EY and Microsoft launch blockchain solution for content rights and royalties management

EY and Microsoft launch blockchain solution for content rights and royalties management for media and entertainment industry
Related topicsBlockchainMedia and entertainment

• Rights and royalties management solution can be applied to any industry where intellectual property or assets are licensed, with initial focus on gaming

• Blockchain solution expected to deliver reduced processing time and faster tracking of royalties

EY and Microsoft today launched a blockchain solution for content rights and royalties management. Aiming to streamline the costly and time-consuming processes in entertainment rights and royalties, the solution is first being deployed within gaming with Microsoft and its game publisher partners.

EY and Microsoft designed the solution to serve any industry where intellectual property or assets are licensed to other parties and where the creators are paid royalties based on royalty agreements. Within this value chain – which can include authors, song writers, production houses, developers and more — the intellectual property generates millions of transactions aggregating to billions of dollars per month in royalties to be paid. The royalty calculations along the value chain are currently mostly manual and generally managed via offline data sources.

The new rights and royalties management solution is designed to enable increased trust and transparency between industry players, significantly reduce operational inefficiencies in the rights and royalties management process, and eliminate the need for costly manual reconciliation and partner reviews.

In addition, the solution aims to provide near real-time visibility of sales transactions to the participants in the blockchain network and to help the participants to react to market needs faster and more effectively because they will get timely, improved insights into the content that is being purchased.

The embedded smart contract architecture is designed to enable accurate and real-time calculation of each participant’s royalty position, providing enhanced visibility for recording and reconciling of royalty transactions.

The underlying network is built using the Quorum blockchain protocol and Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure and blockchain technologies, and implements confidentiality of agreements across entities.

Microsoft’s gaming partners participating on the network will get improved visibility to the transactions versus the legacy process, which could take up to 45 days or more. The participating partners will be able to generate accounting accruals on a daily basis and use the timely data to improve their forecasting.

Ubisoft, one of the world’s leading game publishers and a Microsoft gaming partner, is testing the solution.

Loic Amans, Senior Vice President, Finance & Strategic Planning at Ubisoft says:
“We are always looking at how to leverage emerging technologies in all facets of our business. The opportunity to collaborate with EY and Microsoft on blockchain use cases in the domain of digital contracts and royalties is truly exciting.”

Microsoft intends to deploy the rights and royalties blockchain network with interested gaming partners in a phased manner. When fully operational, this blockchain network is expected to encompass thousands of Microsoft royalty partners and process millions of transactions per day, making it one of the world’s largest enterprise blockchain ecosystems.

Paul Brody, EY Global Innovation Leader, Blockchain, says:
“The scale, complexity and volume of digital rights and royalties transactions makes this a perfect application for blockchains. A blockchain can handle the unique nature of each contract between digital rights owners and licensors can be handled in a scalable, efficient manner with an audit trail for the participants. By deploying this on Microsoft Azure, we believe this will be highly scalable across thousands of royalties and content partners.”

Grace Lao, General Manager of Finance Operations, Microsoft, says:
“Deploying this blockchain solution will allow us to efficiently manage high volumes and automate processes, while at the same time improve partner satisfaction and enhance compliance. Smart contract technology is far more flexible and scalable than any prior solution for managing business agreements. We look forward to deploying this solution across our gaming ecosystem and exploring additional blockchain applications for other finance processes at Microsoft.”

Brad Wright, Partner, Software Engineering Manager, Microsoft, says:
“Powered by Microsoft Azure and blockchain technology, this solution helps demonstrate our ability to enhance trust with our gaming partners, and strengthen security, transparency and payment accuracy through the power of blockchain. We’re thrilled to work with EY and our gaming partners to streamline this business.”

Deep Ghumman, EY Global and EY Americas Blockchain Finance Lead, Advisory Services, says:
“Enterprises are looking to use blockchain technology to solve their business challenges. They are especially looking for scalable blockchain products that can easily plug into their existing processes and systems. The rights and royalties blockchain solution on Microsoft Azure is a great example of how blockchain will transform the way we do business and how EY and Microsoft are collaborating to empower digital transformation with blockchain.”

