Every third Thursday of the month, we publish the most important Blockchain news, in our opinion. Here they are:
Binance Labs recently announced the launch of eight projects which have been incubated over the course of the last few months. The San Francisco chapter of Binance Labs ended its ten-week Incubation Program which focused on providing guidance, mentorship, and resources to each project. Over 500 project teams applied for the program, and after an intensive review process, eight were selected and granted $500,000 each. The projects also received access to fireside talks from industry leaders including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
An Internet Court launched in Eastern Chinese City Hangzhou will now use blockchain to fight plagiarism for online writers. China launched its first internet court in the city of Hangzhou to deal with internet related cases, save time and reduce overhead costs of getting justice out of the system.
At the time of the launch, the court was expected to accept court filings and cases electronically and given the mandate to rule online cases via live stream. Plaintiffs may verify their identity with a government-issued ID or through their Alipay account.
20-Dec-18 Leading Asian Online Retailer Qoo10 to Launch Merchant Fee-free Blockchain-Powered Ecommerce Platform
A blockchain-based online marketplace built on the Ethereum protocol is set to be launched by ecommerce firm Qoo10 on January 1, 2019.
Known as QuuBe, the blockchain-based marketplace comes with a cryptocurrency of its own dubbed the Q*coin. Currently, Q*coins, which are the only accepted means of payment on QuuBe for shoppers, can be purchased in 7-Eleven stores. Qoo10 does not expect to allow other cryptocurrencies to be used on QuuBe due to their volatility.
Subscription-based news platform Popula has made history by providing the very first fully stored news article on a blockchain platform. Earlier this week, Maria Bustillos, the editor of journalist-owned Popula, announced the placement of an article published on the website has now been stored on the distributed ledger.
According to the report, the article, which was initially published in Death + Taxes magazine, was stored in full on the Ethereum blockchain, and its hash was stored on the IPFS protocol. With these, it is expected that the article will stay on the blockchain forever. Or for as long as the Ethereum blockchain and IFPS protocol continue to exist.
Bank of America (BoA) has filed another blockchain patent, documents with the USPTO reveal.
The American multinational investment bank stated that it would use blockchain, the underlying technology which powers the world’s leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin, to handle some portions of its cash handling devices. The patent, titled “Banking Systems Controlled by Data Bearing Records, mentioned blockchain around 58 times, indicating how the digital ledger technology would improve their traditional cash deposit and withdrawal protocol.
Customs authorities in Saudi Arabia have concluded a pilot scheme linking its cross-border trade platform FASAH with IBM and Maersk’s TradeLens blockchain platform. A press release from Dec. 26 reported the pilot’s conclusion.
TradeLens, which IBM and Maersk created in August last year, is intended to be a basis for digital supply chains and launched with almost 100 entities willing to take part in the pilot.
The National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) of Thailand has developed blockchain technology for e-voting, the Bangkok Post reports on Jan. 2.
NECTEC is a statutory government organization that operates under the purview of the National Science and Technology Development Agency and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The organization chiefly promotes the development of computing, electronics, IT and telecommunications.
The Chilean General Treasury of the Republic (TGR), which oversees tax collection in the country, has launched a blockchain platform to process payments, according to a press release published Dec. 19.
TGR — a dependent institution under the Ministry of Finance — reportedly first met with the Digital Government Division of the Ministry General Secretariat of the Presidency of Chile to discuss the pilot in October, 2018. At that time, officials announced they would create a blockchain platform to connect citizens, financial intermediaries and suppliers.
China’s self-regulatory bank organization the China Banking Association (CBA) will launch a blockchain-based platform to improve efficiency across the sector, participants confirmed in a statement Dec. 29.
The project, formally dubbed the ‘China Trade Finance Inter-bank Trading Blockchain Platform,’ aims to use blockchain to target trade finance, transactions and other financial services.
Multiple guinea pigs have signed up to pilot the platform, among them well-known names such as HSBC, Bank of China and Ping An Bank.
Blockchain software company ConsenSys, semiconductor producer AMD, and Abu-Dhabi-based investment management firm Halo Holdings are jointly working on a blockchain-based cloud computing infrastructure. ConsenSys announced the collaboration in a press release published on Jan. 4.
