Monday, August 22, 2016

DLT: ESMA paper and Standards, Solent Swim, Olympics and Hype.

Happy Olympics!

And what an amazing Olympics it has been for Team GB. Hard to pick my favorite moment and event, but the Brownlee brothers has to be up there.
‘Success by design, not by chance’

One of papers I've been taking a closer look at is the ESMA consultation document on DLT. It is an interesting paper, from a securities market practitioner point of view. I found it a paper of 2 halves. An interesting bit that outlined some benefits and considerations and then a less useful part when they speculate on use case scenarios in both Clearing and then Settlement. Typical of a regulatory paper, the first question is: do you agree with all of the above?....and then: now, what did we not identify in the above question?
The paper includes DLT: Benefits, Challenges, Risks, Safekeeping and Reporting. Then a specific focus on the Regulatory Framework for each of Clearing and Settlement. I'm contributing to a couple of responses to the paper, so if you have a strong view you want to get across I'm sure I can find a medium to assist.
https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esma-assesses-usefulness-distributed-ledger-technologies

I've also been looking into Standards for DLT. (this weeks piccie!). We all know the importance of standards. My feel, is at this juncture, it's nice to have as much information as possible to make an informed choice about the chain you want to use for the application you're going to develop. The next step, is to start to put a measurement framework around this. (Hence the engagement with Academia and other standards bodies).
If you are interested in DLT standards please do reach out to me.

This week I'll also be undertaking my own challenge on behalf of MND.
I'll be swimming across the Solent, from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth on Thursday.

....Unlike a triathlon or lake swim swimming across the Solent is a major safety concern as we will be crossing a major shipping lane, used by large freight vessels and oil tankers in and out of Southampton and also the route of the Portsmouth to Fishbourne Isle of Wight car ferry. Because of this we have to be very clear on our safety procedures. Shipping has right of way and we ALWAYS give way to shipping.....Please be aware that a large vessel will have a blind spot of up to 500 metres under its bow from the bridge....

I'll be doing the swim in the name of Dave Setters:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/city-against-mnd-network-week-scott-riley-swims-solent-david-setters?trk=prof-post

These days many people pick a charity and stick with it...and I very much respect that. If there are any readers out there who resonate with the MND cause then I'd (they'd) be grateful for any support at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ScottRiley-MNDSwim
For my part, I'm both grateful and respectful to Dave and the organisers for the opportunity to do this swim.

Have a great week all...and for those of you that support MND, many thanks in advance,

Scott.


DLT / Blockchain


The Aussies have published a short information paper on their view on DLT standards. I think it's pretty poor as even at the highest level it still confuses sectors and use cases. (hence what hope for the underlying standards?)
Blockchain & Electronic Distributed Ledger Technologies
http://www.standards.org.au/OurOrganisation/Events/Documents/Blockchain%20NFTA%20Information%20Sheet.pdf

ItBit Hit With String of Departures in Bitcoin-to-Blockchain Transition
http://www.coindesk.com/itbit-exodus-populating-startups-blockchain-expertise/
*** This re-org actually makes a lot of sense to me. I think we'll see a lot more demarcation in services and activities across all Bitcoin and then DLT firms.

The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services
https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-financial-infrastructure-an-ambitious-look-at-how-blockchain-can-reshape-financial-services/
*** This is a 130 page paper that I confess, I've just browsed at.

Decentralized Autonomous Organization
..."On the Blockchain, no one knows you're a fridge" - Richard Brown
https://www.ethereum.org/dao

Despite Positive Outlook, New Research from State Street Reveals Asset Owners, Managers Lack Readiness for Blockchain
http://newsroom.statestreet.com/press-release/corporate/despite-positive-outlook-new-research-state-street-reveals-asset-owners-mana

I read this game review with interest....and given the hype around blockchain, I enjoyed this reference to hype:
....hype can be a cruel mistress: she's elusive when you need her most, and demands a heavy payment after she's gone.... (This comment actually from a game review, but it resonated with me when applied to DLT).


Market Structure


Bats challenges FTSE with real-time UK benchmark indices
....Napoleon Bonaparte once observed that battles are won and lost in a quarter of an hour...

New management at MSEI (Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India Limited)
http://www.msei.in/SX-Content/Press-Release/2016/June/PR-ENGLISH-02-JUN-2016--NEW-MANAGEMENT-AT-MSEI-ACHIEVES-FIRST-MILESTONE-OF-REDUCING-LOSSES-AND-BOOSTING-VOLUMES.pdf

Stuff


Glencore: Massive investment in coal mines needed.
Some interesting high level numbers here - highlighting the reality gap between Environmental asperations and real world practicalities.
Glencore have also published a great report on Climate Change and their business:
I love these reality checks against on environmental rhetoric.

Brixit.
“In a tumultuous world, marked by slow growth, excessive inequality, massive refugee flows, and sectarian violence, it’s tempting to believe we can reduce our exposure and increase our personal and economic security by turning inward and keeping the world’s problems out. We’d all like to have the benefits of global interdependence without the burdens. However, because there are disruptive forces we cannot escape, co-operation and collective action are much more likely than withdrawal and isolation to produce prosperity and security. For a nation as large, diverse, and successful as the UK, there is no escape from the growing pains and contradictions of the 21st century world.”
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/06/dont-turn-inward-bill-clinton-urges-britain-stay-european-union
*** I did like Bill's (speech writer's) comment.
*** That said, I think the 'fear' of Brexit is overstated. I'm delighted to see Boris as Foreign Secretary. Right from the outset I think Boris had the right idea - not to abandon the EU...just to re-negotiate. 
LinkedIn to Microsoft: connecting global and corporate professional networks
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-microsoft-connecting-global-corporate-networks-reid-hoffman
*** Some hype from LinkedIn. Selfishly, I look forward to an easier interface with Skype. 
For product development...I look forward to an easier business card management tool.

http://sdrtraveller.com/products/1m-hauly-heist
*** Handy travel gadget!

Manhattanhenge: Thousands gather to see setting sun aligning with New York City's east-west streets
Manhattanhenge occurs twice a year either side of summer solstice around 28 May and 12 July.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/manhattanhenge-thousands-gather-see-setting-sun-aligning-new-york-citys-east-west-streets-1570155

...it could be argued that despite the talk of despondency, Australia’s has actually done quite well in Rio for a nation of its population and wealth. Yes, no doubt, a number of performers and teams failed to live up to their potential, but look at the countries above Australia on the table, all countries with bigger populations and bigger GDPs....
Perhaps Australia needs to consider that its period of well-planned, well-funded sporting over-achievement is over. The rest of the world has caught on and caught up, and unless the nation is willing to engage in a funding arms race merely for the cachet of sitting in about fifth place on an Olympic medal table, Australians best get used to it. Better still, it wouldn’t hurt to focus on what their athletes have achieved, and not what they haven’t.
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/22/australias-well-planned-well-funded-olympic-over-achievement-is-finished


Friday, June 10, 2016

Brentry and unpacking, the BTC by half, ESMA paper, chains...I'm for Theil and bravo Hillary!

