This isn’t surprising as Sony has been a household name since the early ‘90s and their current position at the top is just Sony’s natural spot. The Japanese company is heavily invested in several new technologies including blockchain and AI, and the speed at which their testing and investments in the space are rolled out is remarkable.
Last week it was announced that Sony have developed a high-speed processing technology that facilitates data transactions for a new breed of database platform called Blockchain Common Database (BCDB). The work was done as part of a transportation-focused Mobility as a Service (MaaS) initiative led by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management back in 2019.
What makes this technology interesting is that they have achieved successful execution and storage of seven million transactions per day, simulating a real-world scenario where buses, cars, bikes and taxis all share their location and other metrics.
Sony, through their investments arm Sony Financial Ventures (SFV), have participated in the latest funding round of the Securitize platform. This platform, which specializes in digital securities, has a strong connection to Japan and Asia but their roadmap is focused globally.
With all the work and investments they are putting into the enterprise blockchain space, Sony will be a strong contender for next year’s 2021 Blockchain 50 list. The list has already welcomed the presence of one of Sony’s competitors, Samsung.
Overall, Sony is showing a strong desire and willingness to innovate in using blockchain technology for supplementing their existing infrastructure and business use cases. From those efforts, the net winners will be their consumers and partners, who will benefit from access to better and faster services at an eventually optimized price.
I am a blockchain architect based in New York. I have deep technical expertise in digital assets, crypto and blockchain protocols, and systems. My coverage includes opinions and research pieces on the latest trends in the crypto world.
While most struggle to gain familiarity with the increasing role of distributed ledgers in the wider economy, developers are already delving deeper into providing more advanced functionality. Right now, software engineering teams are working on technology that will become integral to global functioning in the years to come.
One critical innovation in Web3 that will facilitate wide-scale adoption is the subnet. While it is possible to explore these concepts in-depth, it is much better to simply give a high-level overview. When the complicated terminology is removed, the core concepts are actually very relatable.
What Is The Crypto Scalability Problem?
In crypto “lingo,” blockchains are divided into Layer One (L1) and Layer Two (L2). Again, this sounds a lot more complicated than it is. L2 blockchains are those that address specific problems that an L1 blockchain cannot cope with. They are placed “on top” of earlier blockchains.
A prime example is Bitcoin. Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was a wonderful innovation for its time. But it quickly ran into massive scalability problems, with high fees and network congestion. So it needed a L2 solution, which is known as the Lightning Network. In the same way, Ethereum ran into issues as an earlier crypto ecosystem. So it needed to resort to an L2 solution in the form of Plasma.
Unfortunately, these L2 solutions are not doing what they are supposed to do. Ethereum is still the primary ecosystem on which dApps are built, and NFTs are traded (as ERC-20 tokens). Still, it has massive fees, which is why developers and market newcomers are looking towards alternatives such as Avalanche.
L2 solutions are not resolving the problem of scalability. High fees and slow speeds are powerful indicators that cryptocurrency cannot go mainstream. If cryptocurrency needs global adoption, it needs to be able to cope with more people on the network. L2 solutions have not yet proven up to the mark. Subnets are a much more versatile and effective technology.
Exploring Subnets Within Web3
Subnets are a game-changer for crypto scalability. A subnet is merely a sub-level network within a larger network. Each blockchain is simply a network – a network being the number of nodes/servers that communicate with each other through distinct protocols. The subnet will take attributes from the parent chain/larger network but will have a specific use case.
Subnets are closely related to the concept of sharding. They are very reliable, efficient, and better at solving scalability than L2 blockchains. The major difference between subnets and sharding is that subnets can be created at will by customers and developers.
While sharding is built into the architecture, you can launch infinite subnets to see which ones scale the best while implementing the sharding model. In other words, you can create infinite subnets that take the best attributes from the initial blockchain network. These subnets can be put to a variety of different uses.
Subnets Are Already Taking Over
Avalanche is a prominent blockchain that has recently launched subnets, allowing many newer Web3 projects to build their own ecosystems. Ayoken Labs has launched its token on the Avalanche C-Chain. Ayoken is a digital collectibles marketplace that connects creators to global audiences. With a vision to onboard 10 million new crypto users & digital collectible owners, Ayoken Labs aims to catalyze the mainstream adoption of crypto in emerging markets. It is onboarding creatives to the metaverse. And it selected Avalanche to assist with this venture.