EY and Microsoft are currently deploying the solution with Microsoft’s key business partners and will explore opening the solution to other partner organizations as a general exchange infrastructure for royalties-related transactions on everything from software to digital media.

This development builds on other blockchain initiatives from the EY organization including blockchain for automotive services; the world’s first marine insurance blockchain platform; and a suite of blockchain audit technologies that enhances the ability to perform an in-depth review of cryptocurrency business transactions.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

Contact
Advisory
Barbara Burgess, EY Media Relations and Social Media Associate Director – Advisory

+1 212 773 1652

Aparna Sankaran, EY Media Relations and Social Media Supervising Associate – Advisory

+44 20 7951 6713

Major Swiss Stock Exchange SIX Lists World’s First Multi-Crypto ETP

Major Swiss Stock Exchange SIX Lists World’s First Multi-Crypto ETP Amidst Market Collapse
By Helen Partz
COINTELEGRAPH

Switzerland’s principal stock exchange SIX Swiss Exchange will list the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) next week, the Financial Times (FT) reported Saturday, Nov. 16.

Backed by the Swiss startup Amun AG, the first global multi-crypto ETP will be listed under index HODL, and will track five major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC).

According to the article, each cryptocurrency will acquire a certain market share within the upcoming ETP, with Bitcoin accounting for around half of the ETP’s assets. The rest are set to be divided in fractions, with 25.4 percent in now-second cryptocurrency XRP, and 16.7 percent in Ethereum, while Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin will acquire 5.2 and 3 percent of the market, respectively.

Amun’s co-founder and chief executive Hany Rashwan commented that the upcoming ETF is organized in a way to comply with the same strict policies that are required by traditional ETPs. According to Rashwan, this will provide a well-regulated tool for trading cryptocurrencies for both institutional and retail investors that are limited in the field by crypto-unfriendly environments.
The Amun ETP index will be managed by the German index unit of investment management firm Van Eck, according to major Swiss news agency Finews.com. While Amun AG is based in the Swiss “crypto valley” town of Zug, it is reportedly a branch of Amun Technologies, a U.K.-based fintechcompany. The firm first announced their plans to introduce a crypto ETP in late September this year, according to Bloomberg.

According to Amun’s official website, SIX Swiss Exchange is the fourth largest stock exchange in Europe with a market capitalization of $1.6 trillion. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, head of securities and exchanges at SIX Thomas Zeeb claimed that blockchain-based digital exchanges will entirely replace conventional ones in “about ten years,” citing a large interest in cost advantages of the technology by brokers, banks, and insurance firms.

ETPs represent a type of security that is priced derivatively and trades intraday on a national securities exchange, based on investment tools such as commodity, a currency, a share price, or an interest rate, according to New York City-based investing and finance website Investopedia. ETPs can reportedly be actively managed funds, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and others.
Some experts have predicted that adoption of Bitcoin ETFs will be a “way bigger deal” than a cash settlement Bitcoin futures contract, and hence will be a bigger basis for the growth of crypto markets.

In Sweden, XBT Providers already have a Bitcoin ETP called Coinshares, which has attracted around $1 billion since 2015 when it was listed on major Swedish exchange Nasdaq Stockholm.

Recently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stopped accepting public feedback on their Bitcoin ETFs policy review, following the previous denial of nine applications to list and trade various BTC ETFs from three companies, including ProShares, Direxion, and GraniteShares

KuCoin Raises Series A Round of Funding

KuCoin Raises Series A Round of Funding
PUBLISHED 2018-11-14
This post is also available in: 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified))

Dear KuCoin Users

At KuCoin, we have always believed that one day everything will function with blockchain technology, and we are continuing to strive for this realization.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that we have closed our Series A Round of Funding, raising $20 million (USD) from IDG Capital, Matrix Partners and Neo Global Capital to bring cryptocurrency to the masses.