Some more thoughts on unpacking....Brexit to Risk.

With the BTC halving date fast approaching felt I better get something out on this.

My focus on the coming days is with the chains themselves...so if you're a chain or you have excellent contacts with a chain please let me know. Will make these investigations public in the coming weeks and via the ISITC Europe working group.




Blockchain / DLT

ESMA releases Consultation on DLT applied to Securities Markets.
https://www.esma.europa.eu/sites/default/files/library/2016-773_dp_dlt_0.pdf

The National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s central securities depository, has developed and successfully tested an e-proxy voting system running on a distributed ledger built with Nxt blockchain.....why they chose NXT instead of Bitcoin or Ethereum
https://nxt.org/russias-central-securities-depository-uses-nxt-blockchain-voting/


Bitcoin halving date.
...from 25 BTC to 12.5 BTC. (circa 10th July)
Countdown here:
(approx 75% of bitcoins have already been mined.)
Bitcoin price continues to rally:
https://blockchain.info/charts/market-price

All, interesting. At the halving date, around 10th July, in theory (ignoring transaction fees) a miner will receive 50% less for his efforts...therefore you would expect some 'rational' miners (who know their break even and cost of business)..to stop mining until either price recovers or costs fall (e.g. energy). Hence I would expect the hashing / difficulty to fall....yet this does not appear to be the case.
https://blockchain.info/charts/difficulty

So, rewards are halving, price is rising and so is the hash rate. That all sounds super bullish to me. 
R3 Adds Life Insurance Firm AIA to Blockchain Consortium
http://www.coindesk.com/r3-life-insurance-aia-blockchain/

Goldman Sachs: Blockchain Tech Could Save Capital Markets $6 Billion a Year
(contains link to 88 page report).

Industry

Instinet Europe Taps Richard Parsons as CEO, Succeeding Adam Toms

Why ABN Amro Wants to Separate Bitcoin from the Blockchain
http://www.coindesk.com/dutch-bank-abn-amro-bitcoin-blockchain/

Brexit to Brentry


To date, I must say, I've found the Cameron 'fear' campaign, be it shouting, scaring or withholding government departments from furnishing the material for an informed debate more of a reason to vote to leave rather than to stay. I like Boris, but it is more the actions of Cameron that has forced me to re-think my initial default position to remain.
So, what is a good European to do? And what makes up a good European? Is what is good for Europe good for Britain? Or should Britain's interests be considered paramount to those of the EU? I think Britain in the EU certainly makes the EU better....but does it make Britain better? What is the lesser evil?

Lets unpack some issues:
CSR
I believe good ethics and good business can go together. Both sides of the same coin. Environmental sustainability does not need to mean a drop in profitability. Is the UK more green, with more blue flag beaches etc with the threat of Europe hanging over it? Yes, I believe so. 
I assume the WWF is independent, and they've published what I think is a very poor and unconvincing paper at getting their points across.
http://assets.wwf.org.uk/custom/stories/euthinkenvironment/
Regardless, I think Britain is 'Greener' if it remains within the EU.

Maybe, as 'good Europeans' the UK should leave, let Europe crack on and sort out all the capital reallocation and re-distribution problems they have: Greece, Portugal...then Spain and Italy and France...and then we can come back in and join the fold. Too many cooks can spoil the broth...so let 'em crack on and we'll re-join them after dinner.

When I was at the Swift conference two young guys were in front of me. I assume only in the labour market for 1-2 years. All they wanted to know was how would Brexit effect their tax code. So what does Brexit mean for the working, UK, person? There is the fear of overall economic disruption (recession), but assuming you preserve your job, I would expect some easing of the tax burden. (Ideally it would be great to see the Government to hand back 100% of the savings to the tax payers - a more efficient method of capital allocation). Why does the Government feel they have to spend this money? A corporation would be slaughtered for squandering such a cash windfall.

Then there is the issue of David Cameron.
a) He was elected, just over a year ago, with an unexpected landside. Part of his mandate was to bring harmony into the ranks of the Conservative Party. We understand every MP just wants to be re-elected. Self preservation stands above all else. But have so many become polarised? If a casual observer like me is challenging his thoughts God knows what it is like within the political ranks. Cameron has failed on party harmony....which is not surprising given...
b) He has personalised his attacks. Why? This is at once infuriating and deeply disappointing. It is great and open debate that in part makes Britain Great.
c) Cameron set out to renegotiate a better deal for the UK. I did not once get the feeling he was ever even negotiating. What I saw was a man who liked to hob-knob it around Europe and feel grand when he was invited into the many grand palaces in Europe. Cameron's ego has become vast...and I'm not sure that is a lens that permits an unbiased view for what is best for Britain.

Unfortunately, all this 'noise' just detracts from the Remain debate and raises the Brexit question.

I do believe in a better and stronger Europe.
I think Cameron failed to renegotiate and that Brussels is too full of bureaucracy.

Ideally, I think the UK should Brexit...and then immediately make clear they want to apply to rejoin. Rejoining of course would be on a better understanding of everything from CAP to Capital requirements to support the financial structure of members from Greece upwards.

So, I'm for BRe-entry. i.e British Re-Entry. Let's leave...to join again...on current, relevant, terms as opposed to inherited terms and conditions that have lost their context in a 'post crisis' (?) world. If nothing else, Brussels needs to find mechanisms for countries in the Union to adjust and rebalance within the Union and to let all its citizens know the value of membership.

Unfortunately, the referendum is binary.

Pythagoras' theorem - 24 words.
Lord's Prayer - 66 words.
Archimedes' Principle - 67 words.
10 Commandments - 179 words.
Gettysburg address - 286 words.
US Declaration of Independence - 1,300 words.
US Constitution with all 27 Amendments - 7,818 words.
EU regulations on the sale of a cabbage - 26,911 wordshttp://www.snopes.com/language/document/cabbage.asp


Stuff

I'm delighted for Hillary...in part because I can't see Trump as a real alternative.
One interesting stat....is how little Trump has actually spent on his campaign.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/election-2016-campaign-money-race.html
http://metrocosm.com/the-history-of-campaign-spending/
...and just one group Mr Trump offended along the way had a response...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/heres-a-dick-pic-mosaic-of-donald-trump-and-its-breathtaking_us_56464bb5e4b08cda3488c07e

Follow your conscience.
Sad story on Indian laissez faire attitude.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36446652

I can't believe the Wallabies have never played England in a 3 series test on 'home' soil.
....see opposing coaches, and former Randwick rugby teammates, Michael Cheika and Eddie Jones go head to head....http://www.aru.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/1699/articleid/15548/qantas-wallabies-to-host-england-in-historic-2016-test-series
Aust v England kicks off this week-end....
...and I think something is going on with the round ball game too...is it France?

