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Popular design news of the week: January 20, 2020 – January 26, 2020

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

Nototo – A Virtual Memory Palace of your Notes

 

Startup Colors – Killer Color Combos for your Internet Startup

 

The New Landing Page is to Have no Landing Page at all

 

Futuristic Patterns in Graphic Design

 

65 Best Creative Instagram Accounts for Design Inspiration

 

Improve your Sign-Up Form with Off-White Text Fields

 

PHP in 2020

 

OpenStudio – All-In-One Business Management Software

 

The Burnout List

 

My Favorite UX Research Mistake

 

My Personal Website – From Zero to Hero in 5 Years

 

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Sleeping Positions on a Plane

 

UX Design Process: A Simple (but Complete) Guide

 

Google Releases 3 New Experimental Apps to Help Cut Down your Phone Usage

 

7 Requirements of a Holistic Design System

 

Isotope · Filter and Sort Magical Layouts

 

Movie Poster — Figma Plugin

 

10 Practical Principles for Designing Better Experiences

 

An ‘Ultimate Guide’ to ‘Tab Hoarding’

 

Why Design Systems Fail and How to Make Them Work in 2020

 

How to Design Emails that People will Actually Read

 

How to Build a Design System in Abstract

 

LinkedIn for Freelancers and Small Business Owners

 

Radiohead Launches Digital ‘public Library’ of the Band’s Archive

 

How to Kill a Startup Idea with Google Keyword Planner and AdWords: A Case Study

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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The Latest Digital News for Web Designers

One of the most powerful tools we have in web design is consumer and industry data. It’s like a gauge that tells us whether we’re still heading in the right direction or it’s time to change course and adopt a new strategy or approach.

Unless you’re combing the web for the latest news and reports in the areas of design, marketing, and SEO, it’s easy to miss this pertinent data. So, in this roundup, I’m going to take care of that for you.

Below you’ll find a recap of 5 recent news stories and reports that need to be on your radar.

 

Comscore Reports on the State of Mobile

Comscore’s annual State of Mobile report focuses on the growing usage of mobile devices to explore the web.

According to the report, users around the globe spend roughly three-quarters or more of their digital time on mobile devices:

Comscore global mobile audience

Even if mobile apps are a key driver of this activity (which they are for certain business types like gaming and social), we know that consumers are glued to their phones more so than they are to their desktop computers.

If you haven’t yet made mobile-first design a priority—especially by bridging the gap between the mobile web and mobile app with PWAs—2020 is the year to do it. Your users already have their smartphones nearby, so why not make your website a must-visit destination there, too?

 

UX Tools Survey Gives Us a Look at the Software Designers Love

UX Tools’ 2019 survey of web designers found an interesting trend when it comes to the toolboxes they use to build websites:

UX Tools - Design Tools Survey

Sketch is the clear frontrunner when it comes to tasks like:

  • User flows;
  • Wireframing;
  • UI design;
  • Prototyping;
  • Design systems.

But Figma isn’t too far behind in all these categories. The surveyed web designers also named it the tool they’re most excited to try and use in 2020.

If you’ve been looking to experiment with new tools for your business, give this short survey a read as there is some really interesting software on the list (that’s not all owned by Sketch, Adobe, or InVision either).

 

MDN Asks Web Developers to Express Their Top Frustrations

The MDN Web DNA Report 2019 is a long read. Since most of it is geared towards web developers (who were surveyed for it), I’m going to zero in on the bit I think web designers may find relevant:

MDN Web Developer Needs

When asked to rank what were the most frustrating “needs” of the web, web developers expressed a lot of anguish over cross-browser design and testing. Bug resolution, privacy and security compliance, as well as tool overload were top concerns as well.

Even if you’re not contending with the problems that go along with coding, these frustrations are really relatable. As for what you can do with them? While I don’t believe we can eliminate these frustrations altogether, I do believe that a greater awareness of what’s happening on the web and more open discussions with our peers will lessen the associated pains.

 

Salesforce Recaps 2019 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Results

For those of you who build websites for retailers and ecommerce companies, the annual data on Black Friday and Cyber Monday performance is one you can’t afford to miss. I realize it might only seem relevant for one month of the year, but you can actually learn a lot about where consumer trends are heading based on how sales performed over the holidays.

