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JD.com Rolls Out Blockchain Platform With Its First App

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has launched a blockchain-as-a-service platform alongside its first app – one that digitally tracks corporate invoices for one of the largest publicly traded insurers in China.

According to a release on Friday, JD.com said the application moves invoice data for Pacific Insurance onto a distributed network at each step of the issuance cycle, automating the process and making it visible to all participants.

Invoices, or more commonly known as “Fapiao” in China, play an important role among businesses in the country both as a reference for bookkeeping and for taxation purposes.

The goal of the app, as explained by the e-commerce giant, is to boost issuance efficiency and to streamline the accounting process by keeping the invoice data updated on a distributed ledger.

The application comes as the first use case for JD.com’s Blockchain Open Platform which was also announced today.

The blockchain-as-a-service product – rolled out months after the firm announced its plan for the project in April – is designed to aid enterprises wanting to develop their own blockchain applications, including those for tracking supply chain information, charity donations, certificate authentication and property assessment.

JD.com has previously announced several blockchain trial programs within its own business divisions.

In March, the firm partnered with an Australian beef producer to track the supply chain information of beef import on its platform using blockchain technology. CoinDesk also reported in June that JD’s financial services arm planned to issue its asset-backed securities on a blockchain in partnership with a local bank and brokerage firm.

JD.com image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Smartz: How To Fill The Gap Between Smart Contracts and End Users

One of the major challenges of accelerating the adoption of smart contracts on the blockchain, is the specialized skills needed to develop and launch them. This then leaves only a chosen few with such specialized skills, to be able to access this amazing technology that is the future of decentralization and our lives in general.

In comes Smartz.io: a platform where both individuals and businesses can choose, deploy and then manage different smart contracts without having to know all the back end complexities of developing them. Smartz simplifies smart contracts and makes them more accessible to the end users. The platform has an easy management interface or dashboard that makes for simple deployment of the said smart contracts.

It does this by having ready to user smart contract constructors, also known as templates that can facilitate the creation of an ICO through the issuance of ERC20 or ERC721 tokens. The platform allows for the user to come up with a custom name and ticker for the tokens to be issued, as well as determining the length of the crowd funding campaign and its hardcap. There is also a calculator for token to Ether rate for easier understanding of the funds allocation.

With the Smartz platform, the user can also create an Atomic Swap smart contract for the seamless exchange of one cryptocurrency to another without the complications of an intermediary exchange or other third party. Users can also create a voting contract for a robust simple and secure ballot system. There is also the opportunity to create ledgers to store hashes of any important documents.

Another wonderful property of the Smartz platform is the ability to upload your own smart contract constructor through the easy to use dashboard available. The platform also serves as a marketplace for both smart contract developers and end users willing to acquire their services for specialized projects.

One other solution that Smartz provides is the creation of smart contracts on other blockchain platforms other than that of Ethereum. There are also further plans of integrating third party services such as those of oracles, decentralized arbitrage and decentralized storage. This means that the Smartz platform is continually changing with the times and demands of its users.

With the above capabilities, comes the need for a how-to guide for both developers and users willing to use the platform. The documentation available online, allows for the step by step guide on how to deploy your very own smart contracts.

How to use the platform 

To use the platform, the user must install the MetaMask client. This is an Ethereum wallet embedded in your regular internet browser. It allows for frictionless interactions of the Smartz platform and the Ethereum network without the need of installing or synchronizing a full Ethereum node or any other additional software on your personal computer.

MetaMask is currently available for the Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers. Further instructions can be found in the aforementioned documentation that is available online.

To start using the Smartz platform, you must first deposit some Ethereum in your MetaMask Wallet. After depositing some Ether in your account, the user then returns to the platform’s home page where s/he clicks Deploy for 0.1 ETH next to the Simple ICO contract button.

The user must then fill in all the fields requested on the next page. This includes the following:

  • Contract name (3–100 digits, Latin letters only)
  • Token name (3–100 digits, Latin letters and spaces only)
  • Ticker (token emblem, 3–10 digits, Latin letters w/o spaces)
  • Token burning feature (checkbox)
  • ICO start date
  • ICO end date
  • Exchange rate — ether token exchange rate (e.g., if you specify 100, this means that 1 Ether will be purchased for 100 tokens)
  • Hard cap — the top limit for fundraising during the ICO
  • Wallet address

When complete, the user clicks Deploy Now for 0.1 ETH to which the platform will display the source code for the smart contract for the users review; after which the contract will be available in the network in a span of a few minutes.

