Category: Blockchain

June 6, 2019 Off

Is there potential for blockchain in copyright and licensing applications?

By Jill T Frey

By all accounts, we appear to be in the early stages of a classic “hype cycle” about the potential for uses of blockchain technology. Careful analysts need to filter out that noise, but, as with all technology bubbles, there are blockchain skeptics, and blockchain enthusiasts.

I am somewhere in the middle — currency speculation, in my opinion, is nothing but a big distraction; it is improving information services that I am interested in. And I’m most interested in technologies that show … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Aion Network introduces first blockchain virtual machine for Java developers

By Jill T Frey

Aion Network, a nonprofit dedicated to creating tools to promote blockchain technologies, announced a new virtual machine today that’s built on top of the popular Java Virtual Machine. Its ultimate goal is increasing the popularity of blockchain with developers.

Aion CEO Matthew Spoke says one of the barriers to more widespread blockchain adoption has been a lack of tooling for developers in a common language like Java. The company believed if they could build a virtual machine specifically for blockchain on top of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which has been in use for years, it could help promote more extensive use of blockchain.

Today, it’s announcing the Aion Virtual Machine (AVM), a virtual machine that sits on top of the JVM. AVM makes it possible for developers to use their familiar toolset while building in the blockchain bits like smart contracts in the AVM without having to alter … Read the rest

May 29, 2019 Off

Salesforce’s first blockchain plunge will involve development tools

By Jill T Frey

Last year, Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff mentioned, perhaps for the first time, his interest in the blockchain. It was not known at the time if he was seriously interested, or if Salesforce would indeed offer a way to use the blockchain on the Salesforce platform. Today, a little more than a year later, the company announced its first blockchain product, and it’s one aimed squarely at developers.

Salesforce’s MO with new tech is always to start slowly and branch out after it gets a feel for customer requirements. Today’s announcement follows a similar path. The company is announcing a low-code blockchain development tool on the Lightning platform. It’s important to note that this is only available to select design partners for now, and won’t become generally available until sometime next year.

About the time Benioff was making his first public statements about blockchain, the company began looking at how … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

IBM-Maersk blockchain shipping consortium expands to include other major shipping companies

By Jill T Frey

Last year IBM and Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk announced the limited availability of a blockchain-based shipping tool called TradeLens. Today, the two partners announced that a couple of other major shippers have come on board.

The partners announced that CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company have joined TradeLens. When you include these companies together with Maersk, the TradeLens consortium now encompasses almost half of the world’s cargo container shipments, according to data supplied by IBM .

That’s important, because shipping has traditionally been a paper-intensive and largely manual process. It’s still challenging to track where a container might be in the world and which government agency might be holding it up. When it comes to auditing, it can take weeks of intensive effort to gather the paperwork generated throughout a journey from factory or field to market. Suffice to say, cargo touches a lot of hands along the … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

These startups are locating in SF and Africa to win in global fintech

By Jill T Frey

To become a global fintech player, locate your company in San Francisco and Africa.

That’s the approach of payments company Flutterwave, digital lending startup Mines, and mobile-money venture Chipper Cash—Africa-founded ventures that maintain headquarters in San Francisco and operations in Africa to tap the best of both worlds in VC, developers, clients, and the frontier of digital finance.

This arrangement wasn’t exactly coordinated across the ventures, but TechCrunch coverage picked up the trend and some common motives among these rising fintech firms.

Founded in 2016 by Nigerians Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave has positioned itself as a global B2B payments solutions platform for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.

Clients can tap its APIs and work with Flutterwave developers to customize payments applications. Existing customers include Uber,  Booking.com and African e-commerce unicorn Jumia.com.

The Y-Combinator backed company is headquartered in … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

‘Crypto exchange’ Goxtrade caught using other people’s photos on its staff page

By Jill T Frey

Alleged cryptocurrency exchange Goxtrade bills itself as a “trusted platform for trading bitcoins,” but its staff page is filled with photos of people pulled seemingly at random from the internet.

