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Real Estate Registry on Blockchain: Promise Land or Wishful Thinking?

Researcher from RMIT explains why startups will fail to fulfil their promises to disrupt real estate with blockchain.

Why have blockchain pilots in real estate abated somewhat? Those projects bump up against the fundamental inconsistency of blockchain and existing state system, and it seems they cannot confessed to this.

First, there is no such thing as the use of blockchain for real estate. There are plenty of different concepts and ideas, and as you will find below, some of them are useless. And when you consider probably the most ultimate idea — i.e., a title token — you understand that none of the existing projects could offer a complex solution to address issues with inheritance, lost private keys, co-ownership, delegation of rights and a bunch of legal issues that arise from blockchain immutability. The only scenario you can find is permissioned decentralized ledger technology (DLT), which is just yet another centralized technology — or blockchain with “smart” applications on top but which are centralized in their core design. These issues remain unnoticed in blockchainization buzz. Let’s go through known projects and bust their myths.

Honduras

The first news of the use of blockchain for cadastral registry proliferated as a gospel in 2015 from Honduras with the help of Epigraph and Factom Inc. Being referred to by many enthusiasts for a long time, the project itself was never kicked off. And here we find the first fundamental constraint, though not a technological one:

Highly corrupt countries could significantly benefit from blockchain — a temper-proof, transparent, public and decentralized database; but they won’t until kleptocratic regimes run their countries.

Chromaway

Chromaway was founded in Sweden in 2014, giving hope of disrupting the old-fashioned centralized and bureaucratized real estate cadastre. In a YouTube demonstration in 2019, the team showed their centralized DLT platform, “Chromopolis” (which is not a blockchain like any other permissioned DLT platform), and revealed a lab prototype app for title deeds. The app requires government clerks and brokers to “bless” transactions between counterparties. And here is unveiled the second most significant misconception. In general, the problem of the architecture of such systems is that records have legal force only when they are stored in the closed governmental database, all peer-to-peer transactions on the blockchain between parties make no sense, as far the last word is on the side of the one who controls the central registry:

A centralized system is an antipode to uncensored distributed public technology of blockchain. Any attempts to make friends with these two, in which centralization reserves a leading role, are doomed to failure because the blockchain loses all benefits.

Without shifting from centralized to distributed architecture, any attempts of disruption turn into mimicking the existing system. In fact, nothing more happens than digitizing bureaucracy and middlemen. However, Chromaway teaches us another lesson: Over five years, the project did not succeed in introducing a working system at the state level but announces, from time to time, new phases of its development. The problem here is:

Prosperous and highly developed societies often fail to find reasons to change the existing system. What for, if it works, though imperfect?

It must make extraordinary sense for changes, especially at the scale of a whole country. And it is clear that the Swedish government has no incentive to let go of its monopoly on political power over centralized cadastral registry. To add, Chromaway, during its initial coin offering (ICO) in August 2018, wrote in its white paper that it is going to develop the DLT network and will keep centralized control over it and promised to decentralize it in the future. It was also revealing that its white paper articulated no direct plans in real estate and cadastral registry. Therefore, it leaves little hope that the real estate revolution is coming from Chromaway.

Dhana, Bitfury and others

Bitland has been in Ghana since 2014, and the project has never delivered its objectives to “register land and real property ownership and use rights” using blockchain. Propy Inc., during its ICO in 2017, stated that its far-reaching plans were to disrupt the industry by eliminating third parties with a global real estate supermarket on the blockchain driven by smart contracts. However, its supermarket, at this stage, looks like yet another real estate broker’s platform that has no relation to any land title registry. And this is very convenient, as it can always say that it had never promised disruption at this phase. The demo of the project gives some hope for the future, though it is not accessible for public online registration.

REX, founded in the United States in 2016, promised a new multiple listing system (MLS) standard for real estate brokers, ending up with the Imbrex online ad listing protocol for brokers and landlords — and, if we forget about the high-level idea to get rid of the enormous amount of middlemen in real estate, it looks like a success. 

Velox.re demonstrated in Cook County, Chicago how hashing on a blockchain could imitate a real cadastral entry but ceased its activities in this direction. Bitfury launched its centralized DLT based on the Exomun DLT framework in the Republic of Georgia and Ukraine. The project purposed to hash records of the real estate database on Exomun. Some professionals suppose that its impact at the security level of the government-owned land registry is inconspicuous. Notwithstanding, we need to give credit to Bitfury because it has never aimed to de-bureaucratize the domain and reduce middlemen.

