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Australia: National Transport Insurance Partners on Blockchain for Food Safety Trial

Australia’s National Transport Insurance has announced it will trial a blockchain system to improve supply chain integrity for beef exports abroad.

Australia’s National Transport Insurance (NTI) has announced it will trial a blockchain system to improve supply chain integrity for beef exports abroad, local transport industry magazine Fully Loaded ATN reports Dec. 10.

NTI will reportedly be partnering with BeefLedger, an Australian “integrated provenance, blockchain security and payments platform,” which combines blockchain with Internet of Things (IoT) technology to bolster product credentials across the supply chain.

NTI and Beefledger’s pilot will use the system to track the provenance and production of Australian beef exports to Shanghai, from their rearing on South Australia’s Limestone Coast to a processing facility at Casino in New South Wales, and on to China. As ATN reports, Australia is the third largest beef exporter globally, with some 45,000 cattle producers forming the backbone of the industry.  

The use of blockchain to provide an immutable record of the provenance, safety and integrity of beef products is expected to bolster the confidence of suppliers, exporters and consumers alike. BeefLedger chairman Warwick Powell has explained the choice of the Australia-China route for the blockchain pilot, outlining that in the context of burgeoning demand for beef imports, there is an “increased risk of counterfeiting and poor safety standards.” He noted that:

“Research shows us that ethical standards and concerns for animal welfare, along with authenticity and proof of product origin, are amongst the top priorities for Chinese consumers. It’s also what’s driving consumer interest in Australian products.”

As previously reported, tech giant IBM has partnered with major U.S. retailer Walmart on the development of “The Food Trust” blockchain, which aims to track food provenance globally and allow companies to easily identify issues involved with food recalls, such as tracing contamination more quickly to limit customer risk.

This summer, the government of the South Indian state of Kerala announced it would begin using blockchain for food supply and distribution, also in combination with IoT technology.

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How Significant Is Blockchain in Internet of Things?

With IoT back in the spotlight, it’s a good time to look at what impact blockchain has on the industry and what challenges there are to overcome.

The spotlight was placed back on the Internet of Things (IoT) recently when Bosch, the multinational engineering and electronics company, tweeted on Nov. 12 about their Cross Domain Development Kit (XDK), a programmable sensor device and IoT prototyping platform, in partnership with IOTA.

A number of definitions for IoT exist, of which Ernst and Young (EY) describes it in the simplest terms:

“The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the connection of devices — any devices — to the internet using embedded software and sensors to communicate, collect and exchange data with one another.”

The industry has taken off significantly in recent years and estimations and predictions of its future growth and impact abound on the internet.

Research and advisory company Gartner estimates that the number of installed IoT devices will reach 20.4 billion by 2020, BI Intelligence predicts that it will be closer to 24 billion, while IDC, a global provider of market intelligence and advisory services, estimates there will be around 30 billion connected devices by 2020.

According to IHS Markit, a source of critical information consisting of 5,000 analysts, data scientists, financial experts and industry specialists, the figure will grow to 125 billion installed IoT devices by 2030.

IDC also projects that IoT revenue will hit $357 billion by the end of 2019 and Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, expects it to increase to $450 billion by the end of 2020. McKinsey & Company, another international management consulting firm, estimates that IoT will have an $11.1 trillion impact on the global economy by 2025.

It is clear that it is an already large industry set to grow exponentially over the next decade and beyond.

How exactly does IoT work?

IoT refers to a network of connected devices that are capable of collecting and exchanging data. IoT-enabling platforms provide a common network for devices to dump their data and a common language for these devices to communicate with each other, allowing people to use it to their benefit.

Communication devices — or sensors — are embedded in everyday objects, such as phones, TVs, indoor climate systems, electrical appliances, cars, traffic lights and industrial equipment. These sensors continuously emit data about the working status of connected devices and allow them to send and receive data from each other via the cloud (internet).

IoT platforms will then analyze the data to extract valuable information and share it with other devices to initiate specific commands or actions.  The result is a better human experience, greater automation and improved efficiencies.

In manufacturing, for example, all the different components and machines in the factory could be fitted with sensors that continuously transmit system health data back to the mobile apps of operators. Potential problems can then be identified and fixed before a breakdown happens, saving companies time and money.

If we look at a direct-to-consumer product, such as air conditioners, units can be embedded with a sensor that emits data regarding the system health and temperature. Data will be continuously downloaded and analyzed in an IoT network. If an issue comes up, customer support can then be contacted for repair work before you even know there is a problem.

