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Microsoft Japan Partners With Startup to Increase Domestic Blockchain Uptake

Microsoft and LayerX hope to propagate blockchain technology throughout Japan’s domestic market.

The Japanese arm of computer giant Microsoft has partnered with nascent blockchain startup LayerX to “accelerate” uptake of the technology, Cointelegraph Japan reported Nov. 30.

LayerX, which formed in August as a joint venture from news curation app Gunosy and advisory service AnyPay, oversees blockchain integration for enterprise, including areas such as smart contracts and general consulting.

Using Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution, the companies will seek to promote the technology further in the domestic economy.

“We will support the introduction process in its entirety, even down to technical support of finished implementations,” an accompanying press release stated, adding:

“Both companies will work toward realization of transformation of people’s lives and working practices by promoting the implementation of blockchain technology in various industries.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft released its cloud-based Azure blockchain development kit, which executives said would initially focus on three areas: “connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.”

The Japan move forms the latest in the country’s ever-increasing activity in both the blockchain and cryptocurrency sphere, with multiple entities involved in promoting the technology among consumers.

Two Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges, Coincheck and Zaif, meanwhile continue to recover from hacks in January and September this year that saw losses totaling almost $600 million.

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China’s Telecom Giant Huawei Launches Blockchain-As-A-Service Platform

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei revealed its latest Hyperledger-fuelled Blockchain offering at a conference in Shenzhen Tuesday, April 17.

The Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) tool, which comes a month after the release of Huawei and Hyperledger’s joint project Caliper, will be known as the decidedly low-key “Blockchain Service.”

Hyperledger is an open source Blockchain operation created by the Linux Foundation in 2015. Since its inception, it has grown to incorporate over one hundred major business sponsors and seen multiple partnerships and integrations.

Focused on smart contract development, Huawei’s Blockchain Service “is a high-performance, high-availability, and high-security blockchain technology platform service for enterprises and developers,” its official description reads, and “can help companies and developers create, deploy and deploy quickly and cost-effectively on Huawei Cloud.”

Huawei has been conspicuously keen to keep ahead of the competition from China’s electronics conglomerates such as Tencent and JD.com in the Blockchain space.

Having worked on Caliper since its inception in May 2017, Huawei is also a major sponsor of Hyperledger, joining the project in October the previous year.

Chinese Internet heavyweight Baidu meanwhile also joined Hyperledger in October 2017, launching its own Blockchain-based image rights platform earlier this month.

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E-Commerce Giant JD to Launch Blockchain-as-a-Service Platform

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has today unveiled a white paper detailing its next big step into the blockchain industry.

Drawn up by JD’s blockchain technology and application center, the white paper outlines a variety of verticals that the firm will target with the launch a new blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform.

JD’s BaaS service will provide blockchain tools for developing apps in areas such as supply chain data tracking; public services, such as government taxation and authenticating charity donations; financial settlement and securities remittance; fraud prevention in insurance; and big data security.

“JD is actively building and opening up its own BaaS platform in bid to let the government, logistic industry, financial institutions and other enterprises to launch blockchain applications,” the white paper states.

The document release comes on the heels of JD.com’s previous announcements in the space. Early this month, it revealed a blockchain system for tracking beef imports from Australia. The firm also recently launched a blockchain accelerator program to help blockchain startups scale up their applications via integrations with JD’s business lines.

The effort also comes amid moves by other major Chinese companies into the blockchain industry. As reported by CoinDesk, internet giants Baidu and Tencent have both launched BaaS platforms in the last year.

JD.com image via Shutterstock

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Search Giant Baidu Launches Blockchain-as-a-Service Platform

Chinese web search giant Baidu has launched its own blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform.

Based on technology developed by Baidu, the open platform sets out to provide the most “user-friendly” blockchain service.

According to the firm’s dedicated website, “Baidu Trust” allows the conducting and tracing of transactions, and can be applied in various use cases, including digital currency, digital billing, bank credit management, insurance management financial auditing, and more.

Baidu says the technology has already been applied in asset securitization and exchange, and claims it has contributed to the “first asset-backed securities exchange products using blockchain technology in China.”

With the move, Baidu follows Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent in launching its own suite of blockchain services.

Announced in April 2017, the company said it would use the technology – coincidentally called “TrustSQL” – to offer digital asset management, authentication and “shared economies”, among other services.

While maybe a little behind on launching its BaaS platform, Baidu was an extremely early adopter of bitcoin. Notably, it announced in October 2013 that it was accepting payment in bitcoin for its Jiasule service, which improves websites’ performance, speed and security.

Baidu headquarters image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.