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How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

Blockchain hype—led by cryptocurrency headlines—obscures powerful enterprise applications of the technology. We aim to change that. In this series, we’ll bring you insights from Amazon Web Services customers and partners who are using blockchain to change the world.

The world grows more interconnected every day. Businesses collaborate across the globe. Transactions increase in volume and intricacy. Organizations that share sensitive information across public networks risk information leaks and the possibility of sophisticated cyber attacks.

Traditional methods of storing, verifying, and securing transactions struggle to keep pace with this rising complexity. Massive inefficiency results from the need to process and verify information spread across entities. Entire industries exist only to serve as trusted intermediaries between parties. Attempts at automation create fragile webs of APIs.

Blockchain and digital ledger technologies solve these problems by storing transactions in ways that are transparent, immutable, and verifiable. And they allow multiple parties to transact in a trustworthy and efficient manner, with or without a centralized authority.

Many exciting use cases are possible. Manufacturers could build track and trace ledgers that unify data from multiple systems, enabling faster identification of the reasons for product defects. Consumers could see the history of goods from raw materials to last-mile delivery. Insurers could pay claims in seconds. The time it takes to issue a bond through a securities exchange could shrink from months to minutes.

Companies are working to reap the benefits of blockchain, such as greater speed, efficiency, and reduced risk. For example, Gartner calls blockchain one of the top 10 strategic technologies of 2019. Eighty-five percent of enterprises in a Deloitte survey said they invest $500,000 or more annually in blockchain technologies.

Yet few have deployed these systems to production. Significant challenges hamper the transformative potential of blockchain. Businesses cite regulatory issues, technical barriers, security threats, uncertain ROI, and lack of in-house skills as the biggest barriers.

Many of our own customers, such as Nestlé and Singapore Exchange, have told us about the complexity of building scalable enterprise applications on blockchain. Setting up the hardware, networking, and software can be daunting, even before getting to the experimentation phase. This delays potentially life-changing innovations.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) solves these issues in two major ways. First, we built Blockchain on AWS—a set of massively scalable blockchain and distributed ledger services in the cloud. If all you need is a centralized ledger that immutably records all application data changes, there’s Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (Amazon QLDB). If you need to build a distributed application with ledger capabilities and the ability for multiple parties to transact without a trusted central authority, there’s Amazon Managed Blockchain.

Second, we collaborate closely with leading enterprises to speed innovation. From global manufacturers to finance-industry cornerstones, these companies are creating a more scalable, secure, efficient future. For example, they’ve demonstrated that blockchain delivers throughput to handle U.S. securities trading. Others have built solutions to connect small-scale farmers with consumers thousands of miles away.

We’ll highlight these and many other exciting use cases in the coming weeks. We’re thrilled to bring you along on the journey.

For 13 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 66 Availability Zones (AZs) within 21 geographic regions, spanning the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, and the UK. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

Source: How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

 

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Blockstream Reveals Massive Bitcoin Mining Facilities, Fidelity An Early Customer

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On Thursday, blockchain technology company Blockstream revealed details related to their massive Bitcoin mining data centers in Quebec, Canada and Adel, Georgia. The facilities account for a combined 300 megawatts worth of energy capacity, and they’re currently available for hosting enterprise-level mining activities, in addition to Blockstream’s own mining operations.

Blockstream plans to open their facilities to smaller scale miners in the future. For now, two of their active customers include Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

The size of Blockstream’s mining facilities cannot be overstated. According to Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, the facilities would account for roughly 6 exahashes of Bitcoin mining power if used at full capacity with the latest ASIC mining hardware. This would have equated to 10% of Bitcoin’s total network hashrate less than a month ago, according to BitInfoCharts. However, the Bitcoin network hashrate recently skyrocketed to around 80 exahashes this week.

In addition to their mining centers, Blockstream will soon launch the first mining pool with a focus on putting more power back into the hands of individual miners via the BetterHash protocol.

Blockstream Concerned About Bitcoin Mining Centralization

According to a company blog post, Blockstream first got into Bitcoin mining due to concerns around the centralization of the industry back in 2017. At that time, the activation process for Segregated Witness (SegWit), which was a capacity increase and bug fix for the Bitcoin network, had become politicized by Bitcoin miners in the eyes of many Bitcoin developers and users.