Related: Wine, Mountains, and Mining Rigs: Georgia as a Crypto Powerhouse

How did the revolution come tumbling down?

To explain why the mentioned projects failed to revolutionize real estate (some did not even promise that, but many believed in it because they used the magic word “blockchain”), we should clarify the most important conceptual inconsistency of the blockchain and traditional legal system.

The problem is the immutability of blockchain records. One may say this is an advantage, but the current paradigm stands on the centralized hierarchical model.

The last 2,000 years since Roman law appeared, people developed lots of legal doctrines to protect property rights. All of them have been based on an imperfect nature of people’s relationships and the need to fix problems when they arise. Blockchain appeared ill-prepared to deal with the theory of law and state — and actually, nobody designed the technology with these prerequisites. Or perhaps we should change the theory to fit the blockchain? Tough question, isn’t it?

High-level ideas recently discussed in the industry and academia do not answer the main question: How exactly can blockchain technology be applied? When these scenarios are analyzed, it becomes clear that there is no single use of blockchain for real estate but an array of bold ideas.

Anyway, in general, blockchain beyond cryptocurrency can be used to: 

  • Insert arbitrary user’s data (for example, hashes).
  • Create tokens.
  • Manage tokens with smart contract.
  • Develop so-called decentralized applications (DApps).

Related: Blockchain-for-Land: What We Are Getting Wrong and How to Fix It

Hashing cadastral records

First of all, this is not about disrupting bureaucracy but about information technology security. And the use of studied pilots in Georgia and Ukraine with Bitfury is questionable. The real estate registries in both countries remained centralized and closed. If the cadastral database with title records is not open — and whatever hash value thereof is inserted in the blockchain/DLT — then it does not secure the record itself. The reason why is that the record can still be tampered with while it stays in someone’s hands. When the record is tampered with, the hash from such a fake record can also be published on the blockchain as well — and then revealed as legitimate. Moreover, in these pilots, so-called “blockchains” appeared not to be a blockchain but a centralized and closed DLT, known as Exonum.

Even if we consider here the use of a real public blockchain, we will have another problem: How do we know which record is authorized? Transactions on the blockchain are pseudonymous and uncensored — so, anyone can make any records, including fake ones. We need a layer of authentication. Someone centrally will identify and authorize state-owned blockchain addresses, from which records are published. And then, another centralized, off-chain system will track the blockchain to filter and collect a white list of correct hashes, which are considered to be made by authorized clerks. Having such a level of centralization, this approach can barely compete in terms of security with existing governmental databases.

Hashing records of deeds

Let’s say a buyer and seller came to an agreement expressed in an electronic file, its hash was published on the blockchain, and we consider it as a deed.

The first issue is the authentication of the parties: How do we know that it was Alice and Bob who hashed this record in the blockchain? We can use here something that we know as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) with trust ID services. This means they will deal with a trusted third party that creates and manages digital identities: Certificate Authorities (CA) or Trust Service Providers (TSP) in the U.S. and European Union respectively (other counties replicate these models). For example, in the EU, this system is well-developed (see, for example, Estonian e-Residency) and allows remote authentication of users; however, this is very regulated and bureaucratized.

One may ask: What if Alice and Bob identify themselves without trusted third parties? Yes, they can deal remotely if they trust their remote identities. The problem is that the government does not trust them. No government will allow anonymous and fake IDs because of two main reasons: money laundering and terrorism financing.

But if conventional PKI is used, then why do we need blockchain at all? The parties will remotely sign the e-deed with their digital signatures, issued by CA/TSP. If you trust the cryptography of blockchain, then there is no reason not to trust PKI, which is based on the same.

Besides technological discussion, here appears a legal issue: How is it possible to acknowledge an e-deed? A town clerk (a notary, a registrar, a title company or whoever is responsible for that in a certain state) must also apply its digital signature. For many countries, such a deed would be so innovative that it would require new regulations. Therefore, when startups promise to disrupt real estate and forget to mention that they need to change the legislation, they are cheating or are just premature. 

Even though we legitimized electronic contracts, there is still the system of a state-owned database. So, you end up with the registration of this deed that is made by a town clerk (notary, title company, etc.). So where is the advantage of the blockchain? Therefore, not shallow but significant changes are required in the whole paradigm. 

