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Confirmed: Sony and Fujitsu to Trial Blockchain for Educational Record Integrity

Sony Global Education, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Research Institute are to trial blockchain technology for improving the integrity of course records and grade data.

The education units of Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony and IT equipment services firm Fujitsu are to trial blockchain technology for improving the integrity of course records and grade data. The news was officially reported in a press release from Fujitsu today, Feb. 27.

The pilot comes via a joint venture between Sony Global Education, Inc., Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Research Institute and Human Academy Co., Ltd. — the latter being a language school for foreign students in Japan. Prospective foreign students participating in the blockchain trial will complete a course, “Nihongo Dojo,” which prepares them to pass the Nihongo Kentei, a Japanese language proficiency test.

For the joint initiative, Fujitsu will provide its proprietary digital learning platform, dubbed “Fisdom,” for participating students. The IT giant will also provide Sony Global Education with blockchain cloud services, which will be used to certify and manage course records and data pertaining to the students’ performance.

The press release outlines that the Nihongo Dojo course will be taken via the Fidsom online platform ahead of students’ acceptance to their study abroad program:

“The course platform [Fisdom] will collect data including test scores, Japanese conversational ability, and study time, and store them on a blockchain as a certificate. Human Academy […] will be able to accurately grasp the language ability of individual students based on this highly reliable data, by comparing the certificate data on the blockchain with the educational certificates submitted by the prospective students.”

By allowing for verification of the accuracy of students’ claimed language proficiency, the blockchain solution will allow Human Academy “to support them with appropriate education suited to their individual skill levels after coming to Japan,” the press release claims.

Fujitsu Research Institute will contribute to the trial by evaluating the needs of educational institutions and proposing business models for implementation in future. Fujitsu further says that it will:

“promote the utilization of blockchain throughout the educational field, and aims for a future society in which data associated with an individual’s learning can be utilized safely and securely beyond the framework of companies and educational institutions.”

Fujitsu’s official announcement today confirms earlier coverage from major Japanese news outlet The Asahi Shimbun, as Cointelegraph reported on Feb. 26.

A similar pilot initiative to harness blockchain to combat educational certificate forgery has been recently unveiled by the government of Malta.

Additionally, this January, the university of Bahrain announced it would be issuing diplomas on the blockchain, and in the United States, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology issued blockchain-based digital certificates to over 100 graduates as part of a pilot program in fall 2017.

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IT Giant Fujitsu Is Launching a 'Ready-to-Go' Blockchain Service

IT giant Fujitsu is launching a new consultancy service that it claims will deliver a “ready-to-go” minimum viable product in just five days.

According to The Register, prices for the service start at €9,900 and will include everything from basic introductory lessons on blockchain technology to assessments of the proposed use case and the building of a prototype by day five.

From there, clients can choose to fork out more cash to have the product further developed or walk away with the work as it stands.

Chris Pilling, lead architect at Fujitsu’s Blockchain Innovation Centre, which opened back in March, explained, “It would be great to say, yes, we’ve met the proof of business and they want to get the global blockchain team involved… [but] we allow the customer to go away and play with the prototype.”

This “proof of business” approach, in contrast to a proof-of-concept, is a way for clients to run through a business process that focuses on creating “business value” and avoids common “pitfalls” of blockchain projects, according to Frederik de Breuck, head of the Blockchain Innovation Centre.

The overall aim of the service is either to provide a fast way to kick off new blockchain development or to improve blockchain projects already in development.

According to Fintech Finance, de Breuck explained:

“Inspired by high levels of interest from our customers, we have created this ready-to-go package not only to jump-start the customers’ blockchain efforts but also to review and improve existing projects. Available immediately across the EMEIA region, we expect this assessment to have a major impact on unlocking blockchain’s potential for business use cases.”

The Japanese multinational already holds close to 50 different patents on blockchain technology according to BankingTech. It has also launched a number of different blockchain-related services in the past year, including systems for data storage and data exchange.