More Unpacking...

...as ever...when you're researching stuff you get drawn down a few rat holes (well at least I do!)

I must say, I found this a fascinating reading. Sad reflection on me, I know, but something about it just drew me in. This is a masterclass in unpacking / categorising and identifying risk. Great work Mr Brenner. Respect.

How the General Hazardous Materials Behavior Model (GEBMO) for Hazardous Materials emergency responders evolved.
This document presents...recollections about the development of the D.E.C.I.D.E. and GEBMO models, now widely used in hazardous materials emergency response training and operations. As you proceed, it will help to know that this work produced a new framework for thinking about hazardous materials emergencies, new response objectives, new incident decision processes, new ways for assessing response performance and above all, about a 90%+ reduction in casualties among emergency responders at hazmat emergencies.
http://www.starlinesw.com/lbjr/HMdocs/GEBMO/GEBMO.html

This story needs some unpacking too.

Hulk Hogan in the news.
I'm not an expert on WWF but I must say, I have a soft spot for Hulk Hogan (as about the only name I recognize from the genre). I had no idea of his unpublished (private) works.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollea_v._Gawker

I love Private Eye. 
http://www.private-eye.co.uk/.
Somehow they manage, perfectly, in my opinion, to keep investigative journalism alive along with great satire.
Mediums like Gawker, that seek to thrive on making a mockery or bringing misfortune into other people lives make me despair.
Vinod Khosla, a long-time Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor, tweeted, “click bait journalists need to be taught lessons. Far less ethics and more click chasing in press today. I'm for #theil”

If it takes a US$140 myn fine (quite modest by banking standards) to act as a wake up call against unethical or deplorable practices...then happy days!
I'm for Theil too!

And now some unpacking that leads to a crazy result.
Jerome Kerviel, rogue trader, wins unfair dismissal case
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36472099?ocid=global_bbccom_email_07062016_top+news+stories
How?
Let's just say I know people who've been sacked for less.
How could you expect not to be sacked after losing close to 5byn?

My brother however distills some different thoughts...
"There is a lot of talk about corporate organisational culture, you do personality profiling as you deem people of a certain disposition are better suited to particular roles.  Well the type of personality for traders is a risk taker, in for the joy and challenge of the big win, not afraid of failure, less prone to see the downside of actions.  Well if an organisation puts in place recruitment policies to employ these types of individuals and then each year rewards success (ie who turned the biggest profit) and frowns on those that had the lowest outcome as made less “risky” investments (of course within the pool your trading).  If an organisation has a culture of rewarding big dollar wins and is less concerned on process (all the supporting documentation is on the shelf however it is not the playbook that live and breathe day to day) then the organisation must also share some of the responsibility for errant behaviour. 
Will this drive a rethink where we profile lower risk individuals with high moral values into these trading roles or do we go no that wont work as money is king so then as an organisation we need to beef up checks and balances so better to capture rogue behaviour. 
Of course there must be personal accountability however it is all too easy for a massive corporation with resources to stack the deck against lone individual." 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Unpacking, ECB, NSD, MiFID dates...enjoy the music

All is not what is seems....

As ever, more than a few events...and yet more DLT papers. One of the terms that has popped up in the last couple of weeks, that I very much like, is 'un-packing'. i.e. the process of breaking things down into their constituent parts. Nothing new there. We have forever been commoditising processes and focusing on those elements which add commercial advantage.

In DLT speak so much more needs to be done on understanding 'blockchain' and that extends onto standards and into data. I don't think enough is being made of data in the DLT discussions. What is in the data that we carry on a blockchain and how do we look into a block and manage or unpack that data? This is where I want the 'smart' in smart contracts to be.

I also attended an MND event. This also got me thinking about 'un-packing'. Pharmaceutical companies are much better at embracing, adopting and embedding new technologies that Fin Svs firms. Once a new drug may have been discarded based on 'poor' test results. Now with DNA markers, data can be unpacked, and a drug that previously looked unsuccessful may indeed be highly successful (life changing) in a some specific use cases. I expect designer drugs for individual clinical problems to be a reality in my life time (albeit unaffordable - I suspect the next generation will get the commoditised product).
Unpacked data can provide new insights...if it is able to me measured and mined.
BTW, this re-inspired me to understaken to swim the Solent again this year to support MND.
http://www.swimmingthesolent4mnd.com/
I'll reach out closer to event date to those who may feel this a worthy cause.
(Likewise, if you know people afflicted with MND and you'd like to raise awareness through the City against MND please let me know and I'll refer you to the right people.)

One of the papers I did manage to get through was the Swift paper.
https://www.swift.com/insights/press-releases/swift-and-accenture-outline-path-to-distributed-ledger-technology-adoption-within-financial-services
(you can also pick up the Spanish version here).
The Swift paper, like the DTCC paper, like the Euroclear paper approaches the topic as you'd expect a piece of Central Market Infrastructure to. Basically, the only trusted partner you have to manage such an important distributed technology is, umm....Us!
That said, the Swift paper does do some nice 'un-packing' of it's own.
Like the UK Government paper:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/492972/gs-16-1-distributed-ledger-technology.pdf,
I think the best thing about this paper is the nice little icons.
Swift have 'un-pack' DLT into 8 nice little icons. (I only got 4 from the UK Gov't paper).
They are:
Governance
Data Controls
Compliance
Standards
Identity
Security
Reliability and
Scalability.
All worthy elements. Some exceptions that I thought worthy of inclusion: Business model which doesn't appear to get a mention. Dunno why. Nor does Data Structure / Technology design. Maybe that is assumed...but as above, I think that is critical in how you access and 'un-pack' the data on chain to distribute into your ecosystem. And dispute resolution (maybe that is buried in governance? - more unpacking?).

Anyway, Ownership and Governance. Yes, critical and think permissioned issues. Data Controls. Think how do I marry the real world to the digital one (not mentioned) as much as protection against gaming and reverse engineering. Compliance. Yep, give different actors a 'lens'. Standards. Again, Swift would like to be the standard bearer...but there may be other ways around this (WIP). Identity. Yes. Authentication and Identification. Security. Yep. Un-hackable...but which chain and why? Reliability, Yes, we like a network that doesn't fall over and Scalability (may as well include latency as well). All in all, not a bad unpacking exercise.

