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THE BLOCKCHAIN 50
This week, we released our second annual list of billion-dollar companies making the biggest strides in blockchain tech. From the instantaneous settlement of German government bonds to bringing liquidity to a small supplier of sliding shower doors in Zhongshan, China, this year’s members have largely moved beyond the theoretical benefits of blockchain to generating very real revenues and cost savings.
The list spans a wide range of industries and projects from household names like Vanguard, Square and Microsoft to cryptocurrency-native startups like Bitfury. A few more examples:
De Beers: The diamond giant’s new software, Tracr, follows diamonds through the supply chain as they are mined, cut, polished and sold. Already more than 30 participants, including Signet Jewelers—owner of Kay, Zales and Jared—have signed on. Tens of thousands of stones are being registered per month.
Foxconn: The iPhone maker’s trade-finance venture, Chained Finance, pays more than 20 electronics suppliers using digital coins minted on the Ethereum blockchain. The result: Financing costs have plummeted from annual percentage rates as high as 24% to 10%, and the time needed to get funding has been cut from seven days to one day.
Click here for complete coverage and the full list.
Bitcoin markets remained relatively calm after Wednesday afternoon, when the digital currency fell more than 8% in a matter of hours, declining to $9,410.92 from an intra-day high of nearly $10,300.
Plus: Why bitcoin’s 2020 rally may be more sustainable than its 2019 surge.
BITCOIN’S GUARDIAN ANGEL
While global crypto markets are still in large part unregulated and under-secured, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong is on a mission to make crypto safe and accessible for all investors. During an expansive interview, this usually reserved and press-shy entrepreneur declares why he got into this business: “I wanted the world to have a global, open financial system that drove innovation and freedom.”
Eight years after its founding, Coinbase has opened 35 million accounts, presides over $21 billion of assets and is on target, Forbes estimates, to top $800 million in revenue this year. It’s the largest American cryptocurrency exchange. But in order to capture a gilt edge, though, Armstrong has had to play ball with government inspectors and veer away from the antiestablishment ethos that got bitcoin going. At the same time, he’s had to find ways to keep diehard crypto fans on the platform.
VISA’S CRYPTO CRED
Speaking of Coinbase, credit card giant Visa announced this week that it has granted the exchange principal member status, meaning that Coinbase can now enhance the features of its current crypto debit card and even issue similar debit cards for others. Coinbase’s new membership will cut out a crucial and expensive middleman from the process of issuing a debit card that lets users spend their own bitcoin, ether and XRP anywhere Visa is accepted.
Shopify joins Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra Association [TechCrunch]
Oil Prices Are Now More Volatile Than Bitcoin [CoinDesk]
Indonesia to use TradeLens to enhance supply chain efficiency [TechWire Asia]