The use cases of IoT are near enough endless, from keeping medical devices in patients in good working order to fighting rapid deforestation in rainforests across the globe.

But IoT networks are not perfect. Devices are constantly sharing critical information back and forth over the internet, which makes it a prime target for hackers. Privacy and security are therefore major concerns.

Some of the more infamous IoT attacks include the Mirai Botnet DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack that affected internet service for nearly the entire East Coast of America, including Twitter, Netflix and Reddit.

There was also the planned hacking of a Jeep to expose some of the vulnerabilities in IoT devices in cars and the catastrophic consequences it could have when breached, along with the very real FDA recall of 500,000 IoT connected pacemakers in September 2017 because security loopholes were discovered that could allow hackers to tamper with the medical devices once implanted in patients.

How effective is blockchain in the IoT sector in overcoming centralized bottlenecks?

Blockchain at its core is a cryptographically secured, distributed ledger that allows for the secure transfer of data between parties.

Traditional IoT systems are dependent on a centralized architecture. Information is sent from the device to the cloud where the data is processed using analytics and then sent back to the IoT devices. With billions of devices set to join IoT networks in the coming years, this type of centralized system has very limited scalability, exposes billions of weak points that compromise network security and will become incredibly expensive and slow if third-parties have to constantly check and authenticate each and every micro-transaction between devices.

Smart contracts in blockchain networks will allow devices to function securely and autonomously by creating agreements that are only executed upon completion of specific requirements. It not only allows for greater automation, scalability and cheaper transfers (no third-party needed to oversee transactions) but these smart contracts can also prevent overrides by individuals that want to use the data for their own benefit. Information is shared across a decentralized, cryptographically secured network, meaning it becomes very difficult to compromise the network security.

Finally, with a centralized network, the risk of a single point of failure disabling an entire network is a very real possibility. A decentralized blockchain network mitigates this risk with millions of individual nodes that transfer data on a peer-to-peer (p2p) basis to keep the rest of the IoT network running smoothly.

Known blockchain IoT platforms

Several blockchain platforms focusing on IoT are emerging as the industry gets bigger.

One of the first blockchain IoT platforms is IOTA. It was designed specifically for the Internet of Things and provides a transaction settlement and data transfer layer for connected devices.

They’ve created the Tangle platform, which developers describe as “going beyond blockchain.” It’s a blockless, cryptographic, decentralized network, where, instead of outsourcing network verification, users verify transactions of other users.

The benefit is twofold: It allows for greater scalability and it eliminates the need to pay transaction fees to miners. Both these factors are essential in a practical IoT network that could require the processing of billions of micro-transactions between devices on a daily basis.

IOTA has also entered into several important partnerships including:

  • Bosch — the Bosch XDK (Cross Domain Development Kit) is a programmable sensor device and IoT prototyping platform used to collect specific, real-time data which can then be sold via the IOTA Data Marketplace.
  • Fujitsu — the company is using the IOTA protocol in a proof-of-concept, immutable data storage medium for audit trails across industrial production environments and supply chains.
  • Den Norske Bank currently in an exploratory partnership to find ways in which IOTA’s Tangle platform can be applied to improve the bank’s existing services and products.
  • Volkswagen — the car manufacturer is working with IOTA on a project called “Digital CarPass,” which is essentially a report card for cards stored on a distributed ledger that ensures critical factors — such as mileage — are reliable and accurate.

But IOTA is not the only IoT-focused blockchain platform, others include:

Hdac

The Hyundai Digital Asset Company (Hdac) is applying blockchain technology to quickly and effectively communicate, handle identity verification, authentication and data storage between IoT devices. The system incorporates a double-chain system (public and private) to increase transaction rate and volume, which makes it ideally suited for IoT devices.

The technology is applied to smart factories, smart homes and smart buildings for machine-to-machine transactions and operation between IoT devices.

VeChain

VeChain is a global enterprise-level public blockchain platform. The blockchain is used in a variety of ways, with one focus being on advanced IoT integration in cold-chain logistics by using proprietary IoT devices to track key metrics — such as temperature — throughout the entire journey. In addition, the platform can hold automobile passports by creating digital records of cars — including repair history, insurance, registration and even driver behavior throughout its lifecycle.

