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FCA warns public of investment scams as over £197 million reported losses in 2018

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SEBA Crypto

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is today warning investors to be vigilant to the threat posed by investment scammers, as data from Action Fraud reveals over £197 million1 of reported losses in 2018. Victims were scammed out of over £29,000 on average last year, as fraudsters employed increasingly sophisticated tactics to persuade victims to invest.

According to data from the FCA call centre, the most commonly reported scams involved investments in shares and bonds, forex and cryptocurrencies by firms that are not authorised by the FCA. Together they accounted for 85%2 of all suspected investment scams reported in 2018. People are warned to be particularly vigilant during the first quarter of the year, the peak investment season, as many look to invest before the tax year end.

Interestingly, the profile of investment scams is changing as more and more people are being targeted online, moving away from the traditional cold call. Fraudsters are now contacting people through emails, professional looking websites and social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram. Last year 54% of those who did the right thing by checking the FCA Warning List had been contacted by potential fraudsters via online sources, up from 45% in 2017. The FCA Warning List is a tool that helps users to find out more about the risks associated with an investment, and search a list of firms the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation.

Though the contact methods used by fraudsters may vary, their tactics remain the same. We are working with financial expert and experienced investor Alvin Hall to educate the public on the most common tactics used by investment scammers. The FCA is urging people to be vigilant when making investment decisions, and to look out for these six warning signs.

  1. Unexpected contact ​​​​– Traditionally scammers cold-call but contact can also come from online sources e.g. email or social media, post, word of mouth or even in person at a seminar or exhibition.
  2. Time pressure – They might offer you a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date or say the opportunity is only available for a short period.
  3. Social proof – They may share fake reviews and claim other clients have invested or want in on the deal.
  4. Unrealistic returns – Fraudsters often promise tempting returns that sound too good to be true, such as much better interest rates than elsewhere.
  5. False authority – Using convincing literature and websites, claiming to be regulated, speaking with authority on investment products.
  6. Flattery – Building a friendship with you to lull you into a false sense of security.

Alvin Hall, personal finance expert, who is supporting the campaign, said:

‘The amount lost last year to investment fraud is staggering, over £197 million according to Action Fraud.’

‘If my 30 years of experience in investment markets has taught me anything, it’s this – regardless of how confident you are about what you’re investing in, you should also be just as confident you know who you’re investing with. The FCA Warning List is a fantastic resource for smart investors to use to protect themselves from scams.’

‘Spotting an investment scam is increasingly challenging. To prove that point, my experience was put to the test when I was pitched three investment opportunities. Watch the video to see how I got on.’

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, FCA, said:

‘The first quarter of the year is a common time for people to make their financial plans for the year, including investments. But before you invest do your homework. Always check the FCA’s register to make sure you’re dealing with an authorised firm and use the contact details on our register, not the details the firm gives you, to avoid ‘clones’. Also check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid. Remember, if in any doubt – don’t invest!’

‘Investment scams are becoming more and more sophisticated and fraudsters are using fake credentials to make themselves look legitimate. The FCA is working harder than ever to help protect the public against this threat. Last year we published over 360 warnings about potentially fraudulent firms. And we want to spread the message so we can all better protect ourselves from investment scams.’

Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said:

‘These statistics show that investment fraud is a major threat, with fraudsters doing everything they can to manipulate potential victims into making investments. Victims are often coerced or persuaded into parting with significant amounts of money and this can have a devastating impact on their wellbeing and finances.’

‘We are working with the FCA to raise awareness of investment fraud and would urge anyone who is considering in investing to check with the FCA before parting with their money.’

‘If you think you have been a victim of investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud.’

To reduce the chance of falling victim to investment fraud, the FCA advises consumers to, at the very least:

  1. Reject unsolicited investment offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone.
  2. Before investing, check the FCA Register to see if the firm or individual you are dealing with is authorised and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.
  3. Get impartial advice before investing.

The FCA’s ScamSmart campaign encourages those considering investing to check its dedicated website (www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart) for tips on how to avoid investment fraud. If you’ve lost money in a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk(link is external).

