130 episodes

Insureblocks is a dedicated weekly podcast on blockchain, smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the insurance industry. Hosted by Walid Al Saqqaf, this podcast will invite expert speakers from incumbents to the most promising start-ups in London, New York, Zurich and around the world. Insureblocks is the best way to not only understand the basics of blockchain but to also hear about proof of concepts, what insurance companies have done, their learnings and the end results. Whether you are new to or an expert on blockchain and would like to understand the impact it will have on the insurance industry, this is the podcast you'll want to tune into.

Insureblocks Walid Al Saqqaf - Blockchain insurance

    • Business
    • 4.8, 22 Ratings

Insureblocks is a dedicated weekly podcast on blockchain, smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the insurance industry. Hosted by Walid Al Saqqaf, this podcast will invite expert speakers from incumbents to the most promising start-ups in London, New York, Zurich and around the world. Insureblocks is the best way to not only understand the basics of blockchain but to also hear about proof of concepts, what insurance companies have done, their learnings and the end results. Whether you are new to or an expert on blockchain and would like to understand the impact it will have on the insurance industry, this is the podcast you'll want to tune into.

    Ep.19 – Insurwave: the insurer’s perspective with MS Amlin and XL Catlin

    Ep.19 – Insurwave: the insurer’s perspective with MS Amlin and XL Catlin

    Insurwave, the new marine insurance blockchain platform launched by EY, Guardtime, Microsoft, Willis Tower Watson, XL Catlin, MS Amlin and ACORD and piloted by Maersk has been a recurring theme here at Insureblocks.

    In a previous episode, Insurwave - a Maersk pilot for marine blockchain insurance, we examined the client’s perspective. In a more recent episode, Insurwave: the complete story with EY, we discussed the process of creating Insurwave. To complete the circle, today we will look at Insurwave from an insurer’s perspective.

    For today’s episode we were lucky enough to have two speakers, Madeline Bailey, Head of Strategic Initiatives at MS Amlin, and Hélène Stanway, Digital Leader at XL Catlin.

    Blockchain in two minutes

    Blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows users to share data in real time in a secure and immutable way. This data can be related to assets, for example the location of a vessel, or it can be a smart contract, a piece of code set to execute when a set of specified parameters is fulfilled.

    Blockchain has the potential to create trust between parties in the insurance industry and improve risk intelligence, lowering costs and benefiting parties across the insurance value chain.


    Why Insurwave?

    In the past four years the marine insurance industry has experienced declining performance and increasing combined operating ratios. It has become necessary, therefore, to take a strategic look at the industry and consider how new technologies can improve efficiency. In building Insurwave, both MS Amlin and XL Catlin were willing to take a leadership position in the insurance industry and commit to a vision of how the industry is going to develop.

    In an industry not known for embracing change, developing Insurwave came with challenges. Working alongside competitors and completely re-inventing the underwriting process is not something insurance companies have done before. However, every participant was keen to grasp an opportunity to cooperate with representatives across the value chain and consider what each needs out of an insurance transaction to re-imagine the underwriting process.

    The low margins plaguing the insurance industry posed an additional challenge. Unlike usual, well defined projects, it is harder to quantify the costs and benefits of investing in innovation. For that reason it was important to have a clear set of goals with Insurwave. One of the main factors Insurwave has been successful is its focus on providing hull and war cover for its pilot with Maersk.


    Insurwave’s effect

    Insurwave allows parties to seamlessly share data between them. By combining blockchain with IoT data, parties have access to real time information. At the moment Insurwave provides over thirty data points per vessel. The aim is to get to fifty. Insurers get more data, get data of different types and get it in real time.

    Up until now, insurers traditionally looked backwards to quantify risk. This means the insurance industry has yet to come up with a definitive answer on how to use all this new data but Insurwave opens up a range of new possibilities.

    • 31 min
    Ep. 120 – UNICEF Venture Fund & Case Studies – OS City, Atix Labs and StaTwig

    Ep. 120 – UNICEF Venture Fund & Case Studies – OS City, Atix Labs and StaTwig

    Cecilia Chapiro, is the Investment Adviser & Blockchain Portfolio Manager at UNICEF Ventures. Her focus is on sourcing investments across developing and emerging markets, managing blockchain portfolio of investment as well as other frontier technologies. In this podcast she introduces us to the UNICEF Venture Fund and to 3 startups use case studies: OS City, Atix Labs and StaTwig.