Per the release, the companies have partnered to create the so called W3BCLOUD aimed at the development of AMD hardware-based datacenter products for emerging blockchain workloads. Within the collaboration, ConsenSys will provide expertise in the field of computing in blockchain transactions, security issues, and use cases for the technology.
NEM Foundation in Argentina has signed a memorandum of understanding with a local trade union of journalists. The goal of the agreement is to develop a blockchain-powered solution for copyright protection, Cointelegraph in Spanish reported Saturday, Jan. 5.
The memorandum signed with CISPREN — the journalists’ trade union of the city of Cordoba in central Argentina — also implies the development of a Proof-of-Concept for the project. CISPREN hopes that blockchain can solve different issues associated with the protection of intellectual property rights, such as content theft, failure to pay royalties and others.
Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar has partnered with a stablecoin company to release instant money transfer and lending services, Asia’s largest tech media platform e27 reported on Jan. 11.
Ulaanbaatar City’s administration has agreed to partner with a South Korean blockchain company, dubbed Terra, in order to eventually replace the current payment methods for utility bill and government subsidies with the Terra stablecoin, according to the publication.
The pilot program is scheduled to be launched within the next six months, and will start in the city of Ulaanbaatar’s Nalaikh District, with plans to expand throughout the whole city. The article also states that the program within the Mongolian capital will contain both peer-to-peer payments and mobile payments.
A Pakistani financial institution has rolled out a cross-border remittance service based on blockchain technology developed by Alibaba affiliate, Alipay.
Telenor Microfinance Bank and Malaysian fintech firm Valyou have partnered to offer the service to that will operate between Malaysia and Pakistan. The service is expected to enhance the efficiency and speed of remittances from the former to the latter.
Additionally, Pakistan’s first blockchain-based remittance service will eliminate intermediary costs making it cheaper to send money. Users will also be able to track the remittances at ‘every step of the way’, according to a statement.
The University of Bahrain will issue diplomas on the blockchain, English-language local media Trade Arabia reports on Jan. 13.
According to the aforementioned article, the university employs the Blockcerts open standard in partnership with Learning Machine, a startup providing a system to issue verifiable official records using a blockchain-anchored format.
Despite a plethora of sometimes unclear regulations and restrictions, large businesses and banks in India are still embracing cryptocurrency — or at least some of the technology that underpins it — as a more reliable way to reconcile accounts, make payments, keep proper records, and manage internal funds. According to a report in the India Times, a number of Indian corporations are currently trialing blockchain technology as a means of record keeping.
Two agencies in the state government of Vermont in the United States have jointly launched a blockchain pilot program for captive insurance, according to an official announcement published on Jan. 11.
The Secretary of State Jim Condos and Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak have signed an agreement to join forces to explore blockchain technology and the benefits of its deployment in maintaining records in the captive insurance field.
Spain’s major energy company, Iberdrola, has started using blockchain to track renewable energy, Spanish independent news agency Europa Press reports on Monday, Jan. 14.
The first trial was conducted in cooperation with Kutxabank, a local bank based in the Basque Autonomous Community that owns a substantial part of Iberdrola’s equity, and its subsidiary Cajasur.
During the pilot, Iberdrola monitored the renewable energy delivered from two wind farms and one power station to banks’ offices located in Basque Country and the southern city of Cordoba.
A district in the South Korean capital has announced it will apply blockchain to its proposal evaluation system, privately owned local news agency Newsis reports on Jan. 16
According to the article, South Korea’s Yeongdeungpo-gu — an administrative district in southwest Seoul — aims to strengthen its administrative transparency by applying a blockchain-based evaluation system.
A Canadian banking group supports the idea of using blockchain technology as part of a digital ID system for residents, national news agency The Canadian Press reported via various local media outlets on Jan. 15.
Speaking during a presentation at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, chief executive of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) Neil Parmenter said it was necessary for untamperable solutions to form the basis of ID procedures relating to the banking and finance sectors going forward.
