Aion Network, a non-profit aiming to “rebuild an internet that puts users first” through broadening the use of blockchain, announced a new virtual machine built on top of the popular Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
This marks the first blockchain virtual machine available to Java developers.
The Aion Virtual Machine (AVM) is not a modification or rewrite of the underlying JVM, but a supplementary software layer that can interact with the JVM as developers build decentralized applications and smart contracts above it.
Java provides a secure, transparent, scalable, and easily-deployed environment for those unacclimated to the crypto-landscape. This is fits Aion’s mission statement to promote more extensive use of blockchain.
By employing a commonly used language like Java, Aion CEO Matthew Spoke hopes to surmount one of the largest barriers to widespread blockchain adoption: terra incognita.
“We made the strategic decision to leave the JVM intact so we could fully leverage the mature ecosystem around it,” said a company representative in a blog. “Leaning on a hardened language like Java was crucial since a major obstacle for a business interested in Blockchain is the cost and time needed to train their teams on unfamiliar frameworks, languages, and tools.”
To this end, Aion also provides blockchain education and onboarding through Aion Learn and Aion University. Billed as a collection of engineers, academics, designers, and entrepreneurs – aligned with a singular, altruistic mandate – the network provides a catalog of developer tools and application templates, as well as mobile API’s and software development kits.
“We have a unique opportunity to build a foundation for the future economy. Aion is our contribution to that future; and we need the best and brightest to work alongside us to make it real,” said Spoke, on the network’s website.
The Aion blockchain utilizes multiple tools already popular on the mainnet, which provide accessibility and redundancy in the public network.
“Aion aims to become the common protocol used for these blockchains, enabling more efficient and decentralized systems to be built. The Aion protocol enables the development of a federated blockchain network, making it possible to seamlessly integrate dissimilar blockchain systems in a multi-tier hub-and-spoke model, similar to the internet.”
The native currency, AION, facilitates transaction fees for miners of the network. It has a current market cap of $60,495,358 USD, according to CoinMarketCap.
As the implications of the invention of have become understood, a certain hype has sprung up around blockchain technology.
This is, perhaps, because it is so easy to imagine high-level use cases. But, the technology has also been closely examined: millions of dollars have been spent researching blockchain technology over the past few years, and numerous tests for whether or not blockchain technology is appropriate in various scenarios have been conducted.
Blockchain technology offers new tools for authentication and authorization in the digital world that preclude the need for many centralized administrators. As a result, it enables the creation of new digital relationships.
By formalizing and securing new digital relationships, the blockchain revolution is posed to create the backbone of a layer of the internet for transactions and interactions of value (often called the ‘Internet of Value’, as opposed to the ‘Internet of Information’ which uses the client-server, accounts and master copy databases we’ve been using for over the past 20 years.)
But, with all the talk of building the digital backbone of a new transactional layer to the internet, sometimes blockchains, private cryptographic keys and cryptocurrencies are simply not the right way to go.
Many groups have created flowcharts to help a person or entity decide between a blockchain or master copy, client-server database. The following factors are a distillation of much of what has been previously done:
Is the data dynamic with an auditable history?
Paper can be hard to counterfeit because of the complexity of physical seals or appearances. Like etching something in stone, paper documents have certain permanence.
But, if the data is in constant flux, if it is transactions occurring regularly and frequently, then paper as a medium may not be able to keep up the system of record. Manual data entry also has human limitations.
So, if the data and its history are important to the digital relationships they are helping to establish, then blockchains offer a flexible capacity by enabling many parties to write new entries into a system of record that is also held by many custodians.
Should or can the data be controlled by a central authority?
There remain many reasons why a third party should be in charge of some authentications and authorizations. There are times when third-party control is totally appropriate and desirable. If privacy of the data is the most important consideration, there are ways to secure data by not even connecting it to a network.
But if existing IT infrastructure featuring accounts and log-ins is not sufficient for the security of digital identity, then the problem might be solved by blockchain technology.
As Satoshi Nakamoto wrote in his (or her) seminal work, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”: “Merchants must be wary of their customers, hassling them for more information than they would otherwise need. A certain percentage of fraud is accepted as unavoidable.”
Private key cryptography enables push transactions, which don’t require centralized systems and the elaborate accounts used to establish digital relationships. If this database requires millions of dollars to secure lightweight financial transactions, then there’s a chance blockchains are the solution.
Is the speed of the transaction the most important consideration?
If high performance, millisecond transactions are what is required, then it’s best to stick with a traditional-model centralized system. Blockchains as databases are slow and there is a cost to storing the data – the processing (or ‘mining’) of every block in a chain. Centralized data systems based on the client-server model are faster and less expensive… for now.
In short, while we still don’t know the full limits and possibilities of blockchains, we can at least say the use cases which have passed inspection have all been about managing and securing digital relationships as part of a system of record.
Authored by Nolan Bauerle; images by Maria Kuznetsov
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.”
The little nation of Abkhazia unrecognized lies on the East coast of the Black Sea, North of Georgia. Formerly part of Soviet Georgia, it is still not recognized as independent by the international community since its independence war in 1993. It currently homes a population of under 4 million people. In recent years, cryptocurrency mining operations have been erected in abandoned Soviet factories and in people’s home. The troubled power-supply system is now struggling under the increasing pressure of the mining facilities.
It’s a balmy 80 degrees on a mid-December day in Singapore, and something is puzzling Allen Day, a 41-year-old data scientist. Using the tools he has developed at Google, he can see a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum. Ether is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency (after bitcoin and XRP), and it still sports a market cap of some $11 billion despite losing 83% of its value in 2018. Peering into its blockchain—the distributed database of transactions underpinning the cryptocurrency…………
An executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), Benoit Coeure, dealt a verbal blow to bitcoin and the infant cryptocurrency industry when he termed the digital currency “a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme, and an environmental disaster,” per a report by Bloomberg, published November 15, 2018.Speaking at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, the ECB banker called bitcoin a “clever idea” before adding that “not every clever idea is a good idea.” This comes just a few days after the head of International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, urged central banks the world over to consider issuing digital currencies……….