Medical and healthcare applications are also possible by using end-to-end tracking of production processes of medical devices and allows patients to securely share their biometric data with their doctors to enable real-time monitoring. VeChain also uses IoT technology for luxury goods by embedding smart chips within the luxury products so that brands can monitor their sales channels in real-time, thereby preventing illegal overstock trading and allowing consumers the ability to verify the authenticity of the luxury product.

Waltonchain

Waltonchain is created through a combination of RFID and blockchain technologies for effective IoT integration.

They primarily focus on tracking processes and products in the supply chain, where the technology can be applied to high-end clothing identification, food and drug traceability and logistics tracking by implanting RFID tags and reader-writer control chips into products. Information regarding the status of products is then downloaded for analyses onto a secure blockchain.

Streamr

Streamr is an open-source blockchain infrastructure to power the world’s data economy and to give people back control of their own information. Their technology can be implanted into everyday objects — such as cars — to record data including traffic, potholes and local fuel prices. The user can then choose to sell this data to fellow car users or highway agencies, or buy information from other users that will help them make real-time decisions in a connected smart city.

Information travels through the decentralized peer-to-peer network to get posted on the network nodes and is powered by the network’s native cryptocurrency (DATACOIN).

This is just a small sample of blockchain-based IoT platforms and the list keeps on growing as the industry evolves. Other projects include Ambrosus, IoT Chain, Atonomi, Chain of Things, IoTeX, OriginTrail, Slock.it, BlockMesh, Helium, Moeco, FOAM, Fysical, Grid+ and Power Ledger.

Challenges to overcome for blockchain in IoT

Great strides in development have been made in this area, but blockchain’s application in IoT is far from perfect and several key challenges will have to be overcome before we will see the complete benefit of blockchain in IoT be realized.

Scalability

Can blockchain networks cope with the sheer volume of data that is expected to be produced by IoT devices in the next five to 10 years without slowing down transaction speeds or the flow of data? IOTA addresses this issue specifically by not using a blockchain-based decentralized network, instead opting for their Tangle platform. But this is just one project. More well-known blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin have long been suffering from scalability issues and is not suited for the amount of data IoT devices are producing.

Security

Decentralized blockchain networks provide a high level of security, but what level of weakness (if any) do the IoT devices create at the point where they connect to the network? Devices themselves will have to be secured as well to prevent hackers from tampering with them.

Interoperability

Cross-chain interoperability will have to be addressed and improved if we truly want to leverage the benefits of interconnected smart devices. If not, we can end up with a situation where we are connected to multiple isolated decentralized networks that work well for their purpose but can’t necessarily talk to other devices for which they were not specifically designed.

Legal, compliance and regulation

The allocation of responsibility will have to be closely examined. How smart contract actions are regulated in the world outside of blockchain will also have to be stipulated. For example, who takes responsibility if an IoT-connected medical device implanted in a patient takes an action based on certain smart contract rules but ends up causing the patient harm? Is this the responsibility of the manufacturer or the IoT platform? If the IoT platform is blockchain-based, it will be decentralized without a controlling entity, so pinpointing an accountable party might present a problem.

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Microsoft Is Slowly (But Surely) Connecting Blockchain to Main Products

Three years ago, Microsoft Azure was the first to bring blockchain to the cloud. Now it’s connecting the technology to just about everything else.

The software giant has quietly been building bridges between its blockchain services and other, widely used infrastructure and platforms, such as Office 365 Outlook, SharePoint Online, Salesforce, Dynamics 365 CRM Online, SAP, and even Twitter, according to Matt Kerner, the general manager of Microsoft Azure. The idea is to allow Microsoft customers to port their data from these platforms into the cloud, and from there onto a blockchain.

Why? In addition to the usually touted blockchain efficiencies, one of the less-discussed benefits of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in a cloud environment like Azure, according to Microsoft, is that it amasses data from multiple companies in a standardized format at scale. The potential to mine data for all sorts of insights then becomes limitless, the company reckons.

Hence, the company is integrating tools such as Microsoft Flow and Logic Apps – which offer hundreds of connectors to thousands of applications – into Azure Blockchain Workbench, a service it launched in May to make the creation of blockchain apps easier (Workbench currently has ethereum Proof of Authority configured as the consensus protocol).

It’s all a part of the evolution of Big Data, Kerner explained. Prior to blockchain, he pointed out, cloud computing enabled departments within the same company to break out of their data silos and collaborate on heterogeneous data sets, increasing smarts through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).  

