Jan 11, 2018 -Nelson-based power retailer NextGen Energy announces it is now accepting Bitcoin for payment of electricity bills. The social enterprise company operates as a not-for-profit, uniquely donating all net profits to local schools and charities. “NextGen Energy is creating disruptive opportunities within the NZ electricity sector, and actively pursues the adoption of new technologies.” says Tom Wheatley, CEO, “NextGen is already supplying power to a number of crypto-currency mining operations, and the ability to pay for the power in Bitcoin simply makes sense. We are now extending this option to all our customers.”
Jan 11, 2018 - “The 90s had dotcom mania. Here comes crypto mania!” While Bitcoin is conquering new highs in the 20,000 range, and global public attention is glued to the charts of altcoins of all types, opinions have split: from baby boomer’s claiming cryptocurrency a gigantic bubble, to millennials hoping to hedge against political and economic fluctuations.
Jan 11, 2018 - Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg remains a popular figure on the social media platform. He posts regularly about a variety of activities, including his work with the philanthropic Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and his ongoing work on the Facebook platform. A recent post drew unusual levels of attention, though, and it has to do with the company's potential involvement in the hottest trend: cryptocurrencies.
Zuckerberg previously explained via a Facebook post that he aims to learn something new each year, and a post for the new year explained that his challenge for 2018 would focus on exploring how technology can "give people the power," according to Futurism. (See also: Zuckerberg Studying Cryptocurrency to 'Fix' Facebook.) Some are interpreting his post as a suggestion that Facebook may add a cryptocurrency service.
Centralization vs. Decentralization
"One of the most interesting questions in technology right now is about centralization vs. decentralization," he wrote. "A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people's hands."
Zuckerberg explained his view that the potential for technology to help empower individuals has been subverted by a number of big tech companies as well as governments.
He explained that the use of technology as a monitoring system is contrary to this empowering process. One way to continue the push toward decentralization, though, is cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
"I'm interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services," Zuckerberg explained, according to Futurism.
The major question following Zuckerberg's post has to do with the practical impact of these musings. Will Facebook add a cryptocurrency in 2018 A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.
Companies of all kinds have added digital currency components (See also: Kodak to Launch Cryptocurrency: Stock Soars on ICO News.) A cryptocurrency linked with a social media platform as powerful and widespread as Facebook would have enormous potential.
Yonatan Ben Shimon, the CEO and founder of cryptocurrency/social activity company Matchpool, indicated that this plan has potential. "In order to do it right, they [Facebook] have to be with a partner from the crypto space that understands how to build it in a decentralized way," Shimon said.
If Facebook did enter the cryptocurrency space, it could be a major force in the widespread mass adoption of the industry around the world. Given that Facebook has roughly 2 billion active monthly users, the reach of a Facebook digital currency would be game-changing.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin. It is unclear whether he owns other bitcoin forks.
Jan 11, 2018 - New Zealand tech stars are leading a global team in launching the world’s first ever blockchain platform for the multi-billion-dollar global online ratings and review industry. Kiwi tech business experts including 2017 New Zealand chief executive of the year award winner Leigh Flounders and NZTech and FintechNZ chair Mitchell Pham are at the forefront of the launch of Lina.review which is ground-breaking and disrupting the online review world.
Jan 11, 2018 - The idea of a decentralized music platform is certainly not a new one. It was all the rage once the capabilities of blockchain were fully realized by developers and the public itself. As the blockchain-based music industry expanded, the debate started on how to develop a perfect music sharing platform that will incentivize other people for maintenance of distributed servers and invest in the development in the first phase.
There were some who favored a true blockchain-based solution. For example, every node gives a part of its storage to the network as part of the deal and thus they all benefit from it. It is good in theory, but not in practicality for just a music-based blockchain.
So Voise, a blockchain-based music platform decided to deploy a system of masternodes on the Ethereum blockchain as an alternative. They have also announced other incentives for early backers by burning over 50 million tokens to hopefully increase the worth of already existing token holders.
Voise is a music platform that works on a self-executing smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. The music industry right now is a super consolidated business with new entrants facing a lot of issues in being recognized and published in the business.
The audience, on the other hand, is crazy for new music and new records and they are even willing to pay to download or listen to them. A study recently showed that over 110 million people are willing to pay good money to listen to music with many other silent approvers. Voise gives a level playing field for all artists and provides them with several useful features. Voise features
They include both fiat and cryptocurrency payments, a thematic search engine, a feature-rich profile section, and an eager, music-loving audience that wants to discover new favorites. So, it is a win-win situation for all players involved.
The masternodes are maintained by token holders and can be used by them to generate idle revenue from their contributions. All token holders have to be masternode operators to earn the money. What they need to do is have 600,000 VOISE tokens in their wallet and then set up a masternode. The dapp will lock these tokens, and after a minimum of one month, token holders will be given a percentage of the earnings, depending on the amount they have locked in. More than 80% of the profits will be shared with token holders according to the creators of the platform.