Concerns related to Bitcoin mining centralization were recently discussed on a panel at the Bitcoin 2019 conference in San Francisco. Genesis Mining CEO Marco Streng explained why Bitcoin users should be more alarmed about the level of centralization in mining, while longtime Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo did his best to point out the issue may not be as bad as it seems at first glance.

Notably, Blockstream CEO Dr. Adam Back, who was cited in the original Bitcoin white paper, also spoke at the conference regarding his thoughts on the future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies alongside Yugen Partners Chief Scientist Dr. Scott Stornetta, who was also cited in the Bitcoin white paper.

Putting Power Back in Miners’ Hands

In addition to pushing for the geographic decentralization of Bitcoin mining, Blockstream’s upcoming mining pool should be helpful due to its use of BetterHash. The BetterHash protocol, which was developed by the aforementioned Corallo, solves a key issue with mining centralization in that it allows individual miners to choose which transactions go into new blocks rather than the mining pool operators.

While Bitcoin mining is rather centralized in terms of mining pools, the picture looks much better in terms of the diversity of entities that are actually operating the hardware. Putting individual miners in control of transaction selection means collusion in terms of transaction censorship, blockchain reorganizations, or other types of 51% attacks on the network would be much more difficult.

Braiins also recently announced a new mining protocol, called Stratum v2, that offers a similar upgrade in terms of the decentralization of transaction selection (based on Corallo’s work).

When asked why Blockstream decided to go with BetterHash rather than Stratum v2, Blockstream CSO Samson Mow stated, “Stratum v2 seems to still be in the discussion phase, and we started with BetterHash months ago.”

Some critics may argue that implementing BetterHash while also developing large Bitcoin mining data centers may be a bit of a contradiction in terms of promoting decentralization, but Mow pushed back on this argument when reached for comment.

“I don’t believe Blockstream Mining poses centralization risks,” said Mow. “If anything, Blockstream Mining serves to decentralize the Bitcoin mining ecosystem in many ways. We’re self-mining with just a small portion of our available power, with the rest allocated to customers, and we have plans to make the hosting service available to smaller miners that otherwise would not be able to mine effectively. Also, by leveraging the BetterHash protocol in our mining pool, all of our customers can run their own full-nodes and build block templates. This means the pool cannot use their hashrate for censoring transactions or falsely signaling readiness for Bitcoin protocol upgrades – which has happened in the past as with SegWit2x.”

Even with these concerns around Bitcoin mining centralization, some U.S. lawmakers are convinced they would not be able to ban Bitcoin.

On the other hand, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project would be much easier to manipulate, regulate, and control. That said, multiple members of the Bitcoin industry have pointed out the roundabout ways Bitcoin could benefit Facebook’s Libra.

That said, even if improvements are made to the decentralization and censorship resistance of Bitcoin from a technical level, the reality is the digital cash system still faces a serious regulatory issue in terms of its use as a payments mechanism due to the way in which the crypto asset is taxed.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m a writer who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. I’ve worked all over the Bitcoin media space — from being editor-in-chief at Inside Bitcoins to contributing to Bitcoin Magazine on a regular basis. My work has also been featured in Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, and many other financial and tech media outlets. I’m mostly interested in the use of Bitcoin for transactions that would be censored by the traditional financial system (think darknet markets and ransomware) in addition to the use of bitcoin as an unseizable, digital store of value. Altcoins, appcoins, and ICOs don’t make much sense to me. Find all of my work at kyletorpey.com. Disclosure: I hold some bitcoin

BEARS ARE WRONG: Why miners are banking on a huge Bitcoin price rise

https://www.pivot.one/share/post/5d22cda6595ce75467016948?uid=5bd49f297d5fe7538e6111b6&invite_code=JTOJYV

Blockchain-Based Alternative Investment Firm to Be Listed on Bloomberg Terminal

Blockchain-Based Alternative Investment Firm to Be Listed on Bloomberg Terminal

A blockchain-based alternative investment provider that tokenizes commercial debt is being listed on the Bloomberg Terminal, according to a news release published on June 4.

Cadence is believed to be the first digital asset to obtain a Financial Instrument Global Identifier (FIGI), enabling professionals who use the Bloomberg Terminal to research its offering and execute trades.

