Token Communities Ltd looks to the future of blockchain technology



• Specialises in advising and incubating firms in the blockchain and distributed ledger spaces

• Shares began trading on the US OTC markets on 26 September


What Token Communities does


Token Communities Ltd () is an advisory firm that specialises in advising and incubating companies in the blockchain and distributed ledger technologies arena, including smart contracts and token generation events.


The firm’s services include the authoring of industry standard White Papers, technical aspects, design and implementation of market strategies and business appraisals.


Futurist at the helm


The company is spearheaded by chief executive Alex Lightman, a renowned futurist and the recipient of four global technology awards, including the first Economist Magazine Reader’s Award.


Lightman has also written national innovation plans and technology transition plans for the US and Mexican governments and NATO as well as participating as a panel speaker at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals event in New York and being the keynote speaker at two dozen Blockchain events.



Shares begin trading


On 26 September 2018, the company’s shares began trading on the over-the-counter (OTC) markets in the US via the Deposit Trust Company (DTC).


The DTC is a subsidiary of The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation and is a registered clearing agency with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, allowing TKCM access to digital settlement and clearance services.


The firm also said that to enhance its liquidity and access a “significantly wider” investor base it was instructing its legal team to apply for registration with DWAC, an acronym for the Deposit/Withdrawal at Custodian which was created by the DTC.


With shares trading at around US$1.99 as of 25 February, Token Communities has a market cap of US$372.6mln.



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Blockchain Art Registry Acquires Database With Info From 4K Auction Houses


The blockchain-based art registry startup Artory has acquired auction house database Auction Club, according to a tweet from Artory on March 21.

Auction Club is a subscription-only database containing sales information from more than 4,000 international auction houses.

According to industry media outlet The Art Newspaper, the move is set to make Auction Club’s sales data — reportedly gathered from around 250 businesses in 40 countries — public for the first time. The data will be available in Artory’s registry beginning in May, the report states.

Artory’s CEO, Nanne Dekking — formerly the vice chairman of Sotheby’s New York — was quoted in the publication as saying: “We couldn’t pass up this opportunity to acquire millions of data quickly that we can leverage to improve our products.”

Replying to concerns voiced by the publication that the aggregation of a huge amount of data under one company could contradict the idea of the distributed nature of blockchain technology, Paul Stabe, Artory’s chief product officer, underlined:

“The decentralisation of blockchain is a security benefit, not a solution. And for the art world, being able to leverage blockchain to provide access to credible data that are free is a huge benefit.”

In October 2018, Christie’s — the auction house with a history going back over 250 years — announced a pilot scheme with Artory to use blockchain for auction data. The partnership proposed using the technology to provide details and certificates of purchases to buyers.

Last fall, one of the world’s most famous art galleries, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia, launched the blockchain-based project “My Tretyakov. ” The project allows individuals as well as enterprises to make a private donations, as Cointelegraph reported.





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IBM Crypto Chief Calls Company the “Leader” in Blockchain Technology






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Duke University Partners for Blockchain Lab, Education Program


Duke University is teaming up with blockchain startup Citizens Reserve on an educational initiative aimed to develop students’ interest in blockchain technology.

Citizens Reserve, a firm led by a team of former Deloitte blockchain employees, told CoinDesk Friday that it will jointly create a new incubation lab on Duke campus for students to work on real blockchain projects and host blockchain-focused events.

The company will also support the university in putting together a curriculum on blockchain technology, as well as in connecting students with blockchain experts and helping them find jobs in the sector when they graduate.

“As a Duke MBA alumnus, I am excited to spearhead this program, and help the next generation of blockchain advocates and leaders succeed,” said Yonathan Lapchik, chief innovation officer at Citizens Reserve.

He added:

“Many industries, including finance, supply chain, and healthcare, are already exploring the potential of blockchain technology, so it is more important than ever to provide students with the tools needed to develop the skills, connections, and knowledge employers will seek from tomorrow’s workforce.”