Although I must say, as a joint partner is writing the paper (as boldly stated on the front page) I found this disclaimer cringe worthy:
Accenture’s role in the paper has been limited to the provision of insights and expertise.....we do not guarantee that this source and this information are accurate and/or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. The conclusions and recommendations provided in the paper represent the views of SWIFT and cannot be attributable to Accenture.

Enough un-packing!
I trust every one is now packed and off to enjoy a great Bank Holiday weekend.
Whatever your leisure....may it be a pleasure!

Cheers,

DLT


The ECB has published: ECB Occasional paper no 172, "DLT in securities post-trading"
https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scpops/ecbop172.en.pdf

The National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s sole central securities depository (CSD), has announced it has tested a blockchain-based voting system....the NSD used the NXT blockchain system to create the open-source prototype, with the goal to enable shareholders to more easily vote as part of annual shareholder meetings.
http://www.coindesk.com/russia-national-settlement-depository-blockchain-voting/

A fintech consultancy is raising a $50 million blockchain fund to sort 'the good ideas from the magic beans'
About $5 trillion of transactions are cleared every year in London’s gold market, which Barclays is exiting as it pulls out of precious metals. ICBC Standard last week joined the city’s precious-metals clearing system and last month won classification as a market maker by the London Bullion Market Association.
ICBC Standard, formed last year after Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. -- China’s biggest bank -- bought a controlling stake in Standard Bank Plc’s global markets business, expects the purchase of the vaulting business and related contracts to be completed in July

http://www.cryptocoincharts.info/coins/graphicalComparison
(This is always a useful insight)

http://www.coindesk.com/how-standard-chartered-is-using-ripple-to-rethink-trade-finance/


Market Structure


On 18 May 2016, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) approved, on behalf of the Council, an agreement with the European Parliament on a one-year delay to new securities market rules.
MiFID New dates
....the deadline for the member states to transpose MIFID II into national legislation will be set for 3 July 2017;
....the date of application of both MIFID II and MIFIR will be set for 3 January 2018.

TARGET Annual Report 2015 (May 2016) - European Central Bank
https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/other/targetar2015.en.pdf

DTCC 2015 Annual Report

Following its first 12 months in operation, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has today published its Annual Plan which outlines the regulator’s key work and objectives for the year ahead.
https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/63779/payment-systems-regulator-publishes-annual-plan


Basel III Capital Requirements Affect You
https://www.finextra.com/blogposting/12610/basel-iii-capital-requirements-affect-you?utm_medium=dailynewsletter&utm_source=2016-5-17
(pretty basic / bland but I guess it gets a point across)

Icap to rebrand as financial technology company
https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/28890/icap-to-rebrand-as-financial-technology-company


Citadel Securities acquires automated trading desk assets from Citi

Stuff

Upcoming

..and many thanks to the WMA.

Craig Wright had come out as the Satoshi Nakamoto creator of bitcoin
#DLT for #FinServ: Important background to R3 Corda by @gendal bit.ly/1qreI4U
*** Personally, I don't buy this. Load of rubbish. If he was...why is the tax man impounding his house, why wait till now...why not just smash the Bitcoin Days Destroyed?
https://blockchain.info/charts/bitcoin-days-destroyed

.....22 of 30 Disney films analysed have more male that female dialogue. Even films with female leads, such as Pocahontas and Mulan, had more male speech.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/04/new-research-proves-what-you-already-knew-hollywood-is-sexist-and-ageist?

What is great about English sport...
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-35878525?ocid=global_bbccom_email_29032016_top+news+stories+australia+

Twitter.
Funny, first thing people pointed out about my 'handle', is I share DLT with...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Lee_Travis

This guy, Michael Spence, suffers from 'Signalling' sickness. (Rhodes scholar, Harvard, Oxford, et al)
What is this signalling sickness? Students use degrees and courses to differentiate themselves from other students. But as more people attend university and complete courses, the brighter students have to accumulate more degrees to distinguish themselves. This results in more people spending more of their lives in educational establishments rather than in jobs, which in many cases do not inherently require much study.
Also among his beliefs are that high-frequency trading should be banned!

What I loved about this clip, is how the children respond to the music. Their unconscious reactions, as they get caught up in the moment, remind me of the joy of music and the arts.
https://youtu.be/fj6r3-sQr58?list=PLyB4zTaHbE69Bc7APMtTMAizDntd7wiNz

So, whatever you're doing this Bank Holiday - enjoy the music!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Legal twit, ICDA, ASX, Google, GLEIF...Sydney and Boyles Law


I've been pondering the Legal Framework of Bitcoin / Blockchain.

Back to basics...if you don't have a legal framework, you don't have a product. So then, what is the legal status of Bitcoin (or indeed any crypto-currency)...and hence what is the status of a dematerialised 'token' on a blockchain?

The more fundamental question is... is it property (an instrument of bata, a security, a 'something tangible) or is it a currency (which is a slightly different animal to property)?
...and why do we care?...

In many legal systems, receipt of stolen property is treated very differently to receipt of stolen money. If a pawn shop accepts a stolen bike, its operators are expected to return it to its rightful owner if discovered, without reward. If a coffee shop takes a stolen fiver, it can keep it.
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/31/bitcoin-legally-property-irs-currency

In short:
In the UK and EU it is leaning towards 'currency' (or rather not property).
In the US it is leaning towards 'property' (or rather a security / financial instrument, not currency)
Typical, looks like we're not getting off to a great start in uniform global standards.

At the end of all this mumbo jumbo, it just gets back to the plain simple context. What are we trying to do? If we are using blockchain / DLT for currency and cryptocurrency things...looks like the UK/EU is barking up the right tree. But this might be a bit Bitcoin centric. If we are looking at using blockchain / DLT in more wide ranging applications....then the US approach looks more future proof.
Ultimately, it is not the technology that should be regulated...it is the application. (I appreciate we all know this already...but it is just interesting to see how it is already playing out). Some of the links / sources I found interesting below.

Several people have recommended Twitter to me.
So, I have joined the twitterati.
@DLTweetRiley
I'm still finding my 'wings' in this medium but I'f you're on twitter, please feel free to tweet me.