The company connects investors with businesses that need to borrow money in order to plug temporary gaps in their cash flow. On its website, Cadence says the minimum investment amount is $500, giving consumers “opportunities traditionally reserved for institutions.”

Currently in private beta, Cadence claims its platform allows investors to generate passive income and hedge against market volatility. Every deal matures within a year, and the company is aiming to deliver annualized returns of more than 10%.

In the news release, Bloomberg Head of Data Standards and Strategy Richard Robinson said:

“The assignment of a FIGI to digital assets is a natural and simple example of the standard’s native utility. It is proof that FIGI can easily extend to new, even esoteric financial instruments.”

Last June, the Bloomberg Terminal started listing Huobi’s Cryptocurrency Index, which tracks the performance of the top 10 traded assets on its exchange.

Source: Pivot – Blockchain Community

10 Blockchain Companies To Watch In 2019

More and more companies are sprouting in the blockchain space.

Earlier this month, arguably the biggest blockchain week in the world kicked off in New York City with CoinDesk’s Consensus event. A previous interview that covered blockchain technology led to a deeper look at the technologies, founders, and companies that are emerging in the industry.

While some of the best projects on display were infrastructure-related, like public blockchains, others were more focused on ancillary services. The teams of these innovative blockchain startups are global, cutting-edge and typically include early blockchain adopters as founders.

This list showcases 10 companies working to make blockchain more accessible, prominent and mainstream. Some you may have heard of; others are new to the scene. The companies come from all regions of the world. Each offers something unique with the potential to disrupt traditional industries as well as gain support from legitimate entities.

  1. BiKi

BiKi.com was founded in June 2018. Headquartered in Singapore, it is a leading digital asset exchange focused on the global market. It accumulated 1.1 million registered users and 100,000 daily active users in under a year. Backed by Du Jun, co-founder of Huobi, BiKi is one of the fastest-growing exchanges. It focuses on the global incremental market, with a mission to bring digital assets to the mainstream.

  1. Advanced Blockchain AG

Berlin-based, publicly listed Advanced Blockchain AG (ABAG) was started by German crypto pioneer and co-founder of peaq.io, Robert Küfner. The company is an innovator of blockchain solutions for corporations, building a DLT solution for one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world. ABAG was recently selected to participate in the Silicon Valley chapter of the German Accelerator, which empowers high-potential German companies to successfully enter US markets. Further approaches using peaq.io’s proprietary DAGchain remain confidential.

  1. YottaChain

Built by leading scientists and cryptographers, YottaChain is a public blockchain that uses a unique economic model and governance structure, as well as proprietary technology, to connect global computing and storage resources. In layperson’s terms, everyday people can now tap into the power of a supercomputer and large-scale storage previously reserved for enterprises. This is done by connecting decentralized storage resources while providing de-duplication after encryption. In 2018, YottaChain was a top 20 finalist at the Founder World Championship in Silicon Valley.

  1. HeroToken

Based in Barcelona, HeroToken is the continued mission from the success story of PawnHero. Founder David Margendorff, together with a solid team of technology experts, is working on HeroToken to build the prospect of a better future for billions of unbanked and underbanked funds globally. This solution leverages the blockchain to provide a transparent loan marketplace that connects lenders with borrowers worldwide.

  1. Bitconch

With a global development team of former Google, IBM, Huawei and GE engineers, Bitconch is using a proof of reputation (POR) consensus algorithm to enable its beta network to reach 100,000 transactions per second, which is reported to be the highest performance in the blockchain environment. Bitconch established an intelligent three-dimensional node reputation system, with POW (proof of work) + POS (proof of stake) + POA (proof of activity), which contributes to an open node pool and anti-centralization. The company recently partnered with Cryptic Labs to help scale up their efforts.

  1. BREACH

BREACH was founded with one goal in mind: to ensure your digital assets. Backed by PJC, the leading early-stage venture capital firm based in Boston, BREACH is partnering with global insurers, cybersecurity experts and exchanges to offer products to safeguard user investments. With nearly $1 billion of cryptocurrency stolen from exchanges in 2018, the use case for insurance products in the blockchain industry has never been stronger.

