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The Weekend Read: July 31

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Whoa! It's already August and boy it’s been one of this weeks hasn’t it? 90 degree weather, conferences, and the discovery of BigFoot - whoops, I mean the launch of Ethereum...
1.  American Banker’s Digital Currencies + the Blockchain

Bankers and Bitcoiners came together to debate, discuss, and occasionally deride various points of view. R3 was well-represented and played a very active role. Advisor Tim Swanson went head to head with Barry Silbert on whether or not you can separate the Blockchain from Bitcoin (he says, yes!) while our own Todd McDonald moderated a panel exploring the impact of regulation on the digital currency and blockchain space. I for one learned a lot on that panel including but not limited to the fact that the prevailing AML/KYC regulations were introduced a year before the floppy disk. In 1971. #Progress

A thorough overview of the event and the various panel discussions can be found here
2.  It’s a New Frontier!
We have all heard about it, discussed it, and even maybe wondered if it even existed but now it’s here. Ethereum "Frontier" officially launched late this week with the mining of the genesis block - in other words they turned on the switch. It has been a long time coming - the original, (in)famous crowdsale launched just over a year ago, raising $18m USD worth of BTC to sell pre-mined crypto-fuel tokens known as “ether”. Confused already? Don’t worry me, too. However, apparently someone was able to successfully explain Ethereum to their mom with this.
Side note: any one know the number of times Ethereum was forked prior to launch?
3.  It’s an Overstock-ed Market
Not to be outdone, another highly anticipated and awaited initiative launched with a splash on Friday. Overstock announced the sale of a $5 million digital security in the form of a cryptobond to FNY Managed Accounts LLC ("First New York"), an affiliate of FNY Capital.  Overstock’s highly visible CEO Patrick Byrne, "On the evening of August 4 we are holding a launch party at NASDAQ headquarters to expose to the world the great strides we are making in our efforts to adapt cryptotechnology to the needs of Wall Street, of which this bond is but one example.” (Unfortunately Mr. Byrne, I will need to check my calendar - it is a bit last minute!)
In all seriousness, it will be interested to see how this plays out, especially as we look at issues relating to settlement finality - do crypto-assets qualify? Do certain assets qualify when others do not? Some food for thought.
Some Extra Credit Reading
I highly suggest checking out the blog Fifth Moment, written by Ayoub Naciri. His recent post, “Survival of the Collaborative” explores the need for collaboration among the banks in order for true fintech disruption. (Sound like a great idea!)