    Cecilia, is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded Yunus & Youth an organisation working to support the growth of social entrepreneurship.


    What is blockchain?

    Cecilia, chose to define “what is blockchain” by assuming that we’re all at a party and we’re playing the telephone game also known as Chinese whispers. It’s essentially a word game, a communication game within a circle of friends. Let’s imagine that within a circle of 20 friends one person comes up with a first phrase and starts a chain of communication by whispering that phrase to a person on their left. Each person then takes what they heard and continues the chain of communication by whispering this same phrase to the following person.

    This continues until it reaches the end of the circle back to the original source of truth. What usually happens is that the message gets distorted either intentionally or unintentionally. But because there's only one source of truth, any individual within that network who receives the message has no idea how truthful the statement that they received, is.

    However, on the opposite end, if we think about that first person, the original source of truth, the creator of that phrase. If he/she announces the phrase to the entire group at the same time, then even if one individual decides to distort the message, there’ll be enough members of the group who can attest to the one source of truth. The truth is determined by the majority.

    For Cecilia, this is what blockchain is all about. It’s distributed data that allows any member within the blockchain network to have a copy of all the data at all times, thus ensuring maximum security of the data.


    UNICEF Venture Fund

    The UNICEF Venture Fund is a $30 million pooled funding vehicle focused on identifying, piloting and growing technology startups that improves the lives of children. They focus on startups that can impact more than a billion people and lie in $100 billion markets, in other words technologies that can impact large groups of people and be financially sustainable.

    Blockchain is one of those key technologies that the fund focuses on. The fund’s main objective is to scale the successful technology solution into digital public goods to ensure open access to these new tools and the benefits that these tools can generate globally.

    UNICEF Venture Fund provides startups with up to $100,000 of equity free funding. For this year’s cohort the investment opportunity is a blend of both USD and cryptocurrencies thanks to the UNICEF’s crypto fund that was launched in October 2019. This crypto fund is the first cryptocurrency denominated fund within the United Nations.

    UNICEF doesn’t get a financial return on the investment but instead gets a return on the social impact their investment can have. They only invest in solutions that intend to be licensed as open source techno...

    • 48 min
    Ep.119 – Is Open Source the Future of Blockchain?

    Ep.119 – Is Open Source the Future of Blockchain?

    Chris Ferris is an IBM Fellow and CTO for Open Technology and Governing Board Member of Hyperledger. In this exciting podcast we discuss "is open source the future of blockchain"? Open source has increasingly converted enterprises to both use its technology and contribute to its code base. In a similar manner open source in the form of its open governance approach has some important lessons for blockchain networks to analyse and adopt. Have a listen and let us know if you think open source is the future of blockchain?


    What is blockchain?

    At its essence a blockchain is an audit log of successive records where each successive record in that audit log is cryptographically bound to all of the log entries before it. Blockchain can be used as a means of ensuring that there hasn't been any tampering of the contents of that audit log. There are other technologies that are built out around it to give it purpose.


    What is open source?

    The formal definition of open source is that it's software whose source code is made freely available and can be redistributed and it can be modified.

    The Open Source Initiative has ten dimensions defining what is open source and the terms for its distribution:

    * Free redistribution

    * Source code must be included in program

    * Derived works can be modified and freely redistributed

    * Integrity of the author’s source code

    * No discrimination against persons or groups

    * No discrimination against fields of endeavour

    * Distribution of license

    * License must not be specific to a product

    * License must not restrict other software

    * License must be technology-neutral


    History of open source & why are enterprises contributors to open source

    In 1983 open source was known as the “free software” movement with Microsoft labelling it as the “enemy”. In 1998 “free software” evolved into “open source”. Microsoft wasn’t the enemy anymore and it along with Red Hat, Intel, Alibaba Group, Google, Facebook and of course IBM became some of the biggest enterprise contributors to open source.

    What is important to understand is that whilst open source is free many firms such as IBM, Red Hat or Microsoft offer services to support the software or build commercialised versions of open source software.

    Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director at Hyperledger was also involved in the original formation of the Apache Software Foundation. At the foundation they have an expression called Do-ocracy, which is where you roll up your sleeves, you get down and you do the work. From an open source perspective, even from a corporate or an enterprise engagement in open source perspective it really is about the notion of do-ocracy.

