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The Irregular Newsletter of Z/Yen Group Limited

Catch up with current projects, new ventures and see some very bad puns (Editor: bad metaphor) via Z/Yen's blog or the eagerly awaited newsletter.

To receive your copy electronically, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Z/Yen Drives Successful Crash Course on Mutual Distributed Ledgers

Always keen to share knowledge and spread the word about Mutual Distributed Ledgers, we were delighted when one of our favourite clients [“ssh! They are all our favourites!”  Ed] asked us to build a one day crash course on the subject.  Especially since the course has proved so successful that we can start to offer it to others.  This course is for senior professionals from business, financial services, law, regulators and any other sector who want to "Get a big picture grip on the details".  You will leave with a realistic understanding of the ways you can use MDLs or Blockchains in your business.  The content includes:

  • A basic appreciation of the technologies that underpin MDLs
  • Understanding of the different types of MDLs and how they can be used
  • Sight and use of live MDLs with business data
  • Discussion of how the technology could be used for your business or industry

Regular readers will know that we have already built applications for insurance, Know Your Customer/AML and Corporate Credit.  Unlike many others, we in Z/Yen have real life business experience of using MDLS, and the knowledge that can help your organisation make the right choices.  The course is led by Z/Yen’s MDL team, including Michael Mainelli, Mike Smith and Mary O’Callaghan. 

The next course will take place on 30 November 2015, at Z/Yen’s City office.  For booking and further details visit the event page here.  If you have other questions, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Distributed Futures Forum, Honourable Artillery Company, 29 September 2015

The meeting began swiftly with a presentation by Bob McDowall, Chairman, Finance Committee, States of Alderney entitled “The Folklore of Regulation”.  Bob succeeded in getting everyone off to a great start participating in a discussion that ranged from myths & legends to the stories that regulators and politicians use to ‘sell’ their version of events, or the stories that financial services and other industries use to ‘sell’ how good they are.  As an elected member of the States of Alderney, one of the Channel Islands within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, where he serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Policy Committee, Bob was well qualified to discuss regulation of financial services.  Bob is a frequent contributor to industry thought and comment in the international, national and the financial industry press on financial markets with over 35 years experience in the banking, securities and investment business at companies including Merrill Lynch, Pru-Bache and Singer & Friedlander.  Bob recently completed his three year term as President of the Folklore Society, an Academic Charity, of which he is also a Trustee, based at the Warburg Institute in London.  The discussion concluded with members agreeing to share information on the use of standards markets in financial regulation, a new set of Professional & Business Services Council regulatory principles, and the 2015 States of Jersey consultation on regulation of crypto-currencies, blockchains, and mutual distributed ledgers.

The Programme Chairman, Vinay Gupta then led a ‘round robin’ where members shared some of the top items from their ‘in trays’.  Operating under the Chatham House Rule, there was a significant amount of candour on the state of technologies and the state of adoption of technologies by members.  The round robin was followed by a presentation, “Ledger Legends - Mutual Distributed Ledgers versus The Blockchain”, by Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman, Z/Yen Group.  Michael started his presentation with a ‘just out of the can’ four minute video on Long Finance’s InterChainZ project – “Sharing Ledgers For Sharing Economies: A Boring Introduction To Mutual Distributed Ledgers”.  He then led a very interactive discussion on lessons learned from the project such as identity, data non-ownership, karmic vertigo, sorcerers’ apprentices, ledger evolution, trust versus efficiency, and ten billion people & trillions of devices ‘selling it to the machine’.

Following a brief adjournment, the team dined at the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC). Awarded a Royal Charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII, the HAC was the ideal location to contemplate the long-term nature of mutual distributed ledgers.  Dinner began with ‘Naked Pretzel’ cocktails in honour of Michael’s The Temple and The Souk” concluding theme.  After dinner, Imogen Heap led a discussion on “Who Owns What, Where, When & Why: Digital Rights Management”.  Imogen is an English singer-songwriter and composer.  She is known for her work as part of the musical duo Frou Frou solo albums, which she writes, produces, and mixes.  She has produced four solo albums.  Her 2009 album, Ellipse, was a North American chart success that earned Heap two Grammy nominations, winning Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical in recognition of her technical and engineering work on the record.  In 2010 she received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement.    She explained eloquently and compellingly her vision of Mycelia, a metaphor with spores and mushrooms, and creating a fair trade exchange for artists and musicians.  Dinner concluded with a lively discussion about how technology might help realise Imogen’s ‘working idea space’.

The Impact and Potential of Blockchain on the Securities Transaction Lifecycle

There is considerable interest in the potential use of ‘blockchain’ in the settlement of securities transactions.  Proponents argue that the use of cryptographic security tools to create blockchains (sequential, digitally signed and validated records of ownership) can allow almost instantaneous post-trade delivery against payment (DVP), thus radically simplifying post-trade processing and substantially reducing both costs and operational and liquidity risks.  The SWIFT Institute has commissioned Professor Michael Mainelli & Professor Alistair Milne, Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, to examine the impact and potential of blockchains and mutual distributed ledgers on the lifecycle of securities transactions.

Our research is investigating three hypotheses.  First, that decentralisation can be achieved through other schemes more efficient than 'bitcoin mining'.  Second, that decentralisation will lead to substantial shifts in the functions and organisation of the post-trade landscape. Third, that the adoption of blockchain in securities settlement will require a co-ordinated and widespread change in operational processes, and will not be achievable through piecemeal efforts.  These three hypotheses are being explored using a combination of desk-based analysis, focus groups and structured interviews.  We held a workshop on 29 September examining “Mutual Distributed Ledgers versus The Blockchain”.  We intend to hold a second workshop in November.  We are also drawing upon active research at Long Finance, particularly Distributed Futures –  Our target for completion is February 2016.  We welcome interested parties contacting us for discussion - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Boring is Brilliant: Z/Yen brings Mutual Distributed Ledgers to life on film

Our friends and regular readers will know that Z/Yen has been working with a consortium of interested parties (PwC, Suncorp and DueDil)  to build Mutual Distributed Ledgers (MDLs) for real business applications in financial services, insurance and credit management.  Although they share some technology principles with Blockchain, these MDLs are independent, standalone and extremely flexible to meet real business needs.   

Many of those friends and readers have asked us to explain what MDLs are and how they can be used.  Now that the consortium has completed the first phase of work, InterChainZ, we are in a good position to share answers to these questions and more (see 

Sometimes however, words are not enough, which is why we have also put together a short film, “Sharing Ledgers for Sharing Economies” that demonstrates why MDLs are nothing new, shows our MDLs in action and reveals some of the emerging business applications.  Featuring a barnstorming cameo from our own Professor Michael Mainelli, this short film is a must see for those interested in this boring, old technology.

The next phase of work, IntereXchainZ, is launching now.  This is another research project to build a number of functioning marketplaces based on MDLs.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.