Crypto News From Japan: Sept. 22–29

In this week’s selected cryptocurrency- and blockchain-related news from Cointelegraph Japan, Bitflyer adds the Ether (ETH)/yen pair to its trading platform, the official website adds a Japanese language version, while Monex CEO Oki Matsumoto says that Facebook opened Pandora’s box with its stablecoin project, Libra.

Here is the past week of cryptocurrency and blockchain news in review, as originally reported by Cointelegraph Japan.

BitFlyer adds Ether/Japanese yen pair to its trading platform

On Sept. 25, Cointelegraph Japan reported that the Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange BitFlyer was adding the Ether/yen pair (ETH/JPY) to “BitFlyer Lightning”, a virtual currency trading tool for professionals.

That same day, Cointelegraph reported that BitFlyer was adding five new altcoins to its platforms in Europe and the United States. In Europe, the exchange will add Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Lisk (LSK) and Monacoin (MONA), while U.S. customers will have access to BCH, ETC and LTC.

Blockchain consortium aims to build commercial use case in 2020

On Sept. 25, the CBSG Consortium, which is led by U.S.-based blockchain technology company TBCASoft, and Japanese holding company SoftBank, announced plans to build a commercial use case for payment systems using blockchains in early 2020.

Softbank’s executive officer Nozaki Daichi said that CBSG’s efforts to build a commercial use case offer a great opportunity to differentiate itself from its competitors. now supports the Japanese language

On Sept. 27, the official website of the Ethereum network added support for the Japanese language. is now offering its content in five different languages: English, French, Korean, simplified Chinese and Japanese. Support for the Japanese language was made possible because of the joined effort of volunteers, according to Masaharu Uno of Ethereum Japan.

Crypto exchange Bitpoint Japan will resume its services on Sept. 30

The cryptocurrency exchange Bitpoint Japan announced that it will resume its cryptocurrency delivery service on Sept. 30.

Bitpoint halted all of its services including trading, deposits and withdrawals when it noticed irregular withdrawals from its hot wallet in July, which resulted in a loss of $32 million in crypto assets. 

Monex CEO Oki Matsumoto shares his view on Libra

On Sept. 27, Cointelegraph Japan reported that Oki Matsumoto, the CEO of Japan’s financial services giant Monex Group, said that Facebook’s Libra announcement “opened Pandora’s box.” 

He further explained that the criticism of what Facebook can do with Libra in developed countries is largely composed of two elements.

Firstly, Matsumoto stated that there is widespread distrust of Facebook’s management of personal information, as some are concerned that the privacy of users will be infringed.

The second critical element is that Libra could prevent the implementation of monetary policy in developing nations. 

Source Cointelegraph

Is XRP a Security? We May Never Know

Is XRP a Security? We May Never Know

Source Cointelegraph

New Balance to Use Cardano Blockchain to Confirm Product Authenticity

Cardano CEO Charles Hoskinson announced that New Balance will be using the Cardano blockchain to help authenticate its products.

The announcement

According to a Sept. 28 article by Crypto Briefing, Charles Hoskinson, CEO of blockchain engineering startup IOHK, announced that American footwear brand New Balance will use the Cardano blockchain to allow its customers to verify the origins of an range of products.

Cardano and New Balance are planning to roll out the program globally. However, current plans do not entail using the ADA token during this pilot.

Hoskinson reportedly made the partnership announcement during Cardano’s 2nd anniversary event at the Cardano Summit in Bulgaria’s second-largest city, Plovdiv.

Blockchain, global supply chain and health insurance

A wide range of companies have already started to implement blockchain technology into their supply chains. As Cointelegraph recently reported, Walmart is using blockchain technology to create a food traceability system based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. 

In August public enterprise blockchain platform VeChain partnered with Australian winemaker Penfolds to release a case of blockchain-encrypted wine bottles for sale, as part of its Wine Traceability Platform initiative.

Cointelegraph reported in March that Carrefour introduced its own blockchain-powered solution for tracking milk, which is reported to guarantee clients complete product traceability across the entire supply chain — from farmers’ fields to the store shelves.

Source Cointelegraph

Class Action Complaint Filed Against Patrick Byrne and

A new complaint filed in Utah accuses, former CEO Patrick Byrne and former CFO Greg Iverson of securities fraud.

The complaint

Filed on Friday, Sept. 27, the complaint requests a trial by jury, alleging that Byrne designed’s digital asset-based dividend as a means of punishing short sellers, which other outlets have alleged previously. On the subject, and in language more dramatic than many legal filings, the complaint reads: 

“While defendant Byrne had previously, at different times, launched into public tirades over short selling and naked short selling, the tZERO Dividend was his secret plot to finally obtain hegemony over them — and it almost worked.”

Punishing short sellers

In July, began offering a special dividend called “Digital Voting Series A-1 Preferred Stock,” which would trade on the company’s own blockchain platform. However, and unusually, investors would not be able to trade the dividend at all for six months. The complaint explains the mechanism of tampering with’s stock price: 

“While shares traded to a Class Period high of $26.89 each on September 13, 2020, they traded to as low as $15.50 by September 18, 2020, three trading days later, after investors learned that the tZERO dividend was designed to be a short squeeze.”

As Cointelegraph reported at the time, Byrne managed to sell his 13% share in for $90 million in the days leading up to Sept. 18.

The complaint claims that, Byrne and Iverson violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act governing antifraud provisions of securities swaps, and that Byrne alone violated Section 20(a) of the same act by virtue of his status as controlling person.

Byrne’s summer

Both Byrne and Iverson resigned from their positions at recently, Byrne on Aug. 22 and Iverson on Sept. 17. Byrne’s resignation was particularly dramatic, with him claiming that it was due to scandal surrounding a relationship with alleged spy Maria Butina and involvement with federal agencies. 

