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Digital Tech Is Driving Growth in Transportation Management Systems

Market research by Grand View Research suggests that digital tech, including blockchain, is driving the growth of global transportation management systems.

A recent market report by Grand View Research suggests that blockchain is one of the digital technologies driving market growth in the global transportation management systems (TMS) sector, according to a press release on July 11.

According to Grand View Research, a market research company based in San Francisco, the TMS market is expected to reach $198.82 billion by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate of 16.2%.

A number of digital technologies are credited as driving forces for current and projected TMS market growth alongside blockchain, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud transportation management systems, the so-dubbed Internet of Things (IoT), and predictive analytics.

Blockchain tech and AI reportedly contribute significantly to streamlining TMS. According to the report, these technologies have led to a rise in competition among module developers as they scramble to invest in the best streamlining tech.

There is also said to be an increasing need for automation and technology in supply chains and logistics, which apparently motivates companies to use TMS. Additionally, there is a demand for visibility, scalability, and flexibility for supply chains. 

The supply chain industry is also increasing its use of blockchain technology to provide transparency and efficiency. 

The World Bee Project is using blockchain tech to track honey along its journey from hive to store, and gather data on bee population decline; international shipments are being tracked and coordinated on the blockchain; a company in Canada is even using blockchain tech to track marijuana on the supply chain, in a purported effort to improve its image as a legitimate medicine and gather strain-specific data.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Turkey has put blockchain adoption in the transportation sector on its 2019-2023 economic roadmap.

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Turkey Puts Central Bank Digital Currency on New Economic Roadmap

In a new economic roadmap, the government of Turkey has included a blockchain-based central bank digital currency.

The government of Turkey has included a central bank-issued digital currency in its 2019–2023 economic roadmap published on July 9.

As per the 11th Development Plan from the Presidency of the Turkish Republic, “Blockchain-based digital central bank money will be implemented.”

In addition to a central bank digital currency, the development plan lists blockchain adoption in the operations of transportation and customs. It further notes that public services and administration can be improved by emerging technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay presented the plan to the parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, saying, “We will attach importance to our energy and development policies during the period of the development plan.”

As indicated via a report by Al-Monitor in early 2018, Turkey has been considering issuing a national cryptocurrency for some time. According to an interview in February 2018, economist and then-Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said: 

“We are planning to start our own work on digital currencies. We place high importance on digitalization.”

Some in the government, however, reportedly remain skeptical toward cryptocurrencies at large, with several ministers comparing such projects to pyramid schemes.

A paper from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted in late June that central banks would start issuing digital currencies in the near future. The IMF cited a central bank digital currency pilot program in Uruguay as precedent, along with a number of projects — in the Bahamas, China, Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, Sweden and Ukraine — as being close to testing.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Statistica’s Global Consumer Survey for 2019 suggests that around 20% of Turkey’s residents are cryptocurrency investors. According to the survey, Turkey had the highest per capita rate of cryptocurrency ownership among the surveyed countries.

Countries around the globe have launched a number of blockchain-based infrastructure initiatives. For instance, the mayor of Seoul, South Korea, announced in May that the government would implement blockchain technology in its citizen ID cards. The mayor also noted that Seoul already has blockchain-based administrative services, such as mobile e-voting and car sales.

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Blockchain and AI Bond, Explained

Blockchain and AI are taking the tech world by storm. Discover what happens when the two are combined…

What is the future of AI for blockchain?

These applications are the tip of the iceberg. Potential use cases for AI and blockchain remain theoretical, but there are countless possibilities for the future.

Indeed, the pairing has garnered the attention of world governments seeking to become central hubs for innovation across the globe. Several countries have passed laws or launched initiatives to facilitate AI and blockchain development, catalyzing an innovation acceleration across the field. For instance, the United States has passed a law to facilitate AI-related investments while the United Arab Emirates has created a national program to provide scholarships for studies in the field. Even Malta has launched its own ambitious initiative to become a top destination for both fields.

