Last stories on 'Payments and finance'
START A NEW CONVERSTATION
LABCITIES
5 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

We need to start preparing for a decentralized economy, said Bettina Warburg, co-founder and managing partner of Animal Ventures, to delegates in a keynote speech at Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona earlier this month.

This decentralized economy, underpinned by blockchain, will not only impact how we trade but will also radically change how we make, design and produce physical and digital goods. While there are many unknowns about some of the impacts of this evolution, one thing is clear to Warburg: The shift is inevitable.

LABCITIES
7 months ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Dubai has quickly grown into a global hub for trade. Now, it’s planning to use blockchain as the basis for its economy, further enhancing this status. Blockchain has the potential to simplify record-keeping and the transport of goods all over the world. In concert with Dubai’s advanced transportation infrastructure and near-zero taxes, businesses will experience Dubai as a secure, reliably business-friendly environment.

Although Blockchain is primarily known as the technological basis of the digital currency Bitcoin, the technology itself can function in many roles. Blockchain allows users to share and track information from transactions and contracts using a digital ledger, and the records are secure, verifiable, and permanent. With blockchain serving as the basis for both private business and government services in Dubai, service provision will be more efficient. In short, doing business in Dubai will become far simpler for any kind of business.

In March, a citywide implementat...

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LABCITIES
9 months ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

In New York state, neighbors are testing their ability to sell solar energy to one another using blockchain technology. In Austria, the country’s largest utility conglomerate, Wien Energie, is taking part in a blockchain trial focused on energy trading with two other utilities. Meanwhile in Germany, the power company Innogy is running a pilot to see if blockchain technology can authenticate and manage the billing process for autonomous electric-vehicle charging stations.

Blockchain has grabbed the attention of the heavily regulated power industry as it braces for an energy revolution in which both utilities and consumers will produce and sell electricity. Blockchain could offer a reliable, low-cost way for financial or operational transactions to be recorded and validated across a distributed network with no central point of authority. As in the financial services industry, this capability has prompted some people to explore whether blockchain may one day replace a portion of utilit...

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Jason Black
10 months ago
Jason Black
Project Manager

Cities across the world are growing and polluting to unprecedented levels. The World Bank estimates that cities will attract an additional 2 billion people by 2050, and will produce well over 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Already under pressure, infrastructure and basic services such as transport, solid waste management, education or sanitation will need to be expanded significantly in order to serve these growing populations.

The investment required is immense: developing countries need an extra $1.3 trillion of investment in public infrastructure a year just to keep pace. Traditional sources of financing from central governments and international aid organizations won’t be nearly sufficient to meet the demand. Cities will need to innovate and access private sources of long-term financing through local capital markets and commercial partnerships.

However, in order to attract investment from private sources cities need to first be creditworthy. They need to manage finan...

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LABCITIES
12 months ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Many trends on the horizon offer opportunities that could transform our cities. From self-driving vehicles and the sharing economy through to cloud computing and blockchain technologies, each of these trends is quite significant on its own. But the convergence of their disruptive forces is what will create real value and drive innovations.

Take blockchain and the sharing economy as an example. Bringing these two forces together can potentially disrupt established companies like Uber and Airbnb. The success of these companies is largely due to their ability to make use of existing assets people owned, that had been paid for, but from which new value could be derived.

Effectively, these companies set up digital platforms that harnessed “excess capacity” and relied on other people to deliver the services.

The same applies to other so-called “sharing economy” companies that merely act as service aggregators and collect a cut off the top. In the process, they gather valuable data for further commercial gain.

But can this business model be challenged and enhanced for the benefit of those who are delivering the service and creating the real value? Can technology be used to bypass the third party and allow direct peer-to-peer collaboration within a distributed governance structure? What could a “peer-owned” and “peer-run” marketplace look like?

Blockchain technology could just be the answer.

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