In regulatory efforts tied to blockchain, the British dependency Isle of Man has debuted a hub focused on blockchain development. The advisory for the self-governing dependency has established the Blockchain Office, reported Cointelegraph, and has set up a sandbox that looks toward future regulatory frameworks. FinTech firms can join the sandbox beginning next month.
The news follows reports at the end of last year that said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would also debut a regulatory sandbox, aimed at the FinTech realm and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Amid blockchain projects that stop and go, one has been stopped. As reported by CCN earlier this week, in Japan, the three “megabanks” — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group — have scrapped joint efforts on a blockchain money transfer project. According to CCN, and quoting Nikkei Asian Review, the three banks said that the project was a duplication of their own efforts on a bank-by-bank basis.
As had been reported, the project, which traces its genesis to 2017, would have let customers send and receive funds across virtual accounts. The banks had been in partnership with Fujitsu.
The initiative also would have developed digital currencies, according to the publication. That comes as Mizuho is developing the J-Coin, and as Mitsubishi is developing the MUFG Coin. The J-Coin is focused on trimming costs tied to money transfers, and is a stablecoin where the value is pegged to Japan’s yen.
Beyond those widespread initiatives, and in terms of individual company efforts, Facebook has reportedly been boosting its own blockchain-related activities — as it has been hiring staffers from a startup known as Chainspace, which focuses on smart contracts. The startup uses sharding to break databases into units, and to help with scaling issues that typically are the hallmarks of blockchain.
As CoinDesk reported, the hires come after the company had formed a unit dedicated to blockchain. Sources told CoinDesk that the staffers were joining the social media company, but that technology had not been acquired from Chainspace. Of the hires, four of the five researchers behind the academic paper that underpins the startup are joining Facebook.
Facebook, for its part, said in a statement that, “like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.” Job descriptions state that the firm’s “ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now — that could be things like healthcare, equitable financial services, or new ways to save or share information.”
Within the healthcare space, IrisGuard, an iris-recognition solutions company, and Patientory, a cybersecurity healthcare data solution firm, have teamed up to combine the biometric offerings with the PTOYNet blockchain network. The goal is to help safeguard and authorize patient identity procedures. IrisGuard’s EyePay is blockchain-ready for authentication and authorization, a process that can completed within three seconds. As noted in this space recently, the two companies want to expand the technology into healthcare applications on Patientory software, which is powered by the PTOYNet blockchain.
“Patient identification is a growing problem in today’s healthcare system,” said Chrissa McFarlane, CEO and founder of Patientory in a statement. “This technology can help providers identify an individual with unparalleled accuracy, through iris-recognition and data matching. And because it’s verified on the blockchain, it’s scalable without sacrificing data security — which is one of the main problems with our current healthcare-data infrastructure.”