One potential use of blockchain will be to verify AI processes, as machine learning makes these algorithms faster and more capable. Instead of having to rely on approximations of processes, blockchains can store step-by-step transactional data to verify any single operation and ensure the integrity of results. Other projects have explored the technologies’ applications in health care, both for protecting users’ sensitive health data and forming a more favorable marketplace for individuals to access medical services.

Are there existing use cases?

Even with these challenges ahead, several companies and organizations are already introducing AI into blockchain to produce results.

There are already several promising projects merging the technologies that span a variety of fields. Recently, blockchain-based Cortex has announced the launch of an AI-based network for decentralized applications (DApps), which can help optimize financial services. The company hopes to use the technology to generate credit reports for decentralized financial services, construct better anti-fraud systems, and even assist in gaming and esports.

Other companies, such as Endor, have taken a narrower approach. The organization, which offers a powerful AI-based predictive analytics tool, deploys blockchain to create a more scalable engine and access to more data. While the project is aimed at business users, it does significantly democratize predictive analytics technology.

For financial services, companies like Peculium (a savings management platform), AiX (a financial trading platform that offers trader-to-trader capabilities) and Autonio (a trading terminal that facilitates crypto trading) all deliver improvements over existing solutions and tools.

Finally, some projects are working to make AI integration simpler, such as Singularity Net, which offers a decentralized network for users to create and monetize AI services easily.

What are the challenges of integrating AI and blockchain?

Even with enormous shared potential, there are still some important challenges that AI and blockchain must resolve to become truly viable as a pair.

Despite blockchain’s tremendous potential for data accessibility, privacy remains a large concern on public blockchains. While the goal is to democratize data, the presence of possibly sensitive data from IoT and other devices could raise some privacy issues for individuals and organizations alike. One solution would be to employ private blockchains that limits the availability of data to only those who own the chains.

Additionally, scalability remains an issue on major blockchains, which were not built to handle the massive demands expected of them currently. Ethereum, one of the most popular blockchains for development, can still only process roughly 15 transactions per second, and though other blockchains now claim to be processing thousands of transactions per second, for the most part, hard evidence supporting their claims remains absent.

Finally, smart contract technology presents a hurdle, especially for AISecurity issues remain a large challenge, and the deterministic nature of smart contract execution is a problem for AI engines, which usually require a more random approach to execution.

What problems could AI and blockchain solve?

As complementary technologies, AI and blockchain can deliver significant advantages across a variety of fields, which include analytics, health care, financial services and many more.

The two technologies have still mostly been kept separate, but initial attempts to combine them have seen interesting applications unfold. One of the earliest concepts of AI and blockchain integration revolves around data analysis. Much like centralized data sets, blockchain offers AI a massive base to collect and parse from to uncover better insights and solutions. Unlike off-chain storage, however, blockchain data remains secure and immutable — even in the case of storage failure. Blockchain consensus methods also mean that the data being used is more transparent and less prone to tampering.

Another key issue AI has is access to computing power. More powerful AI engines require more processing capacity, in contrast with hardware and cloud-based solutions that exhibit significant scaling issues. Using blockchain would mean that AI can access shared pools of computing power across networks, effectively scaling on demand. On the other hand, AI machine learning could significantly reduce the power consumption and requirements for mining coins.

Another intriguing application for AI and blockchain lies in the Internet of Things (IoT). As IoT devices become more commonplace, blockchain is an optimal technology to support the infrastructure, and AI could serve as an ideal manager of massive decentralized networks.

Are AI and blockchain compatible?

The two technologies may have evolved separately, but they show impressive potential when combined and are already being integrated.

Considering the enormity of both trends across the tech world, it was only a matter of time until their trajectories merged. At their core, both technologies are centered around managing and communicating data, though they solve different parts of the puzzle. One of the byproducts of the digital revolution is that we generate massive troves of data from millions of touchpoints every day. AI is designed to quickly collect, analyze and correctly interpret the data, and react to it without any human interaction.