Citizens Reserve launched a supply chain platform called SUKU in September, leveraging both the ethereum and quorum blockchains. Participating students in the program will be able to work on active incubation lab blockchain projects through the platform, according to the announcement.

“The lab will come equipped with tools, such as mining rigs, that will enable students to explore various blockchain mechanisms,” the firm added.

Campbell Harvey, a finance professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, will serve as the faculty advisor to the program. Harvey said that Duke is “excited” about the opportunity for its students to get “hands on, industry-relevant experience.”

Duke University already offers an “Innovation and Cryptoventures” course, launched by Harvey back in 2014. He also recently helped found the Duke Blockchain Lab, a student-led organization, providing a connection to the professional blockchain community.

Duke University image via Shutterstock



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On Blockchain Island, Crypto Companies Are Still Unbanked


Malta, a country with fewer than 500,000 people, relishes its unofficial title as ‘Blockchain Island.’

But the Mediterranean island is not quite the paradise it aspires to be, and many projects are still struggling to set up shop. Despite government attempts to create the first DLT-friendly jurisdiction, securing a full banking partner is proving to be difficult.

An investigation by the Times of Malta found that many crypto businesses are being turned away by banks, who feel the industry is outside of their “risk appetite.” Although some banks are prepared to do business with blockchain projects, many banks worry about working with crypto companies and exchanges due to a perceived “AML overhead.”

Dominic Melo is the chief product officer at iSignthis, an Australian fintech company, which periodically releases reports on the regulatory landscape. Melo says that banks in Malta and elsewhere are concerned about how to ensure that clients’ funds meet regulatory standards.

The main concern, Melo explained, is that the high cost of KYC/AML compliance makes partnerships with crypto businesses prohibitively expensive. “It’s not typically profitable for [Maltese] banks to house client funds for other licensed entities,” he wrote to Crypto Briefing. 


The regulatory environment

Malta’s government has made it a priority to provide a regulatory framework for crypto businesses, and the national parliament passed three DLT bills last September.

The new laws were designed to make the country one of the most desirable jurisdictions for blockchain companies.  The government was seeking to provide  “legal certainty”  to the new industry, according to Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation.

But there are concerns on how effective such regulation actually is. In January, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that holes in Malta’s legal framework and an overstretched regulator could endanger its AML controls.

“The increasing number of financial entities under supervision, the rapid development of new products, the evolving regulatory environment and the tightening of the labour market have put the Malta Financial Services Authority under considerable strain,” the IMF told The Times of Malta. 

Melo believes there’s more to the story. Financial institutions may be reluctant to engage with the new DLT sector, he says, because they are worried it may jeopardize relationships with correspondent banks (CBRs).

CBRs allow banks to accept deposits abroad as well as facilitate international transactions. They also allow banks to offer services in other jurisdictions. Without ready access to the worldwide network, many banks would not be able to operate.

This would drive up the costs of financial services, making them inaccessible for a large number of people.

According to Melo, CBRs with U.S. banks form the lifeblood of the banking industry, including banks situated in Malta. They provide instant leverage for deposits as well as access to U.S. treasuries, which are among the most high-yielding government securities available.

“One way commercial banks make money is by buying U.S. Treasuries, to lose your USD correspondent effectively cuts off a bank from the Global Financial System and one of its most profitable sources of income from parked client funds,” he said.


A blip?

For the time being, business in Malta is booming. The country welcomed Binance’s exchange and charity arms last year, and there is already a burgeoning secondary market. When Crypto Briefing visited for the Malta Blockchain Summit (MBS), lawyers and accountants specializing in crypto-related law occupied most of the conference hall stands.

Deborah Vella, the senior manager at E&S Group, a legal advisory firm for cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses in Malta, admitted that banks have “numerous concerns” about taking on crypto projects as clients.

But in the long term, Vella didn’t think these concerns would prove to be much of an obstacle. Companies continue to enhance their business development in Malta, she says, and E&S has helped more than 80 projects to establish themselves on the island. The problems that crypto faces on ‘blockchain island’ are found all over the world.