Here are some of the more pertinent bits from Salesforce’s summary of Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

  • Black Friday sales reached $7.2 billion in the U.S. (up 14%);
  • Cyber Monday sales reached $8 billion (up 11%).

A lot of this growth can be attributed to consumers’ growing trust in mobile shopping what with 73% of all digital traffic on Black Friday originating on mobile devices and 56% of all purchases made on mobile devices.

So, if you haven’t yet made the switch to mobile-first design or optimizing for mobile checkout, now is the time to do that.

 

Jason Dorsey Suggests Millennial $$$ Woes May Soon Be Over

Jason Dorsey, the president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, has predicted a positive change in the state of millennial finances in the next decade.

Why does he believe that this debt-plagued generation will finally see a turnaround? There are five indicators he references:

  1. As millennials move further away from college, they’ll have a better handle on managing their debt (if they haven’t wiped it out completely);
  2. Many millennials are about to hit peak earnings in their careers;
  3. “The Great Wealth Transfer” is anticipated (i.e. older generations passing on inheritances to millennials);
  4. As the job market strengthens and debt shrinks, millennials may finally feel confident enough to buy homes for themselves;
  5. The same goes for those who delayed marriage during uncertain times.

With more money to spend and confidence to spend it with, millennials are going to be a huge driving force in the coming years. And this will most definitely affect web designers.

You may encounter more millennial business owners with cash to spend. And you’re definitely going to be designing web experiences to cater to the millennial consumer base. So, understanding how they think, what they value, and how much money they have to spend is going to be critical for your future success.

 

Wrap-Up

That’s it for this month’s look at the latest digital news and research.

If you’re interested in staying on top of information that’s going to impact your work, be sure to tune into WebDesigner Depot every month for more data and report roundups.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.



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Popular design news of the week: January 13, 2020 – January 19, 2020

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

Why I Quit Using Google

 

This is the One Skill Designers Need to Develop Most in 2020

 

The Definitive Guide to Landing Pages

 

Goodbye, Clean Code

 

Netflix Rejects their New Layout in this A/B Test

 

UX Design Trends Retrospective 2019

 

SPELLL

 

Design System Checklist

 

The Complete List of Font Formats and their Use

 

Hand-Picked List of the Best WordPress Themes in Every Niche for 2020

 

HTML Attributes to Improve your Users’ Two Factor Authentication Experience

 

3 Illustration Trends that will Be Big in 2020

 

Back to Basics in Typography

 

Typo Puns – Series of Fun Typographic Joke Posters

 

20 Best Number Fonts for Displaying Stylish Numbers

 

How to Make Money as a Product Designer

 

UXTweak: Platform for UX Researchers and Designers

 

Welcome to Apple: A One-party State

 

Yell Launches New Salary Tool for Graphic Designers

 

17 Trends in Illustration and Graphic Design to Meet 2020

 

Everything You Think You Know About Minimalism is Wrong

 

KPI is an Imperative Tool for UX Designers

 

Calculate Colors, Share Palettes

 

Being a Solo Founder: Pros, Cons, Tips and Tricks

 

How to Write your CTAs to Fit your Campaign

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Popular design news of the week: January 6, 2020 – January 12, 2020

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

Design Trends 2020: Outside the Box

 

What are the 10 UX Trends for 2020?

 

Flat UI and a Half

 

Designers React to the New PS5 Logo (and it’s not Pretty)

 

This Website Lets You Name a HEX Code

 

Notably – Create Markdown Content, Code Snippets and Text Notes

 

New Logo and Identity for Fisher-Price by Pentagram

 

2019: Projects of the Year

 

Design Resolutions

 

Figma’s Features for the Entire Design Process

 

Instagram Font Generator

 

The Next Decade of Design will Be About Fixing the Last Century of Excess

 

Using the “Flywheel Effect” in Product Design

 

Neumorphism will not Kill the Skeuomorphism Star

 

Toyota’s Creepy New ‘Prototype Town’ is a Real-life Westworld

 

The End of “Someone”

 

Fritch – Free Vintage Typeface

 

The Split Personality of Brutalist Web Development

 