We will use this financing to:
• Bring KuCoin Platform 2.0 to life
• Increase customer support staff to offer concierge-level service to all traders
• Expand globally by concentrating on targeted markets
• Accelerate research to find the best of the best in blockchain projects
• Educate and train blockchain talents

We would like to thank our new partners as well as our users who have helped us grow. We will continue to spare no effort in exploring the best hidden gems in the crypto world while growing exponentially on a global scale and, more importantly, solidifying our position as “The People’s Exchange”.

For additional information, please visit: https://news.kucoin.com/en/idg-capital-matrix-partners-and-neo-global-capital-invest-20-million-usd-into-kucoin-to-bring-cryptocurrency-to-the-masses/

The KuCoin Team

Microsoft Azure Blockchain Development Kit Launches

Microsoft Azure Blockchain Development Kit Launches to Improve Workbench Capabilities
By
Bitcoin Exchange Guide News Team

November 16, 2018

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Microsoft is renowned the world over for enabling the PC revolution. They have, arguably, changed the landscape of business and daily lives by bringing computers to an affordability level that they are now ubiquitous. The company has for decades been working towards lowering barriers to development with tools and integrated offerings. They have now released a serverless blockchain-powered development kit, as announced yesterday on the 15th of November.

This initial release of the Azure Blockchain Development Kit looks to extend the capabilities of the blockchain developer templates and Azure Blockchain Workbench. The end goal, being able to afford a reference architecture that can be deployed to quickly build blockchain-based applications while incorporating off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging APIs.
What Is The Main Focus

The announcement details the core focus on 3 primary aspects, these are: connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks. Mike Ward, the Head of Product Management said,
“We are committed to ensuring developers can deploy CorDapps quickly, securely and easily. The Azure Blockchain Development Kit will give our enterprise customers tools to integrate with the applications, software, and devices that people use every day like Outlook, Alexa, SMS, and web UX. The blockchain is moving out of the labs and into everyday business applications.”
Connecting Interfaces

Only a solution that enables differing user interfaces to integrate with the blockchain can be a viable end to end blockchain solution. To this end, multiple factors come into play. Therefore different use cases for a vast variety of solutions have been factored in. For examples, SMS and voice interfaces, Mobile client devices, Bots and assistants and Web clients. These can be utilized in conjunction with each other, seamlessly. With these interfaces, individuals and organisations will be able to connect to a blockchain.

Integrating Data And Systems

To enable a suitable end to end blockchain solution, smart contracts are needed in order to facilitate multi-party processes. These require integration with data, software, and media that live “off chain”. Microsoft has identified a few areas for integration. Documents and Media don’t usually belong in any chain but are often involved in business processes. Logic Apps will be used to enable the hashing of files and file related metadata, while also including smart contracts for files and a file registry to store those hashes on a chain.
Further, the importance of smart contract interactions is elevated by the fact that enterprise integration is messy. Thus there are hundreds of connectors available in Logic Apps and Flow. Microsoft’s new kit includes workbench integration cases for Legacy applications and protocols, data, Software as a Service (SaaS), registries and Logic App Connectors for Blockchain
Deploying Smart Contracts And Blockchain Networks

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As more people become aware of the blockchain technology and its possibilities, businesses have been looking to get more information about smart contracts and blockchain projects. There are fundamental questions in relation to business logic, data schema, unit testing and debugging that is all pervasive. This has been recognized and addressed as well. In a blog post, Microsft says “While there are some nuances to the approach, the good news is that just like other types of solution development, this model can readily be addressed in a DevOps model.” They have introduced “DevOps for Blockchain Smart Contracts,” a whitepaper that details using the development kit for blockchain-based apps in a multitude of scenarios.

Earlier in the year, Azure had introduced a proof-of-authority (PoA) algorithm on its Ethereum (ETH) blockchain product, as a way to help develop decentralized applications (DApps)

A Platform For The Future

The Azure Blockchain Development Kit, the multinational hopes, will be a great stride forward in enabling development of ” end to end blockchain applications accessible, fast, and affordable to anyone with an idea.” With Microsoft’s increasing interest and investment compounded with the wealth of knowledge they bring, this should be a robust platform for developers
Solutions such as these are encouraging for any industry let alone a budding one. It is another example of the expanding influence of the cryptosphere and is encouraging to see an industry leader looking to associate, listen and look for solutions to help build the future.