    Enterprises like IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat and others get involved in open source projects because they’re of strategic interest and/or they’re using that technology as a function of a platform, offering or tools they they’re selling. Their contribution to open source projects is out of self-interest.

    Chris gives the example that if IBM is using Kubernetes to power the container orchestration within the IBM Cloud, “..well, then we would be silly not to contribute to Ku...

    • 59 min
    Ep. 118 – UAE blockchain deployment case studies and learnings

    Ep. 118 – UAE blockchain deployment case studies and learnings

    Mariam Al Muhairi is the Head of the UAE’s Centre for the 4th Industrial Revolution and  Project Manager at the Dubai Future Foundation. She joins us to discuss the UAE’s blockchain deployment case studies and learnings. She also shares some fascinating results of a survey conducted with over 100 stakeholders from more than 60 various governmental and non-governmental entities across the UAE regarding top blockchain implementation challenges and success factors.


    What is blockchain?

    Mariam likes to see things in the form of physical blocks. For her blockchain are blocks, identifiable by a unique code, that stores information, and stores who is transacting with the information. Each transaction is verified through a process that involves miners on a public blockchain which creates great security. This ultimately also helps to avoid blocks being tampered and used in a fraudulent manner.


    Dubai Future Foundation

    The UAE’s Centre for the 4th Industrial Revolution is an initiative under the Dubai Future Foundation. The Future Foundation was established in 2016 with a main mandate across five departments to look into the future of Dubai and identify trends that will benefit both the economy but also the society and other areas within the Emirates. The five departments include:

    * Foresight and imagination – development of trends

    * Content dissemination – the aim is to fill the gap in the dissemination of scientific and technological content in Arabic to the UAE and MENA region

    * Capacity building – an academy where people can take courses but also a platform where experts present to the public

    * A platform to facilitate the partnering up of startups with government entities

    * Museum of the future is due to open next year as both a touristic attraction but also as a policymaking tool to see how people react to different ideas or different scenarios of the future


    UAE’s Centre for the 4th Industrial Revolution, which Mariam leads is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum and the Dubai Future Foundation. The Centre focuses on policy development for emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and precision medicine.


    Dubai Blockchain Strategy & The Emirates Blockchain Strategy

    The Dubai Blockchain Strategy, launched in October 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, was the result of a collaboration between the Smart Dubai Office  and the Dubai Future Foundation to continuously explore and evaluate the latest technology innovations that demonstrate an opportunity to deliver more seamless, safe, efficient and impactful city experiences. Additionally, it was about creating an industry and a market around this emerging technology as well as figure out how it could be used.

    The strategy establishes a roadmap for the introduction of blockchain technology for Dubai and the creation of an open platform to share the technology with cities across the globe. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy is built on three pillars of government efficiency, industry creation and international leadership.

    * Government efficiency: under this pillar, the strategy will contribute to increased government efficiency by implementing blockchain and ena...

    • 46 min
    Ep. 117 – Monetizing Data in a Data Privacy Manner – Ocean Protocol’s Compute-to-Data

    Ep. 117 – Monetizing Data in a Data Privacy Manner – Ocean Protocol’s Compute-to-Data

    AI loves data, the more data it has the more accurate the models are which leads to better business outcomes and better research outcomes. A lot of the data today is locked behind closed walls. To unlock the digital economy and to train AI models, you need to unlock private data, that is exactly what Ocean’s Compute-to-Data is doing. It’s unlocking private data while preserving privacy. Join us and Trent McConaghy, Co-Founder of Ocean Protocol, as we discuss how to unlock data in privacy manner in order to monetize it.

    Trent has a background in AI and has been working in the real of blockchains for the last several years with a focus on data.  His initial work was around IP and data, and then on big data with a blockchain database.


    What is blockchain?

    A mundane definition of blockchain is that it is a database with three special characteristics: decentralised immutable assets:

    * Decentralised as in, no single entity owns or controls it. If for example you have tens of thousands of people running it then it starts to act and look like a public utility just as a gas company or the internet itself. This public utility records “state”.

    * Immutable means once you’ve written onto it, it’s there for good. This is very useful characteristic for tracking provenance whether of financial instruments or of a fruit flowing from a farm in one country to a supermarket shelf in another.

    * The idea of assets is if you have the private key, or password, to something then you own it. For example, if you have a Bitcoin private key then you own approximately $10,000.