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Blockchain

Germany Consults Industry About Blockchain Potential

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Germany

Germany has opened a consultation process on how to tap into the potential of blockchain technology ahead of presenting a strategy by the summer, government sources said on Monday.

Berlin is a hub for startup companies of which around 170 in one way or another look at blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins the bitcoin currency.

There is great interest from would-be participants and investors across a raft of industries including cars, pharmaceuticals, energy and public sector administration that hope to transform mass market processes via blockchain.

According to the sources, companies and industry groups that could become stakeholders in a blockchain deployment process in Europe’s biggest economy were invited to supply recommendations from this week onwards.

While concrete results were being sought, it was as yet unclear whether those would immediately materialize in any legislative moves, they said.

Blockchain startups have said that without a legal framework, there are high entrance hurdles. Governments urge caution toward cryptocurrencies that run on the technology.

Few major economies worldwide have crafted comprehensive strategies on how to nurture blockchain startups. Some, including Britain and Singapore, have allowed such firms limited freedom to experiment with innovative applications of blockchain in the financial sector.

Other smaller jurisdictions, notably Malta and Gibraltar, have tried to lure young companies by creating laws designed to encourage the growth of such firms.

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Blockchain

NetCents Technology Eliminates Blockchain Transaction Delays With Zero Confirmation and Risk Analysis

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Kryptopal

NetCents to announce that it has released its Zero Confirmation and Risk Analysis technology that guarantees cryptocurrency transactions before they are confirmed on the blockchain.

“The delay in transaction approval is the biggest hurdle for card present, retail merchant and partner adoption. As it is right now, there is a delay for all cryptocurrency transactions, opening a window for transactions to timeout, fraud, and double spending,” stated Clayton Moore, CEO of NetCents Technology. “The launch of this technology lines up with our POS and terminal integration and rollout. Being integrated with companies like Oracle and PAX, who alone has over 26 million terminals, the delay at the point of sale was something that we knew we needed to eliminate to instill confidence for retail merchants to begin accepting cryptocurrency and avoid transaction delays for the consumer.”

In addition, the Company will be licensing this technology to cryptocurrency payment processors, retailers, and any business that is looking to validate a transaction before the transaction is confirmed on the blockchain. There are currently over 287,000 blockchain transactions per day that this technology can be applied to. With the wait time currently being the biggest hurdle for retail adoption, this technology eliminates that hurdle which the Company anticipates will further drive merchant and transaction growth.

The NetCents Zero Confirmation and Risk Analysis technology facilitates near-instant, risk-mitigated commerce, guaranteeing the cryptocurrency transaction before it is confirmed by miners on the blockchain. The technology provides a score for each transaction, guaranteeing the transaction against double spend, expiration, and other fraud. If the transaction passes the NetCents scoring algorithm, the transaction is approved with 0 confirmations. At launch, the Company will be using this technology for all Bitcoin transactions and will be rolling out for Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash transactions within the next 6-weeks.

This platform enhancement reduces the wait time at point of sale transactions which the Company has seen take up to 30 minutes. With Zero Confirmation and Risk Analysis, NetCents is now able to deliver near real-time confirmation for 98% of all Bitcoin transactions.

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$3.46 Bn Blockchain in Energy Utilities Market

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Elon Musk

The global blockchain in energy utilities market is estimated to be $210.4 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $3,460.4 million by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 59.4% during the forecast period 2018-2024.

Blockchain supports energy trading across a wide range of commodity markets including crude oil, refined products, natural gas, and electric power. Within each business segment blockchain-powered solution can be deployed that produce, refine, distribute, and retail trade information related to pricing, position management, logistics, and risk reporting.

Furthermore, power utilities can optimize the generation, distribution, and consumption of electricity through blockchain technologies. The development of specially designed blockchain solutions for electricity grids and new players such as decentralized producers of renewable energies are regularly generating large amounts of data that energy companies need to address.

