US Health and Human Services to Implement Blockchain for Data Monitoring

The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has disclosed its intent to implement a new blockchain-based data monitoring tool. The HHS Accelerate tool is expected to streamline the contracts execution process.

As stated, HHS Accelerate will offer better insight and visibility of contracts acquisition to the HHS contracting officers. It is also expected to reduce costs and time spent on acquisition lifecycle.

Jose Arrieta, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary at HHS, has stated that the blockchain-based monitoring tool will not only provide real-time access to standardized data but also enable decentralized storage of data.

WordPress Launches New Publishing Platform with Blockchain Features

WordPress has announced the launch of Newspack, a new publishing platform with blockchain features. The product is funded by Google and Consensys, an Ethereum development platform.

According to Consensys, Newspack users will be able to use blockchain-based features offered through its Civil Media platform.

As stated, Civil’s Publisher tool which allows archiving of content on a decentralized network will be installed as a plugin on the WordPress platform. Moreover, the plugin will also guide the users to join the Civil Registry, the hub of community-vetted and -approved newsroom.

Andhra Pradesh to Implement Blockchain for Enhancing Shrimp Exports

The state of Andhra Pradesh in India has disclosed its plans to implement blockchain technology to address aquaculture related issues.

In regards to this, the Fisheries Department and the Marine Products Export Development Authority are looking forward to launching a pilot project that will track the supply chain of shrimp cultivation. The project will leverage blockchain to record the entire supply chain in encrypted form to monitor quality standards.

Moreover, a Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be signed by the duo with Tata Trusts which partnered with Algorythmix to develop a platform for the pilot project.

It has been reported that the project will initially be launched in Krishna, East Godavari and West Godavari of the state; and gradually extended to other districts.

Syndicate Bank Launches Private Blockchain for ATM Reconciliation

Syndicate Bank in India has declared the launch of a private blockchain for ATM reconciliation. The bank intends to improvise relationship with its customers by offering them faster and enhanced ATM services.

According to the bank, the private blockchain will incorporate ATMs as blocks where every transaction will be recorded securely to provide efficient services to the users.

Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, MD of Syndicate Bank, has claimed that the platform will provide instant notifications to the account holders for every debit or credit in their bank accounts.

In addition, the bank has also introduced a new technology named as Sales Saathi which geo-tags employees’ tablets and checks their movements. The feature is intended to track the loan defaulters and send warning signals.

Indian Crypto Investors Find Path to Circumvent Account Closure

In a bid to avoid closure of accounts, Indian cryptocurrency investors have devised an innovative way to continue trading and investing in cryptocurrencies securely without being scrutinized by Indian banks.

Instashift, a local cryptocurrency exchange, has reported that banks are aiming accounts which have the mention of keywords such as cryptocurrency or Bitcoin in their transaction remarks, as directed by the RBI. Hence, when any such account is found, the bank sends a ‘Termination of Account’ letter to the individual.

In order to continue crypto-trading smoothly, Indian users have now started avoiding the use of crypto related keywords in their bank transactions.

Nischal Shetty, CEO of Wazirx, has also stated that the banking systems do not have a precise system to track the actual reason behind P2P transactions. Hence, by simply avoiding any crypto related words, users will be able to avoid closure of their accounts.  

Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case Hearing to February 2019

The Supreme Court of India has yet again postponed hearing of the cryptocurrency ban case against Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which was filed last year by many crypto enthusiasts and investors.

As per Crypto Kanoon, an Indian platform for blockchain news, many senior advocates of both the parties were absent as the court had organized an unexpected date for the hearing. The news was reported via the official Twitter account of the platform. The Indian Supreme Court has postponed the date to 26th February, 2019.

In April 2018, the RBI had issued a ban impelling financial institutions from offering any crypto related services to consumers. In consequence to the ban, bank accounts dealing with crypto transactions were terminated forcing consumers to file petitions with the court to lift the ban.

WWF-Australia Launches Blockchain Platform to Track Lifecycle of Food Items

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) of Australia has launched OpenSC, a supply chain tool built on blockchain. The blockchain-based supply chain platform can be used to track the origin and life-cycle of food items.

As per sources, WWF-Australia partnered with BCG Digital Ventures, a US-based corporate investment and incubation firm, to develop the tool. The platform enables both businesses and customers track the source of the food items with the help of a unique blockchain-based QR code generated at the product’s point of origin. The platform is aimed at enabling consumers to be aware of what they are buying.

Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia, has commented that the blockchain platform will ensure transparency by maintaining environmental sustainability and tackling human rights issues like slavery.

Goa’s IT Department Signs MoU with Intel to Promote Blockchain Adoption

The Department of Information Technology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Intel Corporation, Eleven01, and US-based financial software company Intuit in an attempt to promote the adoption of new technologies such as blockchain in Goa.

As stated by the company, Intel and Eleven01 will build a team to be based in Goa to work on the project. In addition, Intuit is supporting the Goan startups by offering them free financial accounting system.

Ameya Abhyankar, secretary of information technology, has stated that Intel will install anti-collision devices on transport buses in Goa, which will record the black spots on roads to help the PWD in their maintenance work. He further added that Eleven01 will support Goa in exploring various use cases for building an India-specific blockchain protocol.

Ford Partners with IBM for Blockchain-based Cobalt Tracking Platform

Ford Motor Co. has announced its partnership with IBM to use its blockchain-based platform for tracking cobalt mining and outsourcing in Congo.

The company has also aligned with LG Chem Ltd., a South Korea-based cathode maker, RCS Global Group and China-based Huayou Cobalt to form an efficient supply chain system where each transaction will be recorded in an immutable way for tracking cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The project is built on IBM Blockchain platform and Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. The main intent of the collaboration is to create an open, industry-wide network for tracking and validating minerals used by the automotive and electronics industry.

Manish Chawla, general manager of the global industrial products of IBM, has stated that the collaboration aims to implement blockchain for better supply chain sustainability in the mining industry.

SAP Launches Blockchain Tracker to Curb Counterfeit Drugs

SAP has introduced a blockchain-based supply chain tracking platform with a mission to curb the issues related to fake drugs. The platform will allow authentication of pharmaceutical products that are returned from healthcare centers and pharmacies.

SAP’s blockchain-as-a-service builds an abstraction layer that offers built-in integration with many SAP applications. The company has already piloted the SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain with 16 farm-to-consumer producers including Maple Leaf Foods, Johnsonville, Naturipe Farms, Tate & Lyle and Natura.

The immutable blockchain tracking system is designed to comply with the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act which compels drug wholesalers to verify the returned medicines kept for resale. As stated, the blockchain-based tracker can also be used for checking compliance with the Unique Identification of Medicinal Products (IDMP) standards in tracing unambiguous drugs anywhere in the world.