If you're at the FinTech storm event tonight please do say hi!
http://www.tech.london/events/fintech-storm-blockchain-6-april-2016

Have a great week all,

Cheers,
S
www.clearingandsettlement.blogspot.com
@DLTweetRiley


UK Guidance from HMRC.
...As an EU tax, the VAT treatment for cryptocurrencies adopted by the UK must be consistent with any treatment that may eventually be implemented across the EU...
The 3 aspects commented on are: Corporation Tax (CT), Income Tax (IT) and Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/revenue-and-customs-brief-9-2014-bitcoin-and-other-cryptocurrencies

Nice round up from the US here:
Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal Issues: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43339.pdf
...On June 3, 2015, New York State became the first state to establish a framework for regulating digital currency businesses when the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) issued regulations providing for prudential supervision of virtual currency businesses operating in New York State. p 14
...the CFTC stated that Bitcoin is a virtual currency...p29

A nice round up for every jurisdiction in the world here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_bitcoin_by_country
(note, the foot notes are the most useful part).

This site could also be really useful...but it doesn't appear to be upto date.
Regulation of Bitcoin in Selected Jurisdictions

The UK Digital Currency Association’s response to HM Treasury’s Digital Currencies : Call for Information

Digital currencies: response to the call for information

First of all a plug for the upcoming ICDA Blockchain Conference, London, April 19-20, 2016
Beyond the technology buzz, how is the blockchain shaping the future of banks, exchanges, derivatives markets and commodities from a business development perspective?
http://www.incoda.org/
*** If you're not an ICDA member please let me know and I can arrange a discount code for you.

Another piece that grabbed my interest given the pioneering DLT work of the ASX.
ASX chief Elmer Funke Kupper resigns
"Normally, you ride this thing out," he told The Australian Financial Review. "It's not right, it's unfair, it's trial by media but it's also the responsibility of running one of the most respected institutions in the country. But this is me rising above it. It destroys my life but for me it's rising above it."
http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/asx-elmer-funke-kupper-resigns-20160321-gnng9v#ixzz43dxSinAG 

A bit of bitcoin folklaw...with a source (well, as much as you want to trust a Guardian editor!) to back it up.
Bought in 2009, currency’s rise in value saw small investment turn into enough to buy an apartment in a wealthy area of Oslo

Meet the Man Who Will Hack Your Long-Lost Bitcoin Wallet for Money
http://www.coindesk.com/meet-man-will-hack-long-lost-bitcoin-wallet-money/

When software and hardware are intertwined, does a warranty mean you stop supporting the hardware or does it mean that the manufactuer can intentionally disable it without consequence? 17 months ago, Google acquired Revolv, a very cool home automation hub.
*** I found this interesting because of the context. Can 'bricking' software make your hardware investment redundant? Think Planet of the Apes, some hardware can run long after the software support has lapsed. I like to retire my kit when I choose, not when my software developer does.
It's also an interesting insight into how Google is looking at the content of each of the divisions under Alphabet. (e.g. Google Nest).
Also a couple of nice piccies that explain Alphabet, Google's new parent company.
http://uk.businessinsider.com/google-alphabet-diagram-2015-8
http://uk.businessinsider.com/chart-of-alphabet-google-parent-company-infographic-x-gv-2016-1

One area that I want to expand on is "Master Data". There is much discussion about this...but before expanding too much on the point I think more work needs to be done on understanding various data elements. (and where we go for Golden Source...and what that means for consensus).
I very much like the work of GLEIF.
In October 2015, the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) launched the Global LEI Index, which provides information, updated daily, on all LEIs issued to date. Any interested party can easily access and search the complete LEI data pool free of charge using the web-based LEI search tool developed by GLEIF.
https://www.gleif.org/en//lei-data/global-lei-index/lei-statistics

Some sites I've been browsing and putting into context in my own mind map of the evolving blockchain eco-system. Some great content out there...and a whole host of generalisations too!

https://ethereum.org/
https://db.erisindustries.com/
http://hydrachain.com/   (Etherium permissioned ledger developed with http://www.brainbot.com/)
http://tendermint.com/
https://www.hyperledger.org/
http://appliedblockchain.com/
NXT ­ nxtfoundation.org
Counterparty ­ counterpartyfoundation.org
Mastercoin ­ mastercoinfoundation.org
Sidechains ­ blockstream.com
Swarm ­ swarm.fund
Coinprism ­ www.coinprism.com
StorJ ­ storj.io
MaidSafe ­ maidsafe.net
Factom ­ factom.org
Openname ­ openname.org
Bitmessage ­ bitmessage.org


Stuff

*** Interesting exercise. Bringing modern media methods to history (kinda like trying to make history accessible via Horrible Histories!). I wonder how different things would have been with coordinated communication channels. Military emphasis on comms has always been valued...just don't get me started on the Byzantine Generals problem!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_fault_tolerance
*** Bonus!
http://www.drdobbs.com/cpp/the-byzantine-generals-problem/206904396?pgno=1
You can get some C++ source code to solve the problem here.

Starfish-killing robot close to trials on Great Barrier Reef
*** I love the reef and diving.

Spencer Tunick visits Hull...the city of culture.
*** Hull, culture, nudity...and I thought they just did Rugby League.Will you be there?

Is Hell exothermic or endothermic?
https://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/susan/joke/exoendo.htm
An oldie, but a goldie. Dunno why I was talking about Boyles law this week but this nails it for me.
BTW, if Hell was finite...then given the rate of souls entering Hell I believe all Hell would already have broken loose. I also believe in the goodness of human nature. Therefore, ultimately, I believe Hell will indeed freeze over.
...and Geoff...Avogadros number just for you (since you're more of an 'ideal' gas typa guy)!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avogadro_constant


Stacked Deck
The effects of race on eBay auction pricing.
https://psmag.com/stacked-deck-6d9cd30e8636#.wsalqk8eh
*** I fear this is sad, but true. The sample size is a bit too small to really carry weight in my mind - but as a generalisation, I do think it reflects a deeper problem in society today. Despite all the noises we make about tolerance and respect there is still something 'there'. But we'll get there, slowly but surely - look how far we've come in a generation. Gotta love kids (and the education system for throwing them together).

Go Filter!
A perfect contra to Stacked Deck.

A blockchain "Token" joke! WooHoo!
Q: A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
A: He's playing monopoly!
(OK, it's not a digital token)

Be wise to yourself and take the risk.
~Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out~

A fool can throw a stone in a pond that 100 wise men can not get out.
Saul Bellow
RIP
http://www.economist.com/node/3860504?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/saulbellow

Friday, March 18, 2016

AlphaGo home, half life, T+2 down under...I (didn't) take a pill in Ibiza

Much this week has been made of the 'success' of AlphaGo.

This got me thinking about success. What is success?...in either human terms or machine terms.