New users of electricity such as electric vehicles, connected houses, and new communicating equipment such as smart meters, sensors, and remote-control devices, are also causing a surge of data that the energy companies will have to capture, and examine in order to make informed decisions. Blockchain technologies offer suitable solutions for power utilities to achieve greater reliability, efficiency, and flexibility, and to preserve the balance between consumption and production in a rapidly changing energy landscape.

In addition, there is a lack of industry standards, which is still in the development phase. In the digitally connected world, the blockchain in energy utilities market has reported a significant growth and is presenting ample opportunities for the industry players. The blockchain solutions and services are used by organisations of all sizes (small, medium, and large) across power sector and oil & gas sector.

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City Coin, Issued by City Chain Labs, Adopted as Official Currency of Liberstad, Norway’s First Private City

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Norway

Set amidst lush vegetation, pristine lakes and Instagram-worthy vistas is Liberstad, Norway’s first (and only) private city. As an autonomous city being built with efficiency, transparency and community in mind, Liberstad has adopted City Coin as its official currency.

City Coin is a secure and innovative cryptocurrency based on City Chain, a smart city platform that enables the design, implementation and use of next-generation services for smart cities and their inhabitants. Whereas cities currently rely on public services operated by government entities, City Chain gives existing and emerging cities such as Liberstad the opportunity to build and offer services conducted on a private, internal and voluntary basis.

At City Chain’s core is the principle that while governments and rulers come and go, cities endure. The key ingredient for the development and prosperity of sustainable and free city-societies went undiscovered until the recent invention of blockchain technology. Blockchains are immutable and decentralized networks that allow people to interact with each other in a disintermediated, peer-to-peer fashion by way of inherent trust.

Using blockchain as its basis, City Chain has created a smart city platform that hosts a suite of features for emerging cities like Liberstad. Foremost amongst those features is City Hub, an intuitive and simple-to-use dashboard for smart city inhabitants. By accessing City Hub using a municipal app, citizens can interact with the community, manage their identities, create city-wide initiatives or vote on existing ones, register property, contract insurance and more.

While the broader features of City Hub are under development by the City Chain Foundation, the platform’s native currency, City Coin, is tradeable and functional today. City Coin is based on a proof-of-stake algorithm which, unlike Bitcoin’s proof-of-work model, is both environmentally friendly and simple to participate in for those without high-end mining rigs. Owing to the elegance of the PoS model, staking City Coin is easy and rewarding. By holding CITY in the City Hub wallet, stakers receive 20 CITY for every staked block, providing them with passive income in return for securing the network.

As the first cryptocurrency to be officially adopted by a smart city, City Coin is the only medium of exchange within Liberstad. It will be used for the payment of city services and worker wages and for funding civic projects. Inhabitants can pay for anything ranging from haircuts, a dozen local eggs or an artisan loaf of bread using CITY, marking a milestone for real-world use of blockchain technology. Over 100 land plots have already been sold within Liberstad and more will become available to purchase using CITY in the near future.

City Coin is available for trading on p2pb2b exchange and Liberstad’s Block Exchange. With the City Chain mainnet already live, users can view and explore the blockchain along with transaction history using the City Chain Explorer or the City Chain Insight tool.

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Analyst Research: A Comparative Study Between PrimeXBT and BitMEX

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The current crypto winter of 2018-2019 has brought with it a number of dramatic changes to the cryptocurrency market. Some altcoins have fallen over 90% from their all-time high. Crypto firms have been forced to lay off employees and restructure. And gone are the days when investors would simply HODL their assets and reap enormous gains.

With profits far more difficult to come by using traditional strategies, many traders have turned to BitMEX due to the platform offering advanced trading features such as 100x leverage and the ability to short-sell assets and profit off of falling crypto prices.

Over time, BitMEX has earned itself a leadership position as a result and boasts some of the highest trading volume in the entire crypto space. However, a newcomer backed by decades of brokerage experience has entered the market, offering not only the same features that helped BitMEX ascend to the top, but a wealth of other benefits that BitMEX cannot claim to offer.