“Setting up crypto and blockchain related companies in Malta we do not foresee it as being problematic,” Vella said in an email to Crypto Briefing. “We believe the banking solution is a concern to all those who are opening businesses not only in Malta but all around Europe.”


The author is invested in digital assets, but none mentioned in this article.



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The Possibilities Of Blockchain In Regulating Marijuana Supply Chains


Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use. As a result, marijuana supply chains in the U.S. are starting to take shape, with commercial possibilities following. However, the contradiction between state and federal laws cannot be understated. Federal regulation continues to be a challenge for legal marijuana, which includes logistics from production to consumption.

It is crucial to monitor marijuana supply chains end-to-end to ensure no amount of the product slips through unnoticed. FreightWaves spoke with Michael Morey from Franwell about the finer details of marijuana supply chains and the primary concerns and challenges that face the marijuana industry. Franwell is a technology company dedicated to the development of leading- edge products and services with a focus on supply chain solutions and RFID integration.


“For the monitoring process, we go back to the actual plants on the field. We track the number of plants that are planted by growers and look at the number of plants that survive until the end, as many of them die out. We track the plants through the process of maturation and harvest,” said Morey. “At that point, we will measure the amount of product that is derived from these plants, as well as the amount of waste, so that everything is accounted for.”

Precisely measuring the output and the waste is essential, because legal marijuana cultivation is strictly enforced and the measurement statistics need to be precise. Once the output is gauged, it is then distributed via packages, with each package being tagged and inventoried before it goes to a retailer. This way, it is possible to track the genealogy of a marijuana strain –  the plant it came from, its geographic origin, the name of the grower, and other specifics.

“Generally, marijuana is sold at mom-and-pop shops and the product is transported in small delivery vans, rather than in big trucks. Though the distribution of marijuana is not terribly sophisticated, the issue is with the federal law, because growing and distribution are still not legal under it. This causes problems in terms of banking – reporting the financials and filing taxes is difficult since banks are federally regulated,” said Morey.

It is here that technology like blockchain could help, as it can assist with accounting for each step across the supply chain, and create transparency into the operations of every stakeholder in the chain.

One of the problems that faces the marijuana trade is that it remains entrenched in traditional cash transactions, rather than going digital. Then again, pushing the transactions through banks is also not viable because currently that is illegal. “This is a conundrum – as it’s legal in the state and illegal federally. The federal government can’t come into the state and prevent the sale and distribution of marijuana, but it can complicate the management of funds or money derived from the activity because the majority of banks are federally regulated,” said Morey.

Blockchain could alleviate the issue to an extent. The technology can help bring the largely underground movement of marijuana above board, and help create a semblance of trust between the stakeholders in the supply chain. The marijuana business is extremely profitable, and thus can generate a number of jobs within its ecosystem.

Even with blockchain, it would help the cause of the marijuana industry if there is an open data framework that could be used for companies to develop pilot blockchain programs. Consortiums like the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) are bringing together hundreds of stakeholders in the supply chain space to create open standards that companies can use as a platform for their blockchain pilots.

Morey explained that blockchain would help with verification just as credit cards do when they are swiped in supermarkets. “When you use your credit card, the validity of the card is verified,  and there is either an approval or rejection of the transaction. This is on a need-to-know basis, and I think this can work here as well,” he said. “For example, in the air cargo industry ground handlers track the freight they handle, generate an invoice to the forwarder or carrier, who in turn has its own data to compare with. This can take out all the discrepancies that arise in the process as everything exists within the same system.”

Image sourced from Pixabay

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Blockchain Venture Lets Patients Control–And Profit–From Their Health Data


Andrew Hoppin and Christopher Sealey

Republic

Some 37% of Americans can’t afford a $100 medical bill and 64% of patients delay health treatment because they lack the money to pay for it, according to research from CarePayment/ 20|20 Research. As a result, many people are really sick when they finally seek help, contributing to an epidemic of skyrocketing health costs.

At the same time, there’s a multi-billion dollar industry for health data, in which data brokers sell medical information about consumers to researchers, pharmaceutical companies and others—without those patients’ knowledge or consent.