An alpha launch of the new platform took place in October 2017. Voise has also partnered with Grammy-nominated Carolyn Malachi and DJ sensation Jinco for the new platform. VOISE token
As part of the token burn, the circulating supply of VOISE token has dropped 8% from 643,012,000 VOISE to 593,012,000 VOISE coins. The overall hard cap will also go down from 825,578,000 to 775,578,000.
Jan 9, 2018 - U.S. technology firm Kodak has announced that it will launch its own cryptocurrency, with plans to host an initial coin offering (ICO) at the end of January.
In an official announcement, Kodak said the cryptocurrency would underpin "an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers." The idea is that photographers could use Kodak's forthcoming blockchain to register works, with "KODAKCoin" functioning as a medium of exchange on the platform. Users can receive payment in the cryptocurrency as well as pay for rights, according to the company.
The unveiling marks the first time Kodak has revealed its interest in the technology. The company is perhaps best known for its photography-related products, though a bankruptcy and subsequent recovery in 2013 led the firm to focus more actively on printing and digital film.
Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement:
"For many in the tech industry, 'blockchain' and 'cryptocurrency' are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who've long struggled to assert control over their work and how it's used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem. Kodak has always sought to democratize photography and make licensing fair to artists. These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that."
It's not clear at this time how much Kodak intends to seek through the ICO, but the company said that the token sale – set for Jan. 31 – will be open to accredited investors from countries including the U.S. and Canada.
"This initial Coin Offering is issued under SEC guidelines as a security token under Regulation 506 (c) as an exempt offering," Kodak said.
Market data suggests that, at the very least, Kodak is enjoying a bit of an investor windfall as a result of its announcement. As of press time, shares for Kodak are up roughly 37 percent for the day, having risen from an opening of $3.10 to $5.50, according to Google data.
Jan 9, 2018 - Environmental organisation WWF and its partners have introduced revolutionary blockchain technology to the Pacific Islands’ tuna industry, the first of its kind for this region, to help stamp out illegal fishing and human rights abuses.
Tracking fish from vessel to the supermarket, the Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project is using digital technology in the fresh and frozen tuna sectors of the Western and Central Pacific region to strengthen supply chain management.
As part of an innovative initiative, WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia, and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global tech innovator ConsenSys, information and communications technology (ICT) implementer TraSeable, and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd. to deliver the project in Fiji.
“We are so excited that WWF-New Zealand is a Blockchain project partner,” said WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy. “This innovative project has the potential to really improve people’s lives and protect the environment though smart, sustainable fisheries.”
“For years, there have been disturbing reports that consumers may have unknowingly bought tuna from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and, even worse, from operators who use slave labour.
“Through blockchain technology, soon a simple scan of tuna packaging using a smartphone app will tell the story of a tuna fish – where and when the fish was caught, by which vessel and fishing method. Consumers will have certainty that they’re buying legally-caught, sustainable tuna with no slave labour or oppressive conditions involved. Blockchain technology is a digital, tamper-proof record of information that is accessible to everyone.”
The buying and selling of Pacific tuna is currently either tracked by paper records, or not at all. Now fishermen can register their catch on the blockchain through radio-frequency identification (RFID) e-tagging and scanning fish.
“This is about helping people understand exactly where their food comes from – telling the story about the fish, the fisherman, the families, the crew – the path from ocean to plate,” Ms Esterhazy said.
Now steps are underway to find a retailer to partner in the project and use blockchain to complete the tuna’s traceability story.
ConsenSys, one of the leaders in blockchain development, is working with WWF and Sea Quest to test and implement the Viant blockchain traceability tool for the Pacific tuna industry.
“We are thrilled to be working with WWF and Sea Quest Fiji on this project, as ConsenSys has a keen interest in supporting applications of blockchain that offer an opportunity for social impact and doing good in the world,” said Tyler Mulvihill, Co-Founder and Global Business Development, Viant.io.
Brett “Blu” Haywood, the CEO of Sea Quest Fiji, welcomes the blockchain technology. “Sustainable fishing ensures the longevity of the fishing business, and Sea Quest wants to see sustainable fishing in the region. This blockchain project with the three WWF offices certainly gives the industry the best opportunity going forward,” Mr Haywood said.
The project receives technical support from TraSeable Solutions, a new technology company based in Fiji. CEO of TraSeable Ken Katafono said: “I am very excited to be part of this project, which I’m sure will lead the transformation of seafood supply chain traceability in the Pacific and potentially around the world”.
Jan 9, 2018 - When aircraft manufacturers today are faced with a problem in a plane that has been in service for many years, they encounter a significant challenge “ tracing the history of the suspected part or component and chronology of events surrounding it to find the right fix. These could be issues or damages fixed right from the manufacturing process, flight test observations, customisations by lease operators, maintenance observations and changes, damages due to in-flight incidents such as a hard landing or bird strike and pilot logs from in-flight observations and issues.
