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Blockchain Business News 8-14 February

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The blockchain technology market will grow at almost 63% CAGR through 2026 reaching $52.5 billion

According to ResearchAndMarkets’ latest report on blockchain, the blockchain technology market will grow at 63% by 2026 to $52.5 billion.

Important findings for the business environment:

  • Distributed ledgers and other blockchain capabilities are rapidly expanding outside finance;
  • The preponderance of blockchain revenue will be derived from 3 types of services: Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS), Cloud Computing (hosting and data as a service), and Systems Integration;
  • Companies like Accenture will lead the charge for systems integration and companies like Amazon, Dell, HPE, and IBM will lead for BaaS and Cloud Computing;
  • Integration and operation of Blockchain technology will redefine how various industries operate, dramatically improving efficiencies, and reduce the cost of doing business.

blockchain-adoption-timeline-min

Blockchain fixes the ‘problem of paper’ in the bank guarantee process

In 2019, IBM and three of Australia’s finance heavyweights announced the formation of Lygon, the blockchain-based platform for bank guarantees.

Lygon is touted by the group as reducing the time to issue a bank guarantee from up to one month to one day.

The Lygon platform runs on the IBM public cloud and it leverages the IBM Blockchain Platform, which is built on top of Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source blockchain project from the Linux Foundation.

On February 9, Lygon announced minting the industry’s first standardised digital bank guarantee which solves the problem of paper.

What is the problem of paper?

Lygon CEO Justin Amos explains:

“Paper is slow, this is why we use emails; paper is expensive, and it’s estimated there are over 1 million journeys alone in Australia transporting paper guarantees. {…} Paper often gets lost and can be easily spoilt, subject to fraud, and problematic to amend.” “We shouldn’t underestimate the environmental impact of using paper,” he added.

blockchain-applications-min

source: dzone.com

BMW backs enterprise blockchain startup Vendia in $15.5m Series A

Vendia is a multi-cloud serverless platform for sharing distributed data in real-time.

The blockchain technology startup has recently announced it had raised a $15.5 million Series A funding round for its serverless SaaS blockchain solution, bringing total funds raised to more than $20 million. One of its investors is BMW i Ventures.

BMW i Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of BMW and has been actively investing since 2011. With an initial venture capital of 100 million dollars, BMW i Ventures invests in cutting-edge solutions focusing on BMW’s current and future business in the technology and customer & service space.

The team at BMW i Ventures manage investments in technology companies in the US, EU and Israel.

Here are some of the companies the venture capital firm has invested in:

  • Verusen is AI-based inventory optimization software;
  • Zendrive leverages mobile sensor data to provide actionable insights that improve safety for drivers worldwide;
  • Urgent.ly is BMW’s vendor partner for roadside assistance;
  • STRIVR platform utilizes immersive VR to help individuals learn faster and more effectively.

Blockchain payments Startup Celo Raises $20M

Celo is a global payments infrastructure that makes financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone.

The platform is a proof-of-stake blockchain built on Ethereum, designed to support stablecoins and tokenized assets while utilizing mobile numbers to secure a user’s public keys.

According to the company’s latest press release, Celo has raised $20 million from renowned investors like a16z (Andreesen Horowitz), whose previous investments include Facebook, Slack, Asana, Lyft and more.

Since its launch in 2017, Celo developed a mainnet, a native token (CELO), a stablecoin (cUSD), a mobile payments app and has been listed on major exchanges including Coinbase and Binance.

source: techcrunch.com

Blockchain technology to be used against counterfeit products in China

Future FinTech and China Foundation of Consumer Protection have announced they signed a cooperation agreement to use blockchain technology against counterfeit products. The cooperation will expire on January 31, 2026.

Future FinTech is a leading blockchain e-commerce company and a service provider for financial technology. The company’s operations include a blockchain-based online shopping mall platform, Chain Cloud Mall, a cross-border e-commerce platform (NONOGIRL) and an incubator for blockchain-based application projects.

Cloud Chain Mall is the first C2C blockchain shopping mall operated with blockchain anti-counterfeiting tracing technology.

