This week was kick-off week. The TruBlo consortium met representatives of all ten projects selected for funding in Open Call #1. All teams will receive funding, as well as technical and business support, in the next six months.
* Alastria offers a scalable infrastructure to initiate, test, launch and scale blockchain projects.
* ATC, ICCS/NTUA (and partially Deutsche Welle) will provide business model support.
NPRO – NPRO aims to improve the quality of reputational information in high-trust service markets.
Updates this week
Worldcoin wants to distribute digital money to everyone, based on biometric scanning
Worldcoin is a new US startup, with financial backing from VC firm A16z and Coinbase. Among the founders is Sam Altman, the former head of YCombinator, a very successful incubation platform – which is why the project gets considerable attention. The idea of Worldcoin is to work towards global financial inclusion, to provide digital financial services to everyone. For identification, the company has developed its own hardware, a camera-like device to scan the iris of a user.
German identity service ID Now buys French competitor
For onboarding, many services and subscriptions demand a digital verification process. As a result, platforms offering digital identification services are in demand. This now leads to consolidation in the market. Example: German startup [IDnow](https://www.idnow.io) will acquire the French platform [ARIADNEXT](https://www.ariadnext.com) for €50m ($59m). The motivation is to be present in more markets with an extended number of services, eventually in one combined platform.
How blockchain could help to bring trust to used car sales
Buying a used car today is riddled with uncertainties: Paper records do not reliable tell about repairs, hidden accidents or even total mileage. In Germany, it is a known problem that it is relatively easy to reduce the mileage of a luxury car by 20K or even 30k kilometres, then asking a higher price. Storing vehicle information on a blockchain could solve this problem.
Neeva, a new search engine, promises ad-free search but will need a subscription
How would a search results page look without any advertising? This is the question Neeva will explore as a business. The venture was founded by two ex-Google executives with deep knowledge about the search engine market. The company is readying for a July launch, but won’t be available in all world regions, at least at the start. It is currently possible to line up for early access. Neeva will allow a free try-out period of three months and plans to then charge $4.95 per month. The new search offering has secured $77.5 million in funding.
Social token platform Coinvise receives $2.5 million VC money
The platform enables users to “create, earn and collect” social tokens. Social tokens are a recurring topic, there is a hope for better interactions plus the idea to monetize fan groups for music, movies or other creative areas. No clear winner yet, but interesting. Note that besides Coinvise there are a number of competitors in this field – check them out by opening the links below.
Combining green smart contracts and ‘oracles’ could help to reach climate goals.
The energy consumption of blockchain has been discussed extensively this year. Tesla first said they would accept Bitcoin as payment, then retracted that offer weeks later because of concerns about the environmental issues, specifically of energy-intensive Bitcoin mining.
Others pointed out: The existing global banking system uses a lot of energy, too. In part, because extensive IT systems are needed to channel money from one country to another and so on. Gold mining, too, leaves a huge footprint.
This is the article linked below is worth reading: It argues that the combination of “green” smart contracts with a nascent technology called ‘oracles’ could evolve into a tool to reduce energy consumption and help to reach climate goals. The big promise here is a new level of efficiency. Reaching higher trust and transparency of production chains is a key motivation.
Handling long term debt in bonds results in costs. Using blockchain data storage and smart contracts could result in considerable costs savings. This is why banks are increasingly interested in this scenario. The European investment bank used Ethereum for a €100m bond in April 2021.
Coinbase receives a licence from German regulator BAFIN
Germany passed a new law in November 2019, demanding a licence for custody services in the crypto market. Now, Coinbase has received the first such licence, allowing the company to keep operating in the country.
Both in China and in Russia, authorities are in step-by-step processes to test digital currencies. In Russia a current test involves 12 banks, one motivation is to check whether the banking systems can handle the move to digital.
Below please find a video recording and – as a separate file – the presentation used in the webinar. The goal was to inform participants in the call about important aspects. The topics covered ranged from how to apply to what TruBlo offers in terms of support for selected projects. The event took place on February 24, 2021.
We understand that even though there are documents and this presentation some questions might still be open. In such cases: Get in touch via e-mail or Twitter or LinkedIn, there are different ways. We will get back to you and aim to support your application.
The TruBlo webinar on 26 February at 10:00 CET provides information about the TruBlo Open Call No. 1 with presentations from TruBlo partners.
Questions we cover:
What is the scope, who can apply?
How to apply?
How will partner Alastria provide technical support with blockchain infrastructure?
How will partner ATC provide business support?
There is an opportunity for interested applicants to put their questions to the TruBlo team in a Q&A session following the presentations.
What is your idea or concept for the next-generation technology for distributed trust? If this is your area of work, why not consider an application? The TruBlo project is calling for researchers, innovators and developers from academia, startups, high tech companies or natural person(s).
A total budget of € 950.000 is available.
Opening date: 18 January 2021, 12:00 CET
Closing date: 19 March 2021, 17:00 CET
Contents of the webinar:
10:00 Toni Paradell from Worldline and Mirko Lorenz from Deutsche Welle Introduction
10:02 Antonis Litke from NTUA Objectives and Scientific challenges
10:10 Violeta Vasileva from F6S The Open Call application
10:22 Montse Guardia from Alastria TruBlo Technical Infrastructure
10:32 Anna Triantafillou from ATC Technical, Business and Support Services