Could Apple leverage its existing relationship with media outlets to install a blockchain system behind the scenes to kick-start adoption by providing free crypto tokens to its vast user base? Photo: iStock/Getty

It will take a tech giant to kick start blockchain: While the likes of Amazon and HTC have carried out blockchain projects, the reality is no tech giant has yet done the full deep dive into the new technology. A new opinion piece from Fortune argues that it “going to take a tech giant like Apple to make blockchain payments work at scale.” The article says that Apple “could leverage its existing relationship with media outlets to install a blockchain system behind the scenes, and kick-start adoption by providing free tokens to its vast user base.” While the Fortune piece admits this is all pure speculation about Apple, the piece does point out that Facebook, Microsoft and Google are all working on some kind of crypto-based payment solutions.

China’s crypto’s past, present and future: An interesting new report published by Nasdaq reflects on the country’s digital currency development, from being the ‘Wild West’ of the crypto world to now overseeing the world’s largest and most regulated blockchain ecosystem. At the beginning of 2017, says the report, 80% of all blockchain currency transactions were conducted in RMB and the majority of the world’s crypto mining activity took place in mainland China. Today RMB transactions make up barely 1% of the global trade volume and the majority of world’s crypto mining operations are in Siberia. However, China has not just fully-embraced blockchain but, claims the report, Beijing’s financial overlords have always been admirers of crypto-currencies, as a “secure online trading unit” that has “clear advantages,” and the report concludes that “it’s only a matter of time until this tug-of-war between China’s government regulators and online traders finds a new field.”

Busan Port starts supply chain blockchain trial: South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, together with its Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, has started a year-long pilot blockchain project at the Port of Busan to see if the technology can make supply chains more transparent, faster and allow for shipping data to be shared securely and in real time. The Port of Busan is the biggest in South Korea and the fifth busiest in the world and if the project is successful, the blockchain initiative will be rolled out in ports across the country.

Crypto gets the Hollywood treatment: According to the Hollywood Reporter, a group of movie companies have formed the Blockchain Global Entertainment Alliance, a non-profit focused on promoting blockchain technology in the global entertainment industry. Blockchain alliance member Rouslan Ovtcharoff from Millennium Media told Hollywood Reporter: “It has the potential to fundamentally change the way our business is conducted in addition to helping us solve the piracy problem.”

Blockchain industry decline, what a difference a year makes: This time last year, reports CNBC, Bitcoin was approaching $20,000, its highest price point, and blockchain jobs were booming. Today Bitcoin is hovering around $3,300 and the blockchain sector is seeing huge job losses. CNBC says data shows “a massive increase in the number of crypto-related jobs posted in 2017 followed by a slump in 2018” and says that blockchain services company Consensus has cut 13% of its staff, while Steemit, a blockchain start-up, recently announced it was laying off 70% of its workforce. So what will next year bring?