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Blockchain’s Aviation Potential Explored at Inaugural ICAO-UAE Summit

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An ICAO chief has acknowledged the foundational of distributed ledger or ‘blockchain’ approaches and noted the clear areas where they could bring benefit to civil aviation customers and operators.

Speaking at a high-level audience of government and air transport officials for the inaugural ICAO-UAE Blockchain event in Dubai, ICAO Council president Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said: “With traffic growing at its exponential rate, one of the new challenges and risks is the growing number of logistical, administrative and oversight activities which will result from projected traffic growth.”

“Blockchain technologies could be of tremendous benefit to reduce the pressure on current human resources, while at the same time sustaining increasing demand and quality levels.”

Global air traffic volumes are anticipated to double within the next 15 years. Increases in the number of aircraft and flights translate to increased ground, passenger, ticketing, and cargo handling activities, and a parallel expansion of the associated tracking, documentation, approval, and certification requirements.

“Blockchain has the potential to virtually exclude loss, distortion, or forgery of vital log data in all aviation sectors where certificates are issued and controlled,” Dr Aliu said. “It can ensure the integrity of the ever growing certification-based system which is integral to aviation, with the potential to increase efficiency while reducing errors, and therefore enhancing both safety and security.”

The application of blockchain technology can be envisioned for almost all areas of the aviation system where complex and safety critical records are managed and updated, such as personnel licensing, aircraft maintenance, operational approvals, or cargo manifests.

Another promising application of blockchain for aviation and governments concerns the methods we use to establish traveller identity.

While offering many benefits, the integration of the technology would nonetheless present many challenges, and could cause fundamental changes in the structure of today’s aviation systems.

“The aviation system today relies mostly on human agents or intermediaries to assume validation activities, and so we can foresee that the integration of blockchain processes in support of a State’s aviation safety oversight system, for example, would likely require substantial adjustments to related regulations, procedures, and responsibilities,” Dr Aliu explained.

Along with this potential there will be risks, to be sure, mainly as relying on a set of servers and smart contracts to validate documents and issue certificates poses clear cyber risks,” he said. “It is therefore important to recall one of the outcomes from the 2017 ICAO Cyber Summit, also hosted here in the UAE, that collaboration and exchange between states and stakeholders is key to an effective and coordinated global cybersecurity posture for civil aviation. This becomes even more valid if we rely on blockchain to manage critical safety and security processes.”

ICAO said the organisation of the summit represented a very important step in aviation’s consideration of the technology, with the invited specialists expected to explore both its merits and its risks. It most certainly responded to the expectations of the ICAO Council and Air Navigation Commission, which have shown growing interest in blockchain potential.

“I am looking forward to some provocative ideas and insights from our key presenters as we seek to ensure a suitably robust and resilient blockchain preparedness in the civil aviation sector,” Dr Aliu concluded.

“The hosting of this summit, and creating a forum with a collaborative platform, is of high importance to the UAE and the entire international aviation industry. Staying ahead of evolving threats is a shared responsibility, involving governments, airlines, airports, and manufacturers,” explained HE Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.

Accompanied by several representatives on the ICAO Council, the director of ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau Stephen Creamer and by the ICAO regional director for the Middle East Office in Cairo, Mohamed Rahma, the president held a series of bilateral meetings with senior government officials from states in attendance.

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Blockchain

Graph Blockchain Secures Pilot Project With Ministry of Transportation Canada

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Graph Blockchain Inc. (“Graph” or “Company“) (CSE: GBLC) is pleased to announce that the Company has secured a contract through its in country partner for the Ministry of Transportation in Seoul, South Korea. The contract is for approximately $55,000 CAD and is a pilot project to store traffic data on the blockchain as part of the Smart City initiative.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our Company to introduce Graph Database Blockchain solutions to the Ministry of Transportation. We look forward to delivering a solution that will streamline and protect data for their smart city initiatives. The team is doing a fantastic job securing new business opportunities with multi-national corporations and government agencies, this will provide a strong foundation as we continue to search for gaming opportunities that will expand and diversify the Company for our shareholders,” says Jeff Stevens, CEO of the Company.

