Dub 16

Samsung Delves Deeper into Crypto Exploring Blockchain for Its Logistics

· April 16, 2018 · 5:00 pm

Samsung Electronics Co. is the latest big name to show a keen interest in the powers of blockchain technology, specifically, how it can be incorporated into their supply chain management processes.


Even though cryptocurrencies may still be getting critiqued, it’s supporting technology is being more readily adopted. The advantages of blockchain such as security and immutability, are major drawcards for companies that rely heavily on record keeping, such as healthcare, finance, and even art.

Blockchain to aid in shipping

However, it is also a viable option for supply chain management, an option that massive electronics corporation, Samsung, is ready to explore. According to Bloomberg Quint, the company’s logistical and information and technology branch, Samsung SDS CO., could use a blockchain ledger to monitor their billion-dollar global shipments sector.

Song Kwang-woo, the blockchain chief at SDS, touched on how the technology could revolutionize other businesses:

It will have an enormous impact on the supply chains of manufacturing industries. Blockchain is a core platform to fuel our digital transformation.

A cost-effective way of working

A part of this digital transformation is working towards a paperless way of doing business. Not only are physical documents annoying, they’re expensive too. In fact, according to International Business Machines Corp., the documentation costs for container shipments is more than double that of other modes of transportation.

When it comes to Samsung shipments, this equals a substantial amount of money. For this year alone, SDS projects that the company will transport 488,000 tons of air cargo and one million 20-foot-equivalent (TEU) shipping units. The SDS has said that by implementing blockchain technology, the company could save as much as 20% in shipping fees.

It’s not just about saving money though. Blockchain technology could actually impact on overall customer satisfaction. This is because efficiency associated with this technology could mean a shorter time span between product launches and product shipment. Not only will that keep Samsung customers smiling, it will also give the company a competitive edge over their industry rivals.

Cheong Tae-su, who is a professor of industrial engineering at Korea University, explained a bit further:

“It cuts overhead and eliminates bottlenecks. It’s about maximizing supply efficiency and visibility, which translates into greater consumer confidence.”

What’s more, Samsung appears to be going all-in into cryptocurrencies in general as it recently announced manufacturing mining chips. This move that puts them in direct competition with the Taiwan-based company, TSMC, a preferred ASIC chip supplier to Bitmain.

Samsung joins an ever-growing list

Samsung isn’t the only global company big on blockchain. Mastercard recently announced that they will soon be hiring blockchain experts to help drive innovation with regard to payment solutions.

Governments are also realizing its benefits, with China financially contributing towards blockchain-based startups. In addition, the European Union has launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, which aims to foster blockchain promotion.

The blockchain business is definitely booming. The US-based research company, Gartner, has predicted that the technology will add $176 billion USD worth of value to businesses by 2025. This number is set to increase to over $3 trillion by 2030.

What do you think of yet another big corporation using blockchain technology? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bttcoinist archives

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Dub 05

Experts: Cryptocurrency is ‘A Multi-Decade Trend’ and ‘Proxy for True Freedom’

· April 5, 2018 · 3:00 pm

2018’s cryptocurrency charts have you feeling blue? Don’t worry. According to some experts, there are still plenty of riches to be made by investing in market leaders.


‘Still way too early’

In 2017, plenty of individuals joined the new crypto-rich crew. However, many also became crypto-poor — having been left holding the bag after buying at all-time highs. Explained Invest.com Senior Analyst Jesse Cohen to Forbes:

It’s safe to say that the price action in the crypto market over the past few months has been very ugly. All the major coins have suffered steep double-digit declines since the start of the year and are all trading below their respective 200-day moving averages, which usually signals more losses ahead.

However — though nobody can predict the future — it would be foolish to assume that “Bitcoin is dead,” “the cryptocurrency bubble has popped,” or that any other FUD-filled statement repeated time and time again has finally come to fruition. Explains Cohen:

We’ve seen Bitcoin do this before, where it plunges sharply over a prolonged period only to violently bounce back to new highs in a short time. While it isn’t looking too hot at the moment, it’s still way too early to call the end of Bitcoin, or cryptos in general.

Bitcoin

‘A Multi-Decade Trend’

“Way too early,” indeed. In many respects, cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology is only really starting to gain traction now, with the majority of projects still in their developmental stages. Meanwhile, most of those that are already developed are still struggling to gain mainstream adoption — something many digital currency proponents see as an inevitability. Aaron Lasher, BRD CMO and co-founder, agrees, saying:

The game isn’t over, Digital scarcity is a major innovation in money and value, and we’re in the initial stages of a multi-decade trend towards tokenization of assets.