A founding member of blockchain consortium Hyperledger, Fujitsu is currently helping to commercialize the group’s Fabric product. Described as a way to speed up the rate of transactions for high-performance use cases, the development is set for completion later this year.

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Japanese IT Giant Fujitsu Launches Blockchain-Based Rewards System for Retail

Japanese IT giant Fujitsu has launched a blockchain-based reward points system aimed at innovating retail, according to a press release published today, May 6th.

The blockchain-based data storage system tokenizes traditional retail promotional strategies such as coupons and loyalty points, which the company claims will revitalize local economies by increasing consumers’ “willingness to buy,” as well as improving data analysis methods in retail industries. As Fujitsu outlines:

“With this service, users can collect digital points or stamps by reading QR codes located in specific areas with smart devices, and then exchange them for coupons and other benefits that can be used in stores… In addition, collection and usage data for the points, stamps, and coupons, which are recorded on the blockchain distributed ledger, can be linked with user information for analysis.”

Fujitsu envisages that the new system, dubbed the ‘Fujitsu Intelligent Society Solution Blockchain Asset Service,’ will help to attract users to specific promotional events and influence consumer patterns, especially when integrated into specific smart device applications.

The system is available to customers in the form of an API, meaning customers don’t necessarily need any knowledge of a new ICT environment specific to blockchain.

In March of this year, the company tested its new tokenized rewards system at a branch of Taiwan’s FamilyMart convenience stores. The field trial aimed to attract more customers using a tech strategy that included communication robots together with blockchain.

Fujitsu has long been part of the race to develop commercialized blockchain platforms, working on an earlier enterprise-focused blockchain platform back in August 2017, and partnering with IOTA on a data monetization solution last November.

That same month, Fujitsu also launched an interoperable payments platform, which used smart contract technology to interconnect multiple blockchains for better transaction automation. In March, Fujitsu opened an international Blockchain Innovation Center in Belgium.

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Fujitsu Rolls Out System That Turns Reward Points into Blockchain Tokens

Japanese IT giant Fujitsu says it has launched a blockchain-based data storage system that can be used by retail merchants to tokenize traditional promotional tools such as coupons and reward points.

According to a press release published Wednesday, the system – currently being rolled out in Japan – can be integrated with the promotional activities of merchants in shopping centers or tourism zones that traditionally allow consumers to spend coupons or digital points received from one shop at different outlets within the area.

By tokenizing such digital points and coupons, the blockchain system can process and store consumers’ usage transactions in a decentralized manner, reducing the workload of a traditional data center and allowing for better data analysis, the firm says.

The ultimate goal, according to Fujitsu, is to revitalize regional economies – that’s if the application can be expanded across communities where tokenized points can circulate among shops, restaurants, schools, transportations and tourism sites.

To arrive at its final product, Fujitsu conducted various field trials using blockchain technology through partnerships with different organizations, including railway, telecoms companies and convenient stores. In March of this year, the company tested the point-tokenization technology at one branch of Taiwan’s FamilyMart convenient stores, where a distributed ledger platform was used to transact and store users’ digital stamps in the shop.

Fujistu is no stranger to blockchain, having taken part in pilots testing the technology in money transfers and having already released a similar system for secure data sharing. More recently, the firm launched a blockchain innovation center in Belgium to facilitate research and projects around the tech.

Perhaps most notably, in March the firm revealed a new technology that it said could help to mitigate problems with Ethereum smart contracts.

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Japan’s IT Giant Fujitsu Opens International ‘Blockchain Innovation Center’ In Belgium

The leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) firm Fujitsu recently announced the opening of its international Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels, Belgium to explore the technology’s potential applications in all possible areas, according to a  press release published March 21.

In its official statement, Fujitsu claimed that the new center will research and develop Blockchain-based solutions in “sectors of all kinds”, from Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based audits to Blockchain-based voting.

