Recent News in Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

A slew of big names have recently made announcements about current projects that indicate blockchain applications may become mainstream sooner than most expected.

Enabling Bitcoin for Payments at Retail Stores

An app called "Spedn" allows users to spend digital assets like Bitcoin at participating retail stores across the United States including major ones like Amazon’s Whole Foods, Baskin Robbins, Starbucks and much more. The acceptance of payment in Bitcoin by well-known retailers is good news for Bitcoin and likely one of the several reasons that contributed to the Bitcoin price jumping above $8,000 for the first time in over a year. Flexa, which makes RFID scanners for consumer goods, in collaboration with Gemini (the Winklevoss-owned digital currency company) were able to convince major retailers to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Retailers see Bitcoin or digital asset-based payments as a way to lower the transaction fees they are paying to other payment networks like Visa, MasterCard, UnionPay, etc.

Decentralized Identity Management Systems using Blockchain

Microsoft unveiled its identity management platform using the Bitcoin blockchain. Microsoft is creating identities and their associated data and encapsulating it and storing these pieces of information on the Bitcoin wallet and blockchain. This means that ID service companies that sign up to use Microsoft’s Blockchain for identity verification would eventually be generating Bitcoin-based blockchain transactions. Since a lot of enterprise infrastructures use Microsoft products, this recent news is another likely contributing factor to the rise in the Bitcoin price this week.

Tracking Luxury Goods with Blockchain

Microsoft, Louis Vuitton, ConsenSys and LVMH announced AURA this week, which is a consortium for tracking luxury goods using blockchain. The Aura project uses Ethereum Quorum framework which indicates that Microsoft is dedicating significant resources to blockchain solutions and positioning itself to be one of the companies to lead the industry towards a more blockchain centric world.

PwC Crypto Hedge Fund Report

PwC recently released a global report on crypto hedge funds. The report indicates that crypto hedge funds have been able to increase their Assets Under Management (AuM) in 2018 by three times despite the slump in cryptocurrency prices during the same period. Below are some highlights from the report:

  • We estimate that there are 150 active crypto hedge funds collectively managing US$1bn AuM (excluding crypto index funds and crypto venture capital funds).  
  • Over 60% of these funds have less than US$10m in AuM with fewer than 10% managing over US$50m.  
  • The average crypto hedge fund AuM as of Q1 2019 is US$21.9 million.
  • The median AuM of funds as of Q1 2019 (US$4.3m) is 3X that of the median AuM at fund launch (US$1.2m - January 2018), which indicates that funds have been relatively successful at fundraising despite difficult market conditions.

These recent major events show that despite doubts about Blockchain’s real economic impact and application, even big name companies are started to deploy services and applications using Blockchain.

Nelson Ijih

Chief Executive Officer