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Blockchain News

Australian Government Taps Blockchain In A New Driver License Digitization Initiative



The New South Wales (NSW) government in Australia has recently shifted to blockchain for a state-wide test of its driver license digitization program that is scheduled to kick off in November this year.

As the government officially announced on August 20th, they will conduct a pilot for a new driver license digitization program that will include 140,000 license holders and underpin the initiative to secure their data in a distributed fashion. For this program, the government has partnered with an Australian IT firm named Secure Logic, which will help its mission to fully digitize driver licenses as we know them.

The blockchain network, on the other hand, is called TrustGrid and has already been trialed in a pilot of the scheme conducted in the state’s Dubbo city last year, as ZDNet reported on Monday.

The goal of the new program is clear – using a distributed network to authenticate and fully store the driver license data – allowing users to present their digital credentials with a mobile application. With this, they won’t need to carry physical licenses to prove their ages and identities, as everything will be checked via an app.

This initiative also follows a bill passed in May 2018 that granted the legality of government projects that seek to let residents present license data in a digital way, without the need of carrying their government-issued licenses. The scheme is in line with the country’s overall goal of adopting blockchain and distributed ledger technology as part of the Digital Economy Initiative.

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Blockchain News

Postal Carrier Giant UPS Rolls Out A Blockchain Platform For Merchant Supply Chains

UPS, one of the world’s largest postal carriers and the e-commerce tech company Inxeption partnered and created a blockchain-powered platform in order to improve the merchant supply chains. The decision was published today in a joint press release that we are reading more about in our blockchain news below. According to the press release, the new blockchain platform is named Inxeption Zippy and will help all of the companies to distribute their products easier to their customers. The platform will also allow merchants to monitor the supply chain from start to finish and to also protect the sensitive data making it available only to be buyer and seller. With the help of the platform, the merchants can look up the product information but they can also upload their own, they will be able to track the entire transaction process, money returns, make marketing analysis and market strategies and also schedule orders among the many other services. The CEO of Inxeption, Farzad Dibachi, explained that the blockchain platform ‘’creates simplified pricing solutions for B2B merchants with limited digital marketing and IT resources to easily manage all aspects of selling and shipping from one secure place.’’ Back in January, UPS made an investment in Inxeption but the amount of money invested is unknown. Dibachi explained:
‘’Business customers need secure platforms that protect their customer data and proprietary information, while making it easy for them to interact and even collaborate more effectively with their customers.’’
No matter the industry, businesses are looking deeper into the ways blockchain can improve the supply chain but also for other possible use cases. For example, the US National Pork Board partnered with a blockchain startup dubbed in order to test out a new blockchain platform that tracks the pork supply chains. This platform makes possible for the companies to monitor and evaluate all of the food safety standards, the health of the livestock, level of sustainability and how to protect the environment. Also, earlier this month, Bumble Bee Foods-the largest seafood firm in North America, launched their own blockchain platform for improved traceability of the seafood. Customers are now able to observe every step of the supply chain and are able to get information on the origin of the product, shipping history, and product packaging.
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Blockchain News

CipherBlade Accuses WSJ Of Using Faulty Methods In ShapeShift Investigation

CipherBlade, the blockchain intelligence company accused the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) of using faulty methods in the investigation of the crypto exchange platform ShapeShift by overestimating the amount of money laundered via the exchange. More on this analysis, we read in our crypto news below. CipherBlade published a report on their blog post yesterday as it says that the WSJ published a long document for the fall of 2018 that ShapeShift facilitated the laundering of more than $9 million via cryptocurrencies. As previously reported on our DC Forecasts website, the Wall Street Journal claimed that the exchange processed more millions of dollars and that most of the money was later converted into privacy coins such as Monero. CipherBlade made a lengthy analysis of the investigation where it shows that:
 “By tracing alleged ‘laundering’ through ‘no more than two intermediaries before reaching an exchange’, the WSJ’s stated methodology was fundamentally flawed [...] The tracing of any funds — illicit or not — over the course of multiple transactions is extremely difficult, and presenting the total contents of subsequent wallets as illicit is forensically unsound.”
CipherBlade stated that WSJ’s claims were distorted and that by using a decent forensic method would show a granular tracing of privacy coins:
 “Of the ShapeShift addresses which receive ETH within three hops from the initial dirty addresses, less than half of the ETH traded through them are tainted. Using the most generous assumptions, this is still only 23.53 percent of the WSJ’s claimed $9 million.”
CipherBlade also wrote a dozen of criticism of the technical analysis of WSJ but also for its collected data that doesn’t support their own conclusions. The intelligence company noted that most of the addresses from ShapeShift to WSJ’s spreadsheet, only 30 percent correspond to trades that turn out to be exchanged coins for Monero. The company is also focused on money laundering by using the Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency and its network since in some cases, privacy coin conversions were involved and also didn’t pay much attention to the Bitcoin-related data that was provided by the Wall Street Journal. ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees also stated that the claims made by the WSJ were ‘’factually inaccurate and deceptive’’ and that the authors didn’t really understand blockchain or cryptocurrency technology.
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Blockchain News

