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FedEx Started Testing Its Blockchain Tech Aimed At Critical Cargo Shipments

As you probably know, FedEx is one of the companies that are active when it comes to the blockchain. The company moved forward with blockchain plans a couple of months ago – but is now officially putting the technology to a test.

The logistics giant is testing all the ways to use blockchain in order to track the high-cost, mission-critical cargo. In times when more and more companies are adopting blockchain, FedEx is apparently joining the list.

In an interview on Bloomberg,  the FedEx CEO Fred Smith stated:

“We’re quite confident that it has big, big implications in supply chain, transportation and logistics. It’s the next frontier that’s going to completely change worldwide supply chains.”

Currently, the main draw is the concept of the permanent and immutable ledger. When the shipments stretch across the world in this infrastructure, this ledger can be the one providing transparency with a single record that all the parties will agree on.

There are many unique cases for such blockchain ledgers. However, the main reason why FedEx decided to adopt this technology is the customer service, which they want to improve and make one step ahead of the competition, according to the CEO Fred Smith.

FedEx has teamed up with the Blockchain in Transport Alliance, stating its mission:

BiTA was formed by experienced tech and transportation executives to create a forum for the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.  Our goal is to bring together leading companies in the freight technology industries that have a vested interest in the development of blockchain technology.

Thousands of companies have applied for membership.

The testing will also include ironing out the standards in the industry and disrupting the potential opportunities of cargo shipments worldwide. According to some reports, it is estimated that blockchain applications will represent 10% of the global GDP in the future – which is why FedEx is tapping into it early.

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Cryptocurrencies ‘Pose More Risks Than Benefits’ According To Bank Of Spain

The head governor of Spain’s central bank is a strong believer in blockchain technology. However, when asked about cryptocurrencies, he is far more uneasy on this topic. The governor of Banco de Espana, Luis Maria Linde, recently discussed cryptocurrencies in a speech organizing by the auditing giant Deloitte.

In the speech, Linde said that cryptocurrencies “present more risks than benefits”. In that way, he believes that the blockchain technology may be the only one to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

According to Linde:

“[Cryptocurrencies] have low acceptance as a means of payment, suffer extreme volatility, present multiple operational vulnerabilities and have been related to fraudulent or illicit activities in many cases.”

He also referred to crypto tokens as “the spurious novelties that do not provide significant improvements and should be tackled as soon as possible” during his speech.

The blockchain technology, on the other hand, offers many “interesting possibilities” and has a massive potential for reducing costs. However, this technology is “still not quite mature” according to him.

The governor of Banco de Espana also argued that potential digitization in the financial sector can signify “great opportunities” and increase the efficiency of financial services while meeting users’ demand. All if the technologies are “well-used and managed” according to him.

He also warned that “the move to a more digital economy is accompanied by greater cyber threats and it is necessary to develop new measures and protect the processes, assets and the customer data.”

Cryptocurrencies are illegal in Spain – and some government officials even link the technology to organized crime. From all this, it appears that they will remain like this in the coming months.

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IOTA Became United Nations’ Agency Partner For Blockchain Transparency Push

UNOPS which is a service and a technical advisory arm to the United Nations, has recently partnered with IOTA announcing a project that seeks to help UNOPS benefit from IOTA’s open source distributed ledger and Tangle technology. This partnership will improve processes and cut down middlemen.

According to the Special Advisor on Blockchain technology at UNOPS, Yoshiyuki Yamamoto:

“We share a vision where machines, devices, sensors and people connect and communicate to each other — it’s the world of ‘Industry 4.0.’ Harnessing technology that allows for these processes to work simultaneously, without the need for intermediaries, will help expedite our mission as an organization.”

Obviously, UNOPS is interested in IOTA’s open technology that drives the blockchain. This can ease communications and supply chain bottlenecks. As a global organization that empowers the UN’s humanitarian projects, UNOPS adheres to many strict accountability standards which can be complemented by IOTA’s transparent ledger. Meanwhile, UNOPS is known for delivering $1.8 billion in projects in 2017 and operating in 80 countries.