Some commentators remarked that AlphaGo made some 'unusual' moves. And these moves were at a turning point - AlphaGo thought it had the game in the bag and then it just changed gears to defend the win. i.e. The machine just wants to win...it doesn't differentiate winning by a point or running up 50 points. Bit like playing a soccer game and after scoring a goal you spend the rest of the day doing that 'off side' rule thing they do (sorry for the over simplification - but you get the point). 
AlphaGo is a win and grind. It doesn't have a killer instinct or 'match flare'. The 4th game that Lee Sedol won was based on an offensive play. The boy can play 'Big Points'. Tennis is a bit boring when it is all percentage shots.

So what is AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol? Is it some kind of AI and neural network? I think it is a big computer with millions of data points. It peaked my interest in how it was coded and the process they went through. Unfortunately this is a paywall paper...so I haven't read it but what is interesting is all the data tables, which you can see:

Lee Sedol is one super efficient process. It doesn't look like he consumes a lot of food. My guess is that AlphaGo consumes vastly more amounts of energy (think watts) as it trawls through all the permutations of life....including the known universe of AlphaGo games. Big data to me. What Lee Sedol has done is eliminate thousands of data points that are pretty useless. He's applied his 'bounded rationality'. People forget...and forgetting can be a gift (don't carry some of that redundant clutter with you - Beats - shout out to you!) AlphaGo has a big brain. If we evolved like Alpha go I visualize an alien form with a top heavy head.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounded_rationality

Lee Sedol did mention that in human match play you get a lot of visual clues too - breathing, movement, gestures etc. AlphaGo has a pretty good poker face by all accounts. So under stress, AlphaGo...is not stressed. Is this good? I'm not sure. In the human world we can do some pretty powerful peak processing is a stressed environment. On minimal data points we can quickly choose, fight, flight or freeze. (OK, I might have picked option one a bit too often).

And then we get to pattern recognition. And this is where the whole AI point comes for me. What AlphaGo is magic at is playing the instruments...every instrument in the orchestra....but can he compose a melody?AlphaGo is always the same or a statistical derivation of what has gone on before. Lee Sedol is playing with the pieces - he's being creative.

Now I don't think there were many ethics in the game. But if there were, my guess is AlphaGo would have played by the rules...the coded rules (Ohhh, scary, man V machine). Lee Sedol acts on an entirely different plane.

....They collected moves from these machine-versus-machine matches and fed them into a second neural network. This neural net trained the system to examine the potential results of each move, to look ahead into the future of the game....
...AlphaGo had calculated that there was a one-in-ten-thousand chance that a human would make that move...
http://www.wired.com/2016/03/two-moves-alphago-lee-sedol-redefined-future/

Anyway, enough AlphaGo bashing. What I think is really exciting, is not the sheer industrial beauty of computing power, but rather the analysis of the processes to win. This is trying to break down emotional intelligence into a process. An ontology if you like. And it is by looking, and measuring, the process that we can begin to define limits, tolerances and possibly behaviours. This is stuff we all know, but don't accurately measure.

AlphaGo will be able to serve me a brilliant beer, no doubt. I might even shock him with an order for a G&T or a green beer on St Patricks day. There is a better than 1:10K chance he'll have the stock to hand. However, if I want to create a new cocktail, with a raspberry twist...game over.

There is a story of a famous photographer in New York who went to a dinner party. The Host greeted him and said "I have seen your photos and they are amazing! You must have a fantastic camera". Later on, during the meal, the photographer said "this dinner tastes delicious, you must have a fantastic kitchen".

Happy St Patrick's Day!
http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/history-of-st-patricks-day/interactives/st-patricks-day-by-the-numbers

Piccie:
US Bank Consolidation. Unfortunately, this did not make the cut this week.
https://image-store.slidesharecdn.com/0db28a3b-8b6d-47e4-b92e-35811c566b9b-original.jpeg

Have a great week-end.
(I won't be playing computer chess).

S
www.clearingandsettlement.blogspot.com


Blockchain

Bitcoin mining rate and half life.
The current Bitcoin reward is 25 BTC per block.
All the half life stats here:
http://www.bitcoinblockhalf.com/

I also think blockchain will introduce a whole new, nuanced, vocabulary.
For example coinbase (the field that allows the block reward) as opposed to the wallet provider www.coinbase.com
Good glossary here:
https://bitcoin.org/en/developer-glossary

For example what are the Rails that blockchain can run on?
Wht is NXT?
https://nxt.org/what-is-nxt/

Ethcore introduce parity....
....the fastest and lightest Ethereum block processing engine amongst the available clients
(their claim - not mine!)
https://ethcore.io/index.html

BitShares, Lisk Hop on Azure Blockchain Bandwagon
So, who's on MS Azure BaaS?
BitShares an open-source, decentralized asset exchange software platform
Lisk, a cryptocurrency and JavaScript-based developer platform for custom blockchains
Slock.it allows objects to be securely sold, rented or shared without a brokering agent.
Syscoin services for merchants, including escrow, digital asset storage and other buying and selling services.
Augur, an Ethereum blockchain-based decentralized prediction market platform.
http://www.eweek.com/cloud/bitshares-lisk-hop-on-azure-blockchain-bandwagon.html
This was a good slide share on blockchain from Ethereum
http://www.slideshare.net/gavofyork/basic-ethereum


Martkets

Goldman revamps electronic stock trading to catch rival
Goldman hired the tech-savvy Mahajan to revamp the business in March 2015. Since then, he has hired dozens of technologists and support staff to elevate Goldman's position in a fast-growing slice of the market and win back business from its chief competitor, Morgan Stanley.


Welcome, ASX ad NZX to T+2!

Sometimes we overlook the context of materiality and proportionality
notes: 2015 ASX did 190 million trades..in the year...for a notional of Aussie 1,112.5byn
notes: 2015 NZ did 1.4 million trades...in the year...for a notional of Kiwi 40byn.
http://www.asx.com.au/services/t2.htm
http://www.asx.com.au/documents/investor-relations/2015AnnualReport.pdf  (p68)
https://nzx.com/regulation/T2-settlement
https://www.nzx.com/files/attachments/230592.pdf
Today Chi-X (oops, now Bats) did 1byn trades for a 10 byn Euro notional

Integration of market infrastructure
This is a 'promo' clip from the ECB trying to make the EuroSystem, SEPA, Target2 and T2S, more accessible (I guess)
I'm not sure it will sway any Brexit 'out'ers or leave my local MP with an interest in Market Structures as a vote winner.
https://youtu.be/hc9ntZmB0i8

The European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA, ESMA - ESAs) published today the final draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) outlining the framework of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

Duco And CME Group Team Up To Provide Innovative Data Control Service To Member Firms
http://www.thestreet.com/story/13494718/1/duco-and-cme-group-team-up-to-provide-innovative-data-control-service-to-member-firms.html


Stuff

I loved this "Dilemma" - brought a tear to my eye.
https://youtu.be/R6xLcItSJN8

I found this interesting in how a message can be 're=purposed'
https://medium.com/@MikePosner/i-took-a-pill-in-ibiza-2f7de1406c6d#.mjqcjsnt6
...to this...
https://youtu.be/foE1mO2yM04

Fracking : An English duck that will never fly
....Because burning gas is more efficient than coal, it provides a 50 per cent advantage in terms of emissions of CO2 emitted per unit of energy. However that is only half the story because of the methane that escapes into the atmosphere during the exploration, production, storage, and distribution phases of the gas life-cycle....
Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) 87 times greater than an equivalent mass of CO2 over a 20 year time frame. If fugitive emissions of methane exceed 2 per cent of production, then gas is no better than coal from a climate change perspective.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

LSE, The rise of Ether, Bye bye Chi-X...and the best thing out of Melbourne


LSE in the news and as ever, more news and reports on blockchain than one can read in a week.

