UNICEF to Leverage Blockchain to Provide Internet Facilities to Kyrgyzstan Schools

UNICEF has announced that it is looking to provide internet facilities in Kyrgyzstan schools using Blockchain Technology. The plan has been formulated under the Project Connect initiative currently at work in Kyrgyzstan.

Previously, the Kyrgyzstan government joined hands with UNICEF and private sectors to come up with the Project Connect initiative which aims to offer access to information and opportunity to deprived students. Munir Mammadzade, Deputy Representative at UNICEF Kyrgyzstan, confirmed the same.

Moreover, Chris Fabian, Lead Personnel of UNICEF Ventures, commenting on the benefits of the nascent technology stating that the project is still in its pilot stage where it is going through various trials. The pilot project will be ready by year-end and will also ensure proper usage of internet facilities by schools, said Fabian.

Project Connect has till now successfully provided internet connections at over 150,000 schools across the globe, out of which 1,560 schools are based in Kyrgyzstan.

Carrefour Provides Milk Tracking to Users Using Blockchain

Carrefour, the French multinational retailer, has now launched the second phase of its plans which aim to track milk production and its life cycle using blockchain technology.

As per sources, the supermarket giant is anticipating the release of its Carrefour Quality Line (CQL) fresh micro-filtered full-fat milk in a range of specially designed bottles carrying QR-codes. These QR Codes, when scanned through a smartphone app, will allow customers to look up various details, including dairy farm GPS locations, feeding details of cows, and time as well as process of milk packaging.

The French President, Emmanuel Macron stated that the implementation of blockchain technology can prove to be of great benefit. He said that distributed ledgers have various capabilities which can be used to enhance the global positioning of France in the agricultural sector.

IMF Issues Stability Assessment Report on Malta Financial Services Authority

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a Financial System Stability Assessment Report on the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). The report states that there are alarming gaps in MFSA’s regulatory framework for anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism. It also been reported that Malta-based blockchain companies are finding difficulty in opening bank accounts.

As reported by Times of Malta, the IMF has stated that a multi-prong approach is needed to fight against money laundering and terrorism financing by improving the anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism systems.

It has also stated that MFSA needs an effective screening processes for beneficiary owner information and checking of risk-sensitive accounts, especially for non-resident clients, including opaque firms, new technologies, and IIP-related funds.

In addition, the report has also highlighted about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies related transactions. It has advised employing of more resources to supervise these service providers.




Seven Utility Companies Form Global Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium

ExxonMobil and Chevron, along with five other oil and gas firms, have signed a partnership agreement to form Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium. The consortium is under the Offshore Operators Committee, the board of which includes U.S.-based ConocoPhillips, Pioneer Natural Resources, Hess, Norwegian Equinor, and Spanish Repsol.

As per sources, the association will conduct proofs of concept for exploration the potentials of blockchain and promote global adoption of the technology.

Rebecca Hofmann, chairman of the OOC board of directors, has stated that the consortium is intended to establish a basis for blockchain-oriented standards, frameworks and capabilities for the utility industry.

SEBI Adopts Regulatory Sandbox Approach for Implementing Blockchain & AI in Fintech

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has revealed that it is adopting a ‘regulatory sandbox’ approach to utilize cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

The SEBI officials have claimed that innovation in Fintech can be better achieved by following a ‘sandbox’ approach. For instance, implementing blockchain for settlement; AI such as Robo-advisory, e-wallets, security systems for intermediaries; and market infrastructure institutions, sorting out complaints, outsourcing and development of innovative technologies can be streamlined by adopting the mechanism.

According to the sources, regulatory sandbox approach illustrates temporary relaxations of regulations to build a safe platform for companies to test Fintech services in a live environment for a fixed period, without lending them full authorization and licensing protocol.

Malaysian State Plans to Implement Blockchain in Food and Agricultural Products Supply Chain

The Malaysian State of Penang has announced that the state is looking forward to implementing blockchain technology in supply chain management of food and agricultural products.

Sim Tze Tzin, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries of Malaysia, has stated that blockchain can be used for various applications in the industry. The technology has the potential to enable tracking the origin of a particular item by scanning the codes embedded in it. Also, it can be used to alert the consumers during outbreaks of any risky foodborne diseases.

The minister has praised the decentralized nature of blockchain networks that prevents manipulation of data records. He is assertive that the implementation of the technology will reduce operational costs and improve the overall security by eliminating middlemen.

Five Record-Breaking Cryptocurrency Scams in 2018

The controversy of cryptocurrencies is not going to die any sooner. Right from the time of start till date, crypto investors have always been on a roller coaster journey. Out of many, here are a few cryptocurrency scams that looted people and left them bankrupt during 2018. Check them out!

$530 Million Hack in Japan

Coincheck, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan which was founded in 2014, was hacked in January 2018. The exchange had lost $530 million in the hack which was confirmed by the firm in a conference stating that NEM tokens worth $500 million were stolen by the hackers and distributed to 19 different addresses on the network. The exchange had to accept its negligence towards the security threats highlighted by developers, by storing all the NEM tokens in a single hot wallet without using the NEM multisig contract security. Moreover, the exchange was also not officially registered with Japan’s Financial Services Agency, leading to such mishap affecting so many investors.

$51 million Bitcoin Scam in Taipei

One of the biggest cryptocurrency scams that busted in Taipei, charged a group of seven Bitcoin con artists for defrauding crypto investors of $51 million. The fraudsters looted around 6,000 local and international users by promising them returns of up to 355 percent on their cryptocurrency investments. The accused were charged when they did not give any returns in the assured time frame.

680,000 Sites Hacked with Bitcoin Stealing Malware

StatCounter, an Ireland-based web analytics platforms, was hacked in September 2018. The hack was discovered by Matthieu Faou, a malware researcher at ESET cybersecurity firm, who disclosed that hackers were able to break into the platform by adding malicious code to their sites. The attack hacked 680,000 sites at one instant with the main intent to loot Bitcoins from Gate.io users. The details of the hack were not disclosed, however the security break lasted for quite a few days.

$13 Million Cryptocurrency Scams in India

Cashcoin, an Indian cryptocurrency startup, made to the list of top cryptocurrency scams by looting people using fake digital coins. The company stole assets of investors by tempting them with double returns with a period of two months. Initially, the gang repaid the investors with double amounts to attract more people, and then withdrew the amount from the investors’ accounts leading to huge cryptocurrency theft. However, the Mumbai Crime branch, in India, was able to crackdown the scam and catch hold of the culprits behind the scam.

$6 Million MBC Fraud

My Big Coin (MBC) is one of the cryptocurrency startups that allowed people trade crypto coins by simply having an email account. The company stayed in news for quite some time by making one of the biggest cryptocurrency scams using a fraudulent digital currency. It was sued by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission for luring crypto investors and stealing away $6 million from their accounts. However, the investigation done by the FBI and US Portal Inspection Service has been successful and the founder of MBC, Randall Crater, has ultimately got arrested.


IIM Calcutta to Introduce Advanced Program in FinTech and Blockchain Technology

The Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM, Calcutta) has announced its plans to launch an advanced program in FinTech and financial blockchain technology, targeting the management and financial professionals.

As per sources, the institute will collaborate with TalentSprint, a digital platform that offers Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain courses, to accomplish the goal. It will offer the course in IIM Calcutta’s premises as well as via TalentSprint’s online platform. The institute is looking forward to educate around 2000 FinTech professionals in the coming few years.

Indranil Bose, a program director at IIM, Calcutta, has said that the new Fintech program has been designed to educate the management and finance professionals to meet the growing demand for Fintech talents. He has stated that the program will leverage the research and consulting expertise of IIM Calcutta’s Finance Lab and its faculty.


JPMorgan Tests Ethereum Privacy Technology with AZTEC

JPMorgan Chase has announced that it is testing a new privacy protocol called as zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) to allow private transactions efficiently. The protocol that has been built by AZTEC, a London blockchain startup, is aimed at allowing efficient encryption of blockchain data at lesser costs.

ZKPs are used to prove the validity of a set of data without disclosing the data itself, and have the potential to address the privacy concerns of regulated companies about using shared digital ledgers. Earlier, JPMorgan has already worked on similar protocol with Quorum, its private version of the Ethereum blockchain.

According to the company, JPMorgan’s Quorum team is testing AZTEC with an intent to industrialize ZKPs for Quorum. The AZTEC and Quorum platforms follow different approaches to privacy, which are based on public and private networks respectively.

Tom Pocock, CEO of AZTEC, has said that the company is exploring efficient ways of blockchain data encryption, and looking forward to combining the benefits of private and public blockchains together. He has further added that the AZTEC protocol will enable users to take what’s restricted to a private blockchain and issue those transactions on a public blockchain, along with all of the additional execution guarantees.

How dApp Development Influences Future of Transportation Industry?

Due to easy-to-use interfaces and fast processings, Web-based and mobile applications have become the current trend. Every industry is keenly involved in developing feature loaded apps aimed at attracting more customers and growing their businesses. After seeing tremendous success of app-based businesses such as Uber, Netflix, Zomato, etc., there has been a steep rise in the demand for app development companies.

These app-based businesses require a decentralized platform, which is now being made possible through decentralized apps (dApps). Entrepreneurs are quite fascinated towards the kind of innovation dApps are providing. Being precise, the transportation industry also has great scopes for dApps in the coming days. Let’s check out how dApp Development is going to revolutionize the future of the transportation industry.

Better Client & Service Provider Relationship

The transportation industry comprises of three participants, i.e. the transportation companies, transportation service providers and the passengers. It is commonly seen that the service providers are not very happy with their companies, which leads to strikes. This is where decentralized apps can walk in to change the scenario. By introducing dApps in the transportation industry, a transparent and trustworthy relationship could be built between the service providers and the passengers. A dApp can build a transparent ecosystem allowing the users to have a clear view of the service’s revenue model, so that the users build trust on their service providers.

Fast Transactions

Because of the third parties’ involvements, the service providers usually suffer from issues like late payments. As blockchain promises a completely streamlined and decentralized platform, transportation dApps can enable faster payment processing by eliminating the intermediaries. Also, it has the potential to improve the quality of services by offering transparency and seamless transactions. This will boost the business in turn.

Reduced Transaction Charges

With the peer-to-peer system of blockchain technology, it is claimed that transactions will be faster and cheaper. Also, the elimination of third party involvements would remove the intermediary charges, thereby reducing the overall cost per transaction. The reduction in costs will increase the profit for the involved party.

P2P transactions

Privacy and security are the two most important concerns of people in every field. In blockhain-powered dApps, the peer-to-peer (P2P) system would allow users to keep their transactions hidden from third parties, thereby protecting their assets from possible cyber threats. Also, blockchain-based systems ensure enhanced security of personal data building greater trust in such ecosystems, thus allowing the transportation businesses to run smoothly.