About Graph Blockchain Inc.

The Company develops leading-edge private blockchain business intelligence and data management solutions and is a pure play in the graph database technology space. Graph leverages its proprietary integration of the AgensGraph Database engine with Hyperledger Fabric to create a transparent and immutable ledger with near real-time transactional data processing and intuitive data visualization. The Company has secured multiple prototype development contracts with multi-national conglomerates and sells across client subsidiaries as a full enterprise product.

Additional Information on the Company is available at: www.graphblockchain.com

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Blockchain Based Crowdfunding Bridges Gap Between Global Investors and Business

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The way in which global business owners and shareholders engage continues to adapt to changing market forces, technologies and fiscal appetites, however, the need for strong, stable and transparent investment processes remains key to the success of any project.

With counterparties often frustrated by a lack of transparency and accessibility, the need for a platform that bridges the gap between investor and investee is increasingly important.

Introducing the iOWN Platform – the Blockchain Powered Investment Platform

Whilst it is true that many investors favor a diversified risk portfolio with a range of industry assets, finding strong partners remains a problem – the solution for many lies in community crowdfunding.

Developed in the UAE, iOWN is a blockchain based crowdfunding investment platform that has been specifically designed to bridge the gap between financier and businesses seeking funding. Whether you are an experienced funder or complete beginner, the iOWN global network means that there are accessible opportunities for all with measured risk.

Registered users are able to use the iOWN Token to access the platform, where they will be able to invest into a range of industry sectors including Real Estate, IT, Industrials, Pharma & Healthcare and Energy to name a few.

Overcoming the Challenges of Traditional Investment Risk

iOWN addresses many of the issues currently faced by investors with existing on-the-market financial platforms by creating a secure, transparent and simple to use financial ecosystem that minimises risk through community funding.

Prospective backers are able to select opportunities based on their own preferences including; location, domain and expected ROI with the advantage of having direct access to vetted business opportunities.

iOWN Provides Market Changing Solution for Business Owners & Investors

Both business owners and investors of today will know just how hard it is to find trusted partners and viable projects – iOWN offers just such accessibility and with qualified portfolios, business owners can minimise the risk of time-loss and fundraising fees whilst retaining control of the sale.

The iOWN Token – the Investment Ecosystem

With the iOWN IEO being launched on June 25th, 2019 users will be able to access and invest into the platform with some 60,000,000 tokens being sold on LATOKEN – with low fees and instant transactions, the token is also fully compliant to all international standards.

With a bonus structure of up to 20% and valued at $0.01- tokens are offered for purchase with ETH, BTC, and ERC-20. As an added benefit, iOWN token holders will also be able to use tokens after the IEO to pay for services within the platform.

Smart-Contracts and a cutting edge blockchain powered platform make the iOWN system a one-off – a unique investment platform that offers stability, accessibility and minimises risk.

From startup to established business, iOWN offers unrivaled investment opportunities with measured risk whilst maximising ROI.

About iOWN: iOWN Group is a privately-owned holding company focused on providing a platform for identifying long term investments in the funding process as well as the execution of the funding process, to business owners and investors. For more information please visit our homepage.

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Polish Bank Alior Uses Public Ethereum Blockchain For New Document Authentication Feature

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Several U.S. banks and global financial institutions have dipped their toes into the blockchain world this year by implementing systems on permissioned ledgers that only invited members can join. Now, one of Poland’s 10 largest banks is taking it a step further.

Warsaw-based Alior announced that it is beginning to offer a feature that will allow customers to check on the authentication and integrity of official documents they receive using the public ethereum blockchain that supports the ether cryptocurrency valued at more than $27 billion. While financial institutions have been historically more open to working with permissioned, private blockchains that they have more control over, this use of a public blockchain is among the very first.

“Our mission is to be disruptive, so we want to provide innovative solutions, and we want other banks to follow us as well. We welcome if somebody copied our solution,” says blockchain strategy lead Tomasz Sienicki. “We are showing that it’s possible to use public blockchain even if some people think it’s impossible.”