While it remains far from independent for now, AI can learn and continuously improve its operations as it collects and parses new data points. Companies like NetflixSpotifyGoogle and even some health care organizations already use AI to tailor their services while providing better recommendations and improving results for consumers.

Blockchain, on the other hand, is more concerned with the storage and communication of data. Its distributed ledger architecture means that data is stored simultaneously across all nodes connected to the network, and it allows for data to be completely decentralized, making it quicker to access and more democratic. Since every node has access to all the available data, AI becomes less reliant on central storage for processing.

Why has there been such a spike in interest around AI and blockchain?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are two of the most-talked-about technologies of the past 10 years, and their evolution has led to significant and promising innovations. The idea of combining them is particularly intriguing.

The profit potential for these two technologies is forecast to be in the billions for the foreseeable future. Gartner, a global technology research firm, estimates that the business value created by AI will near $3.9 trillion in 2022, while some anticipate the blockchain market will be worth roughly $23 billion by 2023.

The drivers behind this tremendous predicted growth are increased adoption, as well as the potential use cases that have been emerging across both sectors. AI, which is technically not a new technology, has taken on a prominent role in the tech world over the past two years. While we are still far from fully thinking machines, AI has been deployed in everything from marketing and sales to manufacturing and even health care. The technology has become a crucial part of most businesses’ plans moving forward.

According to the consulting firm Mckinsey & Company, 47% of businesses surveyed have integrated AI into their operations in at least one capacity, and 78% plan to increase investments in the technology in the near future. Blockchain is on a similar track, with several industries adopting the technology as positive sentiments gain momentum. A PwC survey found that nearly 84% of respondents were actively involved with blockchain in some capacity.

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House Reps question FinCEN Director on Libra’s Potential for Illegal Usage

House Reps question FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco on Libra’s potential usage in illegal activity.

Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Kenneth Blanco briefed several members of the United States House on the potential for Libra’s use in money laundering, illicit financing, and other illegal activities, according to a press release from Representative Emanuel Cleaver II.

Leading the meeting were Reps. Cleaver, Trey Hollingsworth, Bill Foster, and French Hill, all members of the Committee on Financial Services. Rep. Cleaver, chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy, said in his statement: 

“With the evolution of virtual currencies and new marketplaces, nefarious actors are continuously adapting to find new ways to engage in illegal financial activity. […] Now that we’re seeing a giant corporation like Facebook—which has already shown an inability to identify and impede these kinds of actors at an acceptable level—creating its own virtual currency called Libra, it cannot be understated the importance of Congress and financial transmitters to be proactive in utilizing the newest and most powerful technologies to ensure the financial system is not being used improperly.”

Blanco reportedly outlined current research into artificial intelligence and machine learning and their use in regulating cryptocurrencies.

Rep. Cleaver’s questioning was largely informed by concern over Facebook’s role in the 2016 US presidential elections, as well as alleged use of cryptocurrencies by Russian agents to fund election interference. Cleaver continued: 

“We’ve seen the significant damage that foreign adversaries and bad actors have wrought on our democracy through Facebook’s platform, and that was simply through messaging and advertising.”  

This briefing comes just days after the Financial Services Committee scheduled hearings with Facebook for July 17, which in turn followed Committee Chair Maxine Waters’ request for a moratorium on Libra’s development on June 18, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.

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Cortex Launches Deep Learning and AI Network for Decentralized Apps

Cortex claims that this is the first time that artificial intelligence has been introduced to a crypto network at scale.

Cortex has launched a network for decentralized apps powered by artificial intelligence (AI,) according to a news release published on June 26.

The company claims this is the first time that AI has been introduced to a crypto network at scale. It is hoped the technology will be used to generate credit reports for the decentralized finance industry and facilitate anti-fraud reporting for exchanges — and Cortex believes the gaming and eSports sector could also benefit from a “diverse range of use cases.” Cortex CEO Ziqi Chen said:

“In the near future, we expect to see stablecoins based on machine learning, decentralized decision making, malicious behavior detection, smart resource allocation, and much more. These are challenges that all intersect with crypto networks, where having trained AI models that are accessible on-chain will prove to be extremely valuable.”