He also goes so far as to call cryptocurrency’s potential life-changing, asking Forbes:

If sending money globally as easily as an email doesn’t impress you, how about the ability to store your life savings in your head, then walking your family across a war-torn border to safety?

cryptocurrencies

‘True Freedom’

Those who care less about the life-changing applications of cryptocurrencies and more about the potential riches and “true freedom” to be gained by speculating in the market also have reason for optimism. Explained Lasher to Forbes:

Getting rich with cryptocurrency is a proxy for true freedom, a personal financial situation that is largely immune to the politics, flaws, and vicissitudes of an interconnected, global system — an oasis of security and a platform for individual pursuits.

Do you think the cryptocurrency bubble has burst, or do you think the market has only begun to show its true potential? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Bře 27

Blockchain Games: A Surprising New Player in The Industry

· March 27, 2018 · 3:00 pm

Innovation in the blockchain industry continues at a relentless pace. New projects involving existing blockchains have begun to be created, allowing for the tech’s gamification. On-Chain games or decentralized application (DApps) such as Cryptokitties have captured the attention of many in the blockchain industry.


The advent of the cryptocurrency space in recent years has created a booming new market that has sparked a lot of innovation in the sector. The common blockchain startup has been to create ICOS as a medium for startups to generate capital. However, the new trend has been to create dApps on existing networks. These dApps range from payment networks to games based on blockchain technologies.

These so-called ‘blockchain games‘ have been touted as a new way blockchain innovators can interact with a growing user base. However, some question the viability and safety of these games.

CryptoKitties: What Are They?

CryptoKitties: What Are They?

In December of last year, the Ethereum blockchain was overrun with requests. Transactions that had once taken minutes to confirm began to take hours as users of the DApp game CryptoKitties began fostering their kitty collections. Users rushed to create and trade these cats as the project began to roll out. This may lead you to the question: What are CryptoKitties?

CryptoKitties is one of the first on-chain and widely adopted blockchain games. The game consists of digital kitties facilitated by a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. In the game, you can buy, sell, and breed cats using the smart contract.

Each CryptoKitty is unique with its own personalities, traits, and physical characteristics that allows it to be differentiated from other kitties. Players are incentivized to breed kitties in attempts to find rare traits which are unique to certain kitties. This just sounds like a way to spend free time, not money right?

Well, the game is far from free. Transactions for the CryptoKitty game have to be maintained by the Ethereum based smart contract which requires Ethereum.

So why do players agree to spend Ethereum on the game?

Players are incentivized to do so by the chance of real profit when they breed and trade cats. As mentioned previously, kitties can obtain certain rare traits which become very valuable in the CryptoKitty marketplace.

How much profit are we talking about, you ask? Well, as an example, the original CryptoKitty sold for over $110,000 worth of Ethereum on the native CryptoKitty market. So do not get these games wrong, there often can be a large sum of money involved.

in an attempt to help grow and improve the CryptoKitty platform, the team has requested funding and has succeeded in raising over $12 million dollars. This funding will go to the developers to help foster innovation, which should help the CryptoKitty platform to grow even more.

Other promising blockchain games have begun development and certain projects have only become even more engaging while still remaining ambitious.

Ethermon is another game that allows players to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. Ethermons are in some sense similar to the popular card game, Pokemon. The object of the game is to capture, trade, and use these in-game characters to battle each other. Like CryptoKitties, these digital creatures can be traded for a profit or a loss using Ethereum. Similar to the CryptoKitty application, Ethermon was a nice addition to the DApp/Blockchain game sub-industry.

Blockchain Games: A Worrying Trend or an Exciting Leap Forward?

Blockchain Games: A Worrying Trend or an Exciting Leap Forward?

Some cite the CryptoKitty craze as accounting for over 30% of the transaction volume in the Ethereum network at its peak with other Dapps coming close behind. In direct correlation to this, after the deployment of the CryptoKitty smart contract, unconfirmed transactions on the Ethereum blockchain increased more than sixfold according to Etherscan statistics.

While the increase in unconfirmed transactions has caused concern among some members of the blockchain community due to the popularity of the game affecting the efficiency of transactions on the network, others take a far more optimistic view.

Arthur Camara, a developer with CryptoKitties parent company Axiom Zen, stated:

We think that blockchain games unlock new categories and possibilities. […] With blockchain, gaming suddenly becomes open, transparent, portable and extensible.

The industry is still in its infancy but in order for blockchain-based games and other gamified DApps to succeed, developers will need to find a way to be innovative without adversely affecting the efficiency of the current blockchain networks.

What blockchain games do you think are going to succeed? Do you have any ideas which you think will be successful as a blockchain application? Tell us down below in the comments.


