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Sierra Leone Is The First Country To Introduce A Blockchain-Based Presidential Election

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The world’s first blockchain-backed presidential election took place  in Sierra Leone this March 7, 2018. The African country witnessed the first blockchain tech votes all thanks to the Swiss blockchain startup – Agora – that was working hard behind the scenes to make this possible and bring such results.

In this election, Agora used a custom-built blockchain technology that it has built over the last two years. Designed as a permissioned blockchain network, it allows the network to appoint to a group of participants who are given the express authority to provide the validation of blocks of transactions or to participate in consensus.

Both Agora and the Sierra Leone officials were proud to introduce such technology where the transfer of information was secure to a verifiable blockchain ledger – with independent node operators including the names of the Red Cross, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Fribourg as the organizations that verified each ballot and the election results.

The CEO of Agora expressed gratitude for the country of Sierra Leone for showing the world how visionary they are in implementing free and transparent elections to the people. The election itself was quite notable since for the first time in years, Sierra Leone had more than two candidates with a significant chance of winning, opening up space for a more diversified parliament.

In the end, this is an important first step towards improving the democratic process in countries that have been significantly impacted by fraud and corruption in the past, all thanks to paper ballots.

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Blockchain News

Major Bank In Philippines Taps IBM For Japan Blockchain Remittance

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One of the largest banks in the Philippines, The Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), has recently announced a new remittance payments service from Japan that will use blockchain technology.

The vice president at RCBC spoke to reporters this Thursday, revealing that the banking giant is currently developing the blockchain platform in order to enable cheaper and faster remittances for the overseas Filipino workers in Japan.

As the senior bank official told Businessworld:

“For the OFWs in Japan, [this service] will make remittance faster and cheaper as we will collect less fees,”

RCBC has also partnered with the technology giant IBM and another partner which is currently a secret – in order to develop the blockchain platform. As Narcisco stated:

“IBM has decided to pilot it with 15 banks around the world, we’re the only one in the Philippines that they included in this pilot test,”

There are not many details about the type of blockchain that this project will deploy – and IBM was not available for a comment at press time. Meanwhile, RCBC is partnering with two Japanese banks as well, one of them being the Tokyo-based Resona Bank.

According to data, cash remittances in the Philippines hit a record of $31.3 billion in 2017 while the personal remittances reached a high of $3 billion. According to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (which is the central bank):

“The 2017 level of OFW’s personal remittances accounted for 10.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.3 percent of gross national income (GNI),”

Right now, RCBC is looking to pivot away from the inter-banking system to a decentralized one mostly because of the high fees associated with the SWIFT fees.

“You will not need SWIFT anymore because it’s expensive. Remittance will happen in real time, bypassing all other parties.” the senior bank official concluded.

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Blockchain: The Answer To Making Self-Driving Cars Safer

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There have been a couple of cases of trouble with self-driving cars, and even some which killed pedestrians in the US. According to police reports, the car’s LIDAR and radar system fail to detect the victims or other obstructions even though they were clearly visible before the collision.

At this point, many people are wondering if there is a next-level technology out there which will prevent accidents like these from happening. Many analysts point their fingers at AI, Machine LEarning as well as blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies.

Believe it or not, the blockchain may also have a contribution to making self-driving cars safer. All thanks to the big data which if collected, analyzed and utilized properly, can deliver results with high precision.

Blockchain is also all about ensuring data transparency and accuracy while protecting things from being manipulated. As one report by the MIT Technology Review states:

“Malicious cyber attacks are a significant challenge to the adoption of the autonomous car technology. While advancement in AI and Machine Learning are likely to solve the issue of collisions that occur due to a technical error, they may not be able to resolve the technology’s vulnerability to hacking.”

Basically, blockchain introduces a concept of a transparent and decentralized ledger – where data can be verified and properly stored. As such, the technology can also help the driverless cars verify the accuracy of the data when they collect it from the environment. This, in other words, means that the room for error would be very minimal.

As the driverless tech continues to improve, there are a lot of areas which blockchain can potentially develop. Who knows – maybe in a few years we will see a solution that combines AI, Machine Learning, and blockchain that will continually improve the driverless car technology.

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EOS Mainnet Freezes Seven Accounts After Being Hit By A Bug

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The altcoin blockchain named EOS was recently hit by a bug which prevented transactions two days after it went live. The result of this is seven EOS accounts being frozen and subject to a phishing scam, as the blog on the site EOS42 on Steemit recently reported.

The developers initially found the bug and saw that it paused the mainnet unexpectedly on June 16th, noting on the Telegram channel that Block.on, the EOS creator, was working on a software patch.

The block producers held a conference call discussing the problem after which they disabled the nodes and backed up data to protect the network’s history from losing. They also updated the users about the problem and the fact that the bug is being fixed – over a conference call which supports the people who said that EOS was not sufficiently decentralized.

One Cornell professor and a blockchain researcher named Emin Gun Sirer tweeted that EOS would create a major hack in the next calendar year. The EOS mainnet launched last week after raising more than $4 billion in crowd safe.

A blog on a website named EOS Emergency offered a process in which stakeholders can confirm whether the EOS private key was compromised. It also states that the stakeholders can provide confirmation they are the proper owners of the EOS account – giving a consent to unfreeze it.

Liam Wu, which is the head of community for China and South America at EOS42, began responding to reports from people who found their private keys were invalid and did not match their assigned addresses.

 

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Blockchain News

UBS CEO: Blockchain Is ‘Almost A Must’ For Business

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The CEO of the Swiss financial services giant UBS Group recently endorsed blockchain technology. In an interview with CNBC, Sergio Ermotti said that the technology is designed to help companies to become more efficient and therefore reduce their costs for certain operations.

According to Ermotti:

“Our industry will continue to be under pressure, in terms of gross margins. It’s no doubt. The only way you can stay relevant is not only by being strong in terms of capital, in terms of products, the quality of the people you have, advice you give to clients. You need also to be able to price it correctly.”

The CEO of UBS also said that the blockchain technology “will be as crucial as disruptive as well as changing as regulation was in the last 10 years.”

This is not the first time the CEO has praised blockchain technology without praising cryptocurrencies. In another interview with CNBC in October, he said that he was far more bullish on blockchain than he was about cryptocurrencies in specific.

Meanwhile, UBS is currently backing a blockchain-based trade finance platform named Batavia, in a partnership with IBM. According to earlier reports, the platform has conducted its first live cross-border transactions with corporate clients.

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