AIG Issues Its First Insurance Policy on Blockchain

AIG, the multinational insurance provider, has announced its first blockchain based insurance policy, that was issued to UK’s Standard Chartered Bank. The blockchain policy termed the “master policy” governs multiple policies for the bank’s operations in various countries.

The insurance sector has found that blockchain technology can offer them loads of benefits at a fraction of the cost. The use of distributed ledger and smart contracts allows insurance companies to automate many processes, thereby reducing the time and resources otherwise required to issue policies and process claims. When it comes to multiple high-value policies, with varying risks spread across the world, the use of blockchain technology will relieve the insurance provider of a headache that comes with different versions of paperwork drafted in accordance with the requirements of multiple jurisdictions. It also eliminates the need to have multiple intermediaries between the insurance provider and the customer/policyholder.

In a report on one of the leading financial media outlets, the Head of AIG, Carol Barton mentioned that the new policy issued to Standard Chartered over blockchain helped the company cut down on months of processing time. She was quoted saying,

“ Typically a multinational policy can take a lot of time because of local regulatory requirements. This [blockchain-based] system provides a lot of certainty more quickly. A process that could have taken months was cut down to a few days.

Ultimately, it makes it cheaper. There are a lot of frictional costs in chasing after things, but the system makes the process faster and more cost-effective. “

AIG implements the insurance policy for Standard Chartered in partnership with IBM Blockchain. The article also quotes the General Manager of IBM Blockchain Marie Weick saying,

“By helping solve some of the biggest problems challenging the [insurance]industry, from eliminating silos of information to improving efficiency, blockchain can truly make an enormous impact and even lead to new business models.”

Meanwhile, there isn’t enough information available on the policy itself, as Standard Chartered has refused to divulge any information about it. Other players are also exploring InsurTech at the moment, and there are few products in different stages of development. In the coming days, we will see more such solutions making it to the market, enabling everyone to buy and claim insurance on the fly.

Ref: Financial Times | Image: NewsBTC

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In the recent days, India has emerged as one of the strong forces in the crypto-sector as it attempts to keep up with many developed countries when it comes to research, development, and deployment of blockchain solutions. The focus of Indian blockchain sector is gradually expanding beyond fintech, to other segments like shipping and logistics and AdTech. Recently one of the blockchain companies, Audience Farm announced its foray into the AdTech space with an Ethereum blockchain based solution.

Audience Farm, set out with the aim of revolutionizing the online advertising industry has announced its upcoming ICO, slated to go live later this month. The platform uses blockchain technology to bring in transparency to the backend operations in the online advertising industry. According to the company, its upcoming solution will allow advertisers as well as data publishers to save a lot of resources by ensuring the security and reliability of collected and purchased user data.

It is a well-known fact that online platforms capture and store user data to analyze and even predict the online behavior and interests. The collected data then becomes a valuable tool for targeted advertising where an Internet user ends up finding advertisements relevant to their most recent online search. A majority of the publishers collect user data to use or sell it to the advertisers, and in many cases, these data sets contain data belonging to the same users — something that can’t be avoided as a typical user tends to use or browse through multiple sites on the internet.

According to Audience Farm, the company’s blockchain product can prevent advertisers from double spending on same user data by implementing a method to universally index them. At the same time, the secure nature of blockchain will allow publishers and data management platforms to prevent others from stealing the data they have collected. The company intends to achieve its goal by creating an open, transparent and decentralized repository for user behavior data, which offers platform agnostic data for all advertisers alike.

AdTech is a rapidly growing segment across the world, with plenty of room for the implementation of the latest technologies including cryptocurrency based solutions. Those who move fast, stand to gain the first mover advantage and Audience Farm seems to be looking forward to it.

Ref: Medium || Image: NewsBTC

One recurring trend we saw over the past few year sis how banks continue to warn about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. For some reason, banks are legitimately afraid of digital currencies. That is not entirely surprising, as digital currencies bring competition to the traditional financial ecosystem. The Bank of Samoa feels now a good time to warn about Bitcoin and other currencies.

Banks warning about digital currencies is always quite interesting. It is evident these institutions want to prevent consumers lose their money. Then again, these are the same institutions asking customers to pay the bank if they want to access their own money. Double standards are being maintained by financial institutions for quite some time now. The central bank of Samoa is no different in this regard by any means.

Digital Currencies Are Getting A Lot of Attention

In their warning, the institution mentions of how there are “get rich quick” scheme sin digital currency. That is certainly true, as a lot of Ponzi Schemes pop up every week. Most of these programs involved HYIP investing or cloud mining. A lot of people often lose money by investing in these programs. However, they are not native to cryptocurrency either. The number of PayPal-related scams, for example, has been growing steadily as well.

