€2 billion has been invested over German fintech platform Raisin
Date: 10 January 2017
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Raisin German fintech Raisin has passed €2 billion (£1.7 billion, $2.1 billion) of investment over its platform three years after launching. Raisin announced in a press release on Tuesday that it had passed the milestone, just three months after announcing €1.7 billion had been invested over its platform.

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Ford is bringing Chariot’s on-demand shuttles to 8 cities in 2017| The growth of on-demand economy
Date: 10 January 2017
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Engadget Ford is bringing Chariot’s on-demand shuttles to 8 cities in 2017 Engadget When Ford bought up San Francisco-based public transit alternative Chariot last year, the automaker promised to roll its private commuter shuttle service out to even more cities in 2017.

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At CES, Lyft, Airbnb, Toyota and Reddit deliberate the future of the sharing economy
Date: 10 January 2017
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CampaignLive At CES, Lyft, Airbnb, Toyota and Reddit deliberate the future of the sharing economy CampaignLive The sharing economy gives more freedom and options to the consumer and, as data shows, these types of services are on the rise. eMarketer estimates that in 2017, 30.9 million Americans will use sharing services like Lyft, Uber and Airbnb.

Airbnb, for example, has had issues with government regulations and has drafted guidelines of best practices for cities. “While it’s not a one-thing-fits-all scenario, there are patterns that begin to emerge,” said Airbnb’s Aden-Wansbury. “Beginning to share those best practices and help cities figure out what combination of policies work best is something we are very encouraged about.” Aden-Wansbury added that more dialogue about what these services do and how they benefit local communities will make the integration of sharing services easier. The highest adapters of Airbnb, she explained, are actually senior women, and the largest population using the service are underserved communities.

Masserman said that partnering with governments has been critical for Lyft. “Change is hard, change plus regulation is really hard, change plus regulation plus transportation policies…I mean, some of these policies haven’t been changed in 50, 60 years,” he said. “Having honest dialogues has served us well.”

“I try to remember that lawmakers are people, and people generally fear what they don’t know,” said Cain. “Just as we have to be patient with our consumers, the policymakers have to go on that journey with us too.”

 

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Building Trust while Cutting Costs
Date: 10 January 2017
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In a Fit for Growth transformation — one that starts with the premise that all spending is investment and every cost is a choice — the three phases of change are managed in such a way that people understand the strategic rationale for the decisions handed down, even when they are tough, and their role in shaping the new organization is clear.

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 The Seam and IBM launch the first cotton industry blockchain consortium
Date: 9 January 2017
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Blockchain applied to commodities: just a matter of time!

Commodities markets rarely feature in blockchain conversations, but if Memphis-based commodities brokerage The Seam and their technology partners at IBM and Hyperledger are successful, cotton will be the first commodity where an industry-wide consortium takes advantage of a blockchain to improve the trade process.

Starting on Thursday, The Seam website-based exchange is open to all industry players. The firm claims to be the first to offer “Agriculture’s only real-time price reporting.”

Along with the exchanges launch, the partners have called on the rest of the cotton industry to sign up as consortium members, placing their order books on the unified exchange. If they do, the industry would be able to use a single, shared blockchain to record, track, and trade all of the world’s cotton markets in real-time, and with instant trade execution.

(…) But this is just the starting point

While the banking industry has several consortiums like R3 CEV, The Seam’s consortium is among the first to address commodity markets. Kynetix, a commodities market technology company in the UK, was first to attempt a blockchain consortium in November 2015.

“The trouble is that everybody wants 2-way trust but not everybody wants 2-way transparency,” states Kynetix Co-founder and Director, Matt Dolton. “More than any other asset class opaqueness offers knowledgeable physical market participants the ability to take advantage of their knowledge.”

The argument can be made, however, that commodities are just more products to be tracked across a supply chain, which is already a  well tested use for blockchains today. Startups like the diamond-tracking Everledger and the general-purpose, customer-oriented Provenance have shown that the technology can be applied to global-scale supply chains.

Several other projects track items such as luxury goods, smart clothing, prescription drugs, and most recently, 3D printed parts. With so many varied uses already employing blockchains, it may only be a matter of time before all commodities are tracked via a blockchain as well.

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China to Restrict Bitcoin Marketing, But Blockchain Firms Unaffected
Date: 9 January 2017
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Just hours after it was first revealed that the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) had held closed-door meetings with domestic bitcoin exchanges, new details are emerging about the conversations. According to a new report by Caixin, the PBoC sought to restrict how the exchanges could seek to acquire potential new users, with the central bank […]

No impact on blockchain

Notably, such instructions do not appear to have been given to startups working on blockchain projects or implementations using the distributed ledger technology behind bitcoin or alternative cryptographic tokens.

DJ Qian, CEO of blockchain-as-a-service startup BitSE, for example, indicated that the news “does not affect its business” due to its focus on non-monetary applications, a statement that was echoed in other responses.

Tong Li, CEO of Circle China, the bitcoin and blockchain-based messaging service, noted that he is not concerned about the directives or its impact on Circle’s operations.

However, he did suggest that the announcement would be worth “following closely”.

Blockchain investor Bo Shen, founding partner of Fenbushi Capital, expressed similar sentiment, indicating that he had not been in contact with any central bank officials about the topics discussed with bitcoin exchanges.

Shen is one of the more prolific investors in China-based blockchain projects, backing firms including Juzhen Financials as well as a number of open-source, alternative blockchain projects

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