Today I tried to catch up on my CoinDesk reading, so most of the bits (= things that I find interesting) are from there. Although do take a look at the National Geographic article mentioned below, it’s amazing.
— x —
Yesterday the European Central Bank (ECB) released its annual report, along with a section on distributed ledger technology (DLT). The organization assures us that it has no intention of using DLT in market infrastructure, as the technology is “not mature enough”.
Far from disappointing, this is sensible and a relief. While DLT science has come a long way, it is still relatively untested. Using it for something as systemically important as European market infrastructure would be foolish.
What is interesting is that an institution not doing something is considered news. That implies an underlying assumption that all institutions are planning on implementing DLT. Thus, when one publicly states that it’s not, the stance is worth commenting on.
That in itself highlights the level of excitement around the technology, and the conviction that it will reshape the way markets work.
Personally, I subscribe to that belief. But at the same time, I feel reassured by the news that systemic institutions are being careful.
Note that the ECB is not rejecting progress. The report states:
“As DLT-based solutions are constantly evolving, the ECB will continue to monitor developments in this field and explore practical uses for DLT.” (quote pulled from CoinDesk)
The organization is working on a joint research effort with the Bank of Japan, and continues to investigate and publish on its own account.
The strategy is intelligent, and a brilliant execution of expectations management. Do the work, gain the knowledge but keep the market’s assumptions realistic.
— x —
Perhaps influenced by Japan, Russia takes a big step towards a sensible approach. CoinDesk reports that senior officials from the Ministry of Finance and the central bank are developing a position on digital currencies.
Recognizing that allowing bitcoin transactions will make it easier to gather information, they seem to be focusing on how to regulate exchanges. As we saw in Japan, official recognition and exchange regulation gives a boost to merchant adoption and possibly to eventual use by the public.
— x —
Intesa Sanpaolo has tested a platform that validates trading data based on the bitcoin blockchain. Yes, a public blockchain.
It is, though, just a test (for now), and the Italian bank has said future plans include working with other blockchains, including private ones. Keeping options open.
— x —
To say that this report from National Geographic is “enchanting” doesn’t do it justice.
It’s at the same time adorable and exhilarating, not to mention breathtakingly artistic.
Take a look, really.