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The 35 year old twins, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, have developed a $100m.bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF) for bitcoin. If the pending decision from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provides approval, the result will be a new means for investors to gain exposure to bitcoin without actually buying the digital currency. The pending decision plus numerous other factors in the growth of usage of bitcoin have driven the price to nearly $1,300 as of March 5. 

Although I remain bullish on bitcoin, the underlaying infrastructure which enables bitcoin to work, the blockchain, is even more interesting. In addition to underpinning bitcoin, blockchain technology can be used to streamline almost any transaction oriented process. 

IBM, Cisco, Intel and other technology leaders have gotten behind an open source collaborative effort, called the Hyperledger Project, created to advance blockchain technology. Although initially used only for digital currencies, the Hyperledger Project opens up new possibilities in a number of different industries..

IBM and Maersk, the Danish shipping company, are using a blockchain built on the Hyperledger Fabric to manage the supply chain for container shipping. Shipping is a giant global business, but the container shipping process it depends on is paper-intensive. Up to 15% of the shipping cost goes to support the checking of documents by multiple people in hundreds of interactions. With blockchain technology, the process can be digitized so that each container can be tracked using the Internet. The potential for improved efficiency and accuracy is quite large.

Another game changing use of blockchain technology is for voting. Each vote could be treated like a container or a bitcoin. Recording and counting of votes could be much more secure, accurate, and efficient. Read more about the containers at “IBM And Maersk Apply Blockchain To Container Shipping and read more about the use of blockchain technology for voting in Election Attitude – How Internet Voting Leads to a Stronger Democracy.

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