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Category Archive: blockchain

debt notes

Kazakhstan’s Central Bank to use Blockchain for Debt Notes

The National Bank of Kazakhstan announced it is looking to test blockchain technology in order to sell short-term debt notes.

In an official statement published today, the Kazakhstan central bank revealed its plan to launch a new mobile app that to sell the short-term debt notes to investors– denominated in amounts worth 100 tenges (the national fiat currency) – without relying on third-party brokers.

At the moment, this app is being tested within the bank, and its launch is expected by the end of 2017.

In the long term, the Kazakhstan bank commented that the app could be used to make initial public offerings (IPOs) easier.

Also, the financial institution explains it wants to work with the country’s banking industry on possible future versions and uses.

“In this area, the project will continue to search for additional solutions, including the involvement of commercial banks,” the statement explained.

The Central Bank explained that it has been looking at the distributed ledger for potential applications since 2016.

A few months ago, regional news source called Tengri News reported that officials were studying possible blockchain use cases, especially those focused on payments.

Read more about blockchain-related projects developed by banks.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
blockchain passports

Blockchain passports to be used in Dubai

A new project related to blockchain passports is being developed by the Dubai government and the English startup called ObjectTech with the main objective of improving security for the Emirate’s airport.

A few days ago, ObjectTech announced that it is working together with the Dubai Immigration and Visas Department to create blockchain passports to potentially eliminate manual checks at Dubai International airport.

This system exploits biometric verification and blockchain technology in order and it will use a “pre-approved and entirely digitized passport” in order to easily and safely authorize travelers’ entrance into the Emirates.

Also, thanks to blockchain passports, people will be identified through a 3D scan via a short tunnel while they walk from the aircraft to claim their baggage.

Thanks to the use of a distributed ledger technology (it’s still unclear what blockchain will be used), ObjectTech explained that passports will contain a feature called self-sovereign identity for privacy protection, which it allows travelers to control which parties can view their info.

Co-founder and CEO of ObjectTech, Paul Ferris, wrote a blog post where he explains that the company aims at making the border process quicker and safer, and also giving passengers full control of their digital data. A pilot program is anticipated to be ready by 2020, although a detailed project timeline remains unclear.

A pilot program will be ready by 2020. 

Dubai is not new to this kind of projects. A few months ago, in fact, Dubai government revealed its idea to solve immigration issues with the blockchain.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
blockchain id

Luxemburg to launch a Blockchain ID platform

blockchain idLuxTrust, together with a Massachusetts-based startup and the support of the Luxembourg government, is building a new Blockchain ID platform.

Announced today, the project sees also the participation of the US startup Cambridge Blockchain.

 

Luxembourg owns two-thirds of the LuxTrust company, and the rest is handled by a consortium of banks and financial institutions that utilize the service itself.

LuxTrust is now working on how to integrate the blockchain, paving the way to its 500,000-strong subscriber base to use the distributed ledger in some capacity.

According to Matthew Commons, CEO of the Cambridge Blockchain, this partnership was born thanks to an initial conversation about blockchain ID.

“By combining LuxTrust’s current certified services such as authentication, signature and document management with our innovative blockchain-based enterprise software, our collaboration will deliver the future of digital identity for Europe and beyond,” he explained to Coindesk.

The Blockchain ID platform will be rolled out during the next few months, in what Commons called something like a “soft launch”.

He explained that one of the most important reasons for the creation of the Blockchain ID platform is the data-centric regulation (including the European General Data Protection Regulation) that are due to come in mid-2018.

“Working with Cambridge Blockchain allows us to augment the scope of identities, including any attributes, and will enable users to share personal data fully respecting the increasingly stringent European regulatory framework,” commented LuxTrust’s CEO, Pascal Rogiest.

Back in February 2017, the Cambridge Blockchain company raised  $2m in a funding round, receiving support by VC firms Partech Ventures and Digital Currency Group. Commons also explained that his startup wants to complete a new Series A round by the end of 2017.

That said, we’re very happy to read about the Luxembourg government involvement in a blockchain-related project since HolyTransaction is based here.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
bitcoin regulation

Bitcoin regulation in Europe: “it’s too early”

bitcoin regulation

During a recent event held by the European Parliament, members talked about new technologies including the Blockchain and Ethereum and Bitcoin Regulation.

According to them, the European Parliament will have to regulate and monitor the new tech but “it’s too early to intervene at this stage, because we as legislators don’t yet see sufficiently clearly to know what the main issues are going to be – so in order to not to stifle innovation, we don’t want it to be now.””, said MEP Jakob von Weizsäcker.

So, the EU wants just to monitor blockchain and smart contracts in order to allow developers doing their job.

Also, MEP Eva Kaili from Greece explained that regulation is necessary to protect citizens, but EU doesn’t want to suffocate innovations.

“[In] 2008 when the crisis started in the European Union, especially in my country [Greece], people lost trust in banks and in the politicians. I woundn’t blame them because we didn’t protect them and the reaction was that some young people that we don’t really know discover this technology that actually makes unnecessary to have banks, politicians and intermediaries. So the potential is there, but it is still under progress”.