Mt. Gox Trustee Kobayashi Finished Processing The Creditors’ Rehab Claims

The trustee of the defunct BTC Exchange Mt.Gox Nobuaki Kobayashi, officially announced that he has finished processing the rehabilitation claims of the exchange’s creditors and that they will be notified in a couple of days. We are reading more about the announcement in our latest digital currency news. As previously reported, more than 24,000 creditors have been affected after the 2011 Mt.Gox hack attack which led to the collapse of the exchange in early 2014. According to the announcement, the shutdown of the exchange resulted in losing more than 850,000 BTC which were valued at that time roughly $460 million. The attorney from Tokyo, Kobayashi, was first appointed as a civil rehabilitation trustee to manage the bankruptcy funds of the exchange and notified the public:
 “On March 15, 2019, the Rehabilitation Trustee approved or disapproved rehabilitation claims regarding MTGOX Bitcoin exchange users’ rights to make claims against MTGOX for the return of cryptocurrency and/or cash [...] and submitted to the Tokyo District Court a statement of approval or disapproval.”
There still hasn’t been an exact date set up for the prospective reimbursement but the announcement makes clear that procedural details regarding how creditors can check on their claims will be available for the creditors to get a hold of. Kobayashi has published a statement previously in 2018 where it says that he had liquidated more than 26 billion yen which is about $230 million in BTC and Bitcoin Cash for about four months starting from March 2018. The liquidations that were run by Kobayashi brought him a new nickname ‘’ Tokyo’s Bitcoin Whale’’ for allegedly having an adverse effect on the market which stopped when the civil rehabilitation proceedings started in June last year. At the start of this month, the ex-CEO of Mt. Gox Mark Karpeles got suspended but also sentenced for two and a half years in prison after he was found guilty of tampering financial data. Karpeles was found guilty for mixing his personal files with the ones of the exchange but he was also later acquitted of embezzlement charges and will not serve the sentence unless he commits another crime in the next four years.
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Bitcoin News

JPMorgan Execs Seem Bullish On Crypto Following JPM Coin’s Release

Everyone that is following our cryptocurrency news section knows that the executives sitting on top of JPMorgan Chase are not the biggest fans of Bitcoin and take every chance to bash the dominant cryptocurrency. As the top tier in one of the largest banks in the world, these executives don't like similar cryptocurrencies too. Even though the bank is also distant on the nascent technology behind crypto which is the blockchain - they now appear to be in fact bullish on it - as long as they are the ones controlling it. We can best see this from a statement in a recent interview with CNBC's Squawk Box, where Ron Karpovich (Global Head of eCommerce solutions at JPMorgan Chase) said that the traditional banking system is intertwined with the world right now - and there is no true way around avoiding it. He also added that payments are not the most profitable industry, continuing:
“Ultimately behind the scenes, they [crypto companies] are going to have to use a bank to move funds. There’s more partnership instead of competition in that space… When it comes to margins and capabilities, payments is never something that grows in margin, nobody wants to pay for a payment…so you need highly efficient and large players.”
Karpovich also responded to a question regarding how far the eCommerce industry is from using crypto to facilitating payments. He explained that blockchain - the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies - will be used to facilitate payments behind the scenes. However, he also added that according to him, blockchain won't have a huge impact on consumers.
“I think ultimately you’ll find that the technology behind the scenes will be blockchain, I don’t know that you’ll notice anything as a consumer in that space. I think that you’ll still continue to use the payment type that you prefer, be that a wallet, a card, or a bank account,”  he noted.
When asked about his anti-crypto sentiment - which is somehow shared in the JPMorgan circles - Karpovich said that there is a difference between adopting blockchain and speculating on cryptocurrencies.
“There’s a difference between trading a cryptocurrency that’s in the market that’s ubiquitous, versus using the technology to enhance your payment infrastructure,” he concluded.
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