The reason for the unusual position is that Poland has regulations that require banks to provide customers access to documents in the form of a durable medium, and its Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ruled in 2017 that a page on a bank’s website which can be easily changed doesn’t qualify.

That interpretation pushed Alior to explore new solutions to serve customers, and it established what it calls the Blockchain Center of Excellence last October to complete the project. Sienicki, who worked at the bank as a trader since its inception in 2008 before transitioning to lead the blockchain team, said the blockchain-based system complies with all federal regulations.

“It was born in our innovation lab, but later on, we managed to convince our management that a dedicated team should be set up on just blockchain issues,” Sienicki says. “Everybody can copy this code and use it for his or her purposes. We encourage people to do so.”

Signature Bank in the U.S. launched its Signet system in December and JPMorgan, America’s largest bank, followed suit a couple months later by creating the similar JPM Coin. Both are blockchain-based features to enable real-time payments between institutional clients, but they run on a private ethereum blockchain that limits access to people with special permission to use it. Alior’s feature is different in that anybody can join the network, making it more transparent.

“We want people to verify that we did everything right and we don’t conceal anything. If we say the documents are actually verified and authentic, everybody can check it and confirm,” Sienicki says. “That’s not possible using a private blockchain.”

Societe Generale, a major French investment bank, issued a $112 million bond in security tokens on the public ethereum blockchain in April, but Alior’s management believes it is the first bank to use a public blockchain for a direct customer service solution.

The feature uses a smart contract that stores hashes of documents — a digital signature that maps documents to a unique value — and links them with their name and the block number in which they were published on the blockchain. Customers can search documents they have received on Alior’s servers and browse their history to find where those documents are located on the blockchain to ensure that they have not been changed by the bank since they were published.

“We know exactly in which block of ethereum the document with a given hash is published. If we know the block number, we also know the timestamp,” says Piotr Adamczyk, Alior’s blockchain technology lead who was in charge of writing the code for the project. “We know that the document was published some time ago and hasn’t been changed in that time [if the hash stored on the blockchain is identical to the hash calculated from the document], so we can prove it hasn’t been replaced on our servers.”

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Blockchain Company Dispatch Labs “On Life Support” After Burning Almost $13M

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A bear market casts a long shadow. Crypto’s total value may have doubled since December, but it turns out that some companies in the space are still reeling from the downturn.

One such company is blockchain-agnostic solutions provider, Dispatch Labs, which Crypto Briefing has learned has been running very low on operational capital for months. The company has now been forced to attempt an additional raise so it can bring a working product to market.

The Bay-Area company has twenty members of staff, and CEO Matt McGraw admitted: [W]e are on life support.”

It all started so well. Dispatch received initial funding from the executive team; a year later the company raised more than $13M in a series of private rounds from professional investors, including Fenbushi Capital, during the first half of 2018.

But complications arose almost immediately afterwards. The value of their raise dropped considerably in the market downturn in the first quarter of the year. One significant investor provided capital in a coin – he wouldn’t name which – that proved very difficult to liquidate.

Although the team quickly recognized the imminent threat posed by the downturn, McGraw claims there simply wasn’t the market infrastructure or sufficient OTC availability for them to easily liquidate millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency.

“We’ve been quite open about the financials”, McGraw said. But by the time they had successfully converted completely from digital assets, their total remaining investment had fallen by more than half, from $13M to around $6.5M.

Dispatch isn’t the first blockchain company to suffer from the market downturn. The crash destroyed the finances of lead Ethereum Classic developer, ETCDev, which was forced to shut up shop in December. ConsenSys drastically cut back the financial support it gave to spokes, spinning out those that wouldn’t be able to become revenue-earning fast enough.

Dispatch now wants to raise an additional $600,000 in order to finalize the product and bring it to market. Once they have a full product, McGraw is “mildly confident” the additional revenue will make them cash flow neutral within the next couple of years.

But there’s still doubt. Although investor appetite for a protocol is far higher than it was last year, McGraw admitted that it’s not a certainty they’ll raise the funding. “It’s absolutely possible that we could go out of business”, he said.