A comparative study was conducted in order to find out if PrimeXBT will take the throne from BitMEX and capture crypto market share by attracting traders seeking more out of their trading experience.

PrimeXBT Versus BitMEX: Important Features Compared

The research starts with a focus on the features the two exchanges offer that are similar, and are part of what helped make BitMEX a success during the current crypto bear market.

Short-Selling

Both BitMEX and PrimeXBT offer traders the ability to short-sell assets, allowing traders to profit during downtrends. The feature is what helped put BitMEX on the map and is already part of what attracted over 150,000 users to sign up to PrimeXBT before the platform’s launch, with more rapidly joining each week.

Low Fees

While the two platforms appear very similar at first glance, this is where the differences between the two become more apparent.

Compared to Bitfinex’s 0.1% to 0.2% fees on trades, BitMEX offers low 0.075% fees on Bitcoin trading, but charges a staggering 0.25% on other trading pairs. PrimeXBT easily trumps them both with a standard 0.05% fee across all trading pairs. To incentivize new users joining the platform, PrimeXBT offers a discounted fee of 0.025% during a trader’s first month using the platform. Users must register for a free PrimeXBT account before March 10, 2019 to take advantage of the 50% off promotion.

100x Leverage

Trading with leverage is an extremely attractive option that allows a trader to risk less capital but multiply potential gains by 100 times. Both PrimeXBT and BitMEX offer industry-best 100x leverage, however, BitMEX only offers this level of high leverage on Bitcoin-based trading pairs. PrimeXBT, on the other hand, offers 1:100 leverage across all available assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, Ripple and Litecoin.

PrimeXBT Versus BitMEX: Which Platform Offers The Most to Traders?

The study also focused on any features unique to each platform. Research shows that PrimeXBT boasts a number of features that BitMEX simply does not. The one “feature” BitMEX users routinely report that isn’t found on PrimeXBT are “order submission errors.”

Technical Analysis Tools

PrimeXBT has all the required tools to perform advanced technical analysis across crypto assets. The robust toolset includes a number of important indicators that can help traders gain an edge in the market and become more profitable.

Aggregated Liquidity

Only PrimeXBT offers aggregated liquidity from 12 industry-leading suppliers. BitMEX doesn’t even come close.

Multiple Funding Methods, No Minimum Deposit

BitMEX only allows traders to fund their accounts using Bitcoin and all contracts are settled in Bitcoin. PrimeXBT, however, lets traders deposit USD, EUR, and other cryptocurrencies in addition to Bitcoin. On Prime XBT, there is no minimum deposit. BitMEX requires a 0.001 BTC minimum.

Customizable Experience

PrimeXBT invites traders to make the platform their own by customizing it with a variety of widgets. In addition, PrimeXBT supports multiple-screens for the most advanced traders who demand the best experience the crypto industry has to offer.

Unmatched Affiliate Program

PrimeXBT is hands down an industry leader with its affiliate program, which has helped the platform “go viral” and generate significant buzz surrounding the platform’s launch. PrimeXBT’s 4-level referral program offers ten times the payouts of any other platform in the industry, including BitMEX. The program also offers lifetime payouts and referrers will even earn revenue on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier referrals.

PrimeXBT Versus BitMEX: Conclusion

With features like 100x leverage and the ability to short-sell assets during a bear market, it’s no surprise that BitMEX has enjoyed a comfortable position as an industry leader. But with the emergence of PrimeXBT, many of BitMEX’s key features are being overshadowed by the newcomer.

Once the market full of traders at large catch wind of PrimeXBT’s features and its potential to drive profitable trades, it won’t be long until PrimeXBT challenges BitMEX for the throne.

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Blockchain

JP Morgan is Rolling out the First US Bank-backed Cryptocurrency to Transform Payments Business

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The lender moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business. In trials set to start in a few months, a tiny fraction of that will happen over something called “JPM Coin,” the digital token created by engineers at the New York-based bank to instantly settle payments between clients.