DeepBrain Chain’s Silicon Valley Lab Receives Strategic Investments from European-American Giant and Gobi Venture Capital

DeepBrain Chain’s Silicon Valley Lab Receives Strategic Investments from European-American Giant and Gobi Venture Capital

Today we are extremely pleased to announce some major news. DeepBrain Chain’s Silicon Valley lab has received strategic investments from both an undisclosed European-American giant and Gobi Venture Capital. The investments will be put to use to assist the on-going development of DeepBrain Chain and our incubated killer AI app, VisionX.

Expect further details soon.
Yours sincerely, DeepBrain Chain

DeepBrain Chain is working towards building the infrastructure for the next generation of the internet. Through the use of distributed ledger technology and blockchain’s decentralized trust-less mechanism, DeepBrain Chain will provide a global network of AI computing and storage nodes. Sharing AI computing power globally will allow AI companies to save up to 70% on costs while protecting their data privacy. DeepBrain Chain’s Silicon Valley lab has incubated an AI industry chain project — VisionX. VisionX aims to build a cross-industry high-performance AI collaboration platform. It has the biggest database for surface defect image recognition in the world. Through their one-stop-shop of AI services, VisionX can save companies up to 30% on costs as compared to competitors.

Sony Develops Blockchain-Based Rights Management System for Digital Content

Sony Develops Blockchain-Based Rights Management System for Digital Content
BLOCKCHAIN NEWS OCTOBER 16, 2018 11:58 CET

Sony Corporation has announced the launch of a blockchain-based digital rights management system.

In a statement released on its website, the company revealed that the new framework is built on a prior system for authenticating, sharing, and managing rights to educational data previously developed by Sony and Sony Global Education.

In April, CCN reported that Sony filed an application for a patent to store users’ digital rights data on the blockchain. In its patent application, Sony warned that “conventional solutions may not be very reliable and rely on one unique point of failure which could lead to the loss of all the acquired content.”

Blockchain-Enhanced Rights Management

Having recognised the gap in the digital rights management process that blockchain technology can solve, Sony then put into action its plan to develop a suitable system for digital content using blockchain technology. To this end the company filed an application for a patent to store users’ digital rights data on the blockchain on April 26 this year.

An excerpt from the statement reads:
“Today, advances in technologies for digital content creation allow anyone to broadcast and share content, but the rights management of that content is still carried out conventionally by industry organizations or the creators themselves, necessitating a more efficient way of managing and demonstrating ownership of copyright-related information for written works.”

In addition to the functionality of the earlier management system it is based on, this system also provides digital rights management for several new types of content including electronic textbooks and other educational content, music, films, audio, games, scientific data, medical data, VR content, and e-books.

In the statement Sony said:
“[It is] specialized for managing rights-related information of written works, with features for demonstrating the date and time that electronic data was created, leveraging the properties of blockchains to record verifiable information in a difficult to falsify way, and identifying previously recorded works, allowing participants to share and verify when a piece of electronic data was created and by whom.”

In so doing, Sony hopes to become a thought leader in the use of blockchain technology in the educational field through Sony Global Education and in data dispersal and management through Sony Group. The company also intends to continue to explore possible commercial avenues by piggybacking on the blockchain’s technological and commercial advancements.

Ultimately Sony says, the goal is to open up a new world of opportunities for blockchain technology in education and data and information management.

Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) China division is partnering with public blockchain project Qtum

NEWS
Anna Baydakova
Oct 17, 2018 at 12:00 UTC | Updated Oct 17, 2018 at 19:08 UTC

Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) China division is partnering with public blockchain project Qtum

The partnership sees the on-demand cloud computing giant working with a cryptocurrency project with a $325 million market capitalization, making it the 29th largest cryptocurrency, to develop blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) solutions for enterprises and developers.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the partnership will allow AWS users to develop and launch smart contracts “quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively” using an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), according to a press release issued by the Qtum team.