Conclusion 

The Smartz platform is a one stop shop for the creation and deployment of smart contracts for the experienced developer as well as the regular end user. It provides convenient easy-to-use tools for the management and control of smart contracts from one location. Enterprise businesses can also integrate smart contracts solutions to their existing IT infrastructure eliminating the need for a total overhaul of existing software and hardware. Smart contract developers can also use the platform to mass distribute their solutions as well as to monetize on their ideas and/or products.

The team behind the project is made up of executives who are experienced in start-ups, software development as well as the running of blockchain companies through their work. Also the team is continually engaged in scientific work and educational activities in the fields of cryptography, blockchain and information security in Russia’s leading technical universities.

Their combined academic, entrepreneurial and work experience come together in creating Smartz.

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Software Giant SAP Launches Blockchain-as-a-Service Platform

Multinational enterprise software giant SAP has launched a cloud platform that is dedicated to helping corporates develop blockchain-based applications.

Announced during an SAP event on Wednesday, the cloud-based solution aims to provide enterprises with a framework to build business applications on top of blockchain systems such as Hyperledger Fabric, the blockchain platform launched by the Linux Foundation, of which SAP is also a main contributor.

The company said in the announcement that the work is being formally rolled out after it has worked with 65 companies within its Blockchain Co-Innovation Initiative that trialed blockchain applications in various industries such as supply chain, manufacturing, transportation, food and pharmaceuticals.

Earlier last month, CoinDesk reported that the company is working with the U.S. sausage maker Johnsonville, as well as Naturipe Farms and Maple Leaf, to pilot a project that tracks the origin of food products across the supply chain as a part of its Farm to Consumer initiative.

In addition to its co-innovation program, SAP has also announced it is forming a blockchain consortium, members of which are entitled to use tech developed by the group. Notable firms in the consortium currently include HP Enterprise, Intel and UPS.

The work marks SAP as the latest tech giant that has rolled out a platform for enterprise blockchain application development, following similar works done by Microsoft, IBM and China’s Baidu and Tencent.

SAP image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Oracle to Launch Its Blockchain Platform This Month

Software giant Oracle is all set to publicly launch its blockchain-as-a-service platform, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The California-based multinational is said to be launching the platform this month, with apps based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) to follow in June, the news source states, citing Oracle’s president of product development, Thomas Kurian.

As reported by CoinDesk, Oracle first unveiled the enterprise-grade blockchain cloud platform in October 2017, saying at the time that  it is looking at the technology as a way to extend and streamline its existing cloud services.

Frank Xiong, Oracle’s group vice president of Blockchain Cloud Service, said at the initial unveiling that the firm aims to attract both large and small firms, with pricing based on transaction volume.

He added:

“This blockchain platform will give [customers] a platform to extend their services beyond their enterprise bundle, which means they can extend them outside to their business partners, advantage customers and so on.”

The move comes after other major corporations have launched similar products, most notably, perhaps, Microsoft and IBM. China has also seen a raft of such launches from companies such as JD.com. Baidu and Huawei.

Among other existing blockchain projects, Bloomberg cites Kurian as saying that that Oracle is already working with commercial bank Banco de Chile to record interbank payments using a platform from Hyperledger – a consortium it joined in August of 2017.

Oracle image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Huawei Unveils Hyperledger-Based Blockchain Service Platform

Telecommunications and smartphone provider Huawei has become the latest tech giant in China to launch a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform.

Announced at Huawei’s analyst conference in Shenzhen on Tuesday, the company’s new platform, dubbed Blockchain Service, is said to enable companies to develop smart contracts on top of a distributed ledger network for several use-case scenarios.

A member of, and contributor to, the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium since October 2016, Huawei has based the new BaaS solution on Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, according to Hu Ruifeng, a Huawei engineer who also co-authored the project’s white paper ahead of the launch.

As reported by CoinDesk, Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 version was first released in July of last year, and marked a key milestone for the open-source software as it progressed towards production-ready status for enterprise application development.

According to the white paper, the BaaS platform currently allows clients to build smart contract applications that focus on supply chain, tokenized securities assets and public services such as ID verification and financial auditing.

The launch marks the latest technological development from Huawei in its push into blockchain technology, and follows recent efforts by Hu and Huawei engineer Zhou Haojun to develop Project Caliper – software designed to test the performance of major blockchains.

Huawei’s effort also comes as major internet and technology giants from China are moving into the space with Baidu and Tencent both having launched their own blockchain service platforms recently.

E-commerce giant JD.com also announced a similar plan in a white paper released last month.

Huawei image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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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

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.