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WEF Research: Blockchain Could Boost Trade Finance By $1 Trillion

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According to new (joint) research by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Bain & Company, blockchain has an ability to fill in much of the $1.5 trillion dollar supply-demand gap in global trade finance only by easing financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets.

In times when the global trade finance gap is at $1.5 trillion and is estimated to grow to $2.4 trillion by 2025, the research explains that the issue largely arises from limited access to credit and loans for SMEs that are looking to expand their businesses.

The researchers also argue that the missing funding can be reduced by $1 trillion if blockchain “is used more broadly” since the distributed networks are able to share business records across financial institutions and with that bring transparency to the credibility of businesses.

As the researchers wrote:

“They would help mitigate credit risk, lower fees and remove barriers to trade. If implemented, the main beneficiaries are set to be SMEs and emerging markets, which suffer most from a lack of access to credit and have ample room to grow trade. “

On top of this, the researchers added that a blockchain-based trade finance system would be beneficial to Asian economies as they account for 7% (or $105 billion) of the global trade finance gap.

 

 

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Blockchain News

China’s Ping An Insurance Group To Build A ‘Smart City’ By Using Blockchain Technology

One of the largest insurance companies in the world, Ping An Insurance Group from China, is in today’s blockchain news for signing a cooperation agreement with the Sanya municipal government to build a ‘’ Smart City’’ by using blockchain technology. The new project will be constructed with the use of blockchain and artificial intelligence, cloud computing and huge amounts of data as the report states. The corporation designed a special strategic agreement with the Sanya municipal government in order to achieve comprehensive cooperating and build the ‘Smart City’ as a part of the major urban development strategy in China. Xinhua News, a governmental news agency, reported that the Ping An Group will invest more than $4 billion in the Sanya municipality to develop the construction of the smart city and also provide financial services and insurance fund utilization. The giant corporation released a white paper on smart cities this summer where they presented themselves as huge advocates for blockchain technology, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. This fall, however, JD Finance, a division of the Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, established a research institute that has a goal to facilitate the development of the smart city construction with the use of blockchain and artificial intelligence. Also, the Chinese city of Loudi in the Hunan province, just a few days ago launched a blockchain platform where they will store real estate data and people can avoid all long and exhausting bureaucratic processes when getting their documents for the local land and taxes.
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Blockchain News

Blockchain ‘Smart Money’ Trialed By Australia’s Science Agency And Commonwealth Bank

A new trial that was conducted by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is in the latest crypto news. In collaboration with the Data61 unit of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the trial proved that blockchain-powered smart money offers immense social and economic benefits for the insurance scheme in Australia - especially for people with disabilities. The proof of concept of this trial demonstrated that participants in Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) benefited from the increased choice and control using the smart money that they accessed via the prototype app. The participants and carers which were part of the trial benefited a lot, where the NDIS prototype app saved them between 1 hour and 15 hours per week, while the estimates said that the cost savings ranging between 0.3% and 0.8% of their revenues. As the senior principal researcher at Data61 said, this trial proved that the blockchain-powered smart money system could be applied in other public programs, stating:
“Our use of blockchain added new kinds of programmable behaviors to the smart money in the prototype system. This automation and flexibility could reduce friction and enable greater innovation in many payment environments and unlock network-effect benefits. This could include more directly connecting citizens to public policy programs, empowering people to optimize their spending through things like smart savings plans and smart diets, and reducing costs for businesses, including through the potential for self-taxing transactions.”
This is not the first blockchain trial where the CSIRO was involved. Previously, the organization collaborated with the University of Sydney, testing a blockchain application on the cloud infrastructure platform of Amazon Web Services - finding that the application was able to achieve a speed of 30,000 transactions per second.
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Blockchain News

Iran Gets Removed From SWIFT, Considers Switching To Crypto As Planned

Iran being officially removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication network by the U.S is in today’s crypto news. Iran’s Central Bank is not allowed to work in financial institutions around the world so this is why Iran is considering going crypto as soon as possible. The United States government imposed sanctions on Iran in May 2018 when they removed all the commercial banks in the country from the SWIFT network. This way, Iran is prevented from sending and receiving transactions from around the world. Steve Keen, an economist, and University professor criticized the U.S government for banning a central bank from the global financial system and said that no country should have such authority. He continued by saying:
 “The US has gone rogue, and cannot be allowed to dictate economic or political policy to the rest of the world. The sooner the rest of the world develops an alternative payments system – possibly working through SWIFT, but using a basket of currencies as the basis for a supra-national unit of exchange – the better. The USA is big enough to bully what should be an impartial means for monetary transactions between countries. This should not be possible.’’
However, the Iranian Parliamentary Commissioner of Economic Affairs, Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, said that the country is working on a plan to involve cryptocurrencies as international payment methods cooperating with Russia. Already multiple businesses in Iran such as HotelsinIran which is a major booking platform started accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Many experts believe that this is a perfect way for cryptocurrencies to gain mass adoption in Iran.
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Blockchain News

Amazon Wins Two Patents, Aims On Improving Distributed Data Storage/Signatures Protection

Worldwide popular e-commerce giant Amazon hits the blockchain news today for winning two patents related to digital signatures integrity protection and distributed data storage improvement. Both of the patents were published today, November 13 by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The first patent application was filed in April 2018 where a signature delegation method was outlined, for ‘’protecting the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications’’. This method will allow the distribution and validation of cryptographic keys that can be used only once. The encrypted keys are formed as a ‘’Merkle Tree’’ structure that represents a binary system of hashes built from the bottom up. Merkle Trees are a key element of blockchain systems since they allow huge amounts of data to be securely verified. As crypto media platform Hackernoon explained:
 “The Merkle Root summarizes all of the data in the related transactions and is stored in the block header. It maintains the integrity of the data. If a single detail in any of the transactions or the order of the transaction's changes, so does the Merkle Root. Using a Merkle tree allows for a quick and simple test of whether a specific transaction is included in the set or not.”
Amazon proposed the same Merkle Tree structure aiming to solve how to delegate signing authority from a central entity to multiple subordinates that will be authorized. The second patent that was first filed in December 2015, aims to solve issues related to distributed data storage. The patents suggest that these methods can help reduce storage redundancy but still allowing maximum availability. Amazon also filed for other crypto-specified inventions but we will find out more about them in the near future.
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