The Blockchain Weekly Front Page is a CXO level briefing. Our mission is to serve the mainstream business community by selecting one major theme in the Blockchain Economy each week and three news stories to illustrate that theme. This is all you need to know, each week, jargon free for CXO level business leaders and investors who will use this technology to change the world, in your email inbox each Monday at 7am CET.
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Last week our theme was “Cryptocurrency markets shrug off loss of confidence in Tether and equities correction.”
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are in the early adopter stage. But it looks like we are getting closer, a lot closer to the point of Crossing the Chasm. Early adopters of a new product or technology are separated by a gap from the majority of users, but a recent story from HTC, is one of the signals that shows that the industry is reaching this point. When we cross the chasm, we will start seeing a rise in the number of easy to use tools, aimed to every day consumers.
Well, Blockchain mobile phones are here! The HTC Exodus 1 will be the first blockchain phone, to bring dApps to consumers.
Past news about one exchange or another being hacked, is driving everyone to seek out solutions, in order to make cryptocurrencies safer. The new HTC phone will make it a lot safer, making it harder for someone to rip you off. It lets people store their blockchain data on a secure enclave. Cryptocurrency assets will be stored on a separate partition from the Android operating system, to improve the security of the crypto assets. Android phones pose security risks, to a wide assortment of malware and other threats.
The HTC phone will also come with a Social Key Recovery functionality. This will allow users regain access to funds in the case they lose or forget their private key. Users will be able to split their key among three to five people they trust. While uses won’t need their help to assign transactions, they will in the case they lose their phone.
The Exodus 1 will be able to run decentralized applications (dApps) and programs that operate on the blockchain. Also, the phone will be able to work like a node on Bitcoin or Ethereum.
While we are still far and away from usable dApps, but if blockchain is going to go mainstream, we will need to see the widespread adoption of dApps. This is exactly what needs to happens if are to the realize the full potential of cryptocurrencies.
Stablecoins have been making the news in recent months.
Another important story this week is that Coinbase added support for Circle’s stablecoin. Last week we talked about Tether and other stablecoins and whether they will be able to hold their pegs over time.
This is the first time Coinbase has supported a stablecoin. Coinbase customers will now have the ability to purchase, receive, sell and send USDC tokens on Coinbase.com.
One of the unique twists to this story is that while customers can trade Bitcoin or Ether for USDC, exchanging USD/USDC will be risk free. Users will be able to buy 1 USDC for $1 or sell 1 USDC for $1, with no fees.
This is an important step, that opens up so many possibilities.
The use of stablecoins, like USDC or Tether, make it easier to send, store and use in dApps,. Stablecoins on exchanges let traders protect their portfolio, by easily exchanging their positions to safer crypto, that are not volatile. The USDC and other stablecoins are better suited for e-commerce, as merchants and consumers can use the digital currency without worrying about token price volatility. The support of USDC by Coinbase, will potentially draw more new investors and drive cryptocurrency use for payments.
The government of Kenya announced it will use blockchain to distributing new government-funded housing units, as part of its Affordable Housing Big Four Agenda. The new housing project, will publicly fund the building of 500,000 living units and use blockchain to fight corruption, theft and misuse of public funds.
Kenya is one of Africa’s leading countries regarding blockchain and cryptocurrency development. The Kenyan Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence Task Force was established earlier this year to focus on blockchain and how the technology could be utilized to improve outcomes in the public sector. The group includes local blockchain startups, experts, researchers and members of Kenyan regulatory bodies.
In many parts of the world, governments are responsible for providing basic and affordable housing. Blockchain provides an easy way to allow users to securely transfer the assets between parties and facilitates easy audit of user accounts.
The crypto industry is booming and expanding like never before. While cryptocurrency markets down by almost 65% since the beginning of the year, and skeptics say we’re in a bubble, there just is so much activity everywhere around the world. Still, much more remains to be done.
When the technology becomes less visible and more usable, we will be able to better communicate the values people will get from cryptocurrencies and blockchain. We are close to crossing, but we’re not there yet. Either way, crossing the chasm is not the end, but the beginning.