In the past I've levied 2 criticisms at the LSE. One, that is an incumbent institution and Two, that the sum of the parts do not unlock the value of the group. Time to re-visit this.

First of all, I'm a little surprised by how little credit Xavier is getting. Lets look at the share price under his tenure. At MiFID (Nov '07), LSE was around STG 17+ a share. Post MiFID Rolet comes in, after LSE shares have had a steady fall with the fan fare of competition to circa STG 7 a share. Now, it is circa STG 28 (and rising...some say even STG 32 is attainable)...and the loss of market share has been contained.
So, respect to Xavier and his advisors. They've obviously been listening to their customers.

So, One. From 2009, with the Millennium acquisition LSE started a journey of not behaving like an incumbent. And that journey continued with, Two, a tidying up of the sum of the parts...grabbing the LCH stake and going from a board representative to an outright owner, likewise with FTSE (alongside the background of the benchmarking hype). I must say I'm surprised by the full value that has now been 'unlocked' from the LSE holdings.

I am also surprised by how little press I see about Euronext. With LSE in play...and a debate about Brexit on the cards....I think Euronext offers great value to those that walk away empty handed from the LSE dance. A real Eurozone play..(read ECB "location policy")...and foothold (all the more so if the Clearnet stake is divested).

Some other bits of history:
NYSE Group, owner of the New York Stock Exchange, offered €8 billion (US$10.2b) in cash and shares for Euronext on 22 May 2006,
In December 2012 Intercontinental Exchange announced plans to acquire NYSE Euronext, owner of Euronext, in an $8.2 billion takeover

LSE chief Rolet to retire after Deutsche Börse merger
London Stock Exchange Group: A timeline of the deals and attempted transactions

He joined the Board of the London Stock Exchange in March 2009, and became CEO in May. Under his leadership, the London Stock Exchange Group acquired MillenniumIT (2009),Turquoise Holdings Ltd (2010), FTSE Group (2011), TRS (2011), GATElab Srl (2012), EuroTLX Srl (2013),LCH.Clearnet (2013), Bonds.com (2014), ExactPro (2014) and the Frank Russell Company (2014) from Northwestern Mutual, the Asset management arm of which was sold in October 2015 to TA Associates and Reverence Capital Partners. In October 2015, LSE Group launched Curve Global, a new Futures Exchange co-owned with Barclays Bank, Bank of America, Citi, Goldman, Sachs, Societe Generale and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

(Poor old Proquote got ejected along the way)

LSE share price history (MiFID came into effect Nov 2007....and you can see the LSE share price slide from that point.)
or

DLT / Blockchain

And so it happens....Ether has overtaken the marketcap of Ripple (leaving Ether second only to bitcoin).
Look at Ethers value appreciation here.
(My advice has been to switch from Bitcoin into Ether)
http://coinmarketcap.com/

No, Bitcoin is not the future of securities settlement
http://www.clearmatics.com/2015/05/no-bitcoin-is-not-the-future-of-securities-settlement/

Deloitte’s seventh annual Tech Trends report identifies eight trends that are likely to disrupt businesses in the next 18-24 months – from blockchain to augmented reality, the Internet of Things, socially responsible applications of technology and more.http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/technology/articles/tech-trends.html#

Banking on Blockchain: Charting the Progress of Distributed Ledger Technology in Financial Services.
A new paper produced by Finextra in association with IBM explores the progression of blockchain.
(this paper requires registration)
http://www.finextra.com/surveys/survey.aspx?surveyguid=32e19ab4-2d9c-4862-8416-d3be94161c6d

Deutsche Bank calls for co-operation with fintech firms on B2B services.
In a new whitepaper (PDF), the German bank acknowledges that over the last decade a host of non-bank players, from PayPal to Stripe to Apple Pay to Bitcoin, have upended the payments market, turning models on their head.
Full paper here:

Global regulators to probe fintech threats to financial stability
The Financial Stability Board is to evaluate the potential for systemic risk posed by emerging innovations in financial technology
National regulatory bodies have so far taken a softly-softly approach to the growing fintech sector for fear of stifling potentially beneficial creative innovation.

FCA to extend Innovation Hub; advance research into blockchain tech
The discussion, inevitably, turned to the application of distributed ledger technology in financial service, with Woolard setting out some of the regulatory and consumer issues that will need to be discussed as the technology evolves.
"For example, how individuals gain access to a distributed network and who controls this process, along with what data security exists for users are vital considerations for us as a regulator," he says. "The FCA continues to monitor the development of this technology but is yet to take a stance until its application is clearer."

IOSCO Securities Markets Risk Outlook 2016
International securities regulatory body Iosco has identified the disruptive threats from technological innovation as a key risk factor facing financial markets in 2016.

Markets

BATS drops Chi-X name in global rebrand
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-22/europe-s-biggest-derivatives-exchange-halts-trading-on-glitch

IEX Sick of SEC Delays on Exchange Approval
....These “flash boys” are starting to lose their patience....
http://nypost.com/2016/02/19/iex-sick-of-sec-delays-on-exchange-approval/

NYSE Embarks on High-Stakes Technology Shift for its Exchanges
....moving its markets on to a single software platform called Pillar, a move that its owner Intercontinental Exchange Inc. hopes will allow it to shed its image of having clunky, out-of-date technology...
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-19/nyse-embarks-on-high-stakes-technology-shift-for-its-exchanges

SEC to focus on asset management, disclosure, market structure in 2016
In equity market structure, the SEC will finalize rules on the oversight of active proprietary traders and on alternative trading systems. It will also work to enhance order routing disclosures and the risk controls on trading algorithms
There is limited time for the commission to accomplish any goals, with the administration of President Barack Obama coming to an end in less than 12 months. Traditionally, the head of the SEC, a politically appointed position, is replaced when a president leaves office. The SEC is currently down two members from its full complement of five.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sec-focus-idUSKCN0VS1OJ

Esma Pledges to Ease Reporting Burden on Trading Firms
ESMA is examining ways it can standardise trade reporting requirements, amid continued complaints that firms are being forced to do the same work several times over to satisfy different rules. The regulator has asked its Market Data Standing Committee to consider how to reduce the burden on the finance industry in the wake of a swathe of different reporting requirements, contained in legislation such as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, the Securities Transaction Financing Regulation and the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. Finance firms complain that the rules require them to provide the same information in subtly different formats, duplicating work and pushing up costs.
*** Sorry, this story behind a paywall.