Looking ahead, Cortex says it plans to work with developers to implement AI dApps on its network, and deliver on-chain machine learning to networks beyond Ethereum.

Earlier in June, the European Union announced plans to increase the amount of data that can be reused as raw material for AI and blockchain projects.

An AI-powered index tracking the 100 strongest-performing crypto coins and tokens was also recently added to Reuters and Bloomberg trading terminals.

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Blockchain Hits Top 10 Future Skills in LinkedIn Asia Pacific Report

The social network also identified compliance and AI in being highly useful skills in the coming years for the sector.

Blockchain is one of the top ten most important employee skills in the Asia Pacific region, a new report from professional social network LinkedIn confirmed in June.

A regular feature on the network, the 2019 APAC version of “The Future of Skills” lists blockchain among the most sought-after abilities workers will need in the coming years.

Specifically, “setting up and managing a distributed and decentralised public ledger” will be a useful skill, while other areas making the top ten include compliance and artificial intelligence (AI).

Both areas are closely tied to the blockchain sphere, with the disruptive technology producing a need to inform regulator attitudes.

“Rising skills can be used to forecast where industries are going,” LinkenIn commented about the findings. The report added:

“Examining what rising skills certain industries are hiring for shows what changes they are anticipating.”

As Cointelegraph reported, both blockchain and blockchain industry businesses frequently make other LinkedIn rundowns, such as desirable businesses to work for. In April, United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase was the sole crypto company in the local “Top Companies 2019” shortlist.

Within APAC, blockchain appeared particularly high on the list in jurisdictions such as Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. In all three, businesses have flocked to develop applications while governments also express a strong desire to implement the technology formally.

Singapore, for instance, is undertaking a state-wide initiative, Project Ubin, which should bring blockchain-facilitated services to the mainstream beginning in 2020.

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Brazil Authorities to Adapt Cross-Sector Regulations to React to Digital Transformation

Brazil will regulate the development of new technologies’ applications in capital markets, finance and insurance following a new initiative.

Major government and financial authorities in Brazil have teamed up to develop a regulatory sandbox model targeting new technologies such as blockchain, Cointelegraph Brazil reports on June 13.

The new regulatory initiative brings together the Central Bank of Brazil, the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM), the Superintendence of Private Insurance (SUSEP), and the Ministry of Economy’s Special Secretariat for Finance in order to adapt to the digital transformation affecting the financial, capital and insurance sectors in Brazil.

Revealed by the CVM, the project implies that emerging technologies such as blockchain, robotics and artificial intelligence have enabled the establishment of new business models that generate new products and services of higher quality and scope.

The regulators have expressed their intention to enforce their regulations in corresponding sectors to maintain compliance in accordance with the rules of each industry, regardless of how services or products are delivered, the CVM stated in the announcement.

As a part of the initiative, the participating regulators will also seek to act jointly in regard to the technology-related activities that go through more than one regulated market, the report notes.

The Financial Action Task Force also recently announced plans to release a note clarifying how participant jurisdictions should oversee the digital assets sector.

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Report: Microsoft to Add Blockchain Tools to Its Power Platform

American technology giant Microsoft will reportedly make blockchain-based tools available to PowerApps and Microsoft Flow users.

American technology giant Microsoft will reportedly make blockchain-based tools available to PowerApps and Microsoft Flow users, tech-focused news outlet GeekWire reported on June 10.

Microsoft will purportedly announce its plans to add blockchain tools to its Power Platform during the Microsoft Business Applications Summit on Monday in Atlanta. Specifically, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain tools will be included in the company’s PowerApps custom application builder and PowerBI business intelligence tool.

