The Internet of Value: What It Means and How It Benefits Everyone

Blockchain has been called the “second significant overlay on the Internet” with the web being the first layer when it appeared back in 1990. That’s how important blockchain is. I know that when I mention blockchain to a lot of people, the first thing that comes into their minds is “Bitcoin.” That’s fair enough, because Bitcoin cryptocurrency has made blockchain famous. You’re probably aware that there is now a whole bunch of cryptocurrencies in addition to Bitcoin and although it remains the coin with the highest value, others like Ethereum are taking hold in the markets. But, there are many more exciting things that can be done with this technology beyond financial transactions using digital currencies and it is called “The Internet of Value’.

1475782089285494

Instant transactions

What is it? It is when Internet technology makes it possible to exchange ‘value’ as quickly as information. The banking system is one place where the Internet of Value can really make a big difference. For example, although information moves around the world instantly, a single payment from one country to another is slow, expensive and unreliable. According to Ripple, a blockchain transaction solution, in the US, a typical international payment takes 3-5 days to settle, has an error rate of at least 5% and an average cost of $42. Worldwide, there are $180 trillion worth of cross-border payments made every year, with a combined cost of more than $1.7 trillion a year.

But, with the technology from the Internet of Value, a value transaction, like a foreign currency payment, can happen instantly.  And it doesn’t have to be limited to money, although currently that is the primary use of this aspect of blockchain – the Internet of Value will enable the exchange of any asset, including stocks, votes, frequent flyer points, securities, intellectual property and more.

Blockchain and Value exchanges

The most common way of exchanging assets is using a bank, credit card or a booking service, but blockchain technology is changing all that. It allows these assets to be transferred directly from me to you without any other entity in the middle. The transfer is validated, permanent, and completed instantly – just like sharing information on the web. It has huge potential to change the world as we know it. It will decentralise every transaction, empower the individual and it will disrupt the financial markets as well as consumer ones.

This is not something that is a futuristic dream. It is already happening. Exchanges like NASDAQ are using blockchain technolog, Estonia, which is becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe, stores its citizens’ health records on blockchain and some airlines are accepting cryptocurrency payments for flights.

Very soon we will see the adoption of industry standards using an Interledger Protocol (ILP) that will set the standards for the settlement of transactions across different networks. ILP can be thought of much like the protocol HTTP used in web address that became the global standard for online information exchange.

With the use of this protocol there will be one, frictionless experience to send money globally using the power of blockchain. It will connect billions of people globally and give rise to new businesses and it will also liberate the millions of people who don’t have access to banking. The Internet of Value is bringing us into a bold, new world where the individual has more power. The Internet revolution is taking another step forward – we must embrace it.

I hope you enjoyed this and found it useful. Please subscribe to my blog if you’d like to receive an alert when I post new content.

 

 

London – a home for entrepreneurs and entertainment

1

London is the world’s leading financial centre and has been for some time. A 2017 global study by Z/Yen of the world’s finance cities shows that London still holds the top spot despite the uncertainty about the future after the ‘Brexit’ vote to leave the European Union. In response to the findings of the report, which placed New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo behind London in the top five places, London’s deputy mayor explained why the city continues to dominate the financial world: “No other city can provide its unique environment for business success: access to the best talent from around the world, an abundance of high-quality office, co-working, start-up spaces, excellent connectivity, and an entrepreneurial and innovative environment.”

For me, his description captures the essence of London and why it attracts people from all over the world to work there. It has been able to recruit and retain the best global talent and there is a key historic reason regarding that.

Why London became a leader in finance

London got in early at the birth of modern capital markets and English Common Law was the first to impose regulations on the dangerous practice of fractional reserve banking. At the same time, the City of London boys were always looking at innovation in finance. The establishment of the Bank of England in 1694 turned the City into a financial centre and it is the place where modern banking was born, even if we have to go back a few hundred years. The development of Britain’s Empire helped it to gain great wealth and its aggressive traders and money men created an environment unmatched in other places.

Now London also has Canary Wharf annexed to the City and its financial businesses have continued to benefit from being located between America and Asia. Plus, its language is English, which is the international language of business, it has excellent centres of education and it’s in “a country with a high level of technological innovation and well-developed infrastructure, being in a country with a recent history/tradition of liberal economics and being in a country where the Law is strong and corruption, though ever present, doesn’t entangle business with too much risk and uncertainty,” says City analyst and writer Richard Guy.

