Dear BCG Blockchain Enthusiasts,

Welcome to the special 100th edition of BCG Chainmail.

To "celebrate" the occasion: 

Our inaugural edition of curated links went out on April 22nd, 2016. Since then, our weekly newsletter has been opened an average of 504 times per week, with an average of 76 articles per week clicked. 

Using natural language processing, we parsed 958 articles, consisting of 1,072,238 words, to look for trends and insights from this specific, curated body of content.

The Data
1) Bank Mentions

The first question we asked was, what was the most actively mentioned bank out of the article set?

The data is below, with JP Morgan being the most frequently mentioned bank. Their Quorum project, led by Amber Baldet, has received a good deal of coverage over the years (of note, there was speculation last month that they may be spinning off the project):


2) Bank Sentiment

Are bank efforts related to blockchain being covered positively or negatively?

Using sentiment analysis, we looked at sentiment scores related to bank mentions. The scores range from -1 to +1, with +1 being the highest possible positive score (note: as most bank mentions are generally favorable, all the average sentiment scores were above 0). 

The bank that appeared to be covered the most favorably was BNP Paribas. Santander saw the biggest increase in positive sentiment from 2016 to 2018, while JP Morgan saw the only negative change in sentiment (admittedly it was from a very high 2016 score).


3) Pilot Programs and Proof-of-Concepts

Industry analysts are regularly seeking out concrete product releases using blockchain technologies. We tracked down mentions of pilot programs and Proof of Concepts (PoCs) being launched by banks.

JP Morgan was the the most active bank in this regard. However, when looking at instances of pilot programs against overall mentions, Santander had the highest ratio, meaning articles about Santander were more likely to be about pilot programs and products (versus hiring, consortium, and other news) than any other bank.


4) People / Influencer Mentions

There have been a number of strong personalities in the blockchain news, and the frequency data was fairly predictable. 

 A few fun notes related to the blockchain influencers:

The first Chainmail mention of Vitalik Buterin was in the June 3rd, 2016 edition, related to post on an Ethereum-based prenuptial contract. Ethereum was trading at $13.67 at the time.

There was a spike of interest on Satoshi Nakomoto right around our launch, while the "is Craig Wright the real Satoshi?" speculation was at its peak. A piece to save for your archives was this London Review of Books
longread, The Satoshi Affair, which, clocking in at 35,612 words, is also the longest article to appear in a Chainmail. (*note: mentions of Satoshi from this article were removed from totals to normalize data)

Finally, the influential blockchain thinker Naval Ravikant first appeared in a Chainmail on June 29th, 2017 with this incredible 36 tweet series.


5) Policymaker Mentions

Central banks and regulators have been key players in the evolution of the blockchain industry. Out of a number of global leaders, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was the most frequently mentioned policymaking entity in Chainmail.
As issues like ICO regulation and taxation came to the forefront, we saw a major uptick in mentions in the Fall of 2017.

6) Initial Coin Offerings

Speaking of ICOs, this newsletter has worked to avoid much of the absurdity of the recent ICO frenzy (other than some occassionally entertaining pieces in our “And Finally” section). 

We did, however, find the first ever Chainmail mention of an Initial Coin Offering fairly interesting. It was on October 16, 2016, in the article, "In China, Two Cities Mirror Blockchain-Bitcoin Divide":  

7) Overall Article Sentiment

Therehas been a generally optimistic tone coloring blockchain articles during the life of Chainmail, but we were genuinely surprised to see a steadily increasing positive sentiment score across all articles through late 2017. 

We've plotted the sentiment graph against the price of ETH, and will let our readers know if we are one day accepting money for a Chainmail-backtested crypto-hedge fund
User Click Data
NLP and Sentiment Analysis aside, some of the most interesting data is simply from which articles Chainmail readers clicked on.
The Top 10 Chainmail articles (as per clicks):

Programmable blockchains in context: Ethereum's future - From Vinay Gupta, who helped launch Ethereum

Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble - That incredible longread from the NY Times Magazine

Blockchain and Digital Tokens: A Strategic Perspective - The major December 2016 report from BCG

WTF is Blockchain?! Inside the Most Disruptive Tech Since the Internet - A cartoon series from Ozy

The Truth About Blockchain - A big Jan 2017 piece from the Harvard Business Review

Central bank digital currency: the end of monetary policy as we know it? - A blog post from the Bank of England

9 Things I Learned Working In Blockchain for 24 months - A humorous and cynical Medium post on the industry

blockchain, explained - A collection of must-read articles from The Long+Short

Deutsche Bank: Blockchain Opportunities Are 'Huge' - A presentation from Deutsche Bank's Global Head of Wealth

Blockchain Patents Could Hurt Innovation - A great Fortune piece on the open vs. closed debate

Now Playing
The top Chainmail video (as per clicks):

Blockchain and the Middleman | TED Institute
And Finally....
"If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." - Reid Hoffman

A special thank you to our readers for continuing to open this newsletter even after the painful writing and design that were part of our inaugural edition!
About this Newsletter: 

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