Avalanche offers C-Chain, X-Chain, and P-Chain subnets. P-Chain is for staking, X-Chain is for sending and receiving transfers, and C-Chain is for smart contracts (broadly speaking). These subnets allow for distinct chains to be used for specific purposes. But they are all validated by the primary network, taking its benefits with them.
Ankr is another web3 company that aims to be a major player in the subnet/sidechain space. Ankr is a major Web3 infrastructure provider that launched the first Binance Smart Chain Application Sidechain (BAS) testnet, along with Celer and NodeReal.
The BAS Testnet is a framework for creating side chains dedicated to applications in the BNB Chain ecosystem. Ankr is also the main infrastructure partner for Binance, Fantom, and Polygon and has helped these major firms to scale. Ankr also launched the first game on the Binance Application Sidechain (BAS).
It is currently the leading RPC provider and offers a cost-effective mechanism to build, deploy, and scale in Web3. Its low latency and high resilience levels can be observed from many tracking tools.
As a major infrastructure provider, Ankr is also looking to launch subnets so that Web3 projects can grow from a stable, fast, and efficient foundation. This enables projects to test and grow without being “locked-in” to a previous blockchain.
Crypto Scalability Issues: A Thing Of The Past
Subnet functionality is going to become a core necessity to build the future of Web3 and resolve the crypto scalability issue. It resolves perhaps the most pressing issue observed with previous blockchains. Development teams can tweak and test in secure environments and can create as many subnets as they wish.
These innovations will ultimately help to grow the wider ecosystem and help to quickly replace legacy systems that are already obsolete.
By: Victor Fabusola Crypto Writer & Blockchain Journalist. Lover of mental models and conscious hip-hop.
Internet Standard Subnetting Procedure. IETF. p. 6. doi:10.17487/RFC0950. RFC950. It is useful to preserve and extend the interpretation of these special addresses in subnetted networks. This means the values of all zeros and all ones in the subnet field should not be assigned to actual (physical) subnets.Troy Pummill; Bill Manning (December 1995).
SWIFT, the global system that banks use to manage cross-border payments, is giving blockchain technology a new appraisal, five years after it took its first look. This time around, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, is seeking to speed the transmission for data on corporate actions, events such as dividend payments, exchange offers and mergers that affect investors and money flows around the world.
The current method involves data passing through an assortment of intermediaries before it reaches users such as asset managers, brokers and investment custodians, and the data can be contradictory or erroneous. End users must manually sort, compare and reconcile the data.
Blockchain might well be able to do it better. A hallmark of the technology is that blockchains are immutable ledgers, and a key advantage in this case is that they operate via consensus mechanisms that require agreement on the definition of each data item by a network of participants. In essence, this means a blockchain validates the data before registering it.
Leading financial institutions including Citigroup C-0.7%, Vanguard and Northern Trust NTRS-2.4% are participating in the trial.“Innovation and emerging technologies, including blockchain and distributed ledger technology, are really interesting to us,” said Tom Zschach, chief innovation officer at SWIFT. “We’re constantly looking for ways to validate the technology and to deliver the promise.”
The pilot will use enterprise technology company Symbiont’s Assembly platform. Corporate action data will be communicated using the SWIFT network, translated into a single format by SWIFT, then uploaded to Symbiont’s blockchain. Once there, Symbiont’s blockchain will compare the information and create a single record to be shared. In using blockchain to create a singular record, the aim is to reduce manual review of the data, saving time and money.
“What the solution allows us to do is to take in all that data, to use smart contracts to normalize that data and internally compare it, instead of forcing the user to reconcile. You get one golden record,” says Mark Smith, CEO of Symbiont. “One of the big values of blockchain technologies is you have an immutable ledger and you have a provenance of that information.”
Founded in 1973, SWIFT is a non-profit with 11,000 financial-institution members around the globe. The organization provides the infrastructure for interbank communications and facilitates $1.5 trillion worth of payments daily. The network is particularly important for facilitating cross-border payments: it transmits messages between banks in different countries telling them to either credit or debit accounts.
