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Swisscom Blockchain AG Onboards New Chief Executive Officer

Blockchain-focused company Swisscom Blockchain AG has onboarded Ethereum engineer Lukas Hohl as its new CEO.

Blockchain-focused company Swisscom Blockchain AG has onboarded Ethereum (ETH) engineer Lukas Hohl as its new chief executive officer, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported on April 15.

Hohl, who previously served at various IT and finance companies, including Blockchain’s parent company Swisscom, business consulting firm BearingPoint, consultancy group Sofgen, and management consulting company Synpulse, will now lead the firm’s blockchain strategy and facilitate the further development of the company.

Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, chief digital officer at Swisscom, commented on Hohl’s appointment, saying that “in the past, Lukas Hohl has built and managed companies, managed complex large-scale projects, is well networked in Switzerland and internationally and fits perfectly into the young team of Swisscom Blockchain AG.”

As Cointelegraph reported in January, Swisscom Blockchain’s former CEO Daniel Haudenschild unexpectedly left the firm. The news of Haudenschild’s sudden departure from Swisscom Blockchain came just a day before the executive accepted the position of president of the Crypto Valley Association.

At the time, the press release read that Wüthrich-Hasenböhler was set to take over as acting CEO of the company.

Last month, Swisscom — which is a Swiss state-owned telecoms and ICT firm — entered into a strategic partnership with global market infrastructure provider Deutsche Borse Group and Swiss and Singapore-based fintech company Sygnum to build out a compliant financial market infrastructure for digital assets.

The initiative reportedly focuses on creating a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based ecosystem to support the nascent tokenized economy, which, the partners contend, “has the potential to reshape global financial markets.”

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Startup To Help Traditional Businesses Effectively Embrace Blockchain Technologies

A UK startup is building so-called middleware that could allow many traditional enterprise IT systems such as ERP, WMS and CMS to quickly adopt Blockchain-based systems.

Most enterprise systems cannot be swiftly integrated with Blockchain, and many businesses cannot afford to invest millions of dollars in new ones. Omnitude aims to fill this critical technology gap. The company says its technology will deliver plug-and-play ease, helping businesses quickly and cost-effectively embrace Blockchain ledger technology, and benefit from enhanced transparency and other features.

“Omnitude is a radical concept in Blockchain. The vision for Omnitude is much bigger than one single application,” Chris Painter, the founder and CEO of Omnitude, said in a press release.

E-commerce is early focus

E-commerce platforms and retail have emerged as the low hanging fruits for Omnitude’s middleware, notably because of its ability to fight fraud and ease payments.

Both e-commerce and retail faces rampant counterfeiting and violation of intellectual property rights. According to the European Commission, counterfeiting was valued at about 672 mln euro in 2016. Omnitude’s Blockchain technology could help by providing a record of manufacture origin and provenance, helping fight counterfeiting.

Similarly, card not present fraud was estimated by Euromonitor International and UK Cards Association at 1.8 bln euros in 2016, much of it happening on ecommerce sites. Omnitude says its single identity system will help reduce the most usual form of fraud.

On the payments front, Omnitude promises to cut payment gateway costs, which are typically around 2.9 percent, and also make it easier to exchange cryptocurrencies into fiat currency and vice versa.

Hyperledger forms the underpinning

Omnitude’s middleware is built on the Hyperledger Fabric, a broad open source industry standard for Blockchain and other distributed ledgers.

“It is the general open source ethos of the Hyperledger project that is perhaps its greatest advantage,” Painter wrote on the digital news website V3. “As the internet of things (IoT) has recently found out to its cost, setting up a multitude of different protocols can cause huge interoperability headaches later on when everything finally gets connected.”

Hyperledger, created in 2015 by the Linux Foundation, advances cross-industry collaboration of the Blockchain and other distributed ledgers. It has broad industry participation and consensus, enhancing the creation of a universal standard underpinning digital transformation of the world’s largest businesses.

Getting up to speed

Hyperledger will also add vital speed to transactions on Omnitude’s platform.

“Ethereum is running at about 15 transactions per second. By contrast we’re using Hyperledger as our base layer and running 3,500 transactions per second,” Painter told

“The next gen of Blockchain tech is coming in now; 2018 will be the year that blockchain gets mass uptake,” he added.

Omnitude is also working on making transactions from crypto to fiat and vice versa easier. Painter calls this exchange “one of the biggest pain points” at the moment.

“That’s why we’re looking to deliver exchange functionality. Just imagine, through every e-commerce site that runs the Omnitude middleware layer there is a live ledger of customers who wish to move their cryptocurrency into fiat or their fiat into cryptocurrency. That transaction can take place through matching both ledgers simultaneously. The result would be an instant exchange,” Painter said.

Omnitude also hopes to address another problem plaguing e-commerce sites: returns. A single sign-on and profiles, for example, will help users measure sizes better and update records.

“As a customer, I will be able to put my body measurements onto the system, and then every fashion retailer also in the system will be able to supply the correct size,” Painter told Drapers Online. This, he said, would cut down on returns because of sizing problems.

Proof of concept

Omnitude recently signed on two major partners – Switzerland’s largest telecommunications provider Swisscom Blockchain and e-commerce specialist CS Cart, which powers around 35,000 online stores in over 160 countries. Both worked toward unveiling Omnitude’s proof of concept.

The proof of concept with Swisscom went live at the end of March. Its key features include a single sign-on online profile that can be used across Omnitude-based ecommerce sites and a stock dataflow system that tracks real-time stock levels and automates replenishment using a live smart contract.

ICO to raise $23 mln

Omnitude has previously raised $4.2 mln (£3 mln) and has an ongoing initial coin offering (ICO) scheduled to end on April 25. Its ECOM tokens are valued at USD 0.46 apiece. The offering has a hard cap of $23 mln, or 50 mln ECOM.

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Swiss Telecom Giant Launches New Blockchain Business

A major state-owned telecommunications provider in Switzerland has created a new business entity centered around blockchain

Swisscom, according to new reports, has established “Swisscom Blockchain AG” to focus on a range of services around the tech. These include enterprise-facing solutions as well as support for companies looking to launch initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The move comes months after the telecom joined the Hyperledger blockchain project. Swisscom is also a member of a Switzerland-based blockchain consortium that also includes exchange operator SIX and Zürcher Kantonalbank, the country’s fourth-largest bank. In January, that group unveiled an ethereum-based trading tool for over-the-counter exchanges.

It’s a notable development from an established firm that, from the outset of its formal entry into Hyperledger, has struck an optimistic tone on the tech.

“We want to provide support as a catalyst with expertise, experience and implementation skills,” Swisscom’s Johannes Höhener said in December.

The firm is being led by Daniel Haudenschild who, according to LinkedIn was previously a partner at advisory firm EY Switzerland. A report from local publication Inside Channels indicates that other staffers from EY have joined the venture, and that Swisscom Blockchain is eyeing a team as a big as 20 people by the end of 2017.

Image Credit: Arsenie Krasnevsky /

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