinois. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is requesting public comment on their proposed “Digital Currency Regulatory Guidance.” And Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology issued a Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology Request for Information (RFI) “on how to develop strong applications for Blockchain in government and how the state should develop an implementation roadmap for these efforts.” The State is hopeful the initiative will create more job opportunities in the region.
Deloitte & Lux Research: Blockchain Tech Still Mystifies Many Executives, Outlines Obstacles to Overcome in 2017
Deloitte conducted a survey of 308 senior executives to assess their blockchain knowledge as well as determine which were already invested in the technology. According to the survey findings, 39 percent of the respondents had little or no knowledge of the technology, while 10 percent had already invested $10 million or more. Lux Research also issued a report pinpointing a few blockchain obstacles that companies would need to overcome in the coming year, including a limited blockchain talent pool as well as blockchain regulation. While many companies are throwing big money behind the technology and believe it is a top priority, it is apparent further education and clarification on blockchain technology will be a focus for many in 2017.
Overstock Begins Trading Its Shares Via the Bitcoin Blockchain
The financial world was abuzz this month when Overstock became the first public company to issue a registered security using blockchain technology. Overstock’s subsidiary, tØ, spent the past two years developing the alternative trading system, which was used to distribute more than 126,000 of Overstock’s shares (NASDAQ:OSTK). Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne referred to the offering through subsidiary, tØ, as a “Sputnik moment” and plans to “expand its suite of offerings to include solutions for streamlining back office operation, securities lending, and exchange of other asset classes such as ETFs, mutual funds, and pre-IPO company shares.”
UBS Expands into China: Invests in New Talent and Blockchain Technology
Swiss-based UBS financial services group announced plans to expand into China, grow its talent base to 500 staff by 2020, as well as invest in distributed ledger technologies. UBS COO Axel Lehmann says that the company is currently investing in several pilot programs, such as “smart bonds” and “loyalty payments.” Lehmann believes that blockchain technology has the potential to make the banking and financial system “much more effective, efficient, and safer.” According to Lehmann, it will take approximate 10 years before the public begins “to see the benefits of its full deployment.” Meanwhile, the company is making significant strides in terms of enhancing information sharing and infrastructure development via blockchain technology.
PC Magazine Calls Smart Contracts the "Killer App" of Blockchain
If you think about a blockchain as a distributed operating system (OS) for data, then smart contracts are its killer app. At the inaugural Smart Contracts Symposium held at Microsoft's New York City headquarters, blockchain experts and companies from the burgeoning space gathered to discuss the myriad of ways that smart contracts are poised to disrupt the status quo in 2017 and beyond.