While providing critical payments and messaging infrastructure, SWIFT has been criticized for being slow and costly due to the correspondent banking network it connects. SWIFT’s faults have drawn challengers from the crypto world: Ripple markets a faster and cheaper cross-border payments system through its token XRP; Meta tried to break in with its stablecoin Libra; and central banks around the world are looking into their own digital currencies as a potential solution to inefficient cross-border payments.
SWIFT itself has turned to blockchain before as a potential solution to the inefficiencies of the interbank communications world. In 2017, SWIFT worked with the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain to see if its technology could help banks free up cash stored in overfunded reserve accounts around the world, which are maintained to ensure cross-border payments can be executed. The hope was that blockchain could increase visibility into these overseas accounts so that banks could keep less in them without risking payment delays.
Wells Fargo WFC-0.5%, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase JPM-0.7% were among participants in the project. The pilot concluded that blockchain could improve liquidity management, but that each of the member banks would need to upgrade its systems before such an approach could work.
The pilot announced this week will be tested with a small group of participants and additional feedback will be provided by the end of the month. “We do view these as R&D projects at this point and the nice thing about innovation is that it doesn’t always have to work,” Zschach said. “It’s really about our ability to solve a real problem that’s out there — in this case it’s pretty specific for custodians and asset managers.”
SWIFT, the messaging system used by financial institutions globally to convey instructions on tens of millions of transactions each day, is testing out blockchain. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT for short, is piloting a project with fintech company Symbiont Inc., according to a post seen by Bloomberg.
The collaboration, which includes Citigroup Inc., Vanguard and Northern Trust, is aimed at driving “efficiencies in communicating significant corporate events,” like dividend payments and mergers, SWIFT said in its post. As a global financial artery, SWIFT delivers secure messages among 11,000 companies in over 200 countries and territories, directing trillions of dollars in transactions.
The operation gained much attention earlier this year as war broke out in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. The US and Europe cut a number of Russian banks from SWIFT, hurting their efforts to move money and operate globally. With the latest pilot project, SWIFT will automate corporate action workflow using Symbiont’s technology platform called Assembly, it said in the post.
SWIFT will use the platform’s smart contracts and blockchain capabilities to “create a network effect that leverages our 11,000 plus institutions connected to SWIFT globally,” it said. Under the effort, corporate action data from SWIFT messages will be translated by SWIFT’s translator tool and uploaded in Symbiont’s blockchain.
Symbiont’s smart contract technology will then compare information shared between participants, flagging “discrepancies, contradictions or inconsistencies across custodians,” Tom Zschach, chief innovation officer at SWIFT, said in the post.
SWIFT’s work with Symbiont, a US financial technology company, follows other efforts to innovate in the payment space. SWIFT has already partnered with the Bank of International Settlements to explore the benefits of using a common language for cross-border payments.
SWIFT was set up to make it easier for banks in various countries to communicate with one another. The private network was designed to be more secure, and its messages followed a protocol so they could be quickly understood by banks anywhere in the world. But it hasn’t been immune to hacks: It’s been used by cybercriminals to commit heists, showing any system can be vulnerable.
Symbiont offers its blockchain technology to solve inefficiencies in the financial marketplace. “By bringing Symbiont’s Assembly and smart contracts together with SWIFT’s extensive network, we’re able to automatically harmonize data from multiple sources of a corporate action event,” Zschach said in the post. “This can lead to significant efficiencies.”
The pilot is in development and with a select group of participants that will test it and provide feedback in September. If it’s successful, SWIFT will extend it to cover more corporate events and assess bringing it to the wider SWIFT community.
“Via our smart contract technology, we are enabling market participants to automate the reconciliation process,” Mark Smith, co-founder and chief executive officer at Symbiont, said. “We look forward to taking the next steps in exploring what can be built on top of this high-quality- data source.”
Shell is one of the largest energy companies in the world. Although many of us may associate it primarily with oil and gas, it has embarked on an ambitious energy transition agenda in a bid to move away from the use of fossil fuels toward green and sustainable energy.
This includes targets of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner, as well as a more immediate goal of reducing scope one and two emissions by 50 percent by the end of this decade.