  1. KaratGold

Based in Germany, Karatbars International GmbH is the parent company of KaratGold Coin and a robust gold-based ecosystem of cross-border blockchain solutions. Their latest product, the IMPulse K1 Smartphone, is the first phone using Voice Over Blockchain Protocol (VOPB). Currently, KaratGold allows consumers to trade or purchase gold on more than 500,000 acceptance points worldwide. With all of the recent talk about Bitcoin versus gold, this company provides the best of both worlds.

  1. BISS

Backed by Matrix Partners, ZhenFund and Metropolis VC, BISS is a membership-based crypto exchange like Costco where members can enjoy exclusive offerings. The platform is also the world’s first crypto-to-security exchange where users can seamlessly exchange tokens for securities, minimizing the downside of crypto volatility. These kinds of innovative solutions have gained a lot of attention from mainstream financial investors and institutions. This early success has helped BISS gain 300,000 monthly users in just four months.

  1. LiteLink Technologies Inc.

LiteLink is a publicly traded company developing enterprise platforms and digital wallets that use blockchain to solve problems in the logistics and payment industries. LiteLink’s flagship 1SHIFT logistics platform offers real-time transparency and tracking, which allows brokers, shippers and carriers to track shipments and settle payments without breaking stride. uBUCK Pay is a multicurrency digital wallet with a U.S. dollar–backed stable token built on Waves blockchain that supports traditional fiat and digital currencies.

  1. MetaHash

MetaHash is a self-sustained network for DApps and digital assets with a vision of creating a new internet. MetaHash also offers a set of tools for developers and solutions for enterprises. Its protocol, based on advanced data synchronization, supports over 50,000 transactions per second with three seconds of consensus time, thus solving the industry’s key speed issue. With hundreds of community-operated servers, MetaHash is rapidly nearing its goal of becoming the fastest fully decentralized blockchain.

 Joresa Blount is the founder of GoFlyy, an author and creator of Brown Girls Innovate too which provides tools and connections for women in tech. 

 

Source: 10 Blockchain Companies To Watch In 2019

Nonspendable Bitcoin Addresses – Is It Real or Just Used For Scam

A watch-only wallet, as the name suggests it is just a Bitcoin wallet that is used for watching only. A watch only address doesn’t have private keys and you’ll not be able to spend any Bitcoins associated with that address. It is used only to view the balance and monitor the transaction activity of a particular wallet address.

That is called a ‘watch-only’ address in your wallet, meaning you can only watch it, but not spend the coins held by it. The Bitcoin blockchain is an open database, so anybody can watch any address they want to.

From this, it sounds like the scammer had access to your account in the past. If this is true, then your account is 100% compromised, there is no way to make it secure again. Make a new wallet, move all funds to it, and do no ever use that account again.

The reason you MUST abandon that wallet is that while logged in, the scammer likely copied down your wallet’s mnemonic seed phrase (a series of 12 or 24 words). With that seed phrase, they can recreate your wallet on a different device, or using different software.

The seed phrase is the current industry standard for making a wallet backup, it is used to derive your bitcoin private keys and addresses. The password/2FA are just used to unlock your ‘blockchain.info‘ account (which has used that seed phrase to create your wallet), so if you put the same seed phrase into a different device, it will recreate your wallet, without needing a password (since blockchain.info isn’t involved at all).

blockchain watch only wallet

The only way, would be to find the person who does own that private key, and ask them for it (but they probably won’t give it to you). The scammer is likely trying to ‘sell you the private key’, or ‘unlock it’, or some other nonsense. That is the scam, so please beware and do not send any more BTC to them.

In the future, do NOT EVER give your wallet details, login, passphrase, seed phrase, 2FA, private keys, etc, to anyone that you do not trust 100%. If you ignore this warning, you are much more likely to have your bitcoins stolen.

Whichever wallet it is Paper wallet, core wallet or electrum wallet. Whenever you generate a new wallet address a private key is also generated along with it. If you find a watch only address in your wallet then you are the one who imported it. So you must first find out the private keys of that address. For electrum wallet read this guide and for core wallet read this to know how to export private keys. Once you have the private keys you can import them to your wallet and spend its funds.

This guide is not about watch only wallet but to show you the importance of your private keys. What you must remember is if you don’t own the private keys you don’t own the funds. So keep your keys safe and whenever you create a watch only wallet remember to back your original wallet because watch-only wallets don’t have access to private keys. One last thing: Do not provide your private keys to anyone and do not import them to any online service (Including blockchain.com). Once you expose the private keys your wallet security will get compromised.