All Design Conferences

 

Anatomy of a Logo: The Star Wars Logo Evolution

 

6 Category Page Design Examples

 

Color Stuck? Try the Color Palette Finding Technique Graphic Designers Love

 

7 UI Trends to Watch in 2020

 

Here’s the Typography of the Next Decade

 

Designers Need to Get Paid. Let’s Ban ‘Exposure’ Once and for all

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Popular design news of the week: December 30, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

Re-Imagining the Bottom Navigation Bar

 

The 20 Biggest Tech Flops of the 2010s

 

Neumorphism will not Be a Huge Trend in 2020

 

Bullet Journal Layout with CSS Grid, Subgrid & Flexbox

 

Kontent: All-In-One Content Design Tool

 

The Best and Worst Brand Designs of the Decade

 

Moca – Free Online Wireframing Tool

 

Top 8 Free Open Source Tools for Graphic Designers

 

Mobile UX Design Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

 

Fundamentals of Hierarchy in Interface Design

 

How to Get Ahead as a Freelance Designer in 2020

 

10 Tips to Improve your Typography Skills

 

The Best UX and Design Events in 2020

 

The 100 Most Famous Logos of All-Time

 

12 Color Tools to Boost Productivity for Designers

 

How to Become a Graphic Designer Without Going to University

 

Intelligent Apps for a Promising Future

 

The Bitter Truth About Being a UX Designer

 

Neal.fun – Bringing Back the Weird Web!

 

2019 in Review: 3 Website Design Myths

 

Every Sunrise of 2019 Website

 

Achieving Better Engagement Through UX – The Secret to Gamification

 

7 Requirements of a Holistic Design System

 

How to Make a Grid-Powered Resume

 

2020 will Be the Year AI Kills Company Dashboards

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Popular design news of the week: December 23, 2019 – December 29, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

Creating a Checkbox like it’s 2020

 

9 Web Design Trends for 2020

 

4 Essential Steps for Building a Website

 

10 Websites with Inspiring Micro-Interactions

 

Top Landing Page Design Trends You Should Follow in 2020

 

10 Things I Learned About SEO in 2019

 

Top 10 Logo Design Trends for 2020: Insights And Examples

 

Is Web Design Easier or Harder than it was 10 Years Ago?

 

React: Designer’s Guide to the Terminal

 

Creative 404 Page Designs

 

6 Design Factors Behind a Truly Successful Website

 

The 9 Best Interactive Design of the Year

 

UX Starter Crash Course

 

Iarcade: Free Arcade Script

 

How to Test Readability

 

Best Data Visualization Projects of 2019

 

5 Tips for a Great Presentation of your Design Projects

 

Guide to Email Automation Management

 

Color Theory and Contrast Ratios

 

Online Image Color Picker for Designers

 

3 Underused CSS Features to Learn for 2020

 

15 Illustrations to Share Winter Beauty and Christmas Magic

 

Manrope – Free Sans-Serif Variable Font

 

6 Steps for a Better Product Design Workflow

 

Winter Wonderland: 40+ Illustrations of Christmas and Winter

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Popular design news of the week: December 16, 2019 – December 22, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

PhotoStockEditor: Free HD Images for Commercial Use

 

UI/UX Design Trends for 2020

 

Bravo Studio: Free App Builder for Designers

 

Creative Agency Spends $10,000 on Blank Ads

 

Neumorphism in User Interfaces

 

Disney Plus – Quick Wins for a Better Way-finding Experience

 

After More than 6 Years, IMDb Finally Gets a Redesign

 

What Happens After Prisoners Learn to Code?

 

An Ultimate Guide to Movie Poster Design

 

Choosing the Right Font for your Design

 

Krabby – Keyboard-Based Navigation Browser Extension

 

Writing JavaScript with Only Six Characters

 

The London Underground’s Logo Gets an Inspired Redesign

 

Our Favorite Typefaces of 2018

 

Pantone’s Color of the Year is Awful

 

Your Final_Final Designer Gift Guide of 2019

 

10 Best Design Podcasts that Inspire in 2020

 

Creating Outstanding Website Content in 3 Steps

 

Data-Driven UX with Google Analytics

 

Web Typography in 2020: What will it Look Like?