Smart contracts with title tokens

While the idea is very broad, let’s shrink it to a typical, possible scenario. One party has a token that represents a land title, and another party has some cryptocurrency. 

The smart contract is designed to perform an atomic transaction — i.e., to exchange the token for an agreed amount of cryptocurrency. In this scenario, a notary is excluded (or who is meant to acknowledge the deed in any particular jurisdiction) and the deed, therefore, is not legitimate. 

The second, while titles/deeds live in the central state database this transaction has no legal meaning. This token, as per law, represents nothing, even if the parties want it to be a title. It is clear that new regulations are required to legitimize these relations.

If we assume the government recognized title tokens and such transactions, then what must happen when the landlord dies and does not leave the private key to anyone? Or, if the owner simply loses the key? What if the transaction is disputed by someone whose rights were violated? What if the private key was taken as a result of a crime? How will custody represent rights of a disabled person? Or, how can a judge split the land between divorced spouses? And this is just a small list of possible legal issues that will bump up against the immutability of records and strong cryptography, which won’t allow anyone but the owner of the private key to have access.

Should we consider all transactions always valid, no matter what happens? Then, the landlord and the successors lose their property when the key is lost, and the court ruling to reinstate someone’s title will be useless, as it cannot be enforced.

Reissue a new token? Then, what if the lost key is found or the defeated party in a lawsuit still uses its private key, actuating a transaction with the old token? We will have two tokens that represent one title. Collision with double spending of the same real estate is inevitable. Then what?

Okay, let’s allow anything to happen on the blockchain but treat all these transactions only as evidence, as a source of facts whether they are lawful or not. We will then develop a separate title/deed registry in which we will write a consummation and strike out thereof when something goes wrong.

But don’t we already have such a registry in each country, with regulations and instructions on any possible situation — what we call bureaucracy? Didn’t we want to get rid of that?

It’s clear that people do not like tedious legal procedures, as they cause high transactional costs. We see that disrupting projects should entail legislative changes and true reforms, but for that to happen, a mature concept is required. We will talk about a possible scenario in upcoming publications.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.

Oleksii Konashevych is a Ph.D. fellow in an international program funded by the EU government, Erasmus Mundus Joint International Doctoral Fellow in Law, Science and Technology. Currently, Oleksii is visiting RMIT and collaborates with the Blockchain Innovation Hub, doing his research in the field of the use of blockchain technologies for e-governance and e-democracy. Oleksii works on tokenization of real estate titles, digital IDs, public registries and e-voting on blockchain. Oleksii earned a master degree in law in 2005 and a master degree in economics in 2010. Before academic work, he practiced law in Ukraine for 10 years, holding senior positions. He participated in an initiative that worked on e-democracy reforms and became a co-author of the law on e-petitions, collaborating with the Presidential Administration of Ukraine as a manager of the e-Democracy Group.

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US Senate Committee Approves the Blockchain Promotion Act

The United States Senate committee of commerce, science and transportation approved the Blockchain Promotion Act this week.

The United States Senate committee of commerce, science and transportation approved the Blockchain Promotion Act on Tuesday, tech news outlet CNET reports on July 11.

The bill, published by the outlet, moves the U.S. closer to a blockchain definition at the federal level and establishes a blockchain working group within the Department of Commerce. Members of the working group should be representatives of federal agencies that could use blockchain and non-governmental stakeholders.

Non-governmental participants will include information and communication technology manufacturers, suppliers, software providers, service providers, vendors, and experts.

Within one year from its establishment, the working group should submit to Congress a report recommending a definition of blockchain.

Furthermore, the report should also recommend research to be conducted on Distributed Ledger Technology’s (DLT) impact on electromagnetic spectrum policy, other potential applications, and specifically possible uses by the federal agencies. 

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, United States President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to cryptocurrencies, citing Bitcoin and Libra specifically, in a series of tweets published yesterday.

It has been announced last month that the United States House Financial Services Committee will be holding a hearing on the social media giant Facebook’s proposed virtual currency Libra on July 17.

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How Blockchain Could Change the Real Estate Investment Landscape

The expansion of DLT use in the real estate sector — in title verification, valuation, diligence, insurance payment and settlement, smart contacts, construction monitoring and material verification.

David Hodge is the director of European operations for AEI Consultants, an employee-owned international consulting firm that provides comprehensive services to commercial lenders, property owners, managers, tenants, and developers, industries, institutions, government agencies and insurers, including many Fortune 500 companies. Founded in 1992, AEI is based in the San Francisco Bay area, with offices across the United States and Europe. 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.

