News Digest: May #4
Facebook plans to roll out its own crypto by 2020
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
More details of Facebook’s foray into cryptocurrency and blockchain have emerged, with BBC reporting that their in-house cryptocurrency, “GlobalCoin”, will be rolled out in 2020. It will begin trials by the end of this year (2019) and seeks to begin the rollout of its payments system in “a dozen countries” by the first quarter of 2020.
Facebook was also reported as having sought advice from the U.S Treasury and the Bank of England governor Mark Carney regarding opportunities and regulatory issues for the initiative. 2 anonymous sources have also stated in a report to Financial Times (paywall) that Facebook has been in talks with Coinbase and Gemini exchanges, as it seeks to prepare regulated third-party platforms for storage and exchanging.
The cryptocurrency is said to help Facebook’s billions of users transfer money to each other and to make online purchases. A previous report suggested that Facebook might focus on the Indian market to let users transfer money via Whatsapp, the messaging app it acquired. More details of the project are set to be revealed in the coming months.
The social media network has previously toyed with the idea of having blockchain-based authentication systems to secure accounts. CoinDesk reported a month prior that Facebook could be seeking to raise as much as $1 billion to fund the project.
Swiss Telecom Provider Turns to Blockchain for Art Ownership Management
How do you enforce ownership of intellectual property? One Switzerland telecommunications provider has turned to blockchain, using non-fungible tokens. The product, Noow, displays art the user has bought. It also allows both the user and artist to see how many copies of the work in question have been distributed.
The CoinDesk report states that the service is available on Swisscomm’s set top box service in Switzerland. Buyers get a certificate of authenticity and are able to display the art on their screen. They are also clued on how many copies exist, establishing a form of rarity enforced through the tamper-resistant properties of blockchain.
This is not the first usage of blockchain being used to enforce art ownership – though it may be one of its more “conventional” applications. In February 2018, portrait photographer Kevin Abosch sold a tokenised artwork, Forever Rose, to 10 willing buyers who paid US$100,000 each. Except it had no visual representation whatsoever – the buyers received 1/10 of an ERC20 token titled ROSE, supposedly based on Abosch’s photo of a rose.
Blockchain for Identification: Seoul To Implement Blockchain in Citizen Cards
South Korea’s Seoul will implement blockchain technology in citizen cards, adding on to the uses of blockchain to enforce ownership and prove identity.
According to Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul, the city will implement blockchain in collecting urban and administrative data to enable new services such as citizen authentication, as well as tools for easy access to administrative services. The mayor additionally highlighted the role of blockchain in storing data, noting that the value of data “has become even more important than before.”
Blockchain has seen a spike in its usage for authentication. Most notably, Singaporean educational institutions announced a joint venture to issue blockchain-based certificates in addition to traditional avenues.