Category Archive Crypto & FX News

Decentralized Finance Emerges as Banner Topic at Ethereum Denver Conference

“We always needs to ask, ‘Who are we building for?’”

Kicking off the annual ethereum hackathon ETHDenver, Aave CEO Stani Kulechov shared an opening address on on “leaping decentralized finance [into the] mainstream.”

Aave is a Swiss-based blockchain technology company that officially launched in September of last year. Acting as the parent company to ETHLend – a decentralized financial marketplace for asset-backed loans – Kulechov explained that cross-application coordination and cooperation is key to seeing mainstream adoption.

“We need to approach adoption from an ecosystem perspective,” said Kulechov. “You might be building a project that relates to decentralized finance. Each has a use case but if you can connect all these defi [decentralized finance] applications … we form an ecosystem where we are bringing together more users.”

However, highlighting that mainstream adoption isn’t the be all and end all of application development, Kulechov added that “decentralization is a choice” and that to some developers “it might be a good idea to focus on the segment of decentralized users that are privacy-concerned.”

As highlighted by Josh Stark – head of operations at blockchain consulting firm Ledger Labs – in a blog post, a new wave of decentralized applications (dapps) are growing in both number and popularity on the ethereum blockchain.

Called “decentralized finance” or “defi” applications, these dapps on ethereum give users new tools to manage and use ethereum-based money or assets, Stark explains in his post.

As such, today’s talk by Kulechov is actually one of several centered around the topic of finance.

Defi-related talks expected to be held later today at ETHDenver include an address by CTO Alex Bazhanau from cryptocurrency lending platform Bloqboard, as well as an address by Tom Beam, a co-founder of decentralized lending protocol bZx.

Tomorrow, the defi narrative continues with a panel discussion on the roadmap for many of these finance-focused application on ethereum with a panel discussion between several defi startups including bZx, Set Protocol, Zerion and Wyre.

Stani Kulechov image taken by Christine Kim.

Apple Hints at Behind-the-Scenes Blockchain Work in New SEC Filing

Apple has submitted what might seem like an arcane filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – but the document contains tantalizing details about the computing giant’s interest in blockchain tech.

The document – entitled “Summary of Apple’s Commitment to Responsible Sourcing” – details the company’s commitment “to upholding human rights across its global network of suppliers that support the manufacturing of its mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and related accessories.” Making note of both its internal work on this front as well as its relations with supply chain providers, the document is largely a description of Apple’s efforts to ethically source materials for its popular products like the iPhone.

Notably, however, the filing makes mention of Apple’s involvement in the drafting of “Blockchain Guidelines” for the Responsible Business Alliance’s Responsible Minerals Initiative. According to an RBA press release, those “voluntary guidelines” were published in mid-December of last year and “represent a first industry effort to define a common set of principles, attributes and definitions for the application of blockchain technology to support mineral supply chain due diligence.” The press release makes no mention of Apple’s involvement, but the tech firm is listed as a “Company Member” on the effort’s official web page.

The SEC filing also notes that in 2018, Apple chaired the board of the RBA and participated in a number of its internal committees and working groups, including “the blockchain team.”

When iChain?

These details aside, the filing doesn’t touch on what Apple-watchers might most want to know: whether the Cupertino colossus is on the cusp of joining the growing ranks of tech giants that are offering some form of blockchain-related service. Specifically, if Apple is working on some kind of supply chain-focused solution, it hasn’t (yet) shown its cards.

A request for further information about Apple’s work with the RBA was not returned by press time.

As Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts noted in December, the question of whether Apple will take the proverbial plunge is an active one, with one observer contending that “it’s going to take a tech giant like Apple to make blockchain payments work at scale.”

There is demonstrable interest internally, to say the least. The crypto space has seen Apple veterans join industry startups, and in December 2017, as CoinDesk reported at the time, a published patent filing from Apple detailed a proposed program to certify timestamps by combining aspects of blockchain technology with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Apple CEO Tim Cook image credit: John Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock.com

Energy Giant Engie, Maltem Back New ‘Blockchain Studio’ With $2.3M

French energy firm Engie announced Friday that it will help commercial customers build blockchain platforms with its new “Blockchain Studio” spinoff.