Considering how digital currencies are not issued by a bank, they are often met with criticism. How dare anyone create an ecosystem where money can be distributed fairly and accessed by everyone in the world? Moreover, how can anyone do so without regulation, oversight, or intermediaries? The idea alone is ludicrous, according to most bank CEOs. Then again, Bitcoin has been here for nine years, and it is not going away anytime soon.

It is not surprising to see banks warn about digital currencies at this time. The value of all cryptocurrencies and asset is on the rise. More money is exiting traditional finance in favor of digital currencies. It is a legitimate threat to the existence of banks altogether. Bitcoin and consorts will not replace banks anytime soon, though. Nor should they, as there is no reason for it. Digital currencies will prove much-needed competition to the financial sector, though.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

There are quite a few different opinions on Bitcoin and the scaling debate. According to some, Bitcoin Core should remain in charge. Others, such as ViaBTC, feel Bitcoin Core developers should be fired. Not only is that an impossible statement, it only fuels the ongoing bickering even more.  Statements like these add nothing of value whatsoever.

ViaBTC Makes A Ridiculous Statement

ViaBTC has always been a rather controversial Bitcoin company. Their transaction accelerator tool has been somewhat successful. However, they also support Bitcoin Unlimited, which most people still see as a big joke. It is evident this Chinese pool wants nothing to do with Bitcoin Core and its developers. That is fine, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, issuing things such as “Let’s fire core” only exhibit a high degree of immaturity.

To put this into perspective, it would be impossible to fire anyone working on Bitcoin. Bitcoin is not a company, and there is no employees, CEOs, or management. One cannot “fire” developers by any means. The best ViaBTC could do is ignore any proposal presented by Bitcoin Core in the future. They have done so for quite some time, yet even that situation has come to change. The company supports SegWit2x, a solution largely based on SegWit developed by Bitcoin Core.

The Scaling Debate is Far From Over

Additionally, choosing SegWit2x further confirms ViaBTC made the wrong decision in the past. Few people are talking about Bitcoin Unlimited anymore right now. Many experts knew that the solution would ultimately fail, for obvious reasons. Multiple code bugs and semi-clueless developers should not determine the future of Bitcoin. It is good to see alternative implementations, but only if they hold up under pressure. BU was never capable of doing so, unfortunately.

It is evident there will be some form of “separation” on the Bitcoin network very soon. Those supporting SegWit2x will do their thing, and the UASF camp will do something else. They are not mutually exclusive, but it is doubtful Chinese pools will support the UASF. The coming weeks will be quite interesting for Bitcoin. Things may finally be resolved, or the situation could grow worse. Only time will tell what will happen.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

What the Human Genome Project took years to do can now be achieved within minutes, thanks to advancements in genetic sequencing techniques and state-of-the-art laboratory equipment that accelerates the gene mapping process. At the same time, scientists still don’t have a clear understanding of the whole human genome, which has turned genetic research and studies into a central branch of biological and medical research.

In order to conduct these studies, scientists will need biological samples from lots of subjects along with their medical history and other relevant information. These samples will have to be sequenced, analyzed and referenced against the existing records in an attempt to make sense of various gene functions and potential implications on human health. Almost all the data that are part of such studies are private, and utmost care must be taken, by law to ensure their confidentiality. However, with many people from various places involved in handling and analyzing the data, privacy concerns are on the rise among the participants of these studies.

Most of these studies involve public participation, where people voluntarily submit their samples for the benefit of scientific research (sometimes against a small payment). However, once the sample is provided, there is no way of knowing what happened to it, who had access to it and whether the confidentiality was maintained throughout the process or not.

In order to alleviate the concerns about the confidentiality of genetic information and to bring in transparency and accountability to the process, Encrypgen has introduced a blockchain based solution called Gene-Chain. Gene-Chain makes use of the qualities of distributed ledger technology to provide a safe, transparent and private option for laboratories and research facilities to store, analyze and handle sensitive genomic data.

Gene-Chain ensures that the medical research is not hampered due to privacy concerns by offering systems that not only makes it easier for the researchers to ensure proper handling but also provides individuals/subjects control over their medical/genetic information. This way, both the parties can have a peace of mind and carry on with their daily activities.

Gene-Chain is an affordable solution designed to work with existing laboratory systems so that it doesn’t disrupt any ongoing work for the sake of implementing a blockchain solution. The platform is fueled by Gene-Chain Coin, and it is now being offered as part of the ongoing ICO campaign. The ICO will not only help Encrypgen raise required funds to develop Gene-Chain further but also allows interested investors to become part of the movement.

The platform has already raised a total of 108 BTC of the 1000 BTC goal.

It is increasingly becoming important for people to have an idea of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. With Bitcoin gaining legal status in various countries and the ever-growing implementation of blockchain technology across different industries, it is now important for those working in finance and accounting line of work to be prepared for the upcoming shift in industry trends.

