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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

Long Finance's Distributed Futures research programme launched its latest report at a reception at the Houses of Parliament recently, and then in more detail at The Furniture Makers Hall. The report, entitled, “The Economic Impact Of Smart Ledgers On World Trade”, was the latest in a series of exciting projects in the programme.

The launch events were attended by over 200 people, including members of parliament, commonwealth delegates, cryptocurrency issuers and followers, technologists, bankers, economists, regulators, trade organisations, lawyers and well, just about anyone that’s anyone. 

And they weren’t there, smartly dressed, just for the canapes, historical tour and distinguished speakers. They wanted to see if those smart people at Z/Yen and Cebr (The Centre for Economics and Business Research) had come up with some interesting findings.

And they had. Cebr’s ‘conservative’ estimates suggested that MDL technology could:

  • Boost trade in goods by at least $35 billion, maybe even up to $170 billion;
  • Boost world GDP by up to $20 billion;
  • Add nearly a million people to the global workforce, boosting wages and living standards worldwide;
  • That GDP boost is associated with $3 to $6 more GDP per average global worker;
  • Pretty smart, when considering that many of the world’s poorest people live on less than $2 a day;
  • And this is just goods, imagine what the predictions would be for services.
So, what’s going on?

Well, we have Smart Phones, Smart Cards, Smart Cars, Smart Criteria, Smart Homes, S.M.A.R.T. goal setting (don’t ask) and so on. In fact, just about anything that uses electricity now comes with a ‘Smart’ prefix. And now we have Smart Ledgers, also known as mutual distributed ledgers (MDLs), the technology that, among other things, underpins the blockchain technology, that among other things, underpins cryptocurrencies. Did you know there are over 1,500 of those now by the way?

So, what are Smart Ledgers, and how do you get to understand more about their impact and the opportunities that are out there?

Smart Ledgers are based on a combination of mutual distributed ledgers (multi-organisational databases with a super audit trail) with embedded programming and sensing, thus permitting semi-intelligent, autonomous transactions.

Smart Ledgers are touted as a technology for fair play in a globalised world. There are numerous projects building trade systems using this technology with announcements from governments, shipping firms, large IT firms, and the like.

Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of the Z/Yen Group wrote in his Preface to the report: "Trade reaps economic benefits from specialisation and comparative advantage, creates prosperity, distributes success and wealth, and collectively enriches all of our societies and communities.  Hopefully, knowing the scale of relative benefits can help speed adoption of some boring technology – ‘multi-organisational databases with a super audit trail’ - for the benefit of all of us".

We would be delighted if you would join our Distributed Futures community, to learn much more about Smart Ledgers. You can register for events, read publications or simply sign up for emails and notifications at the Long Finance Website:


The end of March 2018 saw Mark Yeandle and Mike Wardle in Qingdao for the launch of the Global Financial Centres Index 23 (GFCI 23).  The launch took place as part of an Anglo-Sino event focused on the topic of how to plan and develop a financial centre, with the Jianliang Financial District developing quickly as part of Qingdao’s development plan.

The launch event included a key note speech from Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, and panel discussions involving senior representatives of London and Qingdao’s financial markets and academic communities.  The event highlighted the speed of development of financial centres in China.

Mark Yeandle presented the headlines from GFCI 23 including:

  • London retaining its place as the leading financial centre, closely followed by New York and with all leading centres receiving improved ratings;
  • The top five centres in the Asia/Pacific region now outperform North America and Western Europe;
  • The gap between the ratings of the top five centres is narrowing.

Mark also set out a model for the development of a financial centre, involving a bottom up approach, moving from a focus on business environment and infrastructure, through to human capital and financial sector development, leading to enhanced reputation.  He emphasised that a solid base of experience and expertise was what led to a solid reputation.

Mike Wardle presented the highlights from the Global Green Finance Index 1, launched earlier in March, noting that China had featured well in the first edition of the index, particularly on the depth of green finance activity, and that centres that provided leadership on green finance scored well.

We were lucky enough to have a Sunday morning free to explore the old City of Qingdao, the street plan for which was laid out by German concession holders in the early 20th century.  Qingdao is of course the centre of beer production in China, with the Tsingtao brewery on Beer Street dating back to 1903.  After a busy morning exploring the sea front, the German cathedral and the back streets, we somehow found ourselves in Beer Street sharing a jug of raw beer. 

This turned out to be useful training for a welcome banquet at which we found that making toasts was an important element of the evening.  We learnt a new Chinese word in the process – Ganbei – the equivalent of ‘bottoms up’.  With each toast requiring the guests to drain their glass, we also learned to limit how full our glasses were each time they were topped up. So from building a financial centre from the bottom up to practising the art of ganbei with our hosts, we built strong bonds with our generous hosts.

“The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers in execution of the story and engaging the reader.” - Wikipedia  

In line with the rule of three, three Z/Yen people have, in the past couple of weeks, signed permanent employment contracts with the Z/Yen Group: James Pitcher, Mike Wardle and Bikash Kharel.  A big Z/Yen welcome to all three. 

James Pitcher has been both an associate and a full-time employee before, rejoining us now to project manage the substantial Distributed Futures programme of work for Z/Yen.  Mike Wardle, who has undertaken a number of associate projects with Z/Yen over the years, now takes on a more long term, substantial role as head of indices.  Bikash Kharel, who originally came to us on an academic placement, will remain as a permanent employee working on various web-based systems assignments.

James Pitcher was hoping to style this terrific trio The Three Musketeers, but soon waggish suggestions were flooding in from colleagues, including The Three Stooges, The Three Degrees and The Ghostbusters

So, “all for one” and “who ya gonna call?”… Z/Yen, naturally, with a team that’s gaining strength and depth.

In December 2017, the Cardano Foundation announced that it had selected Long Finance’s Distributed Futures practice as its partner for a research programme into Smart Ledgers.  Since then, Z/Yen has produced four reports and an infographic, plus six events for this programme of work. 

This week we are looking forward to launching our fifth report “The Economic Impact of Smart Ledgers on World Trade” in two separate events, a Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday 17 April and a more detailed Presentation, with Q&A, on Thursday 19 April.     

If you haven’t yet joined our ever-growing Distributed Futures family, have a look at what people have said about our events and publications:

“I love the topics you present and I thank you for sharing your research with a wider audience. I am telling everyone in my professional circle about your good work!”

“I enjoy Michael Mainelli’s enthusiasm for approaching interesting and sometimes controversial subjects... please don’t stop.”

“While I am enthusiastic about telling my colleagues about the work that you do, it is only after they read the reports & publications that they understand why, as your publications are of an invariably high quality.”

Deep and pragmatic insight efficiently delivered in the short time available by a very credible and open-minded speaker. Top class.”

“Amazing how the speaker portrayed such a complex topic comprehensibly and with such ease and elegance - I've never heard or seen a better presentation on that topic and overall! Thanks a lot!”

Rewarded by people’s trust and enthusiasm towards our work, we are now focusing on the upcoming reports “Pensions And Distributed Ledgers”, “Smart Ledger timestamping - Accuracy And Comparability”, and “Survey Of The Regulatory Landscape For Smart Ledgers”, as well as their corresponding events.

To get an idea of what else we have planned for the (distributed) future, take a look at our brochure.