“Perfect Use”: Canadian Crypto Startup Puts Marijuana On Blockchain

Capitalizing on Canada’s formal legalization of marijuana and weed-related products for recreational use, a fintech company situated in the US’ northern neighbor has revealed plans to track cannabis through a blockchain-based solution.“The Perfect Use For Blockchain Technology”On October 17th, Canada became the western world’s first country to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in a surprising turn of events. Taking to Twitter to announce the news, Justin Trudeau, the forward-thinking 23rd prime minister of the nation, expressed that this drastic change was done in a bid to keep “profits out of the hands of criminals” and to “protect” local youth populations.Profits out of the hands of criminals. Protection for our kids. Today #cannabis is legalized and regulated across Canada. pic.twitter.com/0ZxtohOHG0— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 17, 2018In tandem with the regulatory action, Vancouver-based DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc. issued a press release to reveal that it had commenced development on a blockchain-centric supply chain management system for the cannabis industry. Per the release, DMG, which is advised by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, explained that it is currently in active discussions with key participants in this budding industry, which has been likened to the crypto market on multiple occasions.More specifically, the startup explained that it, along with its technology and finance collaborators, are looking to ink partnerships with “major licensed producers, quality assurance labs, retail distributors, and government regulators.” Taking into account that blockchain is undoubtedly a global phenomenon, the announcement revealed that DMG intends to onboard a multitude of “significant industry players” in a bid to ensure that its supply chain solution is ready for deployment in Canada and in global marijuana markets.This blockchain-focused solution, which doesn’t have a formal name at the time of press, will include a variety of capabilities, which include: onboarding new market participants, automating the marijuana supply chain through smart contracts, triggering product recall for the safety of consumers, and integrating licensed industry players. While DMG’s plans are ambitious with a doubt, no details were given on the firm’s timeline to test and launch the product.Still, seeing that Canada’s local cannabis industry is expected to swell to a $23 billion valuation, it makes sense that the startup is making moves to announce its plans now. Moreover, considering the reports that indicate that the global marijuana market is likely to eclipse a $500 billion valuation in the near future, DMG’s move to monetize this space early-on is likely to produce mounds of dividends.Speaking at CambridgeHouse’s recent Extraordinary Future conference in Vancouver, CEO Daniel Reitzik, who called the cannabis-related venture “the perfect use for blockchain technology,” noted:“The first use of blockchain was Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, but, the perfect use of blockchain technologies is actually supply chain management, especially for controlled substances like marijuana. So what we are doing is building a highway; we’re building an infrastructure for an unprecedented use of blockchain to manage the global supply of cannabis.”Reitzik added that this is far more than just a distant ambition, pointing out that its unnamed primary technology partner, which reportedly holds a spot on the Fortune 100, has “three years of extensive experience in the cannabis [and blockchain] space,” which is second only to its pivotal relationships with regulators and firms. Touching on the federal government’s vision of marijuana in Canada, the CEO added that Cannachain, as he dubbed the system, will keep the formerly-illicit good out of the hands of criminals and youth through the transparency that blockchains have become known for.To sum up DMG’s ambitions in one simple statement, as put by Reitzik himself:“So just like there’s one global blockchain that manages Bitcoin, there is going to be one global blockchain that manages cannabis.”Featured Image from Shutterstock

Goldman Sachs and Novogratz Invest in BitGo’s $1 Trillion Crypto Wallet

Goldman Sachs and Bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz have teamed up to invest in BitGo Holdings Inc., as the platform seeks to attract more institutions and wealthy customers who are sourcing secure ways to hold their assets.

Goldman Sachs and Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Ventures put forward around $15 million to BitGo’s Series B funding. According to the company, it raised $58.5 million in total with funding coming from Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, DRW, and Redpoint Ventures.

The funding will support the development of BitGo’s $1 trillion crypto wallet.

Following the investment from Goldman Sachs and Novogratz, Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, said that “no one is better positioned than BitGo to serve institutional investors who want to trade cryptocurrencies and digital assets,” adding:

“That’s why we’re focused on figuring out what it takes to secure a trillion dollars. The market’s not there yet, but our job is to be ready first.”