All this data is spread out in multiple systems across organisations in the supply chain, and data gathering and reconciliation becomes an extremely challenging exercise. Some airlines spend as much as 90% of the time and effort finding and organising the data chronologically, and only 10% of time in finding the fix. And the aircraft are grounded during this time - massive revenue loss for an industry with high asset utilization targets.
Now imagine the savings that would be possible, if there were a system of records that brought together all of the information from all of these sources in one place, all organised in chronological order. With such a system, aircraft could be back in the air within just 20% of the time taken earlier. Enter blockchain!
By enabling all the parties to share their data on a common network as and when the data is generated, and using a common identifier for a part or component that lets the entire history be traced, blockchain could just be the solution to this challenge.
The manufacturing industry is experiencing significant transformation as blockchain streamlines processes and brings accountability among stakeholders. The technology is a powerful recorder of transactions enabling provenance tracking of goods and its movement through the supply chain.
Organisations today face challenges in coordinating with their stakeholders in the value chain, due to information asymmetry caused by silo-ed databases, resulting in inaccurate forecasts and delays due to insufficient inventory. In a globalised world, organisations procure and sell goods in different parts of the world. Their partners in the supply chain have increased exponentially, raising the need for a single source of truth.
Consumers also demand products that are crime-free, sustainable and of the highest quality. The ability to validate the ethical production of products and to trace its origin not only provides transparency, but also increases brand loyalty, brand value and revenue.
Blockchain has come to be recognised for its potential to create a fundamental, disruptive shift in the way information is processed, making them faster, accurate and tamper-proof. Organisations are recognising the inevitable force of this technology, and its ability to build an ecosystem that would transcend geographical barriers, its automation capabilities and the enormous cost benefit.
While Blockchain offers enormous potential, manufacturing companies need to leverage it in chosen business areas, where the impact of this technology is the most.
The aerospace industry is one of the sectors which stands to gain a lot from blockchain. Blockchain has various applications in the aerospace industry, such as supply chain management enabling stakeholders to trace the sub-components back to its manufacturers and access its quality details.
It also helps the stakeholders to streamline their inventory management by tracking the production of assets and the monitoring the inventory of their suppliers and customers. And as mentioned earlier, it can help quickly provide aeronautical engineers access to the history of the aircraft, and the damage and repairs to help accurately identify the problem and design the solution for the aircraft. Other Blockchain applications include:
Supply Chain Management
Inventory Management: OEMs procure goods from across the world to meet the demands of local customers, but stakeholders in the same city do not have the information required to plan their procurement and production activities.
Blockchain promises to end the struggle to coordinate between stakeholders in the value chain by bringing them on a single platform and creating a sole source of truth. Blockchain helps track products as they move along the supply chain providing real-time inventory updates to all the stakeholders. This helps manufacturers plan their procurement and production activities.
Provenance Tracking: Customer awareness has resulted in the need for organic food, crime-free and environmentally-sustainable products. Customers can use the blockchain to trace products and its constituents back to its origins. They can view quality certificates and certifications from third parties to verify the sustainability or ethical practices of the company.
The airline industry needs to track several components within a part or section of the plane. The ability to track components of a section and verify its presence is crucial for the airline industry. Blockchain helps the airline industry account for every component and assigns accountability among its suppliers for missing parts creating safe skies for all air travelers.
Manufacturers struggle to stop the global supply chain fraud and leakage, which accounts for losses of over $300 billion per year. By tracking products through the supply chain, organisations can ensure counterfeit products do not enter the supply chain and provide customers a tamper-proof record of the product's lifecycle to verify authenticity.
Blockchain enables aerospace industry to track products through the value chain, thus preventing counterfeits from entering the market and enabling customers to verify the authenticity of the product.
Smart contracts on the blockchain can be used to automate payment to suppliers and service providers. They can also be used to automate equipment to perform functions at specific instances. Sensors on equipment can capture data which can be used to certify the quality of products or smart contracts can stop production of faulty products if an anomaly is detected.
Equipment Maintenance Tracking
By tracking equipment procurement and their breakdown, blockchain enables manufacturers to trace faulty components back to their suppliers and reduce the downtime of production facilities.
In the airline industry, for instance, blockchain could help track aircraft through production, servicing and its entire lifecycle tracking parts usage and damage history. Data can then be made available for damage detection, analysis and repair of parts.
The manufacturing industry is on the verge of a blockchain revolution. By connecting every company and every customer it helps create greater transparency and trust and enable businesses all over the world. As more and more companies deploy blockchain in their supply chain, an ecosystem free from information asymmetry and counterfeiting seems a real possibility.
Source: Deccan Herald (The writer is Vice President and Head of Center for Emerging Technology Solutions at Infosys) | December 24, 2017 |||