“Blockchain empowers the next step – enabling a single, authentic data set shared across counterparties. This is already improving the way transactions happen,” Kerner told CoinDesk, adding, “We believe the same will be true with data analytics.”

Stepping back, many would argue that data is now the most valuable naturally occurring resource on the planet. As the race to prove the best data analytics intensifies, firms are springing up whose sole purpose is to structure and format data to run AI algorithms on.  

But with enterprise blockchain, you get the structured and formatted data part thrown in for free, as Kerner said many Azure customers were discovering.

“What blockchain is doing is creating a multi-party business process that is moving out of email, phone calls, spreadsheets and into a single system with a single view on the data that all of the participants can rely upon and trust,” he said.

Looking ahead, Kerner said bringing vast amounts of unstructured and siloed data into a context where it could be leveraged and even shared would drive exponential change. He said:

“Even the fiercest of competitors can onboard and mutually derive benefit from that system and find new revenue streams.”

Taking on IBM

A good example of Azure connecting and balancing components in a large and complex production environment is Insurwave, which simplifies maritime insurance for shipping hauls carried by Maersk.

The platform was built using R3’s Corda platform with help from EY and Guardtime and is now in commercial production with insurers such as Willis Towers Watson, XL Catlin, and MS Amlin.

Insurwave, which tracks cargos and adjusts insurance premiums in real time, collates all sorts of data, everything from internet of things (IoT) sensors monitoring temperature, to whether the ship is going to hit a storm, or enter a war zone or an area heavily populated with pirates. Once this data is shared on the blockchain, Power BI, a Microsoft business analytics tool, can be used to gain insights about shipping hauls, Kerner said.

Further, Ricardo Correia, a managing director and head of partner management at R3, said its relationship with Microsoft is a good deal more than Azure being Corda’s default preferred cloud.

In addition to a one-click Corda capability, Correia pointed to integrating Corda into modules within the Azure marketplace.

“This enables Corda to plug into a number of different capabilities including Azure SQL, active directory for identity access management and key vault for key management,” he said.

Some of this is already in place because of Insurwave, with deeper integration also happening in a number of use cases. Notable ones include the webJet blockchain, which aims to reconcile hotels and other travel arrangements on a single ledger, and was cited by R3’s CTO Richard Brown as an example of Corda extending beyond mainstream finance.

Widening the lens, the ability to track items in real time and share things like IoT data using a blockchain has made global trade and supply chain a leading light in terms of domains to chase. From a strategic point of view, Insurwave challenges IBM’s bid for global trade dominance, which also has Maersk in the position of flagship, so to speak.

IBM has openly stated that this was its No. 1 target. However, Correia said Microsoft is also making its mark in supply chain – perhaps with a little less fanfare. “It’s in their interest given they too have very large supply chains with a number of their product offerings,” he said.

In terms of offering blockchain as a service, IBM has championed Hyperledger Composer for the past couple of years. However, there may be some question marks over the design of Composer, at least from an IBM perspective.  

Azure’s Kerner was tactfully equivocal about Microsoft’s enterprise blockchain rivals, adding that everything is built with an eye towards enabling a consortium that’s not exclusively on Azure.

“It’s got to be open. Any meaningful consortium is going to have members who have different choices that they have made around their cloud provider and who they choose to work with,” he said.

Microsoft 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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Electronics Giant LG Focuses on Development of Blockchain, AI, IoT with Branding Strategy

LG CNS, a subsidiary of South Korean multinational conglomerate LG Corporation, has announced a plan to strengthen its enterprise offerings in seven key areas including blockchain, according to an official press release published August 22.

LG CNS is planning to release new “strategic” brands for each of the seven platforms of newly developed technologies — blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), smart city, smart factory, robot service, and smart energy — in order to promote the “fourth industrial revolution” with its enterprise portfolio.

The released brandings, with similar designs but different names, are part of LG CNS’s aim develop the “efficient digital transformation of customer business by providing the core technology of the fourth industrial revolution as a platform that customers can trust,” the press release notes.

Business tech outlet ZDnet reported that LG CNS also has plans to launch a “yet-to-be-named cloud platform” by the end of 2018.

LG CNS’s blockchain platform, Monachain, was launched in May of this year with the intention to provide customers with “a new type of identification, a decentralized identifier (DID), that can be used for personal identification and online payments via smart devices.”

