The Morning Download: A Road Atlas for the Blockchain Landscape – CIO Journal.

Good morning, CIOs. Every so often, like maybe one or twice a week, the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies forks in one new direction too many, and it’s time to step back and assess where things stand. CIO Journal Columnist Irving Wladawsky-Berger does just that with his useful look at “The Emergence of a Blockchain-Based Token Economy.” He begins by putting the growth of this economy in perspective, looking at how much it has expanded since Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott published “Blockchain Revolution” in 2016. The book was updated this year, and things have changed.

“When the original book was published, the entire cryptoasset market had a value of $9 billion. The new edition estimates that as of March 2018, the cryptoasset market was around $400 billion in size, a value subject to rapid fluctuations,” Dr. Wladawsky-Berger writes.

Next, he walks us through the distinctions among cryptocurrencies, platforms, security tokens, natural asset tokens and stablecoins, and what they mean for business and beyond. “Whether revolutionary or evolutionary, these technologies promise to disrupt business models and transform industries and economies, but much work remains ahead to turn the promise into reality,” Dr. Wladawsky-Berger concludes. Understanding the forms emerging from this economy is a good start.

Tech hiring rebounds in July. U.S. companies added 75,000 new IT workers last month, after shedding tech jobs since February, cutting 90,000 position in June alone, according to IT industry trade group CompTIA’s analysis of Labor Department data released Friday. The number of IT job postings also rose in July, by 53,000 to more than 300,000, doubling the number of postings in January.


U.S. officials push new penalties for hackers of electrical grid.  Likely tools would be more frequent use of indictments against named hackers, and seeking Red Notices from Interpol, or requests that other nations locate and arrest suspects, which would make it hard for the culprits to travel outside their home countries. Asset seizures and sanctions are two additional tools likely to be used more, the WSJ’s Rebecca Smith reports.

Uncertainty at the top. The officials pushing tougher penalties don’t know whether the president, who has sent contradictory messages on his position concerning Russia’s repeated cyber meddling, will embrace the recommendations.

Singapore attack has hallmarks of state-linked group. Officials there say a June attack which led to the theft of medical data of about 1.5 million people, including the Prime Minister, was the work of an ‘Advanced Persistent Threat’ group, Reuters reports. The government did not share the attackers’ identity.

iPhone contractor hit by virus. Eighty percent of fabrication tools at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co are back online, according to the company, after its systems were hit by a computer virus. Bloomberg reports that the firm blamed the infection on a mistake made during software installation.


Breaking with culture, Honda outsources tech. Under stress from the huge investments needed to develop technologies used in electric vehicles and autonomous driving, automakers are leaning on megasuppliers such as Continental AG, as well as smaller companies with cutting-edge technology such as Intel Corp. subsidiary Mobileye. For Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co., whose official name translates as Honda Technical Research Industry, the shift is forcing it to rethink its identity as a creator of unique auto technologies. The Journal’s Sean McLain reports on Honda’s existential crisis.

From maker to taker. “Honda is changing things that Honda should not change,” said Hideaki Tsuru, who worked in Honda’s R&D arm for 20 years until retiring in 2016. He said making unique products is “Honda’s soul.”

Philippine call centers try to put threat of automation on hold.With business-outsourcing industry generating $23-billion-a-year, nearly one-tenth of the country’s output, industry leaders are training staff to handle more-specialized tasks in an effort to “outpace the algorithms,” the Journal’s James Hookway reports.

Bot race. “Companies such as U.K.-based Celaton Ltd. are working on new software that can mimic what happens at a call center, replacing help desks with virtual bot assistants that can learn to understand different accents and sloppy typing.

Tech industry pivots, now pro-legislation. The WSJ’s John D. McKinnon reports that U.S. tech companies are hoping to pre-empt state regulation of online privacy by helping shape potential new federal privacy legislation.

Past social-media posts upend hiring. More U.S. companies are scouring job candidates’ online personas for racist and other red-flag comments, sometimes tapping software that uses an algorithm to sift through posts. That presents human resources departments with new challenges, including possibly violating digital privacy laws, the Journal’s Rachel Feintzeig and Vanessa Fuhrmans report.

Apple delinks hate site. Apple Inc. removed links from its podcast directory to content from far-right site Infowars, the Journal’s Tripp Mickle reports.


President Trump acknowledged that a meeting his son held with a Russian government lawyer in June 2016 was an attempt “to get information on” Hillary Clinton but defended it as “totally legal.” (WSJ)

America’s biggest companies are reporting some of the strongest earnings growth since the recession, boosted by lowered tax rates and a robust U.S. economy. (WSJ)

Public-sector unions are facing steep falls in revenue and trying to prevent the loss of members in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling.(WSJ)

Global stocks mainly edged lower, as trade tensions weighed on Chinese markets while U.S. firms continued to report strong earnings. (WSJ)

The Morning Download cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning.

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