The crypto community got some exciting news this week after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman stated that Ether (ETH) is a commodity. The news follows similarly worded statements from SEC officials in the past.
The news came via an Oct 10 statement from acting CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert. In the post, the Chairman announced that he believes Ether is not a security at this time. The news comes at a critical point in Ethereum’s development.
The news is a huge win for the Ethereum community. Currently, Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world by market cap ($20 billion). The ruling is important because it means Ether falls under CFTC regulations and not SEC securities regulations. Consequently, the decision allows financial institutions to offer a wide array of new products and open up entirely new markets moving forward.
Ether Futures and Derivatives
In the past analysts pointed out that the Ether derivatives market suffered due to the lack of transparency. Tarbert now says that you can expect to see both Ether futures and derivatives markets in the very near future. Surprisingly, he stated that these financial tools would hit the market in less than a year.
According to the Chairman, Ether is a case of a transformative token. Basically, the token started as a security during the ICO event. At that time the enterprise was playing a controlling role over the digital asset. As time progressed, the Ethereum enterprise faded to the background as the cryptocurrency decentralized. Now the token serves as a utility.
Additionally, Tarbert described the reverse scenario in which a utility token slowly develops into a security. In this situation, you start off with a fully decentralized organization. Over time, the enterprise steps back in to take more control. Consequently, this creates a scenario where investors seek profits from the efforts of others. Now the token is a security.
Notably, SEC officials stated that they do not consider Ether a security in its current state. However, both the SEC and CFTC did point out that during the company’s ICO, Ether acted as a security. Luckily the SEC declined to fine the Ethereum development team for its ICO.
Bitcoin is a Commodity
Falling along this line of thought, Tarbert explained that Bitcoin is also a commodity. This statement coincides with the SEC’s decision to decline to label Bitcoin as a security. Analysts consider these actions as a precursor to this week’s news.
PoW to PoS
Also, Ethereum developers announced a shift from the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm to a more energy-efficient alternative, a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. PoS systems don’t require your PC to do heavy computations. Instead, users earn rewards for “staking” tokens in their wallets. In this manner, PoS tokens use far fewer resources.
Ether Moving Forward
The Ethereum community has much to celebrate moving forward. The cryptocurrency continues to see development across the entire sector. You can expect to see the Ethereum community expand as more ETH-based products enter the market in the coming months.
Visa Token Service Launches this Month
This week, the world’s largest digital payment platform, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) announced that its blockchain-based Visa Token Service would be instituted across the US. The Visa Token System tokenizes card payments to streamline the entire payment process. The integration is meant to simplify and further secure the online shopping experience for millions of users. Importantly, the decision to utilize blockchain technology signals a shift by one of the largest payment processors in the game.
According to company documents, on January 21 the new system will replace Visa Checkout across the US. Basically, all active US Visa Checkout merchants will get the upgrade without the need to make any changes on their part. In essence, it will be seamless.
Discussing the goals of the transition, Jack Forestell, the Chief Product Officer of Visa, explained that his firm wanted to create the “best customer experience possible.” As such, the firm recognized an urgency to build a more seamless and secure platform specifically designed to meet the needs of online shoppers. He also took a moment to tout the added level of security achieved through the integration of blockchain tech.
The new system integrates a host of advanced technology and authentication methods to keep users safe in 2020. Some of these new technologies include the integrations of device binding and biometrics systems.
The new systems will allow all participating retailers to shorten the number of steps required to make an online purchase. For example, consumers will no longer need to enter a 16-digit primary account number when making their purchases. Additionally, the upgrade does away with old school passwords.
A New Strategy for Visa
Part of the motivation behind the upgrade came from the release of The Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study (GME Study). This yearly study looks into the most important factors in successful online sales. Importantly, this year’s results showed that quick delivery (44 percent) was at the top of shoppers’ demands. Also, it listed an easy checkout process and convenient payment methods as the following most important attributes.
Visa Token Service
The Visa Token Service has been in development since the middle of 2019. Early reports of the plan surfaced after news broke of Visa’s intention to purchase the blockchain tokenization firm Bell ID from Rambus in June. In the end, the payments giant decided it was best to purchase two subsidiaries from Rambus. These subsidiaries were Bell ID and Ecebs Ltd.
The new system allows Visa to securely tokenize assets with bank-grade encryption in minutes. Executives stated that the first steps are to tokenize transactions from its Visa cards and other payment systems. This concept is the next step in Visa’s blockchain strategy which began with the tokenization of sensitive information. This maneuver was an attempt to remove the need to share private information with third-parties directly.
Speaking on the new strategy, TS Anil, Global Head and Senior Vice President at Visa, explained the decision to focus on tokenizing card transactions first. He described the importance of securing digital payments in today’s online economy across multiple form factors.
Visa Token Service
The Visa Token Service is a prime example of how blockchain technology simplifies the current business systems. With most reports predicting a combined eCommerce volume of $1 trillion this year, its no surprise that Visa continues to explore its options. You can expect to see this firm continue along its tokenization path as the cost and security benefits are too large to ignore.
A Quick Look at The Provenance Blockchain
The developers behind the Provenance blockchain concept seek to create an integrated ecosystem for the tokenization and trading of digital assets. Particularly, security tokens. The goal of the project is to improve the speed and transparency of these transactions. Additionally, developers seek to introduce new product opportunities to the market.
