The Morning Badger (3/21/17): IBM Takes a Page Out of Bitcoin’s Playbook


The Blockchain

As you probably know by now, Bitcoin is a tamper-proof currency that uses secure, edit-proof records and peer-to-peer networking to record transactions and exchange currency. IBM ($IBM) decided not too long ago to start using this technology, called a blockchain, to give their business customers secure and tamper-proof ways of recording transactions. Now, the company announced they have their first two customers to use their blockchain product: In addition to Walmart, who will use the blockchain to track food and pharmaceutical shipments, identity verification service SecureKey will use IBM’s blockchain to verify customer identity and transactions with six major Canadian banks. Additionally, China’s Energy-Blockchain Labs will use IBM’s technology to swap government-mandated carbon allowances (pollution exemptions, more or less). This just goes to show that the technology and popularity behind Bitcoin extends well beyond the currency.

Do people trust Wells Fargo again?

If the company’s number of new applications is anything to go by, not really. After it was revealed last year that the third-largest American bank opened 2.1 million fraudulent accounts in customers’ names, new customer signups have unsurprisingly been on the decline. Yet yesterday, it came to light that Wells Fargo ($WFC) saw the largest decline in signups since October, the month after their scandal came to light. The company’s stock decreased by 1.72% yesterday in response to the slowdown in signups.

A good time to be in the poster board business.

Poster board sales are through the roof thanks to a massive uptick in countrywide protests. According to the NPD Group, poster board sales in January were up 33% compared to the previous year, while foam board sales were up 42%. Sales of other necessary supplies, like paint markers, permanent markers, and glue, are also up due to sign-making for protests. While most poster and foam board manufacturers are privately owned, the stores selling them — namely Staples ($SPLS) — are not.