The crypto market has seen substantial growth in recent years. Yet, despite this it is still lacking greater investment from institutions. For many, a short supply of secure storage options is acting as a barrier to institutional investor adoption. However, they are also realising that this is an asset class that needs greater consideration.

As a result, a number of finance establishments are exploring offering custody services for crypto funds, namely JPMorgan and Northern Trust. Back in August, Goldman Sachs was, reportedly, considering its own custody offering for crypto funds.

At the time, a spokesperson for the Wall Street bank said: “In response to client interest in various digital products we are exploring how best to serve them in this space. At this point we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering.”

Asset manager Fidelity Investments announced the launch of its own crypto custody service for Bitcoin and Ethereum earlier this week aimed at institutional investors. It’s thought that this may help to drive adoption.

“Institutional investors are gradually realizing that digital assets are going to be a game changer, and they want to participate,” said Novogratz.

With more major financial players entering the field, it’s no longer a case of ignoring the growing crypto industry, but understanding how best they can embrace it. Otherwise, they risk falling behind.

According to BitGo, it holds more than $2 billion in assets and supports over 95 coins and tokens.

Philips Research Trying to Encourage Healthcare Industry to Utilize Blockchain

The widespread adoption of blockchain technology that has occurred over the past year has proven just how practical and far reaching the benefits of nascent technology is, but there has yet to be a widely used product that solves one of the world’s persisting issues: the coherence and security of healthcare data.Now, a group of researchers is trying to convince hospitals and healthcare providers that the solution to these problems is the blockchain.Issues Plaguing the Healthcare IndustryThere are multiple issues currently plaguing the healthcare industry, including the fragmentation and incoherence of data across multiple platforms, the persisting likelihood of data breaches, and the illegal use and monetization of patient’s private data.This past Summer, a cybersecurity breach at an Orlando-based Orthopedic Center exposed the private files of more than 19,000 patients, all due to a misconfigured software update that exposed the patients’ data on the internet.In a similar situation, healthcare company Nuance, experienced a system breach that led to a third party gaining full access to 45,000 patient records that were being stored on one of its medical transcription platforms.The breach, which was discovered in December of 2017, was so widespread that it warranted attention from the United States’ various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the DOJ, and the SEC. The agencies discovered that information including patient’s date of birth, full name, medical record number, diagnosis, care plans, and treatments, were all stolen by the nefarious actors.How Blockchain Could Fix the Healthcare Industry’s ProblemsMark Hennessy, the lead researcher at Philips Research, recently spoke in an interview about how blockchain technology could increase the operational efficiency and security of healthcare provider’s data storage systems.Hennessey notes that Philips is developing what he describes as a “verifiable data exchange,” that isolates and secures data until it is needed for patient care. He also explains that the blockchain-based system would revolve around three main disciplines: anonymizing data, requesting data, and fulfilling requests.By using the blockchain, there can be a full and immutable trail of how data is used, who has accessed it, and who has seen it.“This is what we call ‘verifiable data exchange’ because you’ve got the actual audit trail of the request and the fulfillment of the request for data recorded,” Hennessy added.In the interview, Hennessey explained that one issue in implementing blockchain technology into the existing healthcare system is how trusting hospitals and providers are of the tech.“A lot of it comes down to trust and transparency. While you can trust a centralized server for storing the logs of each exchange, what we’re exploring is whether we can enhance that trust by decentralizing the storage of the logs between all the participants in a network.”Despite there being some skepticism surrounding the use of the blockchain, Hennessy also notes that in the case of a cyber-attack, the blockchain would help to better secure valuable data due to it separating and securely storing the data logs.“If you ever enter a situation where there might be a dispute, it’s possible for each of the stakeholders to have an independent-but-coordinated set of logs that will tell them what has happened in reality rather than trusting a third party or one of those stakeholders to store the logs in a tamper-resistant way,” he explained.Philips will be facing a plethora of startup companies that are currently competing to claim the healthcare blockchain space as their own, but it is unclear how long it will take for the industry to gain trust in, and to widely adopt, blockchain based data storage and transference technologies.Featured image from Shutterstock