Also, she continues by saying the following:

“Blockchain is not just bitcoin and bitcoin is not just blockckhain. We need to understand how to protect citizens because if we help them trust this technology, they will actually start to using it. I do believe that banks will outsource a lot of their services,” she said.

Bitcoin regulation to regain trust by citizens

“We’ll have to educate citizens on how to use it […] Hopefully, [bitcoin regulation] will come and we’re going to try to protect the technology and not to stop it. I know that usually politicians and banks don’t want to change and they want to keep control, but I think this technology is unstoppable and we have to give control back to the citizens and maybe this way we can regain some trust,” Kaili argues.

Watch the full conference video here.

 

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
bitcoin in russia

Bitcoin in Russia: regulation will take place in 2019

Russia’s Ministry of Communications (Minkomsvyaz) has revealed it is looking for legalizing Bitcoin in Russia and the blockchain technology by 2019.

The local news agency called TASS talks about a document about the Russia’s Digital Economy of the Russian Federation project, which lays out a timeframe for creating and passing the blockchain regulation.

The document quoted the following:

“bringing into effect regulatory acts governing the possible use of technology for decentralized registers and legal certificates.”

Back in March, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed Minkomsvyaz and its counterpart Ministry of Economic Growth (Minekonomrazvitie) to “study to what extent Blockchain would be applicable to our system of government.”

During the last year, Bitcoin in Russia has solidified from a rhetoric point of view also because the Russian Central Bank decided not to ban digital currencies including Bitcoin and this news was useful to calm businesses and users’ after a few years of uncertainty when Russia stated it would ban cryptocurrencies within the country.

Then, back in April, 2017, Russia announced it would recognize Bitcoin by 2018, but monitoring each transaction.

Read more about Bitcoin in Russia here.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
oracle blockchain

Oracle Blockchain to improve delivery pipelines

A new Oracle blockchain – related project suggests that the database giant wants to use the distributed ledger in order to improve its internal workflows.

On April 27th, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published an application titled “Managing Highly Scaling Continuous Delivery Pipelines”.

First filed in September, 2016, this application explains the use of  a “pipeline blockchain” to be used as distributed information points for product delivery processes.

The only inventor quoted on the application is Duncan Mills, a software architect for Oracle.

As detailed in the application, this project is focused on exploiting the distributed ledger ability to provide transparency in order to keep data related to each employee who is contributing to a specific work process.

This would include how they work and what their next tasks; everything happens in real time.

“By its nature, the pipeline blockchain approach provides a self-correcting mechanism for recording and reconciling the state of a pipeline after a system failure. For example, if the record store becomes unavailable, pipelines can continue to process in a fail-safe mode using peer-to-peer reconciliation of the pipeline blockchain, thus maintaining the state of the transactions for the duration of the outage.”

Oracle Blockchain security

Oracle blockchain pipeline’s concept has security system too.

For example, one project may deal with sensitive or private info.

According to the application you can read above, the use of this Oracle blockchain pipeline could allow a user to see what task he/she needs to complete “without having to return control to a central dispatcher”, potentially making their devices vulnerable to external influences.

“This is particularly important where the worker is not in a position to check back with a central dispatcher because of security constraints,” the application states.

The use of the blockchain to facilitate the secure exchange of information is anidea that Oracle has already explained in the past, including in an article wrote last year by Subramanian Iyer, or one of the firm’s senior directors.

“Clearly, blockchain has the ability to increase secure data exchange in other industries as well. It also has the ability to make that data transfer simpler and easier between entities,” he commented.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
bitcoin block size

Bitcoin block size: UASF updates its proposal

A controversial Bitcoin block size proposal has been upgraded.

UASF, in fact, is a new idea proposed by a pseudonymous contributor called Shaolingfry.

She/he wants to solve the bitcoin block size debate with a user activated soft fork (UASF), a possible method arount the actual deadlock over the Segregated Witness (Segwit) solution.

Right now, the need for a majority consensus in order to make a decision means  that any mining pool with enough hashing power has the veto power over any proposal; this might be the reason why SegWit is tardy to arrive.

Conversely, UASF wants to bypass the veto power and put the decision only into the hands of bitcoin’s users.

After a first general UASF proposal, Shaolinfry suggested a change – BIP148 – in order to moving the power out of the miners’ decision and give it to the “economic majority”.

Gregory Maxwell and other bitcoin developers refused this proposal because it could undermine the bitcoin blockchain stability.

“We should use the least disruptive mechanisms available and the BIP148 proposal does not meet that test,” he wrote

For this reason, Shaolinfry announced he/she is working on a redraft of the proposal to address some of the concerns suggested by Maxwell and other developers.

Shaolinfry published an announcement post saying that the reason for this changes is related to technical criticisms of how UASF would upgrade the network.

“BIP 148 is certainly not what a normal UASF would or should look like. While support for BIP 148 is surprisingly high, there are definitely important players who support UASF in general but do not like BIP148 approach.”

This revised proposal suggests the use of BIP8, but this concerns how soft forks are implemented.