The goal of this agreement is to build the quality and safety credit system for Chinese brands and enterprises and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprises and their brands.

source: Bologna Business School

Quote of the week

Marc Cuban / source: Inc. Magazine

It’s like the early days of the internet’ when a lot of people thought we were crazy

Investor and self-made billionaire Marc Cuban on blockchain

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A.I. Is Writing News Stories

brand_minds_2019_artificial_intelligence_writing_news-min

This article is about three A.I.s writing stories for prominent publishers.

Communication is the act of conveying meanings from one entity to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules. There are two entities involved: the transmitter of the message and the recipient.

The rise of A.I. has changed how people communicate with each other. Google Duplex assists humans with scheduling certain types of appointments. The virtual assistant carries out conversations in a human-like voice essentially replacing the human transmitter of the message.

Does this mean we need to redefine the theory of communication to include a third entity of non-biological descent?

If the A.I. involvement with the spoken word is more easily accepted due to its fleeting nature, what about the written word?

Let’s see 3 A.I.s currently assisting prominent publishers:

2. Heliograf – The Washington Post

Heliograf

image source: blog.drhack.net

In 2017, the Amazon-acquired Washington Post began using A.I. to write articles. The writing A.I. is called Heliograf and began its writing career by creating pieces on the Rio Olympics, local sports and the election.

Within a year since the publisher started using Heliograf, the A.I. technology has produced 850 articles.

The purpose of Heliograf is to enable journalists to do more high-value, in-depth work, not to take their jobs.

Technology like Heliograf can be transformative for a newsroom, greatly expanding the breadth of coverage and allowing journalists to focus more on in-depth reporting.

Scot Gillespie, Chief Technology Officer at The Post

2. Bertie – Forbes

bertie-forbes-min

image source: foliomag.com

Bertie is Forbes’ supporting A.I.

The publisher has been using the artificial intelligence technology, named after brand founder B.C. Forbes, beginning with the summer of 2018.

The tool works as follows:

  • It recommends article topics for contributors based on their previous output;
  • It suggests headlines based on the sentiment of their pieces;
  • It recommends appropriate images to illustrate and improve contributors’ articles.

Forbes’ contributors write and produce nearly 300 pieces of content a day and Bertie was designed to help them with thought-starters, getting their creative juices flowing. The A.I. is not writing the articles itself. But this is not so far in the future.

Aside from Bertie, Forbes is contemplating enrolling another A.I. tool, this time a story-writing tool. The publisher has not revealed further information on this particular A.I.-powered tool besides the fact that testing is underway.

Forbes is using Bertie to “make publishing more efficient for Forbes staff and to make it as easy as possible for visitors to consume multimedia content on Forbes’ sites” according to Forbes Media’s new chief digital officer, Salah Zalatimo.

3. Lynx – Reuters’ Insights Tool

reuters

image source: Reuters@facebook.com

Reuters started rolling out Lynx, its new editor system in late 2011. Back then, Lynx was designed to help journalists write, edit and file copy. The Lynx system was also designed to take over the management of stories load which can amount to 10.000 stories filed over weekends.

In 2018 Lynx was upgraded from editing and filing to gathering insights. Lynx Insights is “a new in-house automation tool designed to augment reporting by surfacing trends, facts, and anomalies in data, which reporters can then use to accelerate the production of their existing stories or spot new ones.” (source: niemanlab.org)

Speed is an important issue in news reporting, so Lynx Insights was developed with the ability to comb through massive sets of data within a short timeframe. Lynx brings to light unexpected connections and unearths hidden insights. It’s a collaboration-based work: the A.I. tool gives the reporters results on specific queries and the reporters add their conclusions based on judgement and context.

Automated journalism will likely replace journalists who merely cover routine topics. (…) In the future, human and automated journalism will likely become closely integrated and form a ‘man–machine marriage.’

Andreas Graefe, author of Guide to Automated Journalism via niemanlab.org

Conclusions

Whether is reporting news of minor importance, uncovering valuable and unexpected insights or helping contributors produce content more efficiently, automated journalism is here to stay.