Simon Wang, head of territory business development at AWS China, confirmed the partnership, telling CoinDesk in an email: “Qtum are now an AWS technology partner and one of the partner network members.”

Based in Singapore, Qtum, which raised $1 million last January from investors including Anthony Di Iorio, OKCoin CEO Star Xu, BitFund founder Xiaolai Li and Fenbushi partner Bo Shen, launched its public blockchain a year ago.
Qtum’s AMI was listed on the Amazon Web Services marketplace in July, and since then, the group behind the cryptocurrency has been moving toward a broader technological partnership, Qtum’s marketing director, John Scianna, told CoinDesk.

The two companies have been discussing this since April, he added.

Members of the Amazon Partner Network, according to the company’s website, receive business, technical, sales, and marketing resources to help expand their businesses and support their customers. In case of Qtum, the startup and AWS will work together to get feedback from customers about the use cases most in demand and provide guidance to those clients that don’t have much software development resources themselves, Mike Palencia, Qtum’s chief information officer, told CoinDesk.

“We are going to work together [with Amazon] to contact different customers and clients. We’re looking into use cases, and the best way to do it is to have a contact with companies who have those use cases,” Palencia said. “Some clients have their own ideas and their own developers, and some of them want more support from us, want to talk to us directly.”

https://www.coindesk.com/amazon-web-services-china-partnering-blockchain-qtum/

Harvard, Stanford, & MIT Have All Invested in Cryptocurrency Funds

Breaking: Harvard, Stanford, & MIT Have All Invested in Cryptocurrency Funds

At least five more university endowments have invested in cryptocurrency funds, suggesting that the “herd” of institutional investors is finally beginning to place at least a small bet on the nascent asset class.

As first reported by The Information, a cadre of major educational institutions including Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, and the University of North Carolina have each invested in at least one cryptocurrency fund through their respective endowments.

Citing an unnamed source familiar with the investments, the publication reported that these five university endowments have invested tens of millions of dollars in these funds, which in turn invest in both physical cryptocurrencies and equity in cryptocurrency companies.

CCN previously reported that Yale University, which controls the second-largest university endowment next to Harvard, had allocated a portion of its $29.4 billion in assets into two cryptocurrency funds operated by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Paradigm.

Even with these investments, the six universities that are now said to have invested in crypto funds still have very little exposure to this asset class. Nevertheless, the fact that they are engaging with the market at all could help legitimize the space.

As The Information journalist Jon Victor explained:

“A move by endowments into funds that will directly bet on cryptocurrencies signals a major shift in investor sentiment toward the asset class, in the same way that institutions over the past decade became more willing to invest in private tech companies. Backing from such closely watched institutions could help validate cryptocurrencies, which are still considered too risky by many institutional investors.”

Cryptocurrency investors and analysts such as Mike Novogratz had long predicted that a “herd” of institutional investors would power the next bitcoin bull market. Ari Paul, a cryptocurrency fund manager and a former portfolio manager at the University of Chicago’s endowment, said in April that he believed that a number of institutions were interested in investing in cryptocurrency but were waiting for major names such as Yale to make the first move so that they would have an “excuse” to do so themselves.

Notably, though institutional investors are generally viewed as having a more sober view of cryptoassets than retail investors, a recent survey by Wall Street strategy firm Fundstrat found that institutions that have already invested in cryptocurrency are actually more optimistic about bitcoin’s near-term prospects than retail investors.

AUTHOR
Josiah Wilmoth

Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com

‘Big Four’ Auditor PwC Has 400 Crypto Specialists on Staff

Mainstream: ‘Big Four’ Auditor PwC Has 400 Crypto Specialists on Staff

The bigger the business or industry, the more financial services and specialization it requires. As the crypto industry grows up and more firms establish themselves, important services such as auditing and tax consultancy become increasingly necessary. Traditional auditing and consulting firms are answering the call by hiring crypto specialists in droves.