Yves de Beauregard, head of Fujitsu Benelux (Belgium Netherlands Luxembourg), noted growing interest to Blockchain technology among customers and claimed that many DLT-based applications are still unexplored.

“This is just the beginning, as we intend to explore the wider potential use of blockchain in a variety of commercial areas,” Beauregard said.

According to the company’s press release, Brussels was chosen as the location of the Blockchain Center for its “geographical, political, technological and linguistic advantages for international organizations that are considering applications of blockchain technology.”

Previously Cointelegraph reported that Japanese Blockchain and cryptocurrency firm Tech Bureau offered its private Blockchain to Belgian company Digipolis, an organization for inter-municipal ICT services for Belgian cities Ghent and Antwerp, as part of “The Blockchain Lab” to provide more efficient administrative framework for cities.

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IT Giant Fujitsu Unveils European Blockchain Innovation Center

Japanese multinational Fujitsu, one of the world’s largest IT services companies, has launched a Brussels-based Blockchain Innovation Center.

The company announced the initiative on Wednesday, noting that its primary objective would be to facilitate research on blockchain technology and to develop projects in collaboration with private and public sector organizations.

“The center underscores Fujitsu’s commitment to blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies as a means to revolutionize the way consumers and enterprises buy, sell and exchange goods and services and for organizations to transform their commercial and operational models,” the firm said.

Yves de Beauregard, head of Fujitsu Benelux, cited increased customer interest in blockchain technology as the impetus for the creation of the center, and noted that Belgium’s geographical location, among other factors, made it a desirable place in which to launch the initiative.

The company also revealed that the center would focus on projects relating to smart cities.

Frederik De Breuck, pre-sales and business assurance director at Fujitsu Benelux, explained that the proportion of the world population inhabiting urban areas is set to increase rapidly over the next thirty years, and that as such, it would be necessary to develop services that “combine ICT with infrastructure and architecture to address social, economic and environmental problems.”

“The use of blockchain technology with its potential in public ledger and voting ID, and its capacity to automate processes and auditing in smart contracts, will doubtlessly play an important role in this changing ecosystem,” De Breuck said.

As CoinDesk has previously reported, Fujitsu is far from a newcomer to the blockchain industry.

In 2016, it announced that it had developed a blockchain-based system for securely sharing documents and subsequently released a different system for secure data sharing in 2017.

It is also a member of the Hyperledger consortium and has released several projects to be used with the group’s blockchain platfrom, Hyperledger Fabric .

Earlier this month, the company unveiled technology that could address detect bugs within ethereum’s smart contracts.

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Fujitsu Touts New Tech to Detect Ethereum Smart Contract Bugs

Japanese IT giant Fujitsu has revealed a new technology that it says could help to mitigate problems with ethereum’s smart contracts.

In a statement released Wednesday, Fujitsu said the new system aims to detect in advance the risks associated with a smart contract source code on ethereum. In effect, the tech helps the blockchain authenticate the source call that triggers smart contract transactions.

Smart contracts are a primary feature differentiating ethereum from bitcoin, enabling developers to build applications on top of the ethereum blockchain to automatically execute programming orders (or contracts).

However, Fujitsu said that, currently, there are six common risks associated with the platform. While existing technologies are capable of solving most of those issues, the authenticity of the source call still remains problematic.

For instance, as the firm explained, since multiple smart contracts could have been built indirectly into a blockchain, there’s a risk that the system may not correctly execute the original intention of a source call.

To that end, the new system, a result from joint efforts by Fujitsu’s laboratory and its R&D center, is claimed to alert developers of any source code vulnerability that could be exploited to abuse the language of ethereum, and which could ultimately “fake the origin of a transaction.”

In addition, the two divisions also tout the new technology as being able to pinpoint the code location of such bugs.

In other news, Fujitsu said it will also extend its blockchain research and development efforts to help commercialize Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain framework developed by the blockchain consortium of which Fujitsu is member. That project is slated for completion later in 2018.