McGraw also spoke about the regret in not trying to raise more money, “We could have raised $100M if we went there”, he explained. Although he still maintains their funding target was the “responsible choice”, he admitted that if they had raised more, Dispatch may not now be in its current position.

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Wheaton Precious Metals leverages blockchain to streamline accounting

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Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE: WPM), one of the world’s largest precious metals streaming companies, has hired Blockhead Technologies, a software company that creates blockchain-enabled solutions for the global mining sector.

Wheaton will be leveraging Blockhead’s technology as part of the streamlining of its metal accounting processes. With a market cap of approximately $9.5 billion, Wheaton has streaming agreements relating to 19 operating mines and nine development projects and produced over 680,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2018.

Blockhead’s flagship platform, STAMP, aims to bring secure tracking and source certification into mining value chains. The platform, which the company says is the future of mining technology, enables companies to have greater control over their current data, can integrate with any existing system with a supply chain.

Blockhead implements solutions for simplifying the data management process and provides access to instant data analysis.

Blockhead Technologies has headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, and Perth, Western Australia.

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Bitfinex is Looking to Launch Tether on the Lightning Network by the End of the Year

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As the stablecoin wars continue to heat up, Bitfinex is looking to bring USDT to more blockchains, announcing earlier today that it will launch its stablecoin on EOS’s blockchain. Currently, Tether is issued on the Omni Layer, Ethereum, and TRON. In the next couple of weeks, the company is also planning to issue USDT on Blockstream’s federated sidechain Liquid.

But chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino told The Block that the firm has ambitions to bring the stablecoin to other blockchains, saying that it will launch the coin on Lightning Network sometime this year. As part of those efforts, Bitfinex has joined a group of developers and companies called RGB, which is working to put more assets on the Lightning Network.

Lightning Network is a layer-two protocol that aims to enable quicker and cheaper bitcoin transactions.

“I think that is one of the coolest things we could ever being [sic] involved with,” Ardoino said in an email to The Block.

“We really love LN (I personally do a lot) so we want to make sure we learn and contribute to it with our resources,” he added.

Bitfinex has long had intentions to launch of Lightning Network, according to a company update dated September 2017. Implementing tether on Lightning Network could possibly improve the speed of transacting with the coin, the firm has said.

“We are excited to announce the initial discovery and integration discussion with the Lightning Network team for low-cost, instant transactions of Tether currencies on the Lightning Network,” according to the update.

Tether would be the first mainstream asset to be issued on the Lightning Network, which could help the second layer protocol in furthering its adoption. Tether’s competitors, USD Coin, TrueUSD, PAX, Gemini dollar are all issued exclusively on Ethereum.

Bitfinex and Tether, its affiliated firm that manages its stablecoin USDT, has been embroiled in a dispute with the New York Attorney General’s office over the co-mingling of funds. Still, its market capitalization, which took a beating after the NYAG imbroglio, has recouped its losses, hitting a new high above $3.1 billion.

Tether isn’t alone is hitting new highs. Elsewhere, PAX has picked up slightly under $70 million in additional market cap over the last month. Meanwhile, USDC has increased by $100 million over the same time period.

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State Farm and USAA Working Together to Test a Blockchain Solution

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State Farm and USAA know how important it is to invest, innovate and build for the future. During the 2019 Dig In Conference, the two insurance companies announced a joint subrogation solution, and are now using real claims data to test how blockchain technology can improve the speed of the auto claims subrogation process.

Subrogation is typically the last phase of an insurance claims process, when one insurance company recovers claim costs it paid to its customer for damages from the at-fault party’s insurance company, which includes its customer’s deductible.

“Today, subrogation is a relatively manual, time-consuming process often requiring physical checks to be mailed on a claim-by-claim basis between insurers,” says Mike Fields, Innovation Executive, State Farm. “In 2018 alone, the total amount of dollars demanded and issued through the subrogation process was over $9.6 Billion for all insurance carriers. You can imagine the time and resources required to complete these transactions.”