An increasing number of countries have begun the process of implementing functional and legal frameworks to regulate blockchain-recorded tokens over the past several months, which has led to increasing exploration of these technologies across many investment sectors. 

Further, the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a powerful disruptor at the transactional level, where significant disintermediation is occurring — especially with one of the most popular alternative investments: real estate.

Much of the recent regulation — or steps toward regulation — address volatility and risk concerns related to both initial coin offerings (collectively, ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs).

For example, recent regulatory movements include: 

  • In July 2018, Malta passed into law the world’s first legislative framework for blockchain and DLT with the purpose of regulating ICOs and STOs, including a benchmark regulatory platform and process. 

  • In December 2018, the Council of the European Union published the G-20 declaration titled “Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development,” summarizing the discussions at the 13th G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

  • Following the G-20 declaration, seven European Union countries — the “Mediterranean Seven” — signed a declaration agreeing to cooperate on blockchain and DLT technologies. Malta took the initiative to launch the declaration, the other signatories included Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece. The agreement binds the signatory countries to promote the technology and work together in the blockchain sphere. 

  • Switzerland also provided a dedicated framework for cryptocurrency, as did the Isle of Man

  • The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued to treat ICOs as securities until September 2018, when clarification was sought from the SEC Chairman in a formal letter, following a meeting in Washington attended by representatives from Wall Street, venture capitalists, cryptocurrency firms and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A letter was prepared by the group and signed by more than a dozen members of Congress for the SEC chairman, ultimately inspiring four crypto-friendly bills to go to Congress in early 2019.

  • South Korea and Brazil banned investment in ICOs in 2018.

As many groups are seeking to fine-tune and standardize definitions of the different types of tokens, much of this regulation recognizes that STOs — which, unlike most ICOs, are backed by physical assets — could be the solution to security and fraud concerns surrounding ICOs and other types of crypto tokens. 

Additionally, STO raises had a 95% completion rate last year. Ultimately, this success and validation has led to broad acceptance of STOs across several sectors, including real estate. 

Fractional real estate

The biggest game changer will likely be found in unlocking the liquidity of smaller investors through democratizing access, thanks to fractional real estate (FRE) opportunities. 

Since this class of investment was previously only accessible to high-net-worth investors, real estate investment trusts (REITs), opportunity funds, investment vehicles managed by major banks, or institutional investors, the tokenization of investment-grade assets into FRE significantly lowers the barrier of entry, priced at single token value with no traditional minimum investment limits or lock-in periods — creating a simpler and more secure opportunity for investors to buy in to. 

Data

Another way that the real estate investment and transaction landscape is changing due to blockchain technologies is the use of DLT to create public, state and federal government blockchains for all types of real estate-related databases, which increases accessibility, reduces rework, simplifies transactional procedures and reduces time frames.

Universal regulatory acceptance

While there is still a long way to go when it comes to universal regulatory acceptance — for example, China, India and several other countries have banned STOs outright in recent years — crypto tokens and DLT are changing investment processes in major real estate markets around the world. 

The expansion of DLT usage — in title verification, valuation, diligence, insurance payment and settlement, smart contacts, construction monitoring and material verification — in conjunction with an increase in FRE STO opportunities, has a strong growth outlook for 2019.

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Cyprus’ Finance Minister: Blockchain Draft Bill to be Ready This Year

The finance minister of Cyprus, Harris Georgiades, said that the country’s blockchain regulation draft will be ready this year.

The finance minister of Cyprus, Harris Georgiades, has said that the country’s blockchain regulation draft will be ready this year. English-language local finance news outlet FinancialMirror reported the news on July 4.

Per the report, Georgiades described blockchain technology as “a new technological revolution similar to that of the internet.” Demetris Syllouris, House speaker, also praised the technology’s potential during the event:

“Full implementation of this technology across the public and private sector is expected to radically change the structures of modern societies, the way they are organized and their operation.”

According to him, the national strategy will sustain Cyprus’ digital innovation, provide the necessary framework, and a roadmap exploring the application of distributed ledger technology (DLT) across many industries while also addressing risks and threats. The national blockchain pilot programs will reportedly involve the Department of Land and Surveys, the Department of Customs and Excise, the Tax Department and the National Betting Authority.