According to UNOPS’ mission:

“UNOPS helps the UN and its partners provide peace and security, humanitarian and development solutions. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development… Our services cover infrastructure, project management, procurement, financial management and human resources.”

On the other hand, IOTA is known for its Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) which is also known as Tangle – operating as a mesh network. This protocol is less resource-intensive and scales better than traditional protocols because it doesn’t rely on specific nodes having a full copy of the blockchain. Instead, the Tangle protocol offloads the work to the entire network of nodes which depend on each other when verifying transactions.

As of recently, IOTA has been gaining new partners. Its Internet of Things protocol has attracted many enterprises interested in ramping up their efficiency. The IOTA price (MIOTA), on the other hand, has steadily declined in recent days, dropping 2.65% to $1.50 over the past 24 hours but gaining 2.84% against Bitcoin in the same timeframe.

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American Express Taps Into Hyperledger’s Blockchain For Rewards Program Revamp

American Express is one of the companies that have deployed Hyperledger’s blockchain technology in order to make its Membership Rewards program way more versatile. With this, the US financial services firm made the first application of blockchain into a loyalty program.

According to some pre-official details, the revamped program will let merchants create Membership Rewards offers on their own platforms and therefore engage customers and offer card members more opportunities to earn points.

The partnership includes American Express and Boxed, an online wholesale retailer in a pilot promotion for all the Membership Rewards enrolled members. Speaking of, the program lets members earn up to 5X Membership Rewards points for select products and brands.

Initially, the rewards points will be provided to Boxed customers for products like Cheerios cereal, Planters nuts, Dove soap and a few other items according to the Associated Press. American Express also plans to make the program available to nearly all merchant partners in the next few months.

The technology behind this has helped to target individual items which have proven challenging because of the difference in merchants’ inventory systems. The Hyperledger blockchain technology solves this problem so that merchants and American Express can both create product-targeted offers.

If you are wondering how it works, the information will basically go through a private channel on the company’s blockchain allowing merchants to send and receive it securely. Moreover, the merchant will have control over the offers that they wish to market – and be able to create custom Membership Rewards offers and designate SKU level bonuses.

Once the offers are available to all customers, the smart contract will send the anonymized transaction to American Express on a private blockchain. Here, the company will identify the card member and issue them rewards points.

 

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Golem CEO: No Blockchain Network Is Remotely Close To Ethereum

The CEO of Golem, Zulian Zawistowski, has recently stated that Ethereum is the most promising blockchain platform in the crypto sector and that no other blockchain protocol comes remotely close to its potential and applicability.

If you are hearing about Golem for the first time, you should know that it is a smart contracts-based decentralized supercomputer and the 47th largest cryptocurrency with around $387 million in market valuation. Golem was recently introduced to the South Korean market with the support of Bithumb which is the country’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange.

Golem is capable of solving difficult mathematical problems and processing complex computations by using the computing power of its user computers, machines as well as data centers. On the Golem protocol, each user is incentivized to lease their computing power to individuals and businesses in need of massive computing power to carry out the intensive tasks such as CGI rendering. Golem also lets users share and monetize their computing power.

Zawistowski currently leads the development and commercialization of Golem. Recently, he stated that the development team at Golem has been building applications on top of the Ethereum blockchain network since the early days. As he said:

“Ethereum is by far the most promising platform and we cannot see another one that’s remotely close to it. Of course we would like to interact with the blockchain more and once Ethereum scales we will be able to do it in a wider manner. We have been supporting and building on top of Ethereum since its very early days. In fact, we realized that Golem would be possible to be built and work on Ethereum and thanks to Ethereum,”

What’s most important is the fact that Ethereum has been leading major developments in Sharding and Plasma which are two technologies that are expected to increase the capacity of public blockchain networks in the long run. The recent updates on Ethereum such as Proof-of-Stake (Casper), Sharding and Plasma are all proof that the second largest cryptocurrency has evolved into a dominant blockchain network.

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