According to an article in the Financial Times, some of the biggest auditing firms in the world like EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have taken on hundreds of new clients involved in cryptocurrencies in the recent past, and as a result PwC, in particular, has brought on as many as 400 blockchain experts in an effort to successfully serve these clients and their unique needs. Ralph Weinberger, who leads their global network assurance methodology group, told FT:

“We are devoting significant resources to how we might provide audit services in not just cryptocurrency, but blockchain.”

The regulatory atmosphere surrounding cryptocurrencies and blockchain assets has hardly even begun to shape. In many regions around the world, there is no regulation at all, meaning that companies doing business there are often operating under a shroud of uncertainty. In countries like the US, regulations can be confusing and have yet to fully realize themselves, so much so that the IRS was recently told to be much clearer in how it handles cryptocurrencies.

Major auditing firms are hiring hundreds of blockchain and cryptocurrency specialists.
The job of companies like PwC is to help companies be in compliance and properly meet their tax obligations. Crypto exchanges and mining outfits are not the only companies which can benefit from the blockchain experts at auditing firms – virtually any company that exposes itself to crypto at all will need some form of guidance as regards the tax situation. Even simply accepting bitcoin as a payment form can be confusing for traditional companies used to transacting strictly in fiat currencies.

PwC appears to desperately want to lead the way, likely recognizing the potential size of the blockchain industry moving forward. They have an entire subsection of their site devoted to it, in which they explain that they’re ready to help.

“PwC sees enormous potential for blockchain in financial services. We’ve developed the strategic and implementation capabilities necessary to help financial institutions, technology companies and startups take advantage of this transformative technology. Our global team of experienced business, technology and regulatory leaders can help you identify how blockchain can benefit your organization and how to rapidly move these initiatives forward.”

There are few, if any, large native crypto tax or auditing consulting firms. One that comes to mind is Libra, who recently completed funding, but the question remains as to whether they will be able to serve crypto clients in quite the same, complete manner of PricewaterhouseCoopers and other traditional firms who are modernizing with an eye toward cryptos.

AUTHOR
P. H. Madore

P. H. Madore can most often be found solving a problem that involves small children, electronics, or both. He has written for CCN since 2014. Visit http://pay.phm.link to contact him or contribute to his gadget fund.

The Blockchain and the Final Newsletter

Executive Summary

This is my final newsletter. While it was a worthwhile personal effort to invest my time in preparing a monthly document on the markets and the economy for interested readers, the number of paid subscribers just did not rise to the level to make this business endeavor a profitable one. So with a bit of regret, I write this with the lasting belief that there were one or two nuggets within my words that helped make a positive difference in the investment selections and actions you may have undertaken over the past year.
The year 2017 has been a memorable one. From a markets perspective it defies logic for this seasoned investor. I began buying and selling stocks in the early 1980’s. The ebbs and flows I have seen during the past 35 or so years have included some incredible changes. They have been invaluable lessons for me, an education that was self-taught and borne of a simple passion to solve the puzzles of the equity markets, and to do so profitably. While the journey has been wild, I have been fortunate enough to achieve the peace of mind that comes with doing what you are most happy with in life and to have done so profitably.

I initially planned to write a comprehensive final report that covered in detail the market and economic factors that help me form a perspective on what the future may hold. After pondering this for quite a while, I changed my mind. Why did I do so? Because, the substance of what I would have written would convey the same over-riding view that I have expressed before; we are in a dangerous and highly over-valued market, a perspective that is supported by fact and history. You should know that if there are elements of the market or the economy that you would like me to write about and share with you directly, please know I would be happy to write to you individually to ensure my last newsletter ultimately meets with your expectations, even if in more than one communication.

So, what am I going to write about that I believe is meaningful and worthy of a final sharing of the ideas that run through this mind? Clearly, it is about the Blockchain and the phenomena known as Crypto-Currencies. I believe we are at an inflection point in history, and the substance of that perspective deserves to be the headline and the entire theme of this closing missive. I hope you enjoy it!

Tom

The Connolly Financial Advisors Last Newsletter, January 2018