Images courtesy of CryptoKitties, iStockPhoto

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Led 21

Oil Giant Shell Buys into Blockchain

· January 21, 2018 · 6:00 am

Blockchain technology is no longer limited to innovative startups with grand intentions of changing the world. Massive multinationals are also looking to use the technology to improve their operations and boost productivity. The latest in the lineup to get on board the blockchain train is petro corporation Shell.


According to industry portal OilPrice, the energy giant has bought up a minority share in Gartner-listed startup Applied Blockchain. Details of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but the move will enable the London startup to help Shell explore how the technology might be applied to its business.

oil rig

Blockchain into Business

Operating for around three years now, Applied Blockchain has clients from the banking, telecoms, carmaking, manufacturing, and aerospace industries. This its first foray into energy. The technology is slowly entering into the energy sector with, according to Reuters, a consortium involving Shell, BP, and Statoil already working on the development of a blockchain-based energy commodity trading platform.

Shell chief technology officer Johan Krebbers highlighted the huge potential blockchain tech has for business:

Blockchain applications have huge potential to shake up how we do things in the energy industry from streamlining process, to simplifying how we work with our suppliers and serve our customers. Investing in Applied Blockchain is part of our commitment to use digitalisation to create value in our core business and develop new business models.

blockchain tech

Energy and Blockchains

Shell is not the only energy company with eyes on blockchain technology.  Last year, it was reported that trading house Mercuria started working with banks ING and Societe Generale on the first large oil trade based on blockchain technology. According to analysts, the marriage of blockchain and the oil and gas industry presents a number of opportunities for streamlining and improvements in cross-border payments, record management, supply chain management, and smart contracts as potential applications.

Specialists at multinational professional services network Deloitte stated:

A secure system that mitigates risk, increases transparency, provides an audit trail, and speeds up transactions at a significantly reduced cost may be appealing to oil and gas companies.

As the crypto space expands and more companies develop blockchain solutions, the entire industry will benefit from a technology which is revolutionizing the way the world does business.

Will more blockchain adoption help cryptocurrency markets? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.

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Říj 22

Mastercard Blockchain Now Open for Payment Processing

· October 21, 2017 · 8:30 pm

Mastercard has opened up their own blockchain to allow payment transactions to be carried out between selected banks and merchants, but this process uses fiat currency and not Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.


Quite a few companies have taken a keen interest in what blockchain technology has to offer, and one of these corporate entities is Mastercard, the massive credit card provider. Mastercard has spent the last few years developing its own blockchain, and now the Mastercard blockchain has been opened up as an alternative method of paying for goods and services. The major difference found in the Mastercard blockchain is that it does not use its own cryptocurrency. Instead, it uses real world money.

Mastercard Blockchain Open for Business

The Mastercard blockchain is now open for specific banks and retailers to use as a payment processing system. So far, participation in this blockchain is by invitation only. The last week has been a busy one for Fortune 500 companies and blockchain technology. IMB opened up their own blockchain earlier in the week. Probably the most intriguing aspect of the Mastercard blockchain is that it does not use its own cryptocurrency, which is something that even the IBM blockchain does.

Justin Pinkham, a senior vice president at Mastercard Labs, says:

We are not using a cryptocurrency, and we are not introducing a new cryptocurrency, because that introduces other challenges—regulatory, legal challenges. If you do a payment, then what we can do is move those funds in the way that we do today in fiat currency.

Why the Mastercard Blockchain Could be Very Successful

Some people may look at the Mastercard blockchain and shrug, but there are some factors in why it could be very successful. The first such reason is that Mastercard is lord and master of a vast financial empire, so to speak. It has a settlement network that counts 22,000 banks and financial institutions from all over the world. Few other entities have such a global reach. Another important factor is that the Mastercard blockchain only uses fiat currency, which reduces costs as there’s no need to convert one form of cryptocurrency into another and then, eventually, cash.

This reduction in cost is also amplified by reducing fees for cross-border payments. Normally, a payment that crosses national borders would have to pass through different sovereign banks, racking up fees with each step. The Mastercard blockchain would remove those steps entirely, thus making the payment less expensive and probably faster. Eventually, Mastercard’s blockchain could be used for other items, such as luxury goods to provide “proof of provenance.”

Overall, this is an interesting development. Could the lack of a cryptocurrency tie-in fire a shot across the bow of other blockchains? One also wonders how the energy use for a single transaction on the Mastercard blockchain compares to current credit card transactions and Bitcoin. A Dutch bank recently reported that the average energy cost for a Bitcoin transaction was 200kWh, and the cost for an Ethereum transaction was 37kWh. By comparison, a credit card transaction only incurred an energy cost of 0.01kWh.

Do you think the Mastercard blockchain will have a major impact? Does the fact that it does not use a cryptocurrency have long-lasting ramifications? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, and Flickr.

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