 

Google Design’s Best of 2019

 

Reimagining Design Systems at Spotify

 

The 14 Most Important Design Ideas of the Decade, According to the Experts

 

Important Rules for a UX Team of One

 

Good Enough Design: How to Boost your Efficiency

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Popular design news of the week: December 9, 2019 – December 15, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

PNGDB.com – Download Millions of Free PNG Images

 

Free Vector Illustrations for Web Designers

 

15 Tools Web Designers Should Try in 2020

 

People with Cool Avatars

 

New Levi’s Logo is Infuriating Typophiles

 

Why You Shouldn’t Use Solid or Underlined Text Fields

 

Leonardo: Contrast-based Color Generator

 

Accessibility Tips for Web Developers

 

17 Useful Tools for UI/UX Designers

 

Responsive Breakpoints Generator

 

18 Christmas Gifts for Designers

 

Sentence Lengths

 

Is it Possible to Draw the Internet?

 

Modern Brands Going Back to their Vintage Logos

 

Why CSS HSL Colors are Better!

 

10 Ways to Make a Fully Personalized UI

 

Mental Models for Designers

 

Introducing Unsplash for Brands

 

Investigating the Designer’s Aesthetic-Accessibility Paradox

 

Think You Can’t Escape Google? You Haven’t Seen Anything yet

 

Measuring User Experience with Usability Metrics

 

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Smaller Web Design Projects

 

Branding is Dead, CX Design is King

 

Principles of Conversational Design

 

Why Systems Give You More Creativity

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Popular design news of the week: December 2, 2019 – December 8, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

11 Web Accessibility Myths Debunked

 

Pay Attention to these Web Design Trends for 2020

 

Google Fonts by Tags

 

Understanding the Golden Ratio in Design

 

10 Rules of Dashboard Design

 

2019 Design Tools Survey

 

Welcome to XD Ideas – Where Designers Go to Grow

 

The State of UX in 2020

 

I Ditched Google for DuckDuckGo. Here’s Why You Should Too

 

Designing for Development

 

End of the Year Desktop Wallpapers (December Edition)

 

10 Things that Helped Me Improve as a UI Designer

 

How Sketching will Make You a Smarter Designer

 

Better Web List

 

Google Confirms Nov. 2019 Local Search Update

 

Runway Palette

 

Vladmir Putin is Extricating Russia from the World-wide-web

 

The Plain Text Project

 

Designers: 4 Must-Have Clauses in a Contract

 

The Power of Social Proofing

 

Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is the New Black

 

Spotify 2019 Wrapped

 

ApostropheCMS – An Open-Source Node.js CMS for the Enterprise

 

5 Bad Habits that Can Hurt your WordPress Website

 

Fluiditype for Simple Typography

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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How blockchain will kill fake news (and four other predictions for 2020)

As blockchain’s hype cycle continues to befuddle many about its potential beyond  cryptocurrencies, businesses and governments are moving ahead with projects involving everything from digital identities to voting and supply chain tracking.

Blockchain has slipped into the “Trough of Disillusionment” (see Gartner Hype Cycle), because it got ahead of its technical and operational maturity. As a result, interest has waned as most experiments and implementations failed to provide expected results.

In most cases, the distributed ledger technology (DLT) has not lived up to expectations that it would drive new societal and business models. And with exception of a few shipping-related projects, most enterprise efforts remain stuck in experimentation mode.

The technology, however, is far from a failure; its promise to deliver a single version of data truth over a secure, distributed and immutable ledger remains compelling and as it matures, many see it becoming a ubiquitous platform for financial services, ecommerce and other markets.

By 2023, blockchain is expected to climb out of the hype cycle. And over the next five years industry experts and analysts agree it will expand into a number of pragmatic use cases in payment processing, data sharing, equity trading and contract/document keeping and tracking.

Defeating fake news

One of the more unique future uses for blockhain may be thwarting fake news, according to a recent report from Gartner.

By 2023, up to 30% of world news and video content will be authenticated as real by blockchain ledgers, countering “Deep Fake technology,” according to Avivah Litan, a Gartner vice president of research and co-author of the “Predicts 2020: Blockchain Technology” report.