J.P. Morgan is preparing for a future in which parts of the essential underpinning of global capitalism, from cross-border payments to corporate debt issuance, move to the blockchain. That’s the database technology made famous by its first application, bitcoin. But in order for that future to happen, the bank needed a way to transfer money at the dizzying speed that those smart contracts closed, rather than relying on old technology like wire transfers.

“So anything that currently exists in the world, as that moves onto the blockchain, this would be the payment leg for that transaction,” said Umar Farooq, head of J.P. Morgan’s blockchain projects. “The applications are frankly quite endless; anything where you have a distributed ledger which involves corporations or institutions can use this.”

For some, J.P. Morgan’s new currency may come as an unexpected development for a technology that rose from the wreckage of the financial crisis and was supposed to disrupt the established banking world.

When the international payments are tested, it will be one of the first real-world applications for a cryptocurrency in banking. The industry has mostly shunned the asset class as too risky. Last year, J.P. Morgan and two other lenders banned the purchase of bitcoins by credit card customers. And Goldman Sachs reportedly shelved plans to create a bitcoin trading desk after exploring the idea.

Though holders of digital currencies may seize on the news that a major financial institution is issuing its own crypto as bullish for the asset class, retail investors will probably never get to own a JPM Coin. Unlike bitcoin, only big institutional clients of J.P. Morgan that have undergone regulatory checks, like corporations, banks and broker-dealers can use the tokens.

There are other key differences between the bank’s crypto and bitcoin, which J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has bashed as a fraud that won’t end well for its investors. (To be clear, he and his managers have consistently said that blockchain, as well as digital currencies that were regulated, hold promise.)

Each JPM Coin is redeemable for a single U.S. dollar, so its value shouldn’t fluctuate, similar in concept to so-called stablecoins. Clients will be issued the coins after depositing dollars at the bank; after using the tokens for a payment or security purchase on the blockchain, the bank destroys the coins and gives clients back a commensurate number of dollars.

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HSBC Forex Trading Costs Cut Sharply by Blockchain

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HSBC has reduced the cost of settling foreign exchange trades by a quarter through its blockchain-based system, an executive overseeing the project told Reuters, offering a glimpse of the savings the technology could offer banks.

The bank processes between 3,500 and 5,000 trades a day on its “FX Everywhere” system, settling trades worth $350 billion, Mark Williamson, chief operating officer of FX cash trading and risk management, told Reuters.

The HSBC platform is a rare example of blockchain technology being put to practical use by a major bank. Last month the London-based lender said it had processed FX trades worth $250 billion on the platform since February last year.

The fresh details of the scale of the HSBC project suggest that the potential of blockchain to make significant cost savings in the financial services industry – long touted by its proponents of the technology – is being realized.

“We going at a pace now,” Williamson said. “We’re able to demonstrate that this is not a one-off proof of concept or just one or two trades.”

HSBC would not give data on overall forex trades settled by traditional processes, saying only that those settled on the platform represented a “small” proportion.

Supporters say blockchain – a shared database that can securely process and settle transactions without the need for third-party checks – could transform industries from finance to real estate by obviating cumbersome and inefficient processes.

That hype, though, has rarely been backed up by examples of large companies moving beyond tests on a limited scale.

Financial institutions have so far taken a cautious approach with the technology originally conceived to underpin of the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Many are concerned by uncertainty over security, regulation and the impact on existing systems.

HSBC coordinates payments across its Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific trading hubs on the platform, a type of blockchain known as a “shared permissioned ledger”, which allows approved multiple parties to amend and update in real time.

Williamson said that HSBC settles “billions of dollars” worth of payments every day, helping the bank to manage risk by allowing it to see real-time exposure across multiple balance sheets.

He did not give precise figure for daily transactions but said that a significant amount of overall internal flows are likely to be settled on the system.

The bank is aiming to provide the tools to corporate clients with complex, cross-border forex flows.

“The more participants that you have joining the HSBC shared permissioned ledger and the ecosystem, the more efficient we’re going to become in providing services to our clients,” Williamson said.