Segwit and BIP8

Right now, if the 95% hashrate support for the Segregated Witness option is not reached by November 15th, the proposal will be discarded by default.

Anyway, the technical changes made in a proposal (BIP8) would be automatically locked in at the end of the time period, even if they could be adopted sooner.

Shaolinfry’s idea is that after the November 15th, a UASF SegWit proposal will be edited according to the BIP8 changes.

This means that the bitcoin community would have 1 year to prepare the upgrading of a UASF, removing the possible destabilizing effect of a short-term.

“I believe this approach would satisfy the more measured approach expected for bitcoin and does not have the issues Maxwell brought up about BIP148.”

 

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
nasdaq blockchain

Nasdaq Blockchain: new investments in more startups

Nasdaq Blockchain – related venture initiatives include new investment in distributed ledger based startups.

Today Nasdaq Ventures announced it has decided to invest in startups and companies that work with blockchains and/or artificial intelligence, next-generation data analysis and machine learning.

Nasdaq Blockchain budget is $10m to be awarded to deserving startups that are focused on both seed-stage and late-stage placements.

This Nasdaq Blockchain effort is a natural extension of the firm’s work in the blockchain field.

Back in 2015, Nasdaq started a partnership with Chain, an enterprise-grade blockchain infrastructure that enables organizations to build better financial services from the ground up.

This effort saw the two companies develop a distributed ledger market focused on pre-IPO offerings.

President and CEO of Nasdaq, Adena Friedman, explained in a statement:

“With the launch of our new venture investment program, we are reinforcing our focus on driving growth and innovation by evaluating, distributing, licensing and integrating disruptive technologies for the long-term benefit of our global clients.”

Nasdaq has been testing the blockchain even in other areas.

In fact, back in February 2016, Nasdaq announced its blockchain tests on e-voting prototypes with Estonia’s sole securities exchange.

Also, in January, Nasdaq published a report arguing that the distributed ledger is also useful beyond transaction settlement.

Read more about Nasdaq Blockchain – related projects by clicking here.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
bitcoin demand

Bitcoin in Japan: a new way to evaluate blockchain projects

While there is lack of clarity related to the regulation of Bitcoin in Japan, one of the Japanese government ministries has worked to develop a new way in order to evaluate projects related to the distributed ledger tech.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), in fact, announced a few details about this new methodology, that was created by the Information Economy Division of the ministry’s Commerce and Information Policy Bureau.

According to a presentation  published a few days ago, METI will exploit this process to consider projects for a variety of use cases, by evaluating more than 30 different characteristics including project scalability, privacy and overall reliability.

People involved with the creation of this new methodology explained it was developed to impartially weigh blockchain-related projects.

The official presentation explains:

“No evaluation indices or criteria had been established to adequately assess the features of the technologies and to compare them with existing systems. This causes the public anxiety, misunderstanding, and unreasonable hopes to blockchain technologies, and leading to a potential unwillingness to introduce the technology.”

It is not a big surprise that the Japanese ministry is involved in this project, as it has already supported the blockchain technology in the past.

METI, in fact, is conducting some researches about the technology since 2015, commenting that the government should play a supporting role. Also, the Japanese ministry has sponsored a trip abroad for local bitcoin and blockchain-based startups.

Click here to read more about Bitcoin in Japan news.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio
intesa sanpaolo blockchain

Intesa Sanpaolo Blockchain: a new trial for recordkeeping

The newest Italian Banca Intesa Sanpaolo blockchain – related  project has been tested with the main goal of validating trading data.

Thanks also to a partnership with Deloitte and the Italian startup Eternity Wall, Intesa San Paolo started to test a new proof-of-concept at the end of 2016.

Heart of the project is the open-source OpenTimestamps protocol, developed by Peter Todd, a Bitcoin Core contributor, that Eternity Wall moved to implement.

The Intesa Sanpaolo blockchain project uses the bitcoin distributed ledger to notarize transactions and create a publicly available database trail for future referral.

Information security officer for the bank, Carlo Brezigia explained:

“Relevant data has been hashed to produce a short unique identifier – a digest – equivalent to its digital fingerprint. This fingerprint has been associated to a blockchain transaction and hence registered on the blockchain: the blockchain immutability provides robust non-refutable timestamping that will always prove without any doubt the existence of that data in that specific status at that precise moment in time.”

According to a Deloitte statement, Intesa Sanpaolo tested this tool between October and February with tht idea of including support for other blockchains, potentially including also private ledgers.

This Italian blockchain trial shows the will of regulated financial institutions to test public blockchains.

In an official announcement, the bank’s retail innovation accelerator officer, Gianni Cavallina, explained the interest in experimenting these protocols beyond the main use case of digital currenciese:

“In particular, considering public blockchains, we are exploring the applicability of different use cases, abstracting from the value of its native digital currency. Notarization is one of the most interesting applications.”

Intesa Sanpaolo Blockchain projects– also member of the R3 distributed ledger consortium – also include tests on several blockchain use cases made during the previous years, including trade finance and digital identity.

Read more about previous Italian projects related to the Blockchain here.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio