Welcome to Last week in blockchain. My name is Wim Pelgrim, a blockchain realist and with this weekly podcast you’ll stay up to speed about all the major developments on the blockchain. And please leave a review on iTunes so my podcast will get higher in the search results, share it with your friends and if you listen to this podcast for the first time: subscribe using your podcast app.
This week a lot of news from the last three weeks: ATM’s with facial recognition and blockchain in Saudi Arabia, Tradedoubler’s new platform based on blockchain, Japanese schools verifying certificates, PCCW Global and Colt expanding their blockchain for telephone companies, Jack Dorsey (Twitter) investing a lot in Bitcoin and North Korea stealing crypto’s and much more.
Background articles and research
Companies en applications
Tradedoubler is a digital advertising company that has been around for 20 years. And on the 20th of March they release an open platform that will enable automated and transparent direct relationships between advertisers and publishers. And of course, blockchain is the way they handle this traffic. The first applications on the platform and API’s is a publisher interface. The company has a new vision for their future in affiliate marketing: openness. As they state in the press release: “by being the first affiliate network to offer a platform that is fully open, transparent and automated we encourage collaboration and inspire innovation for a new generation of affiliate marketing.” And that sounds like a company that understands the way the internet is changing.
If you want to obtain resident status to study in Japan, you must submit a certificate to Japan’s Immigration Bureau to prove you took a language course for a certain number of hours or that you passed a proficiency test in Japanese. But there are a lot of illegal fabrications of these certificates around. That made Sony and Fujitsu team up to develop an encrypted distributed ledger that will prevent forged documents from being made. The mechanism combines Fujitsu’s online learning system with a blockchain developed by Sony Global Education. All certificates and data of the foreigners are registered in the blockchain. Schools in Japan can check the data and ensure that the certificates are authentic. The system is tested from the end of March until the end of April at the Human Academy Co. in Tokyo, Osaka and Saga.
Governments and law
In India a Proof-of-Concept is expanding. PCCW Global, an international operating devision of Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider, and Colt, working on agile high bandwidth solutions, have used the blockchain solution they presented earlier this month with actual data. After testing the network with historical data as a test, the solution is now going live and will expand to new carriers. But what does the new solution do? It automates the settlement of inter-carrier settlement of wholesale international services through the use of blockchain. It reduces the labor intensive process from hours to minutes. And though this is a big step forward for the use of blockchain in this field, the most important remark was made by Andrew Kwok, CEO of HGC (Hong Kong based fixed-line operator). He said: “This initiative eventually if positive, would certainly demonstrate a new business relationship among global carriers and reshape our business practice in the industry.” And that is the real power of blockchain: it isn’t the technology, it is the leverage it can be for a new conversation, a new network and new cooperation.
I talked about blockchain backed ATM’s before (podcast #42), but Saudi Arabia is taking it not a step but a big leap further: the latest series of ATM’s are equipped with facial recognition, and four other security layers. The sixth layer is blockchain. Because binary security codes are prone to different types of jacking, ShoCard and Alhamrani University developed an ATM that combines ShoCard ID, session ID’s, biometric and face recognition, QR code scanning and timestamps to verify the identity of each user. It seems like a big leap forward, but also presents some safety and privacy issues. Blockchain stores all transactions, but where is the biometric and facial information stored? Who has access? How is the security of this information organized? And at what level. So blockchain ATM’s sound interesting, but these new ATM’s raise a lot of important questions.
Oh my god!
In the category “Oh my god!” two crypto items this week. The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, buys 10.000 dollars worth of Bitcoin every week! If I had that kind of money to spend… But the biggest oh my god moment I had was when I read that North Korea stole 670 million dollars through online theft and in cryptocurrencies. 571 million was obtained from virtual currency exchange operators in Asia. And the country used blockchain to obscure its tracks, according to a panel of experts reporting to the U.N. Security Council. The report is scheduled for this week, but was leaked to Nikkei. The report advises countries to “enhance their ability to facilitate robust information exchange on the cyberattacks by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with other governments and with their own financial institutions” to prevent further cyberattacks.
And with three weeks without a podcast, I have a lot of referrals for you. Check all the links in the description. And for your convenience I have grouped the articles. Two articles about new networks: Cosmos, an initiative to bridge the gaps between several blockchain ecosystems launched its main net last week and Indian Tata TCS is developing five different blockchain architectures. Then a background article about an executive at EY who said blockchain is the most boring revolution ever. Three new companies that launched applications: Chinese Alibaba is going to use blockchain for its supply chain, PWC is conducting trials for its blockchain system for verifying employee credibility and Hackernoon wrote a piece on five promising blockchain based projects in tourism. Stock exchanges are also looking into blockchain more and more. Gibraltar Stock Exchange deploys a Digital Stock Exhange prototype on the new STACS Network and the London Stock Exchange leads a 20 million bet on blockchain to cut out custody middlemen. The EU Blockhain Observatory and Forum presented a report on the scalability and interoperability of blockchain.
And that wraps up this Last week in blockchain. Check my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl for more info on me and my podcast and a full transcript of this episode. Check the links mentioned in this episode in the description: the ATM’s with facial recognition, Tradedoubler’s new platform, the Japanese schools and their certificate check, PCCW Global and Colt expanding their blockchain for telephone companies, Jack Dorsey investing in Bitcoin and North Korea stealing crypto’s and all the referrals from the last few weeks. And if you like what you’ve heard, share this podcast with your friends and on social media and subscribe to this podcast in your podcast app. See you next week!
EU report on scalability
and interoperability (PDF)
Check my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl
Music © by https://www.bensound.com