As Cointelegraph reported in February, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) is calling for the transposition of the European Union (EU)’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive (AMLD5) into national law — bringing local regulation of cryptocurrencies under its provisions.

In December last year, Cyprus was among the seven EU states that co-signed a declaration calling for help in the promotion of DLT use in the region.

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Northern Trust Hands Off Blockchain Solution to Fintech Firm

Asset management firm Northern Trust gives blockchain solution to Broadridge for further development.

Northern Trust has handed over its blockchain platform to fintech firm Broadridge Financial Solutions, according to a press release on June 26.

The Chicago-based asset management firm Northern Trust has handed over its blockchain-based private equity (PE) management solution to Broadridge for further improvement.

The platform purports to streamline and automate certain tasks, such as middle office functions. The PE blockchain solution will initially roll out “to all PE funds domiciled in Guernsey and Delaware, including those administered by Northern Trust.”

Pete Cherecwich, President of Corporate & Institutional Services at Northern Trust commented on the hand-off, saying:

“For the benefit of our clients and the industry as a whole, it’s now time to hand over the reins to a technology provider with deep fintech expertise. Broadridge’s administrator-agnostic position, coupled with its DLT (distributed ledger technology) leadership and global footprint, make them an ideal firm to open up this innovative technology to the marketplace, paving the way for the digitization of the asset class.”

Broadridge partnered with the bank Santander last year to facilitate investor voting via proxies using blockchain technology. 

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Northern Trust partnered with Big Four consulting and auditing network PwC to provide a repository of audit data on its private equity blockchain to interested parties.

The solution was reportedly built using the open source Hyperledger Fabric framework as well as the IBM Blockchain to provide security and scalability.

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Walmart China Will Track Food in Supply Chain with Vechain’s Thor Blockchain

Walmart China will track food move in its supply chain with Vechain’s Thor blockchain.

Walmart China plans to track food through its supply chain with VeChain’s Thor blockchain, reveals a VeChain press release published on June 25.

Per the release, the Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform (WCBTP) will be a joint venture by Walmart China, VeChain, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), cattle company Inner Mongolia Kerchin, and the China Chain-Store & Franchise Association. WCBTP has been reportedly announced at the 2019 China Products Safety Publicity Week Traceability System Construction Seminar jointly organized by Walmart China and the CCFA in Beijing.

Walmart China already revealed 23 product lines that the system will track and plans to release another 100 products for further inclusion, covering more than 10 product categories. The press release claims that the company expects that tracked sales will be significant in volume:

“It is expected that the Walmart China’s traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.”

VeChain is among the companies on the list of the first 197 companies that China’s cyberspace administration authorized as registered blockchain service providers, released in April.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Walmart is no stranger to distributed ledger technology (DLT). Back in October 2016, the company began collaborating with IBM on a blockchain-based system that could identify and flag recalled foods.

Since then, Walmart has engaged in several DLT-related patents and trials — e.g., tracking meat in China, delivery drones, live food and patenting smart deliveries in the United States.

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Canadian University Offers Graduate Training in Blockchain Tech

The University of British Columbia offers a so-called training path in blockchain and DLT tech, focusing on public benefit blockchain solutions.

Canadian-based University of British Columbia (UBC) has announced a blockchain and distributed ledger technology training program for master’s and PhD students. UBC announced the development in a press release on June 11.

The training path is reportedly designed to build competency around blockchain tech, and is focused on its application in four public benefit areas: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and Indigenous issues.

UBC says they hope to train 139 students over a six-year period, and graduates should have the tools to evaluate blockchain solutions as well as identify opportunities for blockchain implementation.

Canadian national non-profit research organization Mitacs and 15 industry partners will provide CA$2.44 million for 156 internships and post-doctoral training projects.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, students at UBC’s Vancouver campus founded a bitcoin (BTC) club in 2014. At press time, the club’s website stated that its goal was “ … to provide an environment where bitcoin-related ideas, projects, programs, events, and businesses can be studied and grown.”

The club reportedly focused on education and engagement, bitcoin payment options for on-campus merchants, obtaining mentorship from industry professionals, and providing incubation for bitcoin businesses on campus.

At the end of May, Dublin City University partnered with tech company network Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet to launch a master’s program in blockchain technology, purportedly the first of its kind in Ireland.

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Dutch Bank ABN AMRO Launches Blockchain Inventory Tracking Platform ‘Forcefield’

Dutch bank ABN AMRO announced that it is launching a blockchain inventory tracking platform dubbed Forcefield.