The “strategic branding” of the blockchain platform — which the press release describes as a combination of “science, philosophy, and arts, Leonardo Da Vinci’s monumental work, such as the Mona Lisa” — will help the platform provides its three core services: “digital certification, digital community currency, and digital supply chain management.”

In June, the Taiwanese subsidiary of Microsoft partnered with partnered with tech investment company China Binary Sale Technology and High Cloud to create a platform for enterprise blockchain development. And in July, blockchain tech consortium R3 announced that it had released a new “version” of its Corda blockchain platform aimed specifically at businesses.

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China’s IT Ministry Considering Strategy for Advancing Blockchain Development

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is reportedly considering ways to accelerate blockchain adoption, local news agency Xinhua reports Aug. 9.

According to the report, the MIIT has proposed a number of measures to speed up the promotion of blockchain applications in the country in a move to provide a “healthy and orderly development of the industry.” The ministry stated that the blockchain tech ecosystem is currently in its initial stage.

The MIIT intends to provide a gradual extension of blockchain applications from the financial sector to other industries, such as electronic deposit services, supply chain management, Internet of Things (IoT), and others.

The IT ministry plans to enhance interaction with various localities and departments, as well as build a solid industrial ecosystem by boosting the operating capacity of computing power and storage.

In May, the MIIT revealed that the blockchain industry in China has seen “exponential” growth  in 2017, citing Blockchain Industry White Paper’s findings that the number of blockchain-oriented businesses exceeded 450 in 2017.

Recently, the MIIT’s deputy director called on the country to “unite” in addressing blockchain promotion, saying that the country must now develop blockchain applications on an “industrial” scale to accelerate its adoption across all areas of the economy and society.

Earlier this year, the ministry revealed research which found that the average longevity of blockchain projects is 1.22 years. According to He Baohong of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), only 8% of blockchain projects ever launched are still alive.

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Bank of China CIO Says Bank to Increase Investments in Blockchain, Fintech

The commercial, state-run Bank of China, not to be confused with the People’s Bank of China, announced its plans to invest further in fintech innovation, according to local news outlet The Paper August 9.

Citing comments at a press conference on the banking industry, The Paper reports that the Bank of China’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Liu Qiuwan, has revealed plans to increase the company’s investments in research and development technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and fintech. Investment in the technologies will reportedly be more than 1 percent of the bank’s operating annual income, which in 2017 was 483.7 billion yuan ($70.9 trillion).

Qiuwan has also said that in 2018, the Bank of China will complete the construction of three major technological platforms, a cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence platform. He also added that Bank of China has been applying blockchain technology in 12 different projects, “mainly focusing on data sharing, cross-border payment, digital currency, digital bills, etc.” He continues:

“According to the statistics of the global blockchain enterprise patent rankings in 2017, Bank of China has 11 patent applications for blockchain, ranking 20th in the global business and ranking first in the domestic banking industry.”

On of the bank’s recent blockchain patents was aimed at “solv[ing] the problem of storage space in new blocks without compromising on traceability and immutability,” as Cointelegraph reported back in February.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ships 17 Tons of Almonds to Europe With Blockchain

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced the completion of a successful trade using its new blockchain platform, according to its July 30 press release.

In a collaborative effort involving five domestic and international “supply chain leaders,” the bank used blockchain to track a shipment of 17 tons of almonds from Melbourne to Hamburg, Germany.

Distributed ledger technology (DLT), Internet of Things (IoT), and smart contracts underpin the platform, which seeks to enhance multiple aspects of the supply chain process.

The press release notes that the platform digitizes “three key areas of global trade – operations, documentation and finance – by housing the container information, completion of tasks and shipping documents, on a purpose-built blockchain.” Participants were also able to track the temperature and humidity inside the container through four IoT devices.

The move reflects a broad trend developing around blockchain technology’s role in the supply chain arena, as both Accenture and Boeing have recently announced efforts to leverage the technology’s use to improve cost, security, and timeframes.

Partnering with CBA on the latest endeavor were Olam Orchards Australia Pty Ltd, Pacific National for rail haulage, port landlord Port of Melbourne, stevedore Patrick Terminals, and shipping carrier OOCL Limited.

In May, CBA’s Chief Financial officer Rob Jesudason quit his post to become COO of Block.One — the company behind the EOS token — amid continued criticism of CBA’s conduct in regards to anti-money laundering enforcement and terrorism financing laws.