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IOTA Interview: “Trust Systems Are Absolutely Pivotal” Today

IOTA, the digital network designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) has recently seen a massive increase in the value of their cryptocurrency, MIOTA. According to CoinMarketCap, the company has moved from 9th to 4th in largest market cap, displacing long standing 4th place holder Ripple.

In order to understand what caused this massive explosion in value, Cointelegraph caught up with Dominik Schiener and David Sønstebø, co-founders at IOTA in order to get their take on what has precipitated recent events.

Cointelegraph: The massive rise of MIOTA over the past weeks must have been encouraging. What precipitated the price explosion, in your opinion?

IOTA: IOTA has been under intensive development for over two years and has not spent any money on marketing. In this time our focus was on making this next generation distributed ledger technology a reality. In this period we refused exchanges listing IOTA in order to ensure everything was working properly before it went to market.

This explains why IOTA is now getting a lot of attention seemingly out of nowhere. People have been following the project for a long time and then they are finally able to enter. The listing in Korea at Coinone coupled with the launch of the Data Marketplace and subsequent media coverage lead to further validation that IOTA is cementing itself as a leading cryptocurrency and distributed ledger protocol.

We believe this was the threshold breaking moment for a lot of fence sitters who have been observing IOTA from a distance.

CT: What specifically is the recent partnership with Microsoft and Fujitsu all about?

IOTA: Microsoft is one of the cloud solution providers with their Azure platform. Fujitsu, Samsung ARTIK,  Accenture and many others are participants in the Data Marketplace exploring the concept of trading secure and immutable data on a decentralized ledger. These are the first steps towards an open flow of data in IoT to realize the vision of Big Data.

CT: How is your platform Tangle different than traditional Blockchain?

IOTA: The short version is that IOTA goes beyond Blockchain in getting rid of fees, scaling limitations and centralization issues. It does this by making validation an intrinsic property of using the protocol. When you issue a transaction in IOTA you also validate two previous ones, which again reference their own two respective transactions and so on, building this Directed Acyclic Graph which we call a Tangle.

This means that users are also validators, which allows us to get rid of miners, which again gets rid of the fees and centralization that occurs in Blockchain architecture. Since everyone is validating two transactions for each transaction or data transmission they broadcast to the network, it means that the amount of validations i.e. transactions per second grows together with the activity on the ledger. In short: the more activity, the more validation.

CT: How do you see trust systems changing in the future?

IOTA: Trusted systems are absolutely pivotal in an age where decisions are automated and can act globally in an instant. We believe that data integrity, which you get for free in IOTA, is a main component of this. Beyond that we are working on IDentity of Things (IDoT) which will make it easier to secure components and develop reputation systems for intrusion detection and malware protection etc.

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Leo Messi The Next Blockchain Celebrity Endorser

The long chain of celebrity endorsers for Blockchain technology companies continues to grow. The newest endorsement is by Leo Messi of FC Barcelona fame, considered by many to be the world’s best football player. Messi has signed an endorsement deal to represent SIRIN LABS, a company creating Blockchain based hardware for the crypto community.

The company has released the SOLARIN, the super secure mobile phone and is now prepped to release an all-in-one PC, called FINNEY, for Blockchain enthusiasts that will make Blockchain integration much more user-friendly. Messi’s endorsement is meant to open up a wider audience for those who haven’t ever heard of Blockchain technology. In a promotional paid Facebook post, Messi said:

“I am usually busy trying to decentralize defenses and after digging deeper into Blockchain and decentralized systems, I’m excited to join SIRIN LABS as an ambassador to make Blockchain more friendly with their upcoming operating system for smartphones!”

IOTA again

The network of SIRIN LABS devices is being linked together through IOTA’s Tangle technology, a ‘beyond-Blockchain’ fee-less transaction network. IOTA has been in the news in a big way after it overtook Ripple as the fourth largest coin. The jump occurred because of the news that the company had signed a major deal with Microsoft, Fujitsu and others.