In order to do this, it is leveraging several new technology trends that are proving themselves to be revolutionary in many industries beyond their own sector. These include artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and – as we will see in this article – Web3 and blockchain.
Blockchain is best known to most people as the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The simplest way to think of it is that it’s essentially a relatively new form of database format. Blockchains have two key features that make them different from other databases. Firstly, rather than being centrally located on a specific computer or server, they are distributed. This means they are spread across multiple computers, so no one person is in direct, overall control, and all changes have to be validated by consensus.
Secondly, they are encrypted, meaning they are effectively tamper-proof, and only people with permission can add to them or edit the data they contain.
These two features, in combination, make blockchain ideal for applications where data needs to be added, checked, and validated by multiple parties, and security and integrity are of utmost importance. A good demonstration of its robustness can be seen in the fact that the Bitcoin network itself handles 270 million transactions every day, is worth (as of writing) around $400 billion and has remained secure throughout the 13 years of its existence so far.
These features make blockchain an attractive technology for global organizations like Shell, which need hyper-secure, scalable technology solutions to drive a new generation of applications involving collecting and sharing valuable data. Their “trustless” nature improves the current processes used across the industry, helps to reimagine energy value chains via tokenizing energy to create transparency & traceability, and creates new markets and new business models with DEFI / DAO’s / NFT’s etc.
Recently, I was joined by Dan Jeavons, VP of Computational Science and Digital Innovation at Shell, as well as Shell’s blockchain lead, Sabine Brink, to discuss some of these projects on my webinar.
Brink tells me, “The intersect of digital and energy is one of the most exciting spaces. Looking at how do we utilize this technology – web3, blockchain that accelerate the energy transition. This is an extremely motivating journey to be on.”
This enthusiasm has led to her spending the past five years examining every area of the business where blockchain and related Web3 technologies could be implemented in order to drive sustainability and green energy goals. A number of projects have emerged out of this, and the most promising are now moving into pilot and production stages, where it is hoped their ability to drive real global change will be realized.
In particular, I was interested to hear how the energy giant is using blockchain to trace and verify the provenance of energy created from renewable sources. As the world has come to appreciate the urgent need to transition towards sustainable energy sources, huge rewards – both in terms of financial incentives and customer loyalty – have emerged for organizations that work towards affecting change.
The process, however, is often opaque – it’s difficult for customers or partner organizations to really be sure exactly how clean a specific energy source or supplier is. Jeavons and Brink explained to me that Shell has developed a blockchain-based system that can demystify the complex web of sources.
He says, “So if you look at the electricity market today, we have energy attribute certificates (EAC) that represent green energy or grey [non-green] energy generated in a given month or year. For companies that aim to run on 100 percent green energy, their monthly or yearly certificates may match their total energy consumption, but when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind does not blow, grey energy is actually being consumed. So it’s hard to claim that they are actually consuming green energy on a 24/7 basis.”
Shell’s solution involves creating highly granular certificates in real-time at the source where the energy is created – which could be solar panels in the desert or wind farms in the ocean – to represent the green energy produced at every half hour, in sync with established energy attribute certificates systems. Every point of that electron’s journey to the point that it is consumed is tracked and recorded on a blockchain.
“This is one of those solutions where blockchain creates the transparency and assures us there’s no double-counting of electrons in the system; we believe this could be a game-changer,” Jeavons tells me.
Another project which has just made the leap to pilot phase is an ambitious venture between Shell, Accenture, and Amex aimed at increasing the availability and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Brink says, “To me, this is one of the most exciting projects we’ve been working on. I’m very proud of the team. It’s one of the first public blockchain solutions that creates a credible and transparent way to help decarbonize the aviation sector. Thanks to its inherent technical features, blockchain offers verifiability, transparency, and security of environmental attributes of SAF.”
The product is Avelia – one of the first blockchain-powered book-and-claim system which will offer around one million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and associated environmental benefits to corporates looking to reduce emissions from their business travel.
Currently, there is insufficient SAF available at an affordable price. It’s hoped that through aggregating demand for SAF among corporate travelers who form a more concentrated segment than leisure passengers, there will be a reduction in the price – with SAF currently priced significantly higher than equivalent conventional aviation fuels. However, a growth in demand for the fuel will theoretically lead to suppliers increasing investment in production and, therefore, an eventual fall in price.
