The Week In Bitcoin - Issue #63: Blockchain: Digital Snake Oil?

Blockchain: Digital Snake Oil?One of my favourite pieces this week was Elaine Ou's article, "Maybe Bl
The Week In Bitcoin
The Week In Bitcoin - Issue #63: Blockchain: Digital Snake Oil?
By The Week In Bitcoin • Issue #5
Blockchain: Digital Snake Oil?
One of my favourite pieces this week was Elaine Ou’s article, “Maybe Blockchain Really Does Have Magical Powers”. Although, it might not be apparent from the title the piece calls into question all the hype surrounding blockchain tech - and it does it well. 
Although some might view the piece as nothing but pure snark, Ou does point out some of the asinine comments going around at the moment regarding blockchain tech. For example, she singles out R3’s recent comments in their Corda whitepaper on why ‘now’ for blockchains: 
“What makes this vision possible today is that the recent popular interest in distributed ledger and blockchain systems has created an environment in which such a vision can be openly discussed and that a collaborative alliance through which multiple financial institutions can act together has been formed.”
In other words, what’s driving the industry at the moment is the willingness of banks to work together. Although, it’s a great kumbaya moment for financial services it probably isn’t a glowing endorsement of blockchain tech. 
In many ways, we’re very close to 'peak blockchain’ (if not already there). When every consultant is pumping a technology’s ability to solve all the world’s problems this should give us all pause for thought. More than ever we should be trying to discern what the technology can do, how it can be applied and what is just straight up snake oil. 
— Alan Tsen, @alantsen 👊💯
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News This Week
I believe we are entering a new phase in the blockchain’s evolution, dominated by business and entrepreneurial drivers, rather than technological developments.
Fear of disruption may be motivating financial institutions to solve some long-running problems.
Optimising the antiquated arena of global trade finance has become one of the busiest spaces in blockchain, with the likes of R3, IBM, Hyperledger bringing some considerable horsepower to the race.
I first heard of Ripple and its cryptocurrency token XRP back in 2013. At the time, it was obscure but considered one of the most promising alternatives to Bitcoin.
When bitcoin emerged from the ether in 2008, it revealed a new technological frontier seemingly outside of the scope of our current financial institutions—and our law books. In this Wild West of finance, there is both an uncapped potential for growth and an unknown amount of risk at play.
Last week, when the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a challenge soliciting white papers on the topic of the use of blockchain technology in healthcare, it got me interested in trying to understand the concept a little better.
For years, tech startups sprung up on a daily basis, “revolutionising” messaging, photo sharing, taxis, damn near everything. Dominant providers were swapped out for new intermediaries who took a cut, new underdogs turned into the new winners.
Mimblewimble claims to use a new cryptographic protocol that could revolutionize the way bitcoin works, making it more scalable and private.
Over the course of the past semester, we, a student project from Technical University of Berlin, engaged in making a Chess game for Ethereum, a blockchain-based distributed computing platform.
From Cold Storage
Is blockchain a solution in search of a problem? For the insurance industry, there’s been plenty of chatter about distributed ledger technology and smart
The author presents a mini-language for professionals and researchers interested in drafting and analyzing contracts. It is intended for computers to read, too. The main purpose of this language is to specify, as unambiguously and completely and succinctly as possible, common contracts or contractual terms. 
Open Source dominates the web. When developers choose which tools to use, we prefer the trust and freedom delivered by projects like GNU/Linux and Apache, the most used software in their category.
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