With the recent announcement of a bitcoin trading operation by Goldman Sachs, the blockchain space continues to make waves on Wall Street and the the financial sector as a whole. Here are some renowned tech giants that recently expressed interest in launching a blockchain initiative or have already begun to do so.
According to Kate Rooney from CNBC, Amazon most recently announced a partnership with blockchain startup Kaleido (incubated out of established blockchain accelerator, Consensys). Steve Cerveny, co-founder of Kaleido, aims to create a user-friendly version of Amazon Web Services for business owners to develop their enterprises. Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, noted how the move by Amazon was “a heavy duty, full stack way of getting the company into blockchain solutions.” From the sound of it, it seems like the project has a resounding stamp of approval as Amazon “blockchains” the business cloud.
HTC recently announced its new concept at Consensus 2018: the Exodus, an Android smartphone optimized for decentralized applications and blockchain. Phil Chen, co-founder of the HTC Vive, and HTC’s “Decentralized Chief Officer,” pointed out the importance of users owning their data (inclusive of browsing history, identity, digital assets, emails, and messages) without interference by centralized authorities.
The Exodus will have native support for Bitcoin and Ethereum, according to Brian Heater from Tech Crunch. Perhaps what will be the biggest value proposition behind the Exodus is its interoperability with multiple blockchain protocols and tokens.
In a questionable move after banning cryptocurrency advertisements in late January, Mark Zuckerberg appointed David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook, to head an internal blockchain think tank at Facebook, according to Financial Times.
Some speculate that integrating blockchain into the social network could be an attempt to improve privacy (by granting users a way to own and control their personal data), especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal this past quarter. This, however, would fundamentally change Facebook’s business model and primary revenue stream.
In partnership with Veridium Labs Ltd. (an environmental fin-tech startup), International Business Machines Corporation will be issuing “verde” carbon-credit tokens on the Stellar Lumens blockchain. The protocol will tokenize the carbon offset process, incentivizing enterprises to earn “verde” tokens that can be exchanged as a fungible digital asset in the future. According to Veridium CEO, Todd Lemons, significant efforts have been made to “help companies and institutional investors purchase and use carbon credits to mitigate their environmental impacts today, and even hedge their potential carbon liabilities risks in the future.”
“The internet deserves a native currency… I don’t know if it’s bitcoin or not. I hope it will be,” said Jack Dorsey at Consensus 2018 this past week in New York City. Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, talked about cryptocurrency’s initial “contentious” integration with Cash, Square’s mobile payment app. It’s currently growing faster than Paypal’s Venmo, according to Nomura Instinet and CNBC. With around 28 million cumulative downloads, the bitcoin-integrated mobile payments platform is just under 1 million below Venmo’s. It is reported that Square purchased a total of $34.1 million in bitcoin this first quarter.
Perhaps what is the most exciting about this space is how many tech titans are already investing considerable resources into blockchain initiatives for parent or subsidiary operations. One thing’s for sure, some of tech’s biggest players most certainly see the value in blockchain technology. What do you think?