Two years ago, Andrew Hoppin and Christopher Sealey looked at those facts and came up with a pretty ambitious plan for a company: Build an app and a platform using secure blockchain technology that would allow people not only to protect and control their health data, but to make a profit from it, too. “We believe you shouldn’t have to be wealthy to be healthy,” says Sealey, who is president of the New York City-based startup, called CoverUS. “We’re putting the power of data in patients’ hands.”

Today is also the last day of its equity crowdfunding campaign, presented on the Republic platform. While the company recently raised $750,000 in a pre-seed round, the co-founders wanted a way to extend their philosophy to its funding. Investors can invest as little as $100, allowing regular folks to take part in the campaign. ”We felt it was important to democratize the upside for our business,” says Sealey.

More about how the system works: Patients download data from their Electronic Health Records, also adding real-world health information that only they can provide. Then medical professionals pay for that data. For the healthcare industry, it means getting access to much richer, more valuable and in-depth information. And for patients, the system creates a way to get paid for providing that information. According to Sealey, that amount can easily be an estimated $1,500 a year.

To ensure privacy and security, the platform is based on blockchain technology. Often described as a decentralized, virtual ledger, blockchain systems are public, shared databases or records. Any transaction or interaction between two parties is timestamped, verified and then added on the blockchain  as a block containing information about the transaction. One result is that data isn’t owned by one centralized entity. Plus data is secured through cryptography.

In the second quarter of the year, the company plans to launch its first pilot. That will involve tapping a 1.5 million patient community for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, a costly chronic disease, and linking members to healthcare market researchers.

Hoppin and Sealey met while teaming up to upgrade the technology for the New York State Senate about ten years ago. Hoppin also started and sold a civic tech company. Sealey, a customer engagement marketing expert,  helped found an economic think tank and has focused on the inefficiencies and inequities of the U.S. health care system.

According to Sealey, startups sometimes shy away from equity crowdfunding campaigns, because they have to be upfront about their numbers and other information they might not want to reveal. But, as far as the co-founders are concerned, transparency is part of their raison d’etre.

There’s also an advantage, which is the feedback they see on the site. Like many crowdfunding organizers, they’ve found that’s pointed to various important questions, everything from, “What happens if there’s a single-payer healthcare?” to “How is my grandmother going to use this?”, plus providing invaluable early market research insights.

 



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Hype Sports Launches Blockchain-Themed Sports Accelerator


Hype Sports Launches Blockchain-Themed Sports Accelerator

The Hype Sports Innovation team. (Courtesy of HYPE)

Tel-Aviv based Hype Sports Innovation has launched an accelerator program dedicated to blockchain-focused startups in the sports industry. The program is three-months long and will accept startups from around the world.

Much of the program will be completed through weekly webinars and virtual one-on-one sessions with leading industry mentors and investors. Applications are open now until the end of May.

“While blockchain is a relatively new technology, it has limitless potential, particularly when it comes to sports,” said Ilan Hadar, CEO of Hype, in a press release. “With the launch of this new accelerator, we will provide the entrepreneurs in our program with unmatched access to our global network of teams, investors and partners, helping turn their startups into real game-changers and market leaders.”

Up to 30 startups will be invited to attend in-person bootcamps in June at NYU in New York and the ISDE Higher Institute of Law and Economics in Barcelona, where they’ll pitch in front of selection committees. A group of 12 startups will then be chosen to pitch before a crowd of global sports brands, clubs, and investors at a demo day scheduled for September.

According to the company, Hype leverages an ecosystem of over 11,000 startups, 750 Investors and venture capitalists, 450 global sports teams, and 40,000 members worldwide to aid participants in its accelerator programs.

SportTechie Takeaway

Blockchain is disrupting sports in a number of ways, from powering the voting system in the Fan Controlled Football League to helping the NFL Players Association combat memorabilia fraud. In 2018, Ticketmaster acquired a blockchain startup to upgrade its transparency and fraud protection during the ticketing process.



