Posted on

EY's Maritime Blockchain Insurance Tech Is Now Live

A group of companies piloting a blockchain-based insurance platform for the global shipping industry announced on Friday that the technology is now live in commercial use.

Dubbed Insurwave, the blockchain platform was developed by professional services firm Ernst & Young and software company Guardtime based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud-based technology.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the Denmark-based shipping giant Maersk first joined the group in September of last year to deploy the solution in a pilot phase. Other notable participants in the test included insurers MS Amlin and XL Catlin.

The end goal, the group said, is to allow each party in the shipping insurance ecosystem to use a distributed ledger that would record shipment information and automate insurance transactions when needed, which touts an ability to bring efficiency and transparency.

The group expects the platform to execute over half a million automated blockchain transactions for more than 1,000 vessels over the first year of its use in a live, commercial environment.

Further down the road, EY said it also plans to extend the application to other types of business insurance, including global logistics, aviation and energy.

Today’s announcement also marks the latest effort by Maersk to actively apply blockchain technology in its operations.

Currently, the firm is also working with IBM to adopt a global trade digitization platform built on the Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 blockchain to record and transact cargo information along the global shipping supply chain.

Maersk shipping 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.

Posted on

ICOs – Big Target For Hackers, E&Y Report

Thanks to Blockchain applications like Ethereum, initial coin offerings have become part and parcel of the cryptocurrency world.

As businesses integrate innovative ideas with Blockchain technology, they’ve been able to raise a large amount of capital through initial coin offerings (ICO) – much like companies that list themselves on stock exchanges in an initial public offering.

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has seen many investors look for the next best thing after Bitcoin and Ethereum prices skyrocketed over the past 12 months.

This has led to a number of ICOs receiving massive capital investments for their projects. But where there is wealth, there is bound to criminal interest – as a recent report from Ernst and Young suggests.

$400 mln in two years

According to Fortune, up to 10 percent of all the money raised by ICOs between 2015 and 2017 was either lost in the crypto ether or stolen in hacks. Putting a number on that amount, we’re talking $400 mln stolen by hackers.

In their haste to attract investors, companies launching Blockchain services often overlook the necessary security precautions needed to protect themselves and investors buying their tokens.

Ernst and Youngs’ report states that over $3.7 bln was raised by 372 ICOs during that time period. That is a massive amount of money for ‘start-up’ offerings, and it’s hardly surprising that hackers are looking for soft targets.

The report states that large ICOs are deemed to be soft targets for seasoned hackers:

“Hackers are attracted by the rush, absence of a centralized authority, Blockchain transaction irreversibility and information chaos. Project founders focus on attracting investors and security is often not prioritized. Hackers successfully take advantage— the more hyped and large-scale the ICO, the more attractive it is for attacks.”

You don’t need to scour the Internet to find stories of ICOs being pinched by hackers. A look back at Cointelegraph’s archives provides many examples.

As reported in August 2017, cybercrimes rose in tandem with the popularity of Ethereum, thanks to its smart contract system which allows developers to create their own decentralized applications on the Ethereum Blockchain.

These hacks have a compounding effect – as Ethereum’s Blockchain bears the brunt of the traffic from an ICO and even more so if there is a stress event around a hack as users look to get their funds out of the project.

Posted on

BNP, EY Complete Blockchain Trial for Internal Treasury Operations

BNP Paribas and “Big Four” accounting firm EY have completed a trial aimed to investigate the feasibility of using a private blockchain to improve the bank’s global internal treasury operations.

The blockchain system was put through internal testing by BNP’s ALM Treasury department earlier this summer.

According to a statement, the “successful” trial proved the potential of the private blockchain to drive operational efficiency by providing a more “integrated cash management approach” and allowing “greater flexibility and a 24/7 capability.”

The pilot demonstration reportedly helped BNP Paribas boost the “interoperability of the legacy systems combining the private blockchain with existing IT environment via software robots and APIs.”

According to Xavier Toudoire, the bank’s head of ALM Treasury IT strategy and architecture, private blockchain technology allows the development of different business and operational processes not previously possible due to distribution of data and trust among parties.

“Although it is still too early to determine how the technology will evolve and whether it is suitable for large-scale deployment, our pilot has demonstrated the clear strengths of private blockchain and its potential as one of the most effective ways to improve the existing internal processes between different businesses on an international level,” he said in the statement.

The pilot is the latest in a series of blockchain initiatives by various entities of the bank, including Cash without Borders launched by the bank’s Transaction Banking business.

BNP Paribas 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