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By: Armin Hamidian

 

Boston Fed Announces Plans To Design a Blockchain ‘Supervisory Node’ – Anna Baydakova

The Federal Reserve of Boston is starting a new blockchain experiment this summer.

The Massachusetts state regulator has been one of the earliest and most involved government bodies to dip their toe into the new technology. It has been quietly developing blockchain systems since 2016 but has said very little about their plans.

Now the first results of those trials are out and the Boston Fed published a white paper on its proof-of-concepts on ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. Now it’s getting ready for the next stage, Boston Fed’s vice president of IT Paul Brassil told CoinDesk.

The team is going to look into possible opportunities to set up a “supervisory node,” a regulatory surveillance tool that should be able to connect to various banking blockchains in the future. This node will watch the money flows and settlements between different banks, Boston Fed’s senior vice president Jim Cunha said.

“If you look at the future, there might be one blockchain that is holding securities, one that is holding derivatives, one is holding cash or interbank transfer — how do you as a supervisor watch the traffic on all these platforms that also will be on different technology?”

Cunha adds, that Boston Fed is not looking at these explorations from a policy standpoint and that is expects to work with the central Federal Reserve on these rules. But in the meantime monetary authorities have to keep apace with the technology development.

“We are surrounded by very large financial institutions and banks and we know that all of them are experimenting with the blockchain technology. So the more we can work with them and understand their roadmap, the more we know that we’re moving in a right direction,” Brassil said.

First, the Boston Fed plans to set the agenda and determine the main direction of this experiment and the work on this ideological part will start as early as this summer. Cunha said there are no plans yet for the publicly releasing the project.

“Right now there is very little research on it, so our next goal is to look into what an audit node look like,” Cunha said. “What kind of data we should have access to, how to interact, how to update nodes, can you create operational problems with it? What kind of coding you will need to do to store the information about the movement of funds, so you can do analysis of the flows. We are really starting from scratch.”

In the future, it could be possible that we will see multiple blockchains by various banking institutions, Brassil said, so the Fed’s supervisory node should have a technical capacity “broad enough to cover all the platforms.”

“Startup in the basement mentality”

Boston Fed started blockchain technology trials back in 2016 by experimenting with ethereum. At that time, there were no specialized blockchain developers on staff, so the team of coders educated themselves watching relevant videos on YouTube. Cunha and Brassil called it their “startup in the basement.”

During that period, developers tried to put depository institution balances under the Boston Fed supervision on a blockchain and create mock transactions — a kind of a blockchain-powered back office model. They conducted the testing first on the ethereum blockchain and then on Hyperledger Fabric. In the end, the latter was considered a more suitable option.

Why did they pick Fabric? first of all, a permissioned blockchain is preferable for a government entity. Among other challenges, the necessity to maintain a supply of ether to pay gas in transactions complicated the task and they were also worried about speed limitations.

“The time necessary to create a block was slower than could be tolerated in a production environment,” the white paper said.

Now, with the project of the blockchain back office on hold and the “supervisory node” experiment in the pipeline, Boston Fed is hiring some professionals to ramp up its blockchain testing, Cunha told CoinDesk.

“We are trying to add stuff to do something more robust internally, we need more dedicated resources,” he said. The new blockchain team will not be large, though, only “a handful” of people.

Boston Fed is also actively talking to other monetary authority bodies, though Cunha and Brassil won’t name the particular institutions. That said, they are excited to spread the word about the project.

“We have to share information because the whole industry needs to educate itself,” Cunha said.

Image of the Boston Fed office — courtesy of the Boston Fed. 

Source: Boston Fed Announces Plans To Design a Blockchain ‘Supervisory Node’ – CoinDesk

Rakuten Taps Chinese Blockchain Firm for $60 Billion Authenticity Market

In 2008, at least 54,000 Chinese babies suffered after ingesting formula that had been contaminated. Demand for safe products has grown year over year, every year, since then. Companies like blockchain-centric Techrock have capitalized on this market by finding unique solutions to the authenticity problem. Techrock uses the blockchain to track every step of a product’s lifecycle and rewards consumers for verifying it through their mobile phones.