A recent article on one of the resource sites for accountants has stated few reasons to present a convincing case about blockchain to its community members. Bookkeeping is one of the most important regulatory requirements for businesses everywhere. Proper accounting of revenues and expenses will not only ensure compliance but also makes it easier for the business to keep track of the company’s health and activities.

The article states the various properties of the blockchain, including its open source nature, transparency, and immutability. While its applications range from healthcare sector to insurance, it could definitely have a lot of implications for the accounting industry. One such implication will be on the double-entry bookkeeping — a practice followed religiously in accounting. Owing to their transparency, the use of blockchain for transactions will automatically create entries on the digital ledger that can be verified independently by both parties to the transaction. The whole process can also be referred to as automated bookkeeping.

Similarly, the transparent nature of blockchain will make way for impartial auditing, with or without an auditor as it ensures that they don’t overlook minor discrepancies in the books. It will also eliminate the conflict of interest otherwise faced by the auditors who are paid by the businesses to look into their books. While the article does raise concerns about the accountants’ job security, the implementation of blockchain will also open up new roles for accountants, in the capacity of consultants who can help companies draft and implement financial strategies as the blockchains can only record transactions and not analyze them like humans.

In the end, accountants and auditors can stay in business and even profit by keeping up with the blockchain revolution and adapting their business to changing needs of the industry. Those who start exploring opportunities surrounding blockchain technology stand to gain a lot in the coming years.

Ref: AccountingWEB | Image: NewsBTC

Key Points

  • Bitcoin price after a strong correction found support at $2040 against the US Dollar, and started a recovery.
  • There is a monster ascending channel forming with support at $2260 on the 4-hours chart of BTC/USD (data feed from SimpleFX).
  • The price may soon gain momentum and break $2700 for a move towards the last swing high at $2970.

Bitcoin price corrected lower from $2970 against the US Dollar, and now BTC/USD is back above $2400 and looking for a move towards $3000.

Bitcoin Price Resistances

In the last weekly analysis, I highlighted the chances of Bitcoin price moving towards $3000 against the US Dollar. The price did break $2880 and moved towards $3000. However, there was no complete test of $3000, as the price traded as high as $2970. Sellers appeared and ignited a downside move below $2900. A correction wave started and the price fell sharply below the $2500 and $2300 supports.

However, there was no close below the $2000 support, which is a positive sign. The price traded as low as $2043, and later started an upside move. It has already breached the 50% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $2972 high to $2043 low. Furthermore, there was a break above a bearish trend line at $2500 on the 4-hours chart of BTC/USD. It is a positive sign since the price is above $2500.

Bitcoin Price Weekly Analysis BTC USD

Now, the price needs to break the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $2972 high to $2043 low at $2620. Furthermore, a break and close above the 100 simple moving average at $2600-20 could ignite further gains. There is also a monster ascending channel forming with support at $2260. As long as the price is an uptrend, it may test the channel resistance at $3050-80.

Looking at the technical indicators:

4-hours MACD – The MACD is moving back in the bullish zone.

4-hours RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI is currently above 50, and heading higher.

Major Support Level – $2500

Major Resistance Level – $2970


Charts courtesy – SimpleFX

Key Highlights

  • ETH price corrected lower this past week towards $255 against the US Dollar, but later it recovered very well.
  • There is a crucial bullish trend line with support at $310 forming on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD (data feed via SimpleFX).
  • It looks like the price is about to retest $390 and may even attempt a break above $400.

Ethereum price correction was a good thing against the US Dollar and Bitcoin, and now ETH/USD is back in the bullish zone for a break above $400.

Ethereum Price Slowly Grinding Higher

In the last weekly analysis, we discussed the possibility of ETH price moving past the $350 level against the US Dollar. It did remain in the bullish zone and moved above $350, but later started a correction. A high was formed at $404 from where a correction phase was initiated. The price moved down sharply and traded lower by roughly $150. It traded below $300 to trade as low as $256 where buyers appeared.

A strong buying interest protected further declines below $256. There was also no close below the 100 simple moving average at $280. Moreover, a crucial bullish trend line with support at $310 on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD acted as a support. It acted as a barrier, and as a result, the price moved back above $300. Buyers were successful in taking the price back above the 50% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $404 high to $256 low.

Ethereum Price Weekly Analysis ETH USD

At the moment, the price is slowly and steadily moving higher with supports as $345 and $310. A break above the 76.4% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $404 high to $256 low is needed for ETH to retest $400. If buyers remain in control, there is a chance of a break above $400 as well.

4-hours MACD – The MACD is back in the bullish zone.

4-hours RSI – The RSI is heading higher and currently above 50.

Major Support Level – $345.00

Major Resistance Level – $400.00


Charts courtesy – SimpleFX