There are also three good reasons that London will maintain its status after the UK leaves the EU. These are, says Simeon Djankov at Biznews:

  1. The pre-eminence of the British court system in upholding the rule of law, including the protection of creditor and shareholder rights.
  2. The superiority of the UK’s university education in economics and finance over its continental counterparts.
  3. The UK’s tax and employment regulation that is conducive to the industry’s health and profits.

London’s culture nurtures entrepreneurs

London-Expat-Explore-Xmas-2017

I would add a fourth reason: London is extremely conducive to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit; there is a vibe in London that anything is possible and people flock here to make their dreams happen. This is all supported by the rich culture of London: you can attend the Royal Opera House and on the way home drop into the currently fashionable ‘speakeasy’ bars opening up around Hoxton and Shoreditch, a hub of modern art and high tech start-ups. It has its West End theatres with world-class shows on the doorstep of Chinatown and Soho’s piano bars, some of which date back to the 50s when jazz became popular. Most of all, it has a kind of cosmopolitan mix that seems to spur people on to make what might seem impossible elsewhere happen. And, London has always welcomed this attitude and celebrated it, and I feel confident it will continue to deliver both a top-class service to finance and business, as well as make a major contribution to global culture.

 

 

 

 

Canada – a leader in innovative technology

I was fortunate to move to Canada in the 1980s and be educated there. It’s a country of extraordinary beauty and diverse cultures. The Canadian Rockies are breathtaking and Whistler, its prime ski resort, is a match for any in the world. It’s a fantastic place for a family vacation, and you’ll find that Canadians are generally friendly, kind and welcoming to all visitors.

I’m also proud of Canada’s achievements in technology. I studied for my Bachelor’s and MBA at Prince Edward Island University and it gave me the solid foundation I needed to take me into the communications and IT industries, and my particular specialism –mobile communications – is a sector where Canada has a leading edge.

Canada and communications

maxresdefault
The first company I worked for was FCC Ltd. We collaborated with Bell Canada to Fix and Bring mobile traffic origination and termination consolidation.

Out of all Canadian technology innovations, the phone has had the most profound effect on the world. Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) and Nova Scotia resident, who is credited with inventing the telephone, founded the Bell Telephone Co, which today is called BCE Inc and is Canada’s largest communications company.

And, Canada is the home of Blackberry. It may be facing a lot of competition now from Apple’s iPhone, but its secure BlackBerry Messaging service remains tops in the industry, party due to the fact that BBM’s encrypted data makes it hard to trace the messages back to the owners. Plus, Blackberry has added an even more secure version of the service aimed at users in healthcare, finance and government.

Canada also brought you the IMAX. The concept started in Montreal back at Expo 67 when three artists designed an installation of an immersive movie experience. Three years later the first IMAX film appeared and soon after the IMAX theatres appeared as well.  Now, there are IMAX cinemas and films all around the world.

Investing in Canada

1280px-Canadian_flag_on_building

The election of Donald Trump in the USA prompted an increase in business people thinking of relocating to Canada. Canada’s world profile is also much bigger than in the past, in part due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s activities. Therefore, more eyes are on Canada than ever before and market analysts suggest that investing in Canadian real estate is a good move. I’d agree and suggest investors look at areas with strong population and employment growth. Brampton in Ontario for example, which has Coca Cola, Air Canada, Canon Canada are just a few of the blue chip employers relocating there or expanding existing facilities. Other cities I’d recommend looking at real estate in are Milton and Richmond Hill, and I’m sure there are many more.

Canada’s strong economy and well-educated labour are also key reasons why global companies want to establish or expand their business in Canada. We have a broad selection of industry sectors that are ripe for investment. These include digital media, wireless communications and software, areas that are of personal interest to me. Did you know that Canadian studios are responsible for developing one in every six top-selling console games? Blockbuster titles from Canada include Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, EA/BioWare’s Mass Effect, EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer.

And, Canada is leading the growing international demand for wireless technologies with leading infrastructure vendors, application developers and telecom software companies based in Canada. We are also seeing cutting-edge R&D work coming out of Canada from some of the biggest names in the sector: Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Avaya Inc., BlinQ, Ciena, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, JDSU, Nokia Solutions & Networks, Samsung and Sony.

Canada may have been overshadowed for some time by its neighbour to the south, but all the signs are that Canada is poised to maximise its opportunities for investment and to continue playing a leading role in high tech innovation that will secure for it a new status in the world economy. ‘