    Since that initial inception of blockchain a few new characteristics have been added:

    * Smart contracts which are essentially unstoppable scripts that run on top of a blockchain automatically when they have received the appropriate inputs.

    * Blockchains are seen as incentive machines to get people to perform certain actions. Bitcoin for example gets people to add to the security the Bitcoin network through hashing, known as Bitcoin mining. People are willing to expend computational power to do this hashing, add security to the network, in the hope of getting paid in Bitcoins by the Bitcoin network.


    About Ocean

    Ocean Protocol is a decentralized data exchange protocol to unlock data for AI, launched in 2017. Leveraging blockchain technology, Ocean Protocol connects data providers and consumers, allowing data to be shared while guaranteeing traceability, transparency, and trust for all stakeholders involved. It allows data owners to give value to and have control over their data assets without being locked-into any single marketplace.


    The data economy

    In July 2019, Trent recorded his first podcast with Insureblocks entitled “The Data Economy – Insights from OceanProtocol”. He sees that the data economy is already a true economy in that there is buying and selling of data but the key is that it’s really hard to see it. You could nearly characterise it as a sort of shadow data economy, where there's buying and selling data, but it's mostly behind closed doors.

    On the one hand it’s visible if you’re buying data feeds from Bloomberg regarding stock prices. On the other a lot of data is bought and sold behind closed doors that you don’t hear about. For example, we don’t hear about the 150 plus organisations that Fa...

    • 55 min
    Ep. 116 – INATBA – International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications

    Ep. 116 – INATBA – International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications

    Marc Taverner is the executive director of the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) since the middle of January 2020. He has been active in the global blockchain ecosystem for more than five years, working across 20 countries, engaging with organisations from core crypto currency companies to governments and financial institutions, through to large corporates and industry associations.

    As executive director of INATBA, Marc is committed to positioning INATBA as the only international organization truly equipped to convene public and private industry partners with the credible support of powerful allies like the European Commission and key advisory bodies


    What is blockchain?

    For Marc, blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) where transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature called a hash. These are added into a chain of blocks, with each block, validating the prior block and creating an immutable audit trail that in turn creates trust.

    Distributed ledger technology is a decentralised database managed by multiple participants across multiple nodes.

    The reason why blockchain and distributed ledger technology is important is because it finally helps us solve the issue of trust by applying technologies such as cryptography and governance models such as consensus mechanisms.


    What is INATBA?

    To answer the question of what is INATBA, Marc took us on his journey that ultimately took him to INATBA. In the 2014, Marc was introduced to the world of blockchain and bitcoin when he met Valery Vavlivo, CEO and co-founder of Bitfury, who made him Global Ambassador & Markets Development at Bitfury.

    Whilst at Bitfury, Marc learned that trying to get large blockchain applications to scale, such as the Land Registry one for the Republic of Georgia or the one the Ukraine’s Government plans to auction seized assets on a blockchain, would come up against a number of friction points. These frictions points weren’t only technology ones but also one of policy and of interoperability both between nations and between technology stacks.

    All these applications were interesting for those governments and created a great deal of interest with other governments around the world who wanted to leverage those applications and others. But the friction points were preventing the adoption of blockchain based technologies at a massive scale.

    Some of these issues are rooted around the lack of standards and interoperability between technology stacks which would cause governments and large potential customers of this technology to recoil a little from making early decisions for the fear of either putting themselves into a vendor locking position, or a situation where they've made the wrong strategic technological decision.

    INATBA exists to address some of those friction points. They bring a number of parties together from governments and supranational bodies in the public sector to startups, SMEs and enterprises in the private sector, to try and achieve commonality across standards, good governance and interoperability. By reducing those friction points they hope for blockchain to be massively adopted.



    Establishing standards and interoperability from a technology perspecti...

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

coinsight ,

Breath of fresh air

Walid is knowledgeable and gives good insight into a new and promising technology. For anyone who is interested in the insurance industry and is looking for good content then this podcast is for you.

Str nagy ,


Great podcast series with really interesting people, subject matter experts and influencers. Good quality recording and relaxed delivery. The diversity episode was one of my favourites. Highly recommend it

karl sawyer ,

Great podcast

Always insightful, realistic and pitched at the right level for all to understand.

Top Podcasts In Business

Listeners Also Subscribed To