An update and links from the evolving field of #trust, #content and #blockchain.
Note: We have a summer break, there will be no newsletter for the next two weeks.
+++ Special today: Quick links and profiles for all 10 projects selected in TruBlo Open Call #1.
This week was kick-off week. The TruBlo consortium met representatives of all ten projects selected for funding in Open Call #1. All teams will receive funding, as well as technical and business support, in the next six months.
Links to all 10 projects:
Updates this week:
Worldcoin is a new US startup, with financial backing from VC firm A16z and Coinbase. Among the founders is Sam Altman, the former head of YCombinator, a very successful incubation platform - which is why the project gets considerable attention. The idea of Worldcoin is to work towards global financial inclusion, to provide digital financial services to everyone. For identification, the company has developed its own hardware, a camera-like device to scan the iris of a user.
For onboarding, many services and subscriptions demand a digital verification process. As a result, platforms offering digital identification services are in demand. This now leads to consolidation in the market. Example: German startup IDnow will acquire the French platform ARIADNEXT for €50m ($59m). The motivation is to be present in more markets with an extended number of services, eventually in one combined platform.
Buying a used car today is riddled with uncertainties: Paper records do not reliable tell about repairs, hidden accidents or even total mileage. In Germany, it is a known problem that it is relatively easy to reduce the mileage of a luxury car by 20K or even 30k kilometres, then asking a higher price. Storing vehicle information on a blockchain could solve this problem.
How would a search results page look without any advertising? This is the question Neeva will explore as a business.
The venture was founded by two ex-Google executives with deep knowledge about the search engine market.
The company is readying for a July launch, but won’t be available in all world regions, at least at the start. It is currently possible to line up for early access.
Neeva will allow a free try-out period of three months and plans to then charge $4.95 per month. The new search offering has secured $77.5 million in funding.
Across all smartphone platforms, this represents an increase of 24%, compared to last year, says a release of preliminary data from Sensor Tower.
The platform enables users to “create, earn and collect” social tokens. Social tokens are a recurring topic, there is a hope for better interactions plus the idea to monetize fan groups for music, movies or other creative areas. No clear winner yet, but interesting. Note that besides Coinvise there are a number of competitors in this field - check them out by opening the links below. * Rally * [Roll] (https://tryroll.com/social-money-interesting-uses) * [Fyooz] (https://www.fyooz.io).
It is an interesting field. For example, music bands can create communities with their fans. Or, in a wider context, positive actions and the support of others could be rewarded.
The energy consumption of blockchain has been discussed extensively this year. Tesla first said they would accept Bitcoin as payment, then retracted that offer weeks later because of concerns about the environmental issues, specifically of energy-intensive Bitcoin mining.
Others pointed out: The existing global banking system uses a lot of energy, too. In part, because extensive IT systems are needed to channel money from one country to another and so on. Gold mining, too, leaves a huge footprint.
This is the article linked below is worth reading: It argues that the combination of “green” smart contracts with a nascent technology called ‘oracles’ could evolve into a tool to reduce energy consumption and help to reach climate goals. The big promise here is a new level of efficiency. Reaching higher trust and transparency of production chains is a key motivation.
Handling long term debt in bonds results in costs. Using blockchain data storage and smart contracts could result in considerable costs savings. This is why banks are increasingly interested in this scenario. The European investment bank used Ethereum for a €100m bond in April 2021.
Germany passed a new law in November 2019, demanding a licence for custody services in the crypto market. Now, Coinbase has received the first such licence, allowing the company to keep operating in the country. BAFIN Press Release (in German)
Both in China and in Russia, authorities are in step-by-step processes to test digital currencies. In Russia a current test involves 12 banks, one motivation is to check whether the banking systems can handle the move to digital.
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