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Oracle Accelerates Adoption of Enterprise Blockchain Worldwide

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Oracle

Businesses around the world have already reaped the benefits of blockchain applications built on Oracle Blockchain Platform. Companies using Oracle’s business-ready blockchain have been able to move from experimentation to production by creating new blockchain applications from scratch or adding blockchain functionality to an existing solution. To support its customers, Oracle has added new features to the platform that help users speed up the development, integration, and deployment of new blockchain applications.

While blockchain can greatly streamline many existing processes surrounding supply chain, identity, cross-border payments, and fraud detection, businesses have struggled to implement blockchain networks within their existing ecosystems. Oracle Blockchain Platform addresses this challenge by streamlining the process of building and integrating blockchain applications across diverse business networks and connecting them into the relevant business processes within these ecosystems.

“Oracle’s continued leadership and investment in enterprise blockchain technology ensures that the platform has all of the critical capabilities organizations need to build blockchain applications to handle their most important business transactions,” said Frank Xiong, group vice president, Blockchain Product Development, Oracle. “The number of customers already running blockchain applications based on Oracle’s blockchain platform is testament to the strength of the technology and the value it brings to a broad range of industries.”

Worldwide Customers with Blockchain Apps in Use

Using blockchain applications, Oracle customers are establishing new ways to increase trust in diverse ecosystems and increasing the speed, security and efficiency of a wide range of business processes. Oracle’s rapidly growing list of global customers with production deployments on its enterprise-grade blockchain platform include:

  • China Distance Education Holdings Limited (CDEL) uses blockchain to share educational records and professional certifications across many educational institutions to help employers and recruiters verify the educational credentials claimed by individuals.
  • Circulor uses blockchain to track conflict minerals from their origin at the mines to processing and use in electronic components to ensure ethical sourcing of raw materials.
  • SERES uses blockchain to bring greater trust and efficiency to electronic invoicing in franchise networks, which share ordering and fulfillment data between franchisors and franchisees.
  • Additionally, Arab Jordan Investment Bank, CargoSmart, Certified Origins, HealthSync, ICS Financial Systems, NeuroSoft, Nigeria Customs, OriginTrail, SDK.Finance, and TradeFin have built or integrated production-ready blockchain applications on Oracle Blockchain Platform.

“Oracle’s blockchain solution delivers enterprise performance, security and scalability right out-of-the-box,” said Doug Johnson-Poensgen, CEO and founder of Circulor. “We started with the Oracle Blockchain Platform four months ago and were able to go from zero to a production system spanning multiple organizations involved in ethical sourcing of minerals within a matter of months. Another key advantage is that we were able to integrate Oracle’s blockchain platform into a hybrid blockchain network spanning multiple clouds and easily integrate with our existing systems and applications.”

“Blockchain improves the trust relationship between franchisor and the franchises by including best practices and decentralized access to the transactions.  Normally, merchandise acceptance processes are manual and require an operator entering the data into the system. But, for example when a franchise has economic problems, it can repudiate that delivery, saying that it never received the merchandise. They can manipulate the database and, on the other hand, also the franchisor can manipulate it,” said José María Mínguez Gutiérrez, Transactional Services Manager of SERES. “With blockchain and its immutability and traceability of information, all these problems disappear and all parties can trust the data and the transactions.”

Enhances Security, Developer Productivity and DevOps Capabilities

With this latest release, Oracle has added unique developer-oriented productivity enhancements and consortium-oriented identity management features, which are critical to diverse organizations conducting business transactions via a blockchain network. New DevOps capabilities make the platform easier to integrate with existing business and IT systems. Additionally, as blockchain becomes an important data store in the enterprise, the platform enables Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse customers to transparently capture blockchain transaction history and current state data for analytics and to integrate it with other data sources. New features include:

