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IBM Officially Introduces Its Stellar-Based Blockchain Payments Platform

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One of the biggest computing giants in the space, IBM, has recently announced a blockchain payments platform that would run through Stellar (XLM) and its infrastructure. Known as one of the companies that are dominating the field of blockchain patents, IBM said that this solution has the potential to upend the existing status quo in today’s global payments and remittances.

Named ‘IBM Blockchain World Wire‘, the new solution combines the very best of Stellar’s blockchain with digital assets, making instant money transfers of guaranteed values possible. After backing a dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by Stronghold on the Stellar network in July this year, IBM announced that it was involved in an environmentally-friendly crypto project that was also built on Stellar.

Now, the project is live in the form of a payments platform which describes itself as a “financial rail that can clear and settle cross-border payments in near real-time.” As IBM announced, the World Wire integrates readily with any existing payment system and supports payments of any size, to any destination and in any asset type.

According to the official information from IBM, the patent is described as following:

“With IBM Blockchain World Wire, clearing and settlement with finality happens in near real-time. The solution uses digital assets to settle transactions — serving as an agreed-upon store of value exchanged between parties — as well as integrating payment instruction messages. It all means funds can now be transferred at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional correspondent banking.”

Basically, this payment platform can be used by any financial institution. The first step is to choose a digital asset of their choice, connect to the World Wire API and seamlessly convert their fiat currencies into digital assets. All of the transactions will be recorded on the Stellar blockchain.

As IBM also noted, the benefits of this new solution are mainly focused on faster payment processing, simultaneous clearing and settlement as well as reduced time for resolution and reconciliation – not to mention the lower clearing costs.

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WordPress Is Launching A Publishing Platform With Blockchain Features

One of the leading online content management systems and the platform behind more than 40% of the websites out there, WordPress, has decided to launch a new publishing platform backed by Google and the Ethereum development studio ConsenSys among other partners. The platform is in the latest cryptocurrency news only because it has blockchain tools in it. Announced on Monday, the new product - called Newspack - is described as an "inexpensive" platform that offers technology and support for small as well as medium-sized news organizations. Google was the main backer with a $1.2 million investment, while ConsenSys contributed with $350,000. The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation also took part in the investments, giving $400,000 and $250,000 respectively. A ConsenSys rep confirmed the investment yesterday, adding that newsrooms accessing Newspack will be offered the option to use blockchain based features made available through ConsenSys and its partner Civil Media. “The plugin will also act as a portal that will walk newsrooms through how to join the Civil Registry, the hub of community-vetted and -approved newsrooms,”  the rep added, saying that the plugin will also offer access to a "discovery portal" for consumers seeking news. Even though Civil was known for having some issues such as a failed token-based fundraiser which had to be relaunched, it apparently assisted a news site in archiving its entire article base on the Ethereum blockchain in December last year.
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WWF Australia Launches A Blockchain Supply Tool That Allows Food Tracking

The World Wildlife Fund - Australia (WWF-Australia) has officially announced the launch of a supply chain tool that uses blockchain in order to allow businesses and consumers to track food in a new way. This cryptocurrency news was first echoed in a tweet today (January 17th) in which WWF announced the platform, dubbed OpenSC, as a product of a partnership between WWF and BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV) which is a global corporate venture, investment and incubation arm of the US-based Boston Consulting Group. As one post on the WWF site unveils, the system will allow businesses to track products that they produce - but also consumers to view the origins of said products through a "unique blockchain code at the product's point of origin." The platform is designed to distribute QR codes to products made by client corporations signing up to the scheme, which are later linked to a blockchain platform and allow consumers to check the origins and lifecycle of any specific product. The aim is to empower consumers with the knowledge of exactly what they are buying as they purposely make an ethical choice. As the CEO of WWF Australia commented in an accompanying press release:
“Through OpenSC, we will have a whole new level of transparency about whether the food we eat is contributing to environmental degradation of habitats and species, as well as social injustice and human rights issues such as slavery.”
Open-SC will reportedly start operating at the World Economic Forum event in Davos, where it will be presented to world leaders. In the future, the plan is to extend beyond food to tackle areas as diverse as palm oil and timber, according to Reuters.
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Ford’s Plan To Fight Child Labor With Blockchain

The automotive giant Ford is in the featured news on our DC Forecasts crypto news site today - mainly for its plan to fight child labor with blockchain. One of the oldest car manufacturers out there has recently entered a partnership with IBM, Huayou Cobalt and LG Chem in order to build a blockchain platform that will monitor the supply of cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a new attempt that will see Ford ensuring that no child labor makes part of its supply chain. First announced on Wednesday, this project will be managed by the global responsible-sourcing consultant RCS Group - and will use IBM's proprietary blockchain platform to monitor the cobalt supplies that are used in the production of lithium-ion batteries. In times when other primary production industries are tapping into blockchain technology as a potential solution for effective supply chain tracking, Ford is definitely interested in tracking metals but has a problem with child labor which is being tackled with the deployment of blockchain technology. What's also important to note are the many challenges for tracking metals. Speaking of, they present an altogether different challenge for the monitoring project because they are often smelted together, at which point it becomes almost impossible to identify what came from where. However, the main challenge that Ford is ready to solve is the one posed by artisanal miners and unregistered local panhandlers using children for labor - mainly dealt with by bringing them into a blockchain network of validated participants so that the labor is transparent and everyone can see where cobalt supplies are coming from.
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16% Of The Biggest Crypto Exchanges Got Rated A Or A-

According to the latest Exchange Security Report conducted by the ICORating analysts, 16% of all the major crypto exchanges in the world got rated with A or A- but surprisingly enough neither of them got rated A+. Let’s find out why in the latest blockchain news below. The report shows that Kraken and Robinhood were rated A, and Poloniex was rated A- as top three most secure trading platforms worldwide. More than 135 crypto trading platforms were assessed which their daily trade value exceeds $100,000. They were rated for registrar and domain security, web security, DoS attack protection, and user account security. More than 50 percent of the exchanges got rated with B+ or B- and the remaining with C- or C+. There was not a single exchange that got A+. All of the categories were divided into sub-categories for more transparency. For example, for the user security category, password security and two-factor authentication were assessed where only 22 percent met all the criteria. For domain and registrar security, the sub-categories consisted of six-month expiration window for the high-profile domains and only 3 percent satisfied the criteria. All of the exchanges turned out to be protected from MITM attacks and Heartbleed attacks and 37 percent of the exchanges were found to be using HSTS header. ICORating’s data shows that Coinbase PRO has A- rating on number nine, BitMEX on the fourth position with A- and HitBTC ranking 13th with A-. On the other hand, Binance which is the world’s largest exchange by daily trade volumes was ranked 34th with B+ and Gemini was ranked 84th with B-.
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