“It’s really hard to decarbonize the aviation sector,” Brink tells me. “Decarbonizing the aviation sector cannot happen overnight. Today we do not have large-scale airplanes that can be powered by green electricity that are able to travel the world. Sustainable aviation fuel is actually a solution – sustainable aviation fuel that we can utilize today and implement with existing infrastructure.
With Avelia, we hope to demonstrate that the tracking of SAF data at scale can be delivered in a credible manner, thereby proving to decision-makers that a mechanism for corporations and airlines to book and claim SAF is an acceptable form of emission reduction. In turn, this creates increased demand signals to structurally scale the SAF production required to reduce emissions in aviation.”
Other blockchain and digital transformation projects currently undergoing evaluation or pilot status at Shell involve “digital passports” to track the lifecycle of industrial parts, equipment, and machinery at energy plants operated by the company and its partners.
Of course, all of this technology-driven transformation is driven, at its root, by data, and Shell has worked to implement an integrated data platform that aggregates 2.9 trillion rows of information harvested from all areas of its business. This includes IoT sensors installed across its plants and wind and solar farms, ultimately allowing it to create digital twin applications to help it better understand the operation of its assets.
Jeavons says, “This is what my team is so excited about – the potential to do this at scale. We’re rolling out digital twin … we’re rolling out AI … and when you put that together with traceability, we believe we could bring to market a whole raft of decarbonization solutions … where we could partner with our customers to help them accelerate their own decarbonization journeys. We’re just getting started.”
Blockchain technology is a relatively new development that has the potential to be a game-changer. Some even promote blockchain technology as being the next technological revolution. A lot of businesses are excited about the possibilities that exist with blockchain and are trying to get in on the game early.
Over the last few years, blockchain technology has made a lot of progress. This is one of the most talked-about trends in the technology sector. With the potential to change everything from institutions to platforms, there is no doubt blockchain technology is here to stay. While it is still in the early days, we have a long way to go before we see it being used by most people and businesses.
A private blockchain is a blockchain that is not open to the public and can only be joined by invitation. These blockchains are usually controlled by a single entity, organization, or group of people. There are also consortium blockchains that are controlled by a pre-selected set of nodes or miners. In the case of a public blockchain, the transactions are openly validated by a network of miners. On the other hand, in a private blockchain, transactions are validated by either a single entity or a group of people.
There are several benefits of working for a private blockchain development company, depending on the business you’re in. Private blockchains are a good option if you want to keep your transaction data private. It is also great if you want to carry out multiple transactions per second. However, a private blockchain is not a decentralized system and is usually used by a single entity.
You might have heard about public blockchain and private blockchain, but what is the difference between them? Let’s see what the difference between private and public blockchains is.
A public blockchain is a decentralized ledger that is open to everyone on the network. Anyone can download the software and join the network. All transactions are transparent and the miners’ identities are public. Anyone on the network can participate in the consensus mechanism.
A private blockchain is a private version of the public blockchain. It is behind a firewall, so only those who are granted access can join the network. So, it is permissioned. A private blockchain can be permissioned by a single entity or by a consortium of companies. A private blockchain is used for enterprise solutions. It is centralized, but it is not controlled by a single entity. It is controlled by a group of companies.
Today, Blockchain technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and there are a lot of Private Blockchain development companies that you can hire to help you with your project. But you must know them. Blockchain has been in the news a lot lately, with many companies making headlines by using the technology.
Bitcoin, which is a digital currency, was the first application of Blockchain technology. Bitcoin was developed in 2009, and in that same year, Blockchain technology started to gain popularity. Today, Blockchain technology is used in a variety of different industries and has a large number of applications.
When you work for a private blockchain development company, you get to work on some really interesting projects. You also get to learn new information and technologies. These are just a couple of the benefits of working for a private blockchain development company, but they are also some of the most important. You will also be able to apply your knowledge to a wide variety of different projects.
The benefits of working for a private blockchain development company are about the same as for any other IT job. You get access to new technologies, you get to learn new skills and you get to work with other talented people. The main difference is that you are working for a company that is using blockchain technology, so you are sure to be working on something new and exciting.