Major tech firm IBM has partnered with MineHub Technologies to deliver a blockchain solution that will improve supply chain management in the mining and metals industry. IBM announced the initiative in a press release published Jan. 16.
MineHub is a company that uses technologies including blockchain to develop cost-saving applications for the metals and mining industry. The newly announced mining supply chain platform will be built on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric.
World Wildlife Fund-Australia (WWF-Australia) has announced the launch of a supply chain tool that uses blockchain to allow businesses and consumers to track food items, according to a tweet today, Jan. 17.
The platform, dubbed OpenSC, is the product of a partnership between WWF-Australia and BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV) — the global corporate venture, investment and incubation arm of United States-based Boston Consulting Group.
According to a post on the WWF site, the system allows both businesses to track products they produce, and consumers to view the origins of said products via a “unique blockchain code at the product’s point of origin.”
An upcoming blockchain network says change is desperately needed if crypto is ever going to reach its full potential and enjoy mass adoption. The World Open Network (WON) plans to offer products and services that are centered on users — with intuitive front-end systems that can be easily understood without any technical know-how.
According to WON, this is not the only hurdle that the industry must address if it has any chance of going mainstream. Continual headlines about massive amounts of crypto being stolen have shaken consumer confidence further. WON also believes that decentralization — a major selling point for many blockchain-driven companies — has enabled illicit activities to take place and “facilitated the trade of dubious products and services.”
Decentralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) firm SingularityNET has announced a partnership with agriculture-focused blockchain startup Hara at the World Web Forum, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Jan. 21.
Hara’s objective is reportedly to use blockchain to provide Indonesian farmers with useful data like grain price, soil quality and land ownership details. The newly announced partnership between the two firms aims to use this data to offer AI-powered crop diagnosis and data analytics to the ecosystem, according to the press release.
Compliance platform for digital securities Securitize has joined the IBM Blockchain Accelerator program, Forbes reports on Jan. 21.
The accelerator will purportedly last three months and will conclude with a presentation and demonstration of Securitize’s platform. The program includes a blockchain architecture workshop and consultations with IBM and external mentors. Domingo also stated that the firm plans to integrate Hyperledger in order to design products and issue debt on a blockchain.
Dutch international bank ING has signed a deal with enterprise blockchain consortium R3 for access to R3’s commercial blockchain platform, according to a press release published Jan. 22.
As a part of the five-year agreement, ING Bank is set to acquire an unlimited number of licenses for R3’s Corda Enterprise platform. The banking giant plants to implement Corda’s decentralized applications (CorDapps) across its global business infrastructure.
A blockchain solution has unveiled bold plans to make the United Kingdom’s medicine market safer by creating a system that prevents patients from ordering the same prescription from multiple pharmacies while stopping counterfeit drugs from making their way into the supply chain.
MediConnect states that introducing new safeguarding for the public and the health care industry can save money and potentially lives. The motivation for the startup came after the company’s founders discovered the extent and impact of oversupply via the National Health Service (NHS) and private health care providers.
Global messaging app Telegram plans to release the mainnet and token for its blockchain-based Telegram Open Network (TON) platform as early as March 2019. The news was revealed to Cointelegraph by a source close to Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov today, Jan. 23.
Telegram — which reportedly counts 200+ million active users per month, placing it among the top ten most popular messaging apps worldwide — raised almost $1.7 billion in two private initial coin offering (ICO) rounds last year for both Telegram and its forthcoming platform TON.
Enterprise blockchain platform Insolar (INS) has successfully launched its testnet on Jan. 22, recording over 10,000 transactions per second (TPS), according to data from its block explorer Insolar Explorer.
As the company announced on Sunday, Insolar set up its private testnet launch in order to prove its scalability and speed, with the goal to reach at least 10,000 TPS.
The Singapore unit of London-headquartered multinational banking and financial services firm Standard Chartered has completed its first blockchain-powered trade finance deal. The news was reported by Singapore’s English-language financial daily The Business Times on Jan. 24.
The bank reported that the blockchain solution — developed by blockchain startup Distributed Ledger Technologies — had enabled an agri-business supply chain deal to be completed within just one day, instead of the typical five to seven days.