JPMorgan's ‘London Whale’ Surfaces to Say '12 Loss Not His Fault
In his letter, Iksil said the government’s decision not to prosecute him helps show he’s not to blame. In July, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority abandoned a proposal to fine Iksil 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) and refrained from banning him from the industry.

Full letter available here:

Morgan Stanley scales back equities financial technology investing group


Stuff

USB Type-C: One cable to connect them all

A lovely blast from the past...
The Seekers - Morningtown Ride (1964 - Stereo, enhanced video)https://youtu.be/M-RkC6MYT2E
...and one of the best things I know to come out of Melbourne!
https://youtu.be/HDr1lI_4Co0




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

DLT pigeon holes, Acronyms, Railways and Commercials.....PE2, LME & Hemp


As ever time flies. If I don't get this out tonight...another week will zip by.

One reason I blog is because writing forces me to formulate / pigeon hole my thoughts. Another reason I blog, and this blog is searchable, is because sometimes things don't easily lend themselves to a pigeon hole. (so if they're in the blog, at least I can reduce the scope of my search).

I'm finding I'm putting things into 3 broad buckets:
1. Blockchain / DL Technology: The technical and academic side of things. From Network theory to cryptography...and to a whole new set of acronyms. BTC, DLT, PoW, PoS etc. Are you losing sleep as you ponder will Hyperledger be a competitor of Ethereum? (Yes, in my view). Which codex is better? There is an institute for that type of question. http://www.blockchainstudies.org/index.html
2. Blockchain / DLT Ecosystem: Here I draw a parallel with the railways. (http://www.riagb.org.uk/). Blockchain has everything from engineers through to rails. Knowing where things fit and how they are interconnected is pretty obvious in railways...but we're less familiar with the blockchain environment. Do we care what gauge rails we run on - if we're at speed yes - but ultimately that will be an issue blockchain beneficiaries nwill be oblivious to. Still, right now, it helps to know.
3. Blockchain / DLT business. That is the use cases, the consortia, the white papers and the general industry positioning. (My next personal assignment is to do a 600 odd word piece on some of the recent white papers).

Anyway, some of the news that I managed to digest....and there is sooo much more out there that I simply have not had a chance to review. Hey ho, as it ever was. Graham Bishop is about the only guy I know that could keep up with all of Europes market reforms...clearing and settlement was more than enough for me. I'm sure there is a blockchain God out there too....but right now, I don't think anyone can corral everything into one place...but please, please do correct me if I'm missing something!

A plug for ICDA (the old SFOA for us long in the tooth). I'll be speaking there on 19th April.
http://www.incoda.org/blockchain-2016/
Let me know if you're going. I'd love to catch up.

Have a great week all (what is left of it)...and WooHoo, lets race into the first week of Q3 '16 on Monday.

S
www.clearingandsettlement.blogspot.com


Blockchain

BNP Paribas : takes keen interest in Blockchain
http://www.bnpparibas.com/en/news/bnp-paribas-takes-keen-interest-blockchain
Caisse des Depots Group.
French consortium: avec AXA, BNP Paribas, Blockchain Solutions, le Groupe BPCE, Cellabz, le CNAM, CNP Assurances, le Crédit Agricole, Croissance Plus, Paymium, et le Pôle de Compétitivité « Finance Innovation »
The principle objective is to develop and prototype usage scenarios related to banking, finance and insurance businesses.
http://www.caissedesdepots.fr/sites/default/files/medias/cp_et_dp/cp_initiative_place_blockchain.pdf

Japan Exchange Group and IBM to run proof-of-concept blockchain test
http://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/28471/japan-exchange-group-and-ibm-to-run-proof-of-concept-blockchain-test

Linux, IBM Share Bold Vision for Hyperledger Project, a Blockchain Fabric for Business
The Blockchain platforms that we are currently tracking are:
Ethereum
Counterparty
Eris
Blocksteam
Maidsafe
Ripple
Stellar
Epiphyte
PeerNova
Chain
Hyperledger

What are the chief differences between Ethereum and Ripple's Codius? Which one is most likely to succeed?

Welcome to the Institute for Blockchain Studies!
http://www.blockchainstudies.org/index.html

New Market Map Defines the Blockchain Ecosystemhttp://firstpartner.net/news/new-market-map-defines-blockchain-ecosystem

Consensus-as-a-service: a brief report on the emergence of permissioned, distributed ledger systems By Tim Swanson

ISITC Europe Breaks down Blockchain and the Future of FinTech

Wall Street Is Trying to Beat Silicon Valley at Its Own Game
Banks race to beat the patent trolls—and Silicon Valley.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-11/disrupting-banks-go-see-what-they-re-doing-at-the-patent-office

Inside Multichain: A Build-Your-Own Blockchain Service for Banks
http://www.coindesk.com/multichain-build-ownblockchain-banks/

Markets

BATS Chi-X Europe and Traiana enable OTC equity trade clearing
http://www.automatedtrader.net/news/at/155254/bats-chi_x-europe-and-traiana-enable-otc-equity--trade-clearing

The EU & its Partners: Attracting International Investors: How can the EU work with its Partners?

In 139 years the LME has only moved four times; it was established in 1877 above a hat shop in Leadenhall Market.
The LME was acquired by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Limited in December 2012.
https://www.lme.com/about-us/history/

Seed Commodities Exchange to launch in partnership with GMEX
Seed CX’s launch products include new weather derivatives and industrial hemp swaps, options and forwards.


News (and stuff)

People are sharing Private Eye's brilliant skewering of the media's Jeremy Corbyn headlines

The Independent newspaper confirms an end to print production
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/12153947/The-Independent-newspaper-confirms-an-end-to-print-production.html

If countries were the size of their stock markets
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3197558/If-countries-size-stock-markets-Merrill-Lynch-map-reveals-America-largest-squint-eyes-Russia-China.html#ixzz40QTTQ4ew

Interesting dynamic maps..

A graphical history tour...