Why Big Banks are So Interested in the Blockchain Technolgy

It turns out that the blockchain technology (which drives Bitcoin) creates an environment that is easy for government to track transactions.

Blythe Masters, former major player at JPMorgan, left the bank to start the blockchain firm Digital Asset Holdings.

Masters during an interview with The Australian Financial Review explained bankster interest in the technology (my bold):

Our investors, some of whom are large investment and commercial banks, are making a major investment in Digital Asset to help us develop solutions that will address reducing risk, reducing cost, improving transparency and offering new sources of revenue…

Rregulators were understandably initially concerned about the potential for blockchain applications to bypass certain controls, their thinking has evolved…

They are learning that distributed-ledger technology brings many benefits and efficiencies to wholesale financial markets, including reduced cost, reduced counter-party risk, reduced latency, enhanced security, increased transparency, ease of reporting, and reduced errors.  These are all important to regulators.

This technology is offering regulators a bird’s-eye view into activity in certain markets that they never had before. As such, distributed-ledger technology is actually an enhancement to transparency, rather than a mechanism for bypassing it.

Bitcoin operates on an extremely dangerous platform for those seeking anonymity.

Source: EconomicPolicyJournal.com

Technology’s impact on Labor Market

James Manyika analyses the report of McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and its impact on the Labor Market.

Digital America: A tale of the haves and have-mores, a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), highlights the enormous gap as the leading sectors, companies, and individuals deploy technology in a way that leaves everyone else in the dust. The companies leading the charge are capturing market share, posting record profit growth, and even reshaping entire industries. Their competitors, by contrast, are struggling just to keep up. Workers with the most sophisticated digital skills are in high demand, and those in the most digitized industries enjoy wage growth that is twice the national average. But incomes have stagnated for the majority of US workers in other sectors.

There are huge opportunities ahead, but unsettling shifts could hit the labor market as digital technologies develop capabilities to automate more of the tasks humans are paid to do. You should check out the labor posters that should be in a common room. MGI research found that some 60 percent of occupations could have 30 percent or more of their activities automated. We estimate that automation could displace anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of US middle-skill jobs in the decade ahead.

As companies integrate these technologies, they will redefine roles and business processes. The United States will need to adapt its institutions and training pathways to help workers cope. While technology is causing this disruption, it can be part of the solution, too. Online talent platforms might be one of the keys to creating a labor market that can respond more dynamically to continually changing demand for new skills.

Companies, too, face more churn as digitization changes the dynamics in many industries. These shifts are empowering for entrepreneurs but anxiety-producing for established companies. The standard for what it means to be highly digitized today will be outdated tomorrow––and the digital leaders never stop streamlining and innovating.

For companies, this is a wake-up call. No organization can afford to sit still while industries transform around it.

This article originally ran in LinkedIn.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Now a Distinct Possibility

Futurism’s article on Hydrogen Fuel Cell provides insight into the future practicality of the cell.

A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity via a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction involves positively charged hydrogen ions (protons) and oxygen (or another oxidizing agent).

One great appeal of fuel cells is that they generate electricity with very little pollution, as much of the hydrogen and oxygen used in generating electricity ultimately combine to form a harmless byproduct—water. The technology, however, has been elusive.

Now, researchers from the University of Dundee Oxford are working with the Harwell Innovation Centre to solve the problem with fuel cells. In their work, they discovered how bacteria splits hydrogen apart to produce energy.  They believe that this new finding will be a significant step towards a more efficient hydrogen economy.

The bacteria are able to split the hydorgen using a nickel-iron (NiFe) hydrogenase. The enzyme splits hydrogen gas into protons and electrons and recombines them to form hydrogen. A similar process is used in fuel cells, but with platinum; however, nature has come up with a way to do it with nickel and iron, which are both less costly.

The researchers tested the natural process by subtly changing the amino acids in the part of the enzyme where the hydrogen reaction occurs. They removed a nitrogen atom at its heart, one that was essential to make the hydrogen reaction work. Through x-ray crystallography using the Diamond Light Source, the researchers compared the altered enzyme against the original.

Then they confirmed that reduction in activity had to be due to chemical, not physical, changes.

It was found that a Frustrated Lewis Pair applies to the enzyme.  A normal Lewis pair is composed of different chemicals that are keen to interact with each other and would so given the opportunity. In the NiFe hydrogenase, these are the atoms of nickel and iron together, and a particular nitrogen atom built into the enzyme. The “frustration” part is due to these entities being positioned close, but not close enough to interact fully. This produces an area of tension between them. A hydrogen molecule placed into this area of tension is split apart.

The next step for the researchers is to observe the actual reaction.

Source:Hydrogen Fuel Cell