The alleged exchange, which claimed to debut in 2017 yet its website is only a little more than a week old, used photos taken from social media profiles and other company websites not associated with the company.

Bizarrely, the alleged exchange didn’t bother to change all of the names of the people whose photos it used.

Amber Baldet, co-founder of Clovyr, a prominent figure in the blockchain community, and listed in Fortune’s 40 Under 40, was one of the people whose name and photos appeared on the site.

“Fraud alert: I am not a developer at Goxtrade and probably their entire business is a lie,” she tweeted Friday.

Nearly all of the names are accurate but have no … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

Openfinance opens up US trading of third-party digital assets

By Jill T Frey

Openfinance, the secondary market for trading digital alternative assets, announced it will be opening up trading of third-party digital securities to US Investors, making it the first trading platform to do so.

The company already supported the trading of third-party digital securities (securities that have been migrated onto the blockchain that are now traded on Openfinance’s blockchain-based platform) in Europe, but was unable to provide the same capability in the US due to minimum holding periods for new tokenized securities required by US regulators.

Now that the holding periods are up for two of the first security token assets traded on Openfinance — Blockchain Capital’s BCAP security token and SPiCE VC’s SPiCE token — both accredited and non-accredited investors in the US will now be able to access and trade both securities through the Openfinance network.

The BCAP and SPiCE tokens are the first of several digital securities that … Read the rest

May 11, 2019 Off

HTC introduces a cheaper blockchain phone, opens Zion Vault SDK

By Jill T Frey

Happy Blockchain Week to you and yours. HTC helped kick off this important national holiday by announcing the upcoming release of the HTC Exodus 1s. The latest version of the company’s intriguing blockchain phone shaves some of price off the Exodus 1 — which eventually sold for $699 when the company made it available in more traditional currency.

HTC’s being predictably cagey about exact pricing here, instead simply calling it “a more value-oriented version” of the original. Nor is the company discussing the actions it’s taking to reduce the cost here — though I’d expect much of them to be similar to those undergone by Google for the Pixel 3a, which was built by the former HTC team. There, most of the hits were to processing power and building material. Certainly the delightfully gimmicky transparent rear was a nice touch on the Exodus 1.

Most interesting here is the motivation … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

Binance pledges to ‘significantly’ increase security following $40M Bitcoin hack

By Jill T Frey

Binance has vowed to raise the quality of its security in the aftermath of a hack that saw thieves make off with more than $40 million in Bitcoin from the exchange.

The company — which is widely believed to operate the world’s largest crypto exchange based on trading volumes — said today that it will “significantly revamp” its security measures, procedures and practices in response. In particular, CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote in a blog post that Binance will make “significant changes to the API, 2FA, and withdrawal validation areas, which was an area exploited by hackers during this incident.”

Speaking on a live stream following the disclosure of the hack earlier this week, Zhao said the hackers had been “very patient” and, in addition to targeting high-net-worth Binance users, he suggested the attack used both internal and external vectors. That might well mean phishing, and that’s an area where Zhao … Read the rest

May 8, 2019 Off

Facebook stops blocking some blockchain ads

By Jill T Frey

Facebook still won’t let you advertise for ICOs or binaries, and ads for cryptocurrencies and exchanges need prior approval. But a year after banning all blockchain-related ads, it’s reopening to ones for “blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency” without the need for pre-approval.

The change could be a boon to an industry struggling for mainstream attention in the wake of the 2018 cryptocurrency price collapse that soured much of the public on the financial technology. Blockchain events were especially hit hard since Facebook’s local and interest targeting capabilities made it ideal for selling tickets to potential attendees.

Facebook’s goal was to prevent users from getting scammed by Initial Coin Offerings and other cryptocurrency deals where providers had little to no accountability. In January 2018 at the height of the crypto craze, it blocked all blockchain related ads. In June 2018 it began allowing some if Read the rest