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Chinese Research Institute Report Finds Blockchain Can Enhance Financial Services

A Chinese scientific research institute and value-added Internet service provider Tencent Holdings have jointly released a July 24 report emphasizing the impact of blockchain on the transformation of traditional financial services.

The Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a scientific research institute under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and China’s Tencent Holdings’ report includes eight core conclusions of blockchain implementation in the financial sector.

According to the report, blockchain technology will further enhance “the transparency of financial transactions, strengthen the flexibility of system operation, and automate processes, thus affecting the record keeping, accounting and payment settlement methods of financial services. The study further comments:

“In addition to digital currency, the characteristics of the blockchain can play a big role in the fields of payment and settlement, supply chain finance, securities trading, insurance, and credit reporting.”

During the process of applying blockchain, the report notes, it is necessary to differentiate between the “coin” application and the “chain” application, presumably a reference to blockchain tech’s basis for most cryptocurrencies:

“For the ‘coin’ application, the financial risk should be strictly guarded. For the ‘chain’ application, it should be legally regulated.”

Earlier this week, three major Chinese telecom operators launched a blockchain research group for building a “next-generation telecommunication network.” China will also lead an international research group on the standardization of the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technology, as Cointelegraph reported July 18.

China has also recently downplayed blockchain tech, as the head of the international department of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission warned against “mythologizing” blockchain technology in mid-July.

As China was the first country to institute blanket a ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) and exchanges, Cointelegraph reports that the country has some difficulties with the decentralized and liberal freedoms that comes from blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

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ConsenSys Signs MoU With China’s ‘Smart City’ of Xiongan for Blockchain Consulting

China’s Xiongan New Area government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ConsenSys to bring blockchain technology to the “smart city,” the South China Morning Post reported July 23.

ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company focusing on Ethereum (ETH) development, has confirmed they will advise the Xiongan government on blockchain and software solutions in order to establish it as a “next generation smart city [and] leading blockchain innovation hub,”according to the (MoU) signed in Beijing.

In April 2017, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced plans to build Xiongan as a special economic zone spanning three counties. The South China Morning Post reports that the urban development project will “redirect” around 6.7 million people and could bring in 2.4 trillion yuan ($348 billion) over the next decade, citing a 2017 estimate by Morgan Stanley.

According to the South China Morning Post, Xiongan’s local government has previously partnered with Chinese tech firms Tencent, Ant Financial, and Qihoo 360 for bringing blockchain use into the city. The partnership with ConsenSys is the “first known case” when Xiongan has brought in a foreign company for urban technological development, the South China Morning Post reports.

According to Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys and the co-founder of Ethereum (ETH), the company is “excited” by the chance to work in China:

“As one of our first major projects in the People’s Republic of China, we are excited to help define the many ‘use cases’ that could benefit from the trust infrastructure enabled by ethereum technology.”

Recently at the Rise conference in Hong Kong, Lubin had expressed his belief that the world was moving towards a system of “‘global villages’ where you can have decentralized governance.”

Chinese president Xi Jinping has ambitious plans for technological development in China. During the nineteenth annual conference at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in May, the president had called blockchain a “new generation” technology that is part of the “technological revolution.” More recently, in mid-July, two Chinese standards organization announced they would lead a research group for promoting the international standardization for the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain tech.  

Also in July, the Chinese city of Nanjing launched an almost $1.5 billion investment fund for blockchain development.

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China to Lead International Standardization Research Group for IoT, Blockchain Tech

China will lead an international research group on the standardization of the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technology, local news outlet Science and Technology Daily reports July 18.

The joint technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have adopted the proposal for the creation of this international research group after a month of a discussion by committee members.

Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, writes that the creation of this group means China has won “discourse power” in technology integration:

“It is of great significance for China’s related industries to lead global development and promote the integration of fiat and [the] digital economy.”

The international research group, chaired by Dr. Shen Jie, will promote fiat-digital integration by providing a large number of industrial application scenarios as well as establishing a working mechanism to promote international standardization for IoT and blockchain technologies.

The new research group will include experts from more than ten countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

China has recently taken steps forward in its adoption of blockchain technology.  Last month, the Digital Currency Research Lab at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) filed a patent for a digital currency wallet that would allow users to track their transaction histories. Also in June, the PBoC had revealed a blockchain-powered system to digitize paper checks.

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reported that the deputy director of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) had encouraged the country to “unite” forces to foster blockchain as a “core” technology for the new digital economy.