Companies across many industries are using blockchain technology to securely store data and manage transactions. USAA and State Farm are testing how blockchain can be used to gain efficiencies in the subrogation process by securely and automatically compiling all subrogation payment amounts, netting the balance, and facilitating a single payment on a regular basis between insurers.

“The blockchain solution we are working on has many potential benefits,” says Ramon Lopez, Vice President, Innovation, USAA. “It helps us automate a manual process securely and creates a permanent transaction record of each payment which can easily be verified for accuracy. It also has the potential to decrease the amount of time for consumers to receive their deductible reimbursement.”

The blockchain subrogation solution is the first of its kind between two major leaders in the insurance industry. The companies began working together in early 2018 and plan to continue testing to determine if the blockchain solution can be a viable product for industry adoption.

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Auctionity Makes Record Sale on its Platform

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A unique cryptocollectible was sold at auction on the Auctionity platform for more than 8 ETH. This sale took place on April 25 as part of a special event held during the Crypto Games Conference in Minsk.

The cryptocollectible, named Darta-Nyan, is the only musketeer Blockchain Cutie in existence and was created especially in honor of the latest collaboration between Auctionity and Blockchain Cuties Universe. The sale was animated on the Auctionity saleroom and broadcasted live at the Crypto Games Conference in Minsk. All the proceeds of this sale were given to the TeenGuru Project which helps teenagers from Belarus to acquire skills in the field of blockchain and new technology so they can become the new entrepreneurs of tomorrow. This sale is a concrete illustration of Auctionity’s potential and ended at 8.1 ETH, thus becoming a record sale on the platform.

Auctionity’s development is picking up speed. Recently, Auctionity collaborated with the Ethereum-based art platform KnownOrigin for the Creative Challenge, an event dedicated to digital art in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Through this challenge, eight artworks were selected and then auctioned on the Auctionity saleroom. The winner of the challenge, an artwork called Structure of Reality and created by Barabeke, was sold for 0,95 ETH.

Including this new category in the saleroom is a big step forward for Auctionity. This choice proves that art does have its place in the world of blockchain technology.

Following the success of Darta-Nyan’s sale during the Crypto Games Conference, Auctionity has decided to strengthen its partnership with KnownOrigin by holding a similar auction during the International Digital Art Festival, which will take place on the 26th of June. The auction will happen live from the festival in Manchester but will be accessible from anywhere in the world as it will be broadcasted on the Auctionity saleroom. 

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USDC Reserve Attestation Report

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Circle released the latest attestation report on US dollar reserves backing USDC issued by independent accounting firm, Grant Thornton LLP. The report states that as of April 30, 2019 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time:

  • USD Coin (“USDC”) tokens issued and outstanding = 293,184,174 USDC
  • US Dollars held in custody accounts = $293,351,374
  • As of the Report Date and Time, the issued and outstanding USDC tokens do not exceed the balance of the US Dollars held in custody accounts

 

You can read the full report here. Grant Thornton LLP will provide USDC attestation reports on Circle’s USDC reserves on a monthly basis.

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Microsoft teams up with Starbucks on predictive drive-thru ordering and bean-to-cup blockchain

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Starbucks is quickly becoming as much a tech company as a coffee company, but that hasn’t stopped its leadership from turning to a familiar Seattle ally to up its digital bonafides.

Today at Microsoft’s Build developers conference, the two companies ran down a series of initiatives they are working on together. The new projects include everything from using machine learning to gather customer preferences, to connecting coffeemakers in stores to the internet to blockchain services for tracing coffee.

Microsoft and Starbucks have teamed up before, and they have an established connection at the highest levels. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is a former Microsoft executive who ran the worldwide sales and the Windows divisions before joining the coffee giant in 2015.

In introducing the latest fruits of the alliance, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella applauded the collaboration between Starbucks’ software engineers and its business side. Nadella cited Starbucks as one of many examples of a consistent theme: increased hiring of software engineers at companies outside the industry that are embracing high tech solutions.

“They are coming together to completely take what is that iconic experience that is Starbucks and incorporating digital throughout,” Nadella said.

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