Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘blockchain’ Category

KRACK

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I just got back from chasing a little white ball around the Texas Hill Country for a week.

Upon my return, I discovered the wonderful news about the KRACK attack (who comes up with these names??!).

First, the Equifax breach, now this.

If you’re not familiar, the KRACK exploit has to do with a serious weakness discovered in the WPA2 protocol (wifi).

According to a rundown in Ars Technica, the exploit allows attackers within range of vulnerable device or access points to intercept passwords, emails, and other data presumed to be encrypted. In some cases, the report goes on, it could allow perpetrators to inject ransomware or other malicious content into a website a client is visiting.

You can learn more details about the exploit and fallout here.

FYI, it won’t help to change your wifi password. Microsoft has issued a Windows patch for the exploit, Mac has beta fixes in developer releases of iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, and Android is expected to have a fix in the coming weeks.

Now, on to the more positive news. Yesterday, IBM announced a new blockchain banking solution that will help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments, designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.

TechCrunch captures the current situation and the blockchain remedy:

Currently, international transactions take days, if not weeks, to be completed. Frustration with that has seen services like TransferWise rise, but, great as they are, they remain solutions for savvy consumers or small businesses rather than all. A blockchain solution for banks addresses the root cause, and it could minimize the potential for errors thanks to the ledger-based system while also providing transparency and flexibility to banks. In one example, IBM said its service could be used to connect a farmer in Samoa with a buyer based in Indonesia, while covering more than just the payment itself. “The blockchain would be used to record the terms of the contract, manage trade documentation, allow the farmer to put up collateral, obtain letters of credit, and finalize transaction terms with immediate payment, conducting global trade with transparency and relative ease,” it said.
– via TechCrunch

Very cool stuff.

If you’re not yet on the blockchain, you can learn more here.

Written by turbotodd

October 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

IBM, Banks Collaborate to Advance an Open, Blockchain-based Trade Finance Platform

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Bank of Montreal (BMO), CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Erste Group have joined an initiative launched by UBS and IBM in 2016 to build a new global trade platform based on blockchain technology.

This new platform, called Batavia, is built to be openly accessed by organizations of all sizes anywhere in the world, and can support trade finance for transactions across all modes of trade, whether goods are being transported by air, land or sea.

Batavia advances the work initiated by UBS and IBM to develop a trade finance platform built on the IBM Blockchain Platform powered by the Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain framework.

The development work is being done collaboratively by the five banks and IBM in consultation with transportation industry experts as well as the banks’ customers to ensure that the platform is flexible and intuitive for customers and can be commercialized.

Batavia is targeting pilot transactions with customers on the network in early 2018 to test and refine the platform.

Designed to support more efficient, transparent and cost-effective transactions, the new global trade financing platform will help organizations more easily build multi-party, cross-border trading networks worldwide.

Batavia will allow transacting parties to view the progress of a shipment as it leaves the warehouse, is loaded onto a plane, truck or boat and arrives at the receiving port, automatically releasing payments incrementally along each step of the process.

The platform will help connect participants in a trading network, delivering the potential to transform global trade. The open nature of the platform, which encourages broad participation by many banks, vendors and regulators, will also help open new trade corridors, bring new players into the market and expedite processes that before were prohibitively time-consuming and expensive.

Traditionally, trading partners, including buyers, sellers, their banks, transporters, inspectors and regulators have relied on large volumes of paper-based documentation to securely conduct trade transactions. This process can take up to weeks, incurring costs, making data vulnerable to errors due to repeated manual reprocessing and tying up capital.

Delays and lack of transparency in trade can make it difficult for companies to access financing, limiting their ability to trade across borders and grow revenues. The Batavia platform will eliminate the necessity to handle and compare documents, allowing buyers, sellers and their banks to execute transactions with a high degree of efficiency and transparency.

Blockchain enables greater transparency by digitizing agreements entered into a permanent, immutable ledger that all involved parties in a trade transaction can view. The status of a contract until its fulfillment is updated automatically through IoT sensor data or user input.

Batavia will save users time and reduce costs by ensuring the integrity of data as it changes hands, reducing third-party verification processes and minimising the potential for errors, tampering or disputes. When all participants in a transaction can access a shared version of the truth, they can interact with greater trust, build larger and more distributed networks, and in turn, grow revenue.

You can learn more about the IBM Blockchain Platform here.

Written by turbotodd

October 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

Blockchain Mo’

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The cryptocurrency momentum continues in spite of a fluctuating Bitcoin, suppression in China, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s recently professed skepticism about the fate of cryptocurrencies.

Dimon warned that “governments will eventually crack down on cryptocurrencies and will attempt to control it by threatening anyone who buys or sells bitcoin with imprisonment.”

Of course, we have to separate the emerging digital currencies themselves from the underlying blockchain technology that makes currencies like bitcoin work.

Just today, Fortune’s “The Ledger” blog reported that Oracle has introduced blockchain cloud services to help its clients link their existing inventory and supply chain software to a secure, distributed transaction system.

And Juniper Research recently released a report that indicated IBM is leading the way on blockchain tech, with more than 40 percent of tech execs and leaders in the blockchain sector ranking IBM at the top.

Go here to learn more and to get started with the IBM Blockchain Platform.

Written by turbotodd

October 3, 2017 at 9:48 am

China Construction Bank (Asia) and IBM Developing Bancassurance Powered by Blockchain

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China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited and IBM today announced the development of the first blockchain-enabled bancassurance project in Hong Kong. Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, the solution is designed to streamline CCB (Asia)’s bancassurance process and greatly enhance customer experience and the quality of services delivered through faster transaction processing time and increased transparency.

Bancassurance is an arrangement whereby a bank and an insurance company form a distribution partnership in which the sales associates of the bank can sell the insurance company’s products to the bank’s client base and through the bank’s channels. The arrangement can be hindered by delays in data transmission or incomplete information.

By working with IBM, CCB (Asia) and all parties on the blockchain now have a shared view of required policy data in real-time, reducing the need for time-consuming status checks which can delay processing time.

This is accomplished through a shared, immutable ledger used for recording transactions. It helps establish accountability and transparency among network participants, enabling CCB (Asia) and its partner insurers to deliver the services more efficiently.

The solution is now under testing with insurance providers and their clients and is expected to be available in the third quarter of this year.

The IBM Blockchain Platform which underpins the project is the first enterprise-ready blockchain service based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric version 1.0. Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

Written by turbotodd

September 21, 2017 at 11:52 am

Posted in 2017, banking, blockchain, china, ibm

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IBM Leads the Blockchain

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Happy Monday.

First things first. If you’re a University of Texas football fan, my condolences on Saturday night. That was an epic football game between the ‘Horns and USC, and the last minute comeback by Texas during regulation deserved its own Emmy award for high drama. Then, to go into Double OT…well, let’s hope it’s a harbinger of continued great play.

As for the Monday morning tech world news, there’s certainly plenty to go around.

CNBC reported earlier that, according to Juniper Research, IBM far outranks Microsoft as the blockchain industry leader. The report wrote that "More than 40 percent of tech executives and leaders in the blockchain sector ranked IBM as top, with only 20 percent saying the same of Microsoft."

You can go here to learn more about IBM’s blockchain initiatives.

If you’re keeping track of the tech VC race, Slack just got a huge infusion of $250 million (largely from Softbank’s Vision Fund), valuing the firm at $5.1B.

SiliconANGLE on the infusion: "…Slack said it will use the latest funding to improve its ‘operational flexibility,’ a statement that is vague at best. The company also said it still has much of the $591 million it previously raised in the bank, which should at least give it lots of room for maneuvering in the months and years to come."

SA goes on to explain Slack may need the wiggle room, considering Microsoft has entered into the messaging space with its new Teams application.

In China, autonomous driving startup JingChi has raised a $30M angel round and is raising a $100M Series A. The company’s founder is Wang Jing, former head of Baidu Inc’s Autonomous Driving Unit, and will be HQed in Silicon Valley.

According to China Money Network, it completed a test drive in California in June, and is the 34th company to obtain a license to test autonomous vehicles on public roads there.

So next time you’re driving down the 101 and you see one car after another with nobody driving, you’ll know why.

Written by turbotodd

September 18, 2017 at 11:08 am

No Yuan

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First China banned initial coin offerings.

Now Chinese authorities plan to shut down domestic bitcoin exchanges, writes The Wall Street Journal, which it claims will deliver “a final blow to a once-thriving industry of commercial trading for virtual currencies.”

Apparently regulators have been investigating bitcoin and other virtual currencies since the beginning of the year, but when it became evident that Chinese investors used bitcoin as a short against the promise of a falling yuan…well, you do the math.

Bloomberg reports separately that China is home to nearly a quarter of the the world’s bitcoin trades, but that this move by the Chinese authorities will “definitely slow the development of cryptocurrencies in China.”

The move can be viewed in the larger context of a broad clampdown on financial risk as we draw closer to next month’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Bitcoin users will still be able to trade cryptocurrencies in China without exchanges after this move, but the process is likely to be slower and come with increased credit report, says Bloomberg.

Written by turbotodd

September 11, 2017 at 9:09 am

Posted in 2017, bitcoin, blockchain, china, crytocurrency

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IBM Introduces Blockchain Platform, New Academic and Developer Initiatives to Advance Blockchain Skills

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A group of leading companies across the global food supply chain today announced a major blockchain collaboration with IBM intended to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system. The consortium includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, who will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.

Every year, one-in-ten people fall ill – and 400,000 die – due to contaminated food. Many of the critical issues impacting food safety such as cross-contamination, the spread of food-borne illness, unnecessary waste and the economic burden of recalls are magnified by lack of access to information and traceability.

It can take weeks to identify the precise point of contamination, causing further illness, lost revenue and wasted product. For example, it took more than two months to identify the farm source of contamination in a recent incidence of salmonella in papayas.

Blockchain is ideally suited to help address these challenges because it establishes a trusted environment for all transactions. In the case of the global food supply chain, all participants — growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers — can gain permissioned access to known and trusted information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions.

This can enable food providers and other members of the ecosystem to use a blockchain network to trace contaminated product to its source in a short amount of time to ensure safe removal from store shelves and stem the spread of illnesses.

Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever, Walmart and others are now coming together with IBM to further champion blockchain as an enabling technology for the food sector.

New IBM Blockchain Platform

Beyond food supply chain applications, blockchains are now being used to transform processes and streamline transactions for everything from flowers, real estate and trade finance, to education, insurance and medical services.

To accelerate this adoption, IBM is introducing the first fully integrated, enterprise-grade production blockchain platform, as well as consulting services, that will allow more organizations to quickly activate their own business networks and access the vital capabilities needed to successfully develop, operate, govern and secure these networks. The IBM Blockchain Platform is available via the IBM Cloud.

The platform builds off of the successful blockchain work IBM has delivered to more than 400 organizations, incorporating insights gained as IBM has built blockchain networks across industries including financial services, supply chain and logistics, retail, government and health care.

Extensively tested and piloted, the platform addresses a wide range of enterprise pain points, including both business and technical requirements around security, performance, collaboration and privacy that no other blockchain platform delivers today. It includes innovation developed through open source collaboration in the Hyperledger community, including the newest Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 framework and Hyperledger Composer blockchain tool, both hosted by the Linux Foundation.

The integrated platform allows multiple parties to jointly develop, govern, operate and secure blockchain networks to help enterprises accelerate blockchain adoption.

For developers, easy and flexible network tools designed to bring blockchain networks up to speed in minutes. The platform also includes the first commercial introduction of Hyperledger Composer a framework that helps developers focus on the business use case and more easily and quickly map it to the application code.

Developers can create standard business language in JavaScript and the APIs help keep development work at the business level, rather than being highly technical, making it possible for most any programmer to be a blockchain developer. Additionally, a variety of IBM Developer Journeys for blockchain are available featuring free open source code, documentation, APIs, architecture diagrams and one-click deployment Git repositories to fast-track building.

In addition to food safety, IBM is advancing other blockchain supply chain initiatives using the IBM Blockchain Platform for an automated billing and invoicing system. Initial work to use blockchain for invoicing is underway starting with Lenovo. This will provide an audit-ready solution with full traceability of billing and operational data, and help speed on-boarding time for new vendors and new contract requirements.

To complement the new platform, IBM Global Business Services offers Blockchain Services, which brings deep industry expertise from its 1,600 blockchain consultants who have helped clients deploy and integrate active networks. These consultants can apply design thinking to help enterprises conceptualize and implement blockchain enabled business models to realize optimal value.

For example, during recent blockchain projects with major shipping and retail organizations, IBM consultants have been able to improve food safety traceability by 99.9 percent and decrease trade document workflow by 97percent, potentially unlocking millions of dollars in cost savings and market capital.

Expanding the Blockchain Ecosystem Across Academia and the Start Up Community

To help meet the increasing demand for a skilled technical workforce trained in blockchain, IBM is making available a wide range of resources including software, training and professional partnerships free of charge to more than 1,000 universities in the IBM Academic Initiative. Offerings include six months of access to the IBM Cloud for use of the IBM Blockchain cloud sandbox to help students hone development skills.

IBM is also working with select universities including Baruch College/CUNY, Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and University of British Columbia to fund research grants, develop customized curricula and host workshops and hackathons. For technologists who want more in-depth guidance, IBM has refreshed its blockchain training and educational materials on developerWorks for Hyperledger Fabric 1.0.

As interest in Hyperledger Fabric continues to grow, IBM is also working with other companies such as Boldstart Ventures, to provide support and resources that broaden access. Boldstart Ventures has launched Fabric Foundry, the first accelerator dedicated to this framework, to foster adoption.

Written by turbotodd

August 22, 2017 at 8:41 am

Posted in blockchain, developers, food safety, ibm

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