The San Francisco-based tokenization platform, Provenance allows issuers of tokenized securities, while allowing fund managers and investors to share a common blockchain ledger, registry, and exchange. This strategy streamlines a number of critical steps in the investment process.
Shared ledgers provide a more seamless experience during investor onboarding. Also, the new system allows for the use of a transfer agent and other registrar services corporations may require during the creation and trading of tokenized securities. Importantly, the system provides significant cost savings. These savings are made possible because the Provenance blockchain reduces the amount of staffing and third-party costs associated with traditional securities transactions.
Provenance can be categorized as a distributed stakeholder blockchain. In other words, the platform is public but utilizes numerous levels of permissioned access. In this manner, Provenance incorporates all the advantages of a blockchain system. The platform features a distributed, trustless and immutable ecosystem to facilitate trading and issuing of digital assets. Notably, the ledger, registry, and exchange are the parts of the system that are permissioned.
A Different Type of Tokenization
Provenance differs from most tokenization systems in many ways. Firstly, the platform supports the actual ownership of an asset rather than a secondary “wrapper” enabling fractional ownership. Also, assets that originate on the Provenance blockchain are native to the platform.
Provenance improves the efficiency of the current stack of depository trusts, beneficial owners, custodians, transfer agents, etc. involved in the ownership of securities using this unique strategy.
As a semi-public blockchain Provenance utilizes 12 financial firms to validate transactions. These transactions allow for immediate, riskless, and bilateral trading of digital assets within the ecosystem. Additionally, this protocol allows Provenance to provide an on-ramp into the sector via these banks which function as a fiat bridge.
Professional Financial Services – Provenance Blockchain
Provenance’s developers wanted to provide investment managers with a more robust and easy to monitor system. In this way, the platform can improve the use of operating funds. Additionally, the protocol reduces the overall costs fund managers incur and improves the investor experience significantly.
Provenance Investor Passport
The provenance platform incorporates a new system known as the investor passport. This system simplifies and reduces the cost of validating investors. Investors AML/KYC data stores securely on the blockchain. Specifically, this strategy if effective in terms of speeding up investor onboarding.
Additionally, Provenance users enjoy access to the advanced registrar. This feature can help with managing the entire lifecycle of a digital asset. Here businesses can track important data such as subscriptions, redemptions, cap tables, and investor communications.
Provenance entered the market with the goal to build an integrated and intelligent platform specifically designed to simplify and improve the issuance, tracking, and trading of securities. To date, the firm participated in the issuance, financing, trading, and securitization of over $700 million in tokenized assets. As such, you can expect to see this platform expand in accordance with the growing adoption of tokenized assets moving forward.
Kadena Blockchain Set for January Launch
The blockchain sector received some exciting news this week, after JP Morgan’s blockchain wing, Kadena announced an official January launch date. Kadena brings together a plethora of technologies within the sector with the goal to streamline the entire investment process. The news demonstrates a growing demand for hybrid blockchain platforms, as well as, JP Morgan’s official pivot towards these technologies.
News of the January release first broke via a Finance Magnates article in which developers gave some insight into the project and its capabilities. Importantly, Kadena is a hybrid blockchain platform. The primary purpose of the concept is to help bridge between public and private blockchains. This strategy is important to traditional financial firms because it allows them to better control the flow of information surrounding on-chain transactions.
Basically, Kadena allows developers to share private data with only specific users. At the same time, the platform enables the firm to keep the records of the actual blockchain transactions public. In this way, traditional financial institutions such as JP Morgan can take advantage of the increased efficiency blockchain technology provides without fear of compromised client information.
Discussing the motivation behind the project, developers spoke on the need for a solution that possesses speed, scalability, and improved security. Kadena accomplishes these tasks and provides added functionality to users. For example, Kadena’s blockchain can process 750 transactions per second. Opposingly, Bitcoin is only able to handle around 7 transactions per second.
The Kadena project has been in the works for over a year now. Originally, the concept went by the name Chainweb. The official launch of the Chainweb Beta testing phase started in November 2019. These tests proved the concepts multi-chain capabilities and eventually, the project’s name was changed to Kadena.
In addition to the public blockchain, Kadena developers created a private chain. This private blockchain goes by the name Kadena Kuro and it is meant to keep sensitive data away from prying eyes. Notably, this blockchain was known as ScalableBFT until developers decided to bring the name in line with the project’s overall marketing.
As part of the developer‘s goals to create a more sustainable blockchain environment, an improved mining experience was needed. Developers utilized the platform’s innovative braided architecture to simplify the entire mining process. Today, KDA tokens are easier to mine than traditional Proof-of-Work tokens such as Bitcoin.
Another part of the Kadena token ecosystem is the Smart Contract wallet Chainweaver. This open-source desktop application allows users to send, receive, and store KDA tokens with ease. Importantly, Chainweaver is the official wallet of the Kadena platform.
Kadena in the News
Kadena is no stranger to headlines as of late. The firm received considerable coverage after it raised $12 million in funding. The funds came via a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) which the company hosted back in April 2018. Various established investment firms participated in the event. Most notably, Devonshire Investments, the private equity firm affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments participated.
Kadena Development Continues
Kadena’s unique approach to the market puts it in a category all by itself. Hybrid blockchains are still new to the industry. Analysts see these multi-use blockchains as a critical step towards large scale adoption in the crypto sector. For now, Kadena is set to launch in just days.