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Global Blockchain Mining Corp concludes crowdsale for provider of ‘last mile’ internet access to remote regions



Global Blockchain Mining Corp () advanced its push into professional services when it said Friday that the AMR crowdsale it conducted on behalf of a Singapore client concluded with 80% of the allocation purchased.


The cryptocurrency company said 320 million AMR tokens were sold for Ammbr Foundation Pte Ltd in the public crowdsale on the Singularity Exchange as well as private sales to institutional clients. The AMR token is a crypto asset that was developed by Ammbr for the automated buying and selling of Internet bandwidth.


Ammbr is working to provide “last mile” internet access to regions and communities that otherwise have no means of access. A crowdsale is a type of project financing that is carried out by issuing cryptocurrency tokens.


READ: Global Blockchain Mining says Nuvo Cash crowdsale shifts to Singularity Exchange


The proceeds were collected in a range of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum, according to Global Blockchain. The company announced its partnership with Singapore-based Ammbr in October.


Shares of Vancouver-based Global Blockchain Mining climbed C$0.005 to C$0.01 in Friday morning’s Canadian trading.


In January, Ammbr’s US-based affiliate AmmbrTech Inc had secured an infrastructure deployment contract with the India-based internet service provider Smartware Technologies Pvt Ltd, with rollouts planned across 53 cities and more than 15,000 villages in India.


AmmbrTech is beginning production on the first volume production order of Ammbr network hardware for India, which will underpin full commercial deployment beginning in May, according to Global Blockchain.


As part of a move to serve the resources industry as well as providing internet connectivity for disadvantaged communities, Global Blockchain and AmmbrTech are exploring the launch of a wireless mesh network under a joint venture in northern Canada.


‘Most pleased with the outcomes’


“We are most pleased with the outcomes of working with FORK so far,” Ammbr Managing Director Derick Smith said in a statement. “They have brought about great results in conducting sales of AMR, and cultivated new business opportunities, including a unique arrangement in which we can build wireless mesh networks on Ammbr for northern Canada.”


Global Blockchain President and CEO Shidan Gouran said “we congratulate Mr. Smith and his team for developing a scalable and dynamic wireless mesh networking solution using blockchain technology.”


Earlier this week, the company said the crowdsale it’s handling for Nuvo Cash Ltd was shifting to the Singularity Exchange to enable it to tap into a larger number of digital asset types.


Contact Dennis Fitzgerald at [email protected]



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Swiss Federal Council Initiates Blockchain Law Consultation Period


The Swiss Federal Council has started its consultation period on the adaptation of federal law for blockchain development, according to an official press release published on March 22.

By initiating the consultation, the Federal Council intends to improve legal certainty over blockchain applications in order to build a basis for regulatory framework for the industry in Switzerland, particularly in the financial sector.

According to the document, the Federal Council’s consultation will last until the end of June 2019.

In mid-December 2018, the Swiss Federal Council adopted a report on the legal framework for blockchain in the financial sector, stating that the existing financial law in the country is suitable for the blockchain industry, but needs some specific adjustments. The authority advocated for better legal clarity for rights holders on a blockchain network and ensuring that decentralized trading platforms are subject to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act.

Following the announcement, the Council has now released a draft consultation document, proposing a number of adjustments, including the establishment of digital registration of rights in the Swiss Code of Obligations, as well as the segregation of crypto assets in the event of bankruptcy in the Federal Law on Debt Collection and Bankruptcy.

The Council also proposed creating a new authorization category for distributed ledger technology (DLT) trading facilities in the market infrastructure law in order to provide a regulated financial market. Apart from that, the authority suggested an adaptation of the future Financial Institutions Act in order to set up a licence for operating a trading facility as a securities firm.

The Swiss Federal Council stated that AML policies are set to be incorporated into the planned amendment of the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance as part of the ongoing revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Earlier this week, the Federal Assembly of the Swiss government approved a motion to instruct the Federal Council to adapt existing legislation for cryptocurrency regulation.





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