Complex Made Simple

Blockchain, crypto, conjoined on a business journey into a digital future

While capital markets and conventional financial systems are still very much dominant and dependent on fiat currency, the Blockchain/crypto twins are gaining momentum

A 300% increase in the number of jobs related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies over the last 12 months Launched in March 2019, HTC produced its own blockchain smartphone, the Exodus Hublot announced the launch of its Big Bang Meca-10 P2P watch, a Bitcoin-inspired timepiece

Where would the Amazons, Googles and eBays of the world be right now had it not been for the internet?

Today many describe blockchain as bigger than the internet, and ever since the Bitcoin (BTC) phenomenon burst onto the scene in 2008, crypto assets and blockchain technology have been nearly inseparable.

Cryptos are digital coins that serve as money or tokens to pay or facilitate purchases or ownership of physical or digital assets.  Blockchain is a decentralized “digital ledger” that allows financial transactions to occur without a middleman, such as a bank, credit card company, or government, while creating a tamper-proof record.

While capital markets and conventional financial systems are still very much dominant and dependent on fiat currency, the Blockchain/crypto twins are gaining momentum like an unstoppable pair leading humanity towards the future frontiers of a faster and leaner financially digitized economy.

Blockchain and crypos are rising stars

Looking at industry giants we see that IBM created a blockchain-based food platform for global users, including retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers. Among those who have signed on to use the platform are Carrefour, which has more than 12,000 stores in 33 countries.

In the last few months alone, there have been announcements from firms associated with global brand names like Coca Cola, international shipping giants working with the Port of Rotterdam, and national governments such as the Philippines regarding blockchain technology implementations. China has launched the e-Yuan digital currency to rival Facebook’s nearing launch of Libra and Celo, and at least 5 countries use cryptos as their only currency.

According to job site Glassdoor, there has been a 300% increase in the number of jobs related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies over the last 12 months.

Today there are more than 5,000 crypto assets and counting, with a market value totaling over $267 billion.

The top crypto dog is Bitcoin which is still a volatile investment. In January 2017, it traded for under $800 and by the end of that year, it ballooned to $20,000. By the end of 2018, prices the crypto traded near $3,750. At the end of 2019, the price had nearly doubled to $7,200. It hit the $10,000 mark in June 2020 and now trades around $12,300.  

Blockchain phones and Crypto watches

Blockchain smartphones and crypto-storing watches have gone from concept to reality.   

Blockchain smartphones

According to Statista, over 40% of the global population uses smartphones, meaning that over 3 billion people have them.  

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 isn’t “blockchain-powered” but rather blockchain-enabled and its application can store cryptocurrency private keys dubbed Samsung Knox. Its cryptocurrency wallet is called the Blockchain Keystore and supports over 30 cryptocurrencies.  

Launched in March 2019, HTC produced its own blockchain smartphone, the Exodus.  

The Exodus comes standard with a hardware wallet application that allows users to store their own private keys. The latest edition of the HTC blockchain smartphone is the Exodus 1S, which it claims is the first device capable of running a full Bitcoin node.  

Crypto watches

Three world-renowned Swiss watchmaking companies have released timepieces that are inspired by Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

In September 2018, Hublot announced the launch of its Big Bang Meca-10 P2P watch, a Bitcoin-inspired timepiece.  

Franck Muller, also launched its own cryptocurrency-inspired timepiece in May 2019, the “Encrypto” with its core functionality featuring a Bitcoin cold storage function. The dial of the watches includes a laser-etched QR code for its corresponding public wallet address for receiving Bitcoin payments.

A. Favre & Fils also announced the design of a luxury watch with a built-in cryptocurrency cold wallet and state-of-the-art security solution.

Gaming and blockchain

Blockchain technology is tapping into an estimated 2.5 billion gamers worldwide, many of whom are already comfortable with in-game payments and currencies, which will provide a huge leap toward mainstream adoption.

Blockchain can guard against fraudulent play or hacking and leads to the development of nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

NFTs allow players to own their in-game items, characters, and abilities and then trade these items with other players. CryptoKitties was the first game to implement NFTs.

Blockchain and crypto in the UAE

The UAE’s blockchain culture is no pushover, and now putting it to good use with its fight against COVID-19. Justchain, the Dubai Future Foundation, and the Ministry of Community Development’s blockchain platform work to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as reported by Scoop.

As for the crypto assets, the Securities and Commodities Authority UAE will announce the final crypto asset draft law soon. RAIN crypto exchange announced a 200% increase in trade activity. In addition, Burency exchange launched its own crypto exchange.

UAE’s National bank of Fujairah partnered with Ripple for payments and both Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Saudi Aramco piloted the WEF blockchain toolkit.

The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority launched Blockchain-based Abu Dhabi Pay. UAE’s DP World joined IBM Tradelens, and the Dubai Health Authority launched digital licenses on Blockchain.