Monthly Archives: December 2018

Blockchain in Banking & Finance – Presentations are online!

At the end of June there was the first Meetup of the Innovation Forum Blockchain with the topic Blockchain in Banking and Finance – a retrospective.

A few weeks ago the first Meetup of the innovation forum Blockchain on BTC-ECHO was announced. The Innovation Forum is a measure sponsored by the Ministry of Research, which is intended to lay the basis for new networks on specific topics.

Nobody from our team could be there live, but in the meantime the recorded lectures were put online. A review of the first Meetup of the Innovation Forum can be read on its weblog, at this point we would like to introduce the presentations to a larger audience.

Moritz Gerdes – Hype or Game Changer?

Blockchain-based innovations and future Bitcoin code scenarios

It started with a presentation by Moritz Gerdes, Innovation Manager at Comdirekt-Bank. In this presentation he presented the position of banks in relation to Bitcoin code technology: Bitcoin Code Review 2018 » Full Scam Check He emphasized that the banks are intensively concerned with the blockchain and are working on concrete proofs of concept in the case of the comdirekt bank. The return of equity is falling dramatically: It is assumed that this will amount to 0.8% in 2019, which is a small fraction compared to the 6.1% of 2014.

In his opinion, however, the banks will survive all threats – as long as they get involved with the new technology. Joi Ito, director of the MIT Lab, said some time ago “Blockchain will be the same for banks and authorities as the Internet was for media”. What’s interesting about his approach is that the question of which traditional industries, such as banking, would move the blockchain forward is not the question of possible use cases. The ultimate question is rather how one’s own business model must change in the face of the blockchain.

What is noticeable is the now fashionable differentiation between Bitcoin and Blockchain. Bitcoin is now only recognized as a first mover; the criminal stink, MtGox and current scaling problems lead him, like so many others, to distance himself from Bitcoin and instead look for prototype implementations. However, with all due understanding, it should not be forgotten that Bitcoin is currently the largest, perhaps the only, large-scale decentralized blockchain payment system. Nobody should be surprised that this accolade also causes problems.

Dr. Jörn Heckmann – Smart Contracts and Bitcoin code

Attorney Dr. Jörn Heckmann presented the communication difficulties between lawyers and technicians in the context of Bitcoin code. Here is more about the Bitcoin code review. In the course of the presentation, he defined a Smart Contract as software that controls and/or documents legally relevant actions that depend on digitally verifiable events and with the help of which contracts can be concluded. For non-technicians, he brought the Smart Contract concept a little closer by also explaining a “Hello World” example written in Solidity.

At the end of the lecture, he went into the DAO and the winged word “The Code is the Law”. The subject of law in digital times is a very interesting one. In the area of Smart Contracts, there is still a lot of catching up to do in terms of decisions with a margin of discretion. For example, there will continue to be a need for cooperation between lawyers and technicians in order to write technically and legally mature smart contracts.

Philipp Sandner – Blockchain adaptation of the banking sector

In the third presentation, Professor Dr. Philipp Sandner not only presented the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center, but also provided a good overview of the current state of the blockchain ecosystem. One thought was particularly interesting: To put it provocatively, crypto currencies should not be compared to fiat currencies, but rather to Fintech start-ups. At 32 billion euros, Bitcoin’s current market capital is hardly comparable to the money supply in Europe (11.6 trillion euros). In contrast, a rating of over thirty billion euros for a project is sensationally high – corporate giants like Merck with a market capital of 13 billion euros are not even half the value of a project.

Blockchain companies – gender gap even greater than in other tech companies

What about the female gender in the blockchain industry? The LongHash platform has addressed this question – and found something sobering about the gender gap. However, the research methods still have room for improvement.

In Germany, the proportion of women in management positions accounts for almost one third of all managers – according to the statistics. This is, of course, an average value and makes no statements about the situation in the individual sectors.

The Bitcoin formula platform has now investigated the gender distribution in the blockchain sector

LongHash has set itself the goal of accelerating the development of the blockchain and promoting an understanding of the Bitcoin formula technology:

“The results were… discouraging.”
The study considered 100 blockchain start-ups that were classified as “upcoming” on the ICO tracking page ICO Rating. In total, LongHash counted 1,062 team members, including 326 as founders or managers and 473 listed consultants. Three focal points were examined: the gender gap within the team, the number of women at management level and the number of women on advisory boards. LongHash summarises the sobering results as follows:

“The results were … discouraging. Only 14.5 percent of the members of the Blockchain start-up teams were women. In leadership roles, the numbers got worse. Only 7 percent of the blockchain start-up managers we considered were women, and only 8 percent of the consultants.”

In addition, 78 of the 100 start-ups surveyed did not have a single female manager. In 75 of them, female consultants were missing and 37 had not even female employees in the team.

Three possible Bitcoin trader sources of error

LongHash points out, however, that the figures do not have to be 100 percent correct due to the research method. The figures for team members, managers and Bitcoin trader come from the websites of the Bitcoin trader companies and could be outdated and selective. Therefore, there can be no guarantee of the accuracy of the information. Another source of error may be that the gender of the team members was not correctly assigned by LongHash when viewing the team members on the respective website. Cross-sex names such as Kim, Robin or Luca in combination with an image that does not clearly identify males or females may lead to such errors. The position information may also be outdated or inaccurate, so that some female managers may not (yet) have been identified as such.

However, it seems unlikely that the results would have spoken the opposite language without these sources of error. Technical industries are still dominated by men. However, LongHash notes that large technology companies in Silicon Valley employ at least 25 percent women. A 2017 survey conducted by the Carta software platform target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener” found that about 29 percent of employees in small tech start-ups are female. Even if this is still far from an equal distribution, it is still twice as many women as in blockchain start-ups.

Although the results of the LongHash study cannot be trusted one hundred percent, they give the impression that the gender gap in the blockchain sector is even wider than it is in other technology companies. It would now be interesting to know why. However, this missing investigation should then focus less on own research than on concrete facts (e.g. from a survey) in order to give the results more trustworthiness.