Chinese Consumers Increasingly Willing to Pay a Premium for Authentic Imported Food

In China, it is reportedly difficult to get authentic products. Some researchers have found that more than 90% of the food sold in China is faked in one way or another.

For non-food products, this isn’t such a big deal; but there are some markets where it’s life and death – such as baby formula and other food products, which can have deadly side effects. According to Techrock, which spoke to CCN about their recent partnership with Rakuten, the situation has created a market for authentic goods as large as $60 billion per year.

Techrock uses blockchain technology in two aspects of its business. On the one hand, it offers a loyalty program for customers who use the service to purchase authentic products. On the other, it creates a permanent record of a product’s authenticity.

From Supply Chain to Reward Points, Blockchain’s Role

Every product in Techrock’s store has a digital representation on the blockchain. The company has developed a reputation for delivering high-quality, authentic goods, and it’s applying the same process to its Rakuten “zone.”

Their target market is less about authentic shoes or electronics and more about health supplements and other things which people prefer not to risk. The loyalty program helps them retain customers, and using the blockchain for it, the points have no expiration date. A side effect of Techrock’s Tael loyalty program is that it introduces many people to blockchain for the first time.

Techrock recently entered a partnership with Japanese retail giant Rakuten to get authentic Japanese goods to customers. Rakuten has long had an interest in blockchain companies, but it only touches the technology in a tertiary way here.

Rakuten is looking to expand its reach in China, where it is far from the leading retailer. By contrast, Alibaba is the boss in China – but Alibaba’s eBay-style product suffers a lot of knock-off problems that the rest of the Chinese market does.

Growing Year-Over-Year

Built on Hyperledger, Techrock’s labeling technology ensures that products are real. The customer can verify this with an app on their phone, and once they do so, they earn their reward points at the same time. The rewards can be used to purchase more goods in the store, which encourages customers to keep using Techrock.

Techrock’s partnership with Rakuten means that Chinese customers don’t have to worry about fakes, and they have streamlined access to authentic, safe products. Techrock Co-Founder Alexander Busarov told CCN:

“We already sell in over 220 or 230 cities where our consumers are located. It’s all sent by the local dealer companies. We think our business will grow as the demand grows.”

China is reportedly the largest market for both food and firms that verify the safety of food. Consumers have been driven online as they continually lose trust in local vendors. Regulations and other issues make it such that local companies, like Techrock, will ultimately supply the demand.

Techrock’s partnership with Rakuten is notable because they’re the third to secure such a partnership – JD.com being one of the first – and they are built entirely on blockchain.

Source: Rakuten Taps Chinese Blockchain Firm for $60 Billion Authenticity Market

World’s Largest Business Organization Embraces Blockchain

From the embers of World War I emerged a new kind of organization, led by entrepreneurs, committed to ensuring the free flow of goods across the world’s war-ravaged borders.

The International Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is to streamline global business, is one of last vestiges of the League of Nations, founded in 1920 by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to peacefully settle international disputes. By 1923, following the League’s lead, the ICC had established international courts to arbitrate business disputes, and in the aftermath of WW II, it represented global business interests at the Bretton Woods conference, which established the current monetary order.

“If goods are able to move across borders without the need to be accompanied by troops,” says John Denton, the ICC’s current secretary general, “there is a higher probability of peace and prosperity.” The Paris-based group, which represents 45 million businesses in more than 130 countries and brands itself the world’s largest business organization, is now making its boldest play in a generation.

With global borders hardening once again, this time behind border walls, broken unions and looming trade wars, Denton signed an agreement with the Singapore-based blockchain startup Perlin Net Group to explore how the technology, made popular by bitcoin for its ability to move value without banks, could help the ICC continue its mission to facilitate the free flow of goods.

“We can trace back the ICC interventions that made a big impact on the global economy in the 20th century,” says Denton, who was a fellow at the Australian Institute of International Affairs before being appointed secretary general of the ICC last year. “We think this might be one which we can look back on in 100 years and say the ICC shifted blockchain in a way that enabled the private sector to function more effectively in a sustainable way and actually create more opportunities for people.”

According to the terms of the agreement, part of which was shown to Forbes, the ICC and Perlin will create a new group, the ICC Blockchain/DLT Alliance, a reference to distributed ledger technology similar to the blockchain that powers bitcoin. The companies are exploring how Perlin’s blockchain platform, which has yet to publicly launch, could be used to shine a light on obscure supply chains and simplify cross-border trade finance.