Fueled by social media news feeds such as Facebook and Google News, fake news is increasingly used by hostile governments to manipulate elections.

Articles and other content based on false information often attracts more viewers than factual news – a benefit to advertisers and ratings, but a problem for public discourse. For example, the top 20 fake news stories about the 2016 U.S. presidential election received more engagement on Facebook than the top 20 election stories from 19 major media outlets, according to one study.

Websites that spread fake news using bot-controlled accounts are usually hosted anonymously, making it extremely difficult to prosecute the perpetraitors.

“AI models that support text writing and video production can be used to rapidly disseminate customized and highly believable fake content that serves as the new breed of cyber weapons,” Litan said in the study. “Tracking assets and proving provenance are two key successful use cases for permissioned blockchain and can be readily applied to tracking the provenance of news content.”

In August, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began developing software that can discover fake news hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips. And in September, Facebook formed an industry group to develop deep fake video detection tools. Facebook’s Partnership on AI includes Microsoft Amazon, Google, DeepMind, and IBM, as well as academics from Oxford, MIT, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley and other schools.

If successful, the efforts by DARPA, Facebook and others will “blacklist” fake content to block it from reaching target victims and create an algorithm that authenticates and tracks content movement to “whitelists,” ensuring its provenance.

“Blockchain technology is proven to excel at supporting this use case as it enables a ‘shared single version of truth’ across multiple entities based on immutable data and audit trails,” Litan wrote.

The New York Times is one of the first major news publications to test blockchain to authenticate news photographs and video content, according to Gartner. The newspaper’s Research and Development team and IBM have partnered on the News Provenance Project, which uses Hyperledger Fabric’s permissioned blockchain to store “contextual metadata.” That metadata includes when and where a photo or video was shot, who took it and how and when it was edited and published.

Blockchain, the newspaper explained, will act as a “database that is not housed on one set of servers owned and operated by one entity, but by many entities and servers that are kept updated simultaneously” making the records of each change traceable.

“Files are not so much changed as built upon,” former Times editor and independent consultant Sasha Koren said in a blog.

Blockchain for digital securities exchanges

For the same reason cross-border financial transactions are simpler and cheaper than traditional methods run by central banks, digital securities traded across blockchain ledgers are also likely to become popular in the near future.

“So far, the primary use case is money, led by Bitcoin,” said Bruce Fenton, founder and managing director of Atlantic Financial and a board member of the Bitcoin Foundation.

Today, securities settlement is performed by central, private organizations such as Depository Trust and Clearance Corp. (DTCC) in the U.S. and Euroclear in the European Union. The process of moving stocks and bonds between buyers and sellers can take as long as three days, but delays aren’t uncommon and the actual transfer among financial services firms can take 10 days or more, according to Fenton.

“The challenge with securities now is you need a trusted third party to say what’s true,” Fenton said. “It’s not your broker. It’s not Merrill Lynch or Fidelity and it’s not the issuer either; Apple has no clue who their shareholders are either. The function is performed by these large centralized groups because the brokers don’t necessarily trust each other; they’re dealing with their competitors.”

The problem with central settlement organizations is that transactions become bottlenecked through the use of a single ledger. With blockchain, trust becomes moot as digital tokens representing securities or money are inextricably linked to the funds or securities – and transfers can take place in a day or even hours, Fenton said.

Blockchain could also change how corporate public offerings are done. Many private companies forgo a public offering because of the complexity of the process. With blockchain ledgers, securities linked to digital tokens could move more easily between financial institutions by simply bypassing a central clearance organization.

“Just as you can move [Bitcoin] between one crypto account to another, you could move millions of dollars between crypto exchanges in less than a day,” Fenton said. “If that happens, then it’s exciting because you end up in a world where [there are] a lot more companies that are traded and changing hands. You could have a lot of things that are private now be public and be able to trade shares between investors and between borders.”

One potential problem with blockchain-based securities exchanges is performance; the distributed ledger has proven to be slow, and potentially costly. But new consensus algorithms and off-chain processing promise to speed up throughput by orders of magnitude.