The Power Platform itself is a collection of tools —  Power BI, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow — designed for collaborative work to build custom apps, automate workflows to improve business productivity and analyze data for insights.

Microsoft has previously released several blockchain-powered tools based on its products. In May, the company introduced the new Azure Blockchain Development Kit for the Ethereum blockchain. The tool kit was designed to aid developers who are building apps using Microsoft’s blockchain-as-a-service platform, Azure Blockchain Service.

That same month, the tech giant revealed that it is building a decentralized identity network atop of the Bitcoin blockchain.

As reported in late May, New York-based blockchain firm ConsenSys also released a new Blockchain and DApp Developer Job Kit to help aspiring Ethereum blockchain developers enter the market. The kit includes a blockchain knowledge glossary that covers topics such as consensus algorithms, smart contracts, miners and security incentivization, token standards and the so-dubbed scalability trilemma.

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Over 100 Staff Now Reportedly Working On Facebook’s Crypto Project

CNBC has collected public details on high-level executives for Facebook’s cryptocurrency project via LinkedIn.

More details are now emerging regarding high-level executives for social media giant Facebook’s crypto project, according to a report by CNBC on June 6.

According to the report, there are now 100 people known to be working on the crypto project via profiles on professional networking platform LinkedIn. Facebook is also reportedly not done hiring, with over 40 openings still available in the team’s business unit, as per its website listing.

The aim of Facebook’s new crypto project, according to advertising on its career descriptions, is to provide a public service centered on accessibility:

“Our ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now — that could be things like healthcare, equitable financial services, or new ways to save or share information.”

The head of Facebook’s blockchain-based project is David Marcus. Marcus served on the board of cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Coinbase until recently, and previously worked as the president of PayPal.

Additionally, Facebook developer Eric Nakagawa will reportedly take the title, “head of open source.” Nakagawa has reportedly championed open source projects in the past at PyTorch artificial intelligence (AI) software. Nakagawa also previously acted as founder and CEO of popular 2000s humor website, “I Can Has Cheezburger?”

As recently reported by Cointelegraph, Facebook may relinquish control of its cryptocurrency governance to third parties, in order to provide a degree of decentralization. Additionally, Facebook will reportedly announce its secretive crypto project some time this month, at which point its employees will be allowed to take part of their salary in the platform’s native cryptocurrency.

At blockchain conference Consensus 2019, the CEO of Polychain Capital said Facebook would be wise to build its alleged stablecoin on a public, open blockchain infrastructure. CEO Olaf Carlson-Wee commented that doing so would alleviate public concern, saying:

“I think given all the problems that Facebook has had with policing their platform and things like that, I think that the strategic move for Facebook would actually be to build public infrastructure. And that public infrastructure could be incorporated onto all the Facebook platforms, which of course are proprietary. But that public infrastructure, if they don’t try to own it, I think that’s where they will have the most success.”

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EU to Increase Access to High-Quality Data for Blockchain, AI Projects

The EU hopes the relaxed rules will boost the economy and give firms the data they need to innovate.

The European Union is increasing the amount of data that can be reused as raw material for artificial intelligence and blockchain projects, the trading bloc announced in a news release on June 6.

Officials hope the relaxed rules will “boost the EU data economy, contribute to the development of a data-based society and stimulate growth.”

High-value datasets will be available free of charge — including statistics, company ownership records and meteorological information. As well as allowing AI and blockchain products to use research data that is already in the public domain, real-time weather and transport data will be made available.

Alexandru Petrescu, Romania’s minister for communications, said:

“These rules are a real enabler for artificial intelligence and will help Europe to become a world leader in this crucial area. They will bolster the EU digital industry, especially smaller companies and startups, which would not otherwise have access to all the data they need to innovate and expand.”

EU member states will now have two years to ensure that these changes are implemented into their national laws.

In April, the EU officially launched the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications, and said the technology would prove pivotal in solving some of the biggest issues in today’s global economy — including trust between buyers and sellers, and tracing the authenticity of goods.