As part of the agreement, the ICC will help Perlin recruit members to its nascent blockchain alliance, specifically by making introductions to the organization’s massive member pool, which in addition to most national chambers of commerce includes direct membership from companies like Amazon, Coca Cola, Fedex, McDonalds and PayPal. Also, as part of the agreement, Perlin will join the ICC as an official technology partner, offering free access to its blockchain platform during the early stages of the project.

Denton shared his plans with the ICC Banking Commission at its annual event in Beijing earlier this week, and the agreement, which was signed on March 20, will be formally announced at an ICC event in Singapore later today.

Unlike some early blockchain consortia, the ICC Blockchain/DLT Alliance already had projects under way when it was announced. According to the agreement, the ICC and Perlin will share the results of their first blockchain proof of concept, a collaboration with the fabric giant Asia Pacific Rayon (APR), in May at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

For that project, called “Follow Our Fibre,” APR is logging data in the blockchain at every level of its supply chain, from the trees that are harvested to the chemical treatments that turn them into the silk-like rayon substance through to the massive spools that are later sold to clothing producers.

“Globally, there is a dynamic shift in the textiles and fashion sectors calling for a more traceable and transparent supply chain,” says Cherie Tan, vice president of communications and sustainability at APR. “Follow Our Fibre will enable us to leverage powerful blockchain functionality to drive greater efficiencies.”

Other proofs of concept in the works that stand to benefit from the ICC partnership include a project with Mfused, a cannabis processor in Washington State that is using Perlin’s tech to prove the origin of its plants by recording every level of its supply chain, from when they are planted to when the cannabis is inhaled, in a shared, distributed ledger; a project with an unnamed tuna processor in Latin America; and a developing project in Africa to trace the origin of cobalt, which has a long history of being mined by unethical supply chain participants.

Assuming enough supply chains are unified on the Perlin blockchain, businesses could log digital representations of the commodities, called tokens, on the platform. This will enable the counterparties to trade directly, with bills of lading required to move freight and letters of credit, which are typically handled by banks, all tracked directly on the shared ledger.

“An interesting economic model is we could effectively launch governance around this,” says Denton. “If we’re able to tokenize this we could insert ourselves as the trusted intermediary, and there would probably be an admin charge, but not much.” A 2018 report by the ICC, the World Bank and others found that 90% of the world’s trade finance was being provided by 13 banks, something Denton thinks is evidence of a need to decentralize.

Perlin’s blockchain, like ethereum’s, is being designed to let users track and move all kinds of value and write distributed applications (dapps) that don’t rely on centralized processors. Also like ethereum, Perlin will have a native cryptocurrency, called perls, which are expected to be minted over the coming three months or so, depending on regulatory considerations.

While supply chain management is increasingly seen as ripe for disruption by blockchain, models like Perlin’s, which rely on tokens, have had difficulty gaining traction as regulators clamp down on what is required of such tokens. By contrast, models using permissioned blockchains, such as what IBM is doing with a number of industry-specific consortia, and what R3 and Hyperledger are doing more generally, are seeing broader interest.

Perlin founder Dorjee Sun positions the nascent ICC network as similar to competing consortia but for small and medium-size businesses. “This is a massive democratization effort of DLT, because now any company of the 45 million ICC members can give the benefits of DLT a try,” says Sun. “Not just massive companies that can afford IBM’s services.”

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I report on how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being adopted by enterprises and the broader business community. My coverage includes the use of cryptocurrencies suc…

Source: World’s Largest Business Organization Embraces Blockchain

Report: Number of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Lobbies Tripled in 2018

The number of lobbies working on blockchain technology issues in Washington D.C. tripled in 2018, politics-oriented news outlet Politico reported on March 18. The number of entities lobbying on digital currencies and blockchain reportedly grew almost thrice in the course of the past year, reaching 33 projects in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to 12 in the same period of 2017. Jerry Brito — executive director at the non-profit organization Coin Center that works with Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.), both known for their cryptocurrency-friendly attitude — reportedly suggested that the growth is driven by securities regulation…….

Source: Report: Number of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Lobbies Tripled in 2018

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