Dutch bank ABN AMRO announced that it is launching a blockchain inventory tracking platform dubbed Forcefield in a press release published on May 17.

Per the announcement, the platform is an Internet of Things solution that allows the monitoring of physical trade inventories with sensors and near-field communication chips.

Forcefield was developed over the past year as a stand-alone product and became an independent company following a successful proof-of-concept that was conducted with consulting firm Accenture.

The bank claims that the system can lead to more secure physical handling processes and a reduction of costs in the management of commodities that are used as collateral for loans.

ABN AMRO Managing Director of Trade and Commodity Finance Karin Kersten said that the platform will strengthen the commodity trading supply chain:

“Parties involved will benefit from more effective controls, greater efficiency, transparency and traceability.”

Lastly, the announcement notes that — besides ABN AMRO — Accenture, Anglo American, CMST International, Hartree Partners, ING Bank, Macquarie, Mercuria and OCBC Bank have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch Forcefield.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, ABN AMRO abandoned its plans to launch a custodial bitcoin (BTC) wallet dubbed “Wallie” because of risk concerns. An ABN AMRO press officer said that the bank “concluded that cryptocurrencies because of their unregulated nature are at the moment too risky assets for our clients to invest in.”

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Luxury Fashion Brand Alyx to Use Iota’s DLT for Supply Chain Tracking

Luxury fashion brand Alyx intends to use Iota’s distributed ledger technology for supply chain tracking.

Luxury fashion brand Alyx intends to use Iota’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) for supply chain tracking, cryptocurrency news outlet The Block reports on May 15.

Per the report, Iota’s system will be implemented in partnership with global manufacturing company Avery Dennison to allow Alyx’s customers to have full insight into their supply chain. By scanning QR codes with an app, it will reportedly be possible to track the course traveled by the item from its creation to the point of sale.

The Block claims that data concerning the apparel’s production location, date and raw materials will be stored on Iota’s DLT, allowing users to consult it. Debbie Shakespeare, senior director of sustainability and compliance at Avery Dennison, reportedly commented:

“Brands and consumers can know that the information they are being shown about the garment’s creation process is 100% accurate and can be trusted implicitly.”

According to fashion news outlet GQ, Alyx creative director Matthew Williams explained that the brand puts a strong emphasis on sustainability by using recycled materials and, for instance, a leather dying process which consumes CO2. Lastly, he announced:

“We’re taking it a step further: we’re going to be the first brand to introduce blockchain technology this month in Copenhagen.”

As Cointelegraph reported in March, luxury scotch whiskey brand Ailsa Bay is reportedly about to release what it believes to be the world’s first scotch whiskey tracked with a blockchain-based system.

In February, Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science also introduced a blockchain-enabled platform for tracking diamonds.

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Malaysia’s Stock Exchange to Develop Blockchain PoC for Security Borrowing and Lending

Kuala Lumpur stock exchange Bursa Malaysia is working on a blockchain-enabled security borrowing and lending proof-of-concept.

Kuala Lumpur-based Bursa Malaysia, the country’s stock exchange, is working on a blockchain-enabled security borrowing and lending proof-of-concept (PoC). English-language local media Bernama reported on the developments on May 6.

Per the report, the initiative aims to develop greater transparency and address other challenges of borrowing and lending securities in Malaysia.

More precisely, the exchange’s CEO, Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift, reportedly said that the PoC should increase the efficiency, speed and capacity of the aforementioned services, which should consequently bring greater demand. Swift claims that the benefits of the PoC will not be limited to the customers of Bursa Malaysia:

“The collaboration also benefits the wider industry through new knowledge, insights and practical experience in harnessing digital innovation to support and drive the growth of the capital market.”

The news outlet claims that this is the first such initiative taking place in an Association of Southeast Asian Nations member state.

Lastly, the report specifies that the PoC has been developed in partnership with Hong Kong-based Forms Syntron Information, the stock exchange’s technology partner. The project will reportedly involve Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd, CIMB Investment Bank Bhd, Citibank Bhd, Retirement Fund Incorporated and Malacca Securities.

As Cointelegraph reported last week, the CEO of the London Stock Exchange, one of the world’s oldest stock exchanges, believes that blockchain could have a use in issuing securities and settlement.

In March, news broke that major Spanish stock market operator Bolsas y Mercados Españoles has completed its first blockchain pilot for electronic certificates of collateral pledges.