What’s next? What about A.I. writing books? Books are the vessels of our collective knowledge. Writing a book is a personal endeavour and a great achievement.

Could A.I. write books? Would you read them?

Maybe writing books is too distant in the future but writing news articles is already taking place today.

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The greatest mistakes a brand can make online

Waiting too long to launch a product / service.

Like in a relationship, so it happens in business: the perfect timing is essential. In the desire to be sure everything is perfect, most entrepreneurs or business owners wait too long, therefore missing the right opportunity to launch the business, the service or the product. It’s important not to forget to trust your guts and just go for it.

“Some people are waiting for some magic audience size “1,000 subscribers” or maybe “10,000 visitors” or whatever your number might be. Some people just can’t find the time to blog or podcast or make videos AND to build a product at the same time. It’s tough. Some people simply talk themselves out of creating a product because they’re afraid no one will buy it. They don’t want to fail after putting in so much time creating content. Whatever the reason, this is a fatal trap. If you’re building a business, you need to address the biggest risk head-on. The biggest risk you’ll face as a business is in creating something no one will pay for,” wrote Corbett Barr for fizzle.co.

Not checking and double checking before posting

Still, one must be very careful before sending the message into the world. Each post on social media should be treated with a lot of attention and care, otherwise it may do more harm than good. Often we see big grammar mistakes, pictures that are not doing any favor to the brand, wrong comments or even worse. Even they are taken down afterwards, it might be too late.

Fabricating pieces of news or information

For each brand the trust must be earned. People don’t like to be lied to or be mislead, therefore you must make sure that every piece of information you share with your target is 100 % true. Today, every piece of content is very easily checked by anyone. If you do make a mistake, make sure to apologize for it. Everybody can make mistakes, the important thing is to own it and act accordingly. Your target will understand and respect you. Don’t hide and act like nothing happened or erase the post.

The lack of patience.

Brands are not built overnight. Building an online brand takes patience. It’s something that’s built brick by brick with every tweet, every blog post, and every podcast episode. It’s built with every client one step at a time. One of the biggest mistakes business owners do is thinking that a brand can be build in only 2-3 months online and complaining after this short period of time that they aren’t seeing any traction. In reality, building a brand takes years of hard work, experience, people and investment, so make sure you think of all those aspects prior to starting on this road.

Not being consistent.

You can’t build an online brand without consistently putting a message out there. A social media following is gained in time, after a lot of work on strategy and implementation, an e-commerce business takes months of work prior to launch and after launch, until the first signs of success occur. Time and dedicated teams that are working towards the same purpose, following a strategy based on true insights. Constant content must be sent on regular basis to all the social media platforms of your brand, PR, marketing & sales efforts are also needed. Constant, insightful, creative and powerful messages, perfectly targeted to your interest group or groups. “If you’re having difficulty being consistent with your content creation as you build an online brand, try automating your social media needs and creating an editorial calendar for your site. The more organized you can be the better,” said Amanda Abella, writer and author of “Make Money Your Honey”.

Not putting customer experience first

Customer experience is one of the most important factors in your business, especially today in the world on the Internet and social media frenzy. Since your social interactions are public for everyone to see, your reactivity defines your brand and shows customers how much you care. The more you interact with them and show them your interest in them, the better. Don’t be shy on giving special discounts or mentions on your social media accounts to the people that are loyal to you and choose your brand on a regular basis.

Not really listening to their consumers

And believing that you and your team always know better. It;s important not to forget that from the unhappy consumers or the ones that choose not to buy your product / service in favor of another one, you can learn the most. They are the unbiased ones and their opinion should be treasured. Don’t just pay lip service to your customers. You don’t have all the answers, they do. There’s a reason why “the customer is always right,” because without customers you don’t have a business.

Focusing mostly on acquisition

It takes a lot more effort to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, so you may want to keep your customers happy.  Offer help, give away freebies, or conduct regular surveys to make sure their needs are met.

Here are some of the biggest mistakes in social media, according to Forbes.

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