  • Enhanced world state database to support standard SQL-based ledger queries reducing the complexity of developing chaincode using readily available programming skills, ensure smart contracts can safely rely on the query results, which are verified at transaction commit, and significantly boost performance of rich data queries.
  • Rich history database shadows transaction history into a relational database schema in the Autonomous Data Warehouse or other Oracle databases, which transparently enables analytics integration for interactive dashboards and reports.
  • Enhanced REST APIs for event subscription, blockchain administration/configuration, and monitoring of network health, transaction rates, and other statistics, which simplify integration with existing enterprise IT tools.
  • Identity federation further extends authentication capabilities to work with external identity providers to facilitate consortium blockchains with many diverse participants using their existing identity management systems.
  • Third-party certificate support for registering client organizations on the blockchain network to enable them to use existing certificates issued by trusted third parties.
  • Hyperledger Fabric 1.3 support, which adds many new features based on the evolving open source version, including chaincode development in Java, further leveraging existing enterprise skills, and support for private transactions among a subset of members, preserving privacy and business confidentiality. This demonstrates Oracle’s commitment to stay current with the Hyperledger community by leveraging new releases and contributing to the open source community.
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State of California Tackles Drought with IoT & Blockchain

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Stablecoin

The Freshwater Trust (TFT), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems, is partnering with IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) and SweetSense Inc., a provider of low-cost satellite connected sensors, to pilot technologies which can accurately monitor and track groundwater use in one of the largest and most at risk aquifers in North America. Additional research support will be provided by the University of Colorado Boulder.

Jointly funded by the Water Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the project’s scientists and engineers will demonstrate how the blockchain and remote IoT sensors can accurately measure groundwater usage transparently, and in real-time in California’s Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta.

The sensors will transmit water extraction data to orbiting satellites and then to the IBM Blockchain Platform hosted in the IBM Cloud. The blockchain will record of all data exchanges or transactions made in an append-only, immutable ledger. The blockchain also uses “smart contracts,” whereby transactions are automatically executed when the conditions are matched.

Through a web-based dashboard, water consumers, including farmers; financers and regulators will all be able to monitor and track the use of groundwater to demonstrate how sustainable pumping levels can be achieved through the trading of groundwater use shares in the State of California. Individual users who require groundwater amounts beyond their share cap will be able to “purchase” groundwater shares from users who do not require all of their supply at a market-regulated rate.

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Seoul Metropolitan Government Appoints Members of its ‘Blockchain Governance Team’ Using ICON’s Public Blockchain

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Blockchain

The Seoul Metropolitan Government issued mobile letters of appointment to its Blockchain Governance Team using ICON’s public blockchain. Government and supporting agencies are expected to take the first step in leveraging both public and private blockchain systems.

ICONLOOP developed mobile letters of appointment for the Seoul Blockchain Governance Team. The letter can be issued and viewed through a Governance Team member’s personal cell phone. A Governance Team member can issue a letter of appointment with a name, member identification number and membership terms after accepting the terms and conditions. Letter of appointment issuance records are stored on the ICON public blockchain, making falsification and fake issuance impossible. Authenticity of the record can be verified in the ICON Tracker by searching for a specific transaction.

According to ‘Plans for Blockchain City Seoul’ announced last October, Seoul Metropolitan Government has organized the ‘Seoul Blockchain Governance Team,’ aiming to provide blockchain administration services across several industries.

The Seoul Blockchain Governance Team consists of 100 citizens comprised of college students, developers, corporate representatives, and more. The team plans to participate in a pilot operation of blockchain-based administration services, and provide feedback and recommendations from January 2019 through December 2020. Additionally, they will participate in the development process of Seoul Metropolitan City’s administration services, which include mileage points integration, citizenship card services, online authentication without documents, protection for part-time workers’ rights, and sub-contract payments.

“We expect the increase in public blockchain use-cases led by government, and this appointment letter issuance is a starting point to show a clear example of how blockchain can be used in government” said J.H. Kim, council member of the ICON Foundation and CEO of ICONLOOP. Kim added, “ICONLOOP will focus on improving development capability to provide transparent and efficient blockchain-based administration services, cooperating with Seoul Metropolitan Government.”

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