China likely to take the blockchain lead, leave the U.S. in the rearview

The Chinese government recently announced a new focus on blockchains for commerce, a move likely to influence global development and spending. President Xi Jinping in October stressed that the country would have a blockchain-focused strategy; the decision affects Chinese government initiatives, regulations and spending by various regional governments.

Conversely, U.S. and European regulators have made no bones about their cautious, if not adversarial, approach to blockchain and the digital tokens moved across distributed ledgers. Additionally, the U.S. and Europe have well “developed and mature” world economies, so any large-scale move to embrace blockchain could be disruptive.

Because the initiatives in China are top down, they affect not only spending by the single largest entity (the government), but also native business interests who want to remain in good graces, Fenton said.

“Private businesses might choose to implement this technology or in some cases will need to, in order to remain competitive,” Fenton said. “When you have the leader of the country saying they’re going to invest in something, I think you’ll see a lot more of the public and private sector leaders in China and, ultimately, around the world reacting to that. 

“Unfortunately, the U.S. is getting left behind in many areas because of its slow regulatory regime.”

As regulators continue to struggle to provide clear guidance to crypto- and blockchain-based industries, collaboration will continue to occur among companies seeking to self-regulate, according to Katherine Johnson, vice president of compliance and general counsel for Storj Labs. Storj Labs is a cloud storage provider whose technology is based on blockchain.

For example, the Crypto Ratings Council hopes to to rank digital assets on the likelihood of being deemed a security versus a utility token, or a service that can represent API keys that unlock a service (essentially, selling a service using the tokens).

“U.S.-based companies will continue to mitigate the risk posed by the uncertain domestic regulatory landscape by branching out into crypto- and blockchain-friendly jurisdictions,” Johnson said in a statement.

Jonathan Johnson, president of CEO of Overstock.com and its investment arm Medici Ventures, agreed, saying via email that “innovation-friendly jurisdictions (i.e., not the U.S.) will begin to see efficiencies, trust, and transparency in government services as blockchain-based products begin to leave the lab and gain wider adoption.”

Blockchain for identity

Enterprises who’ve dipped their toes into the blockchain ecosystem still aren’t ready to dive in. Skepticism remains, hindering adoption in a meaningful way, according to Ken Elefant, managing director of investment firm Sorenson Capital.

Elefant calls blockchain a “phenomenal technology” that will change industries, but its adoption will be slow because it can’t happen in a vacuum; it will require a shared ecosystem among enterprises; one company can’t simply adopt it and expect returns on its investment without others climbing onboard.

Blockchain will more quickly take root in financial services for security and management of identities – first for businesses and later for consumers. “Identity today is really difficult to manage across the entire ecosystem,” Elefant said.

“Where I think blockchain should be used is in areas where there’s a middleman for know your customer [KYC] applications, anti-money laundering [AML] apps or counterpart reconciliation and other areas where traditional rules-based systems are very manual,” Elefant continued. “There’s huge ROI in those areas.”

Enabling full digital ID coverage could unlock economic value worth anywhere from  3% to 13% of GDP in 2030 in seven key countries – if the digital ID program enables multiple high-value use cases and sees widespread adoption, according to a report by consultancy McKinsey & Company. The seven countries are: Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

The online credentials would be akin to identify information a person might have in his or her wallet: a driver’s license, a bank debit card or a company ID. Instead of a physical card, however, the IDs in digital wallets would be encrypted on a blockchain ledger and link back to the institutions that created them, such as a bank, a government agency or even an employer. Through blockchain and a smart contract, the digital information could automatically verify information to a requestor.

“Think of the [blockchain] distributed ledger as a database and only the individuals or companies authorized have access to that data – unlike the internet today where you and I can be marketed to by anybody,” Elefant said. “That’s the beauty of blockchain. It’s pre-certified and the only entity that has control over their ID is that identity itself.”

Additonally, fintech firms, software makers, telecom providers and other businesses have joined forces to develop blockchain-based networks that will enable anyone to exchange digital credentials online without the risk of unintentionally exposing private data. One consortium is the Sovrin Foundation, a nonprofit organization now developing the Sovrin Network, which could enable anyone to globally exchange pre-verified data with any entity also on the network.

When a business wants to transact with a bank or some other business on the network, they’ll be pre-certified to do so, whether for wire transfers between businesses or cross-border exchanges.



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