News of Byrne’s resignation came as a shock to the crypto community, given his long history of support for Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Indeed, Friday’s complaint reads that: 

“In fact, it was recently reported that, for the last several years, defendant Byrne spent no fewer than 220 days a year on the road, ‘spreading his blockchain gospel, despite the fact that Overstock was hemorrhaging cash.’”

Source Cointelegraph

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News From Brazil: Sept. 22-28 in Review

Brazil has seen another tumultuous week in the cryptocurrency industry as the central bank of Brazil wants to use blockchain technology starting in 2020, the president of Unick Forex continues to claim they pay customers on time, and the Brazilian Securities Commission investigates the alleged fraudulent activities of more crypto-related companies.

Here is the past week of crypto and blockchain news in review, as originally reported by Cointelegraph Brasil.

President of Unick Forex says it pays customers on time 

On Sept. 23, Cointelegraph Brasil reported that president of alleged investment scheme Unick Forex Leidimar Lopes said that the company’s payments are up to date, despite the complaints of thousands of investors who claim that the exchange is not honoring their payments. Lopes said:

“We are paying thousands of customers every day, everything is still normal, everything is working.”

However, despite Lopes’s announcement, nothing seems to have changed. Investors still claim that their funds are blocked and say that the announcement was just another excuse from Unick. One investor added:

“They released the withdrawal but paid nothing. Requesting a withdrawal is easy, it is difficult for them to pay.” 

Cointelegraph previously reported that a court in Rio de Janeiro ordered Unick Forex to pay $28,500 to a client who filed a lawsuit against the company for a delay in platform withdrawals.

Central bank of Brazil wants to use blockchain technology starting in 2020

On Sept. 24 Cointelegraph Brasil reported that the central bank of Brazil has decided to move away from its current payment system (Ted and Doc), which it considers slow and expensive. The new blockchain-based instant payment system should launch by November 2020.

The central bank hopes to connect more than 120 regulator-registered financial institutions and assure the availability of funds to the final beneficiary in real time, 24/7. 

Regulator investigates crypto-related firms for alleged fraud

On Sept. 20 Cointelegraph Brasil reported that the Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM) started investigating the alleged fraudulent activities of A2 Trader and Kleyton Alves Pinto. CVM stated that both entities are not registered with the institution, adding:

“They cannot perform the activities or provide the services […] such as analysis, consulting or distribution of securities.”

The CVM is also investigating two additional companies, Blue Benx and NYC Technology, on charges of operating financial pyramids. According to the Brazilian regulator, these companies promised their customers large returns through various operations involving Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

Source Cointelegraph

Crypto News From the German-Speaking World: Sept. 22–28 in Review

The German-speaking world has experienced another week full of exciting developments in the crypto industry, with a Berlin-based fintech startup receiving $1.5 million to develop its own blockchain, German experts warning about Facebook’s crypto coin, and the Federation of German Industries asking the government to create suitable conditions for blockchain.

Here is the past week of crypto and blockchain news in review, as originally reported by Cointelegraph auf Deutsch.

German fintech startup receives $1.5M to develop its own blockchain

On Sept. 23, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported that the Berlin-based fintech startup Centrifuge received funding from the public investment bank Berlin and the European Regional Development Fund to further develop its financial market platform. 

Centrifuge, which is an open, decentralized platform that aims to connect the global financial supply chain, will receive around $430,000 as a grant and an additional $1,100,000 as a loan to develop its own blockchain, called Centrifuge Chain. 

IOTA joins forces with the Linux Foundation

On Sept. 26, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported that the Iota Foundation joined forces with the Linux Foundation through LF Edge, an umbrella organization that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system. Iota Foundation added:

“We’re happy to announce that our first step Towards Open Collaboration is that we have joined the Linux Foundation to help complete their stack of technologies to advance their development of a truly interoperable solution set for IoT, Edge and Cloud integration.”

German experts warn about Facebook’s planned crypto coin Libra

Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported on Sept. 27, that, during a technical meeting held by the German Bundestag, experts and institution representatives warned about the possible consequences of Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency Libra. In addition, the potential of blockchain technology in general and the idea of a digital central bank coin were also discussed.

German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz previously expressed similar sentiments, saying that policymakers cannot accept parallel currencies such as Facebook’s proposed Libra stablecoin and that it will be clearly rejected. 

German trade organization asks gov’t to create better conditions for blockchain

On Sept. 24, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported that the Federation of German Industries (BDI), an umbrella organization that speaks for 36 trade associations and more than 100,000 enterprises with around 8 million employees, has called upon the German government to quickly create suitable conditions for the use of blockchain technologies.

The BDI said it considers blockchain technology to be of the highest importance for the competitiveness of the German economy, adding:

“Blockchain technology offers many opportunities and industrial applications, such as for a global digital market, with low barriers to entry and cross-border trade costs. It helps to create networks between companies, business processes and business objects.”

Crypto loan platform YouHodler moves to Switzerland

On Sept. 24, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported that crypto-financial services provider YouHodler announced that it is moving its operation to the Alpine republic in Switzerland. The company said that the transformation from a blockchain startup to an “international fintech provider of crypto-fiat services” is now completed and that it is looking forward to “rapid growth and long-term business relationships.”

Source Cointelegraph

Crypto News From the Spanish-Speaking World: Sept. 22-28 in Review

Spanish-speaking countries made headlines this week, with cryptocurrency and blockchain-related developments on both the governmental and enterprise level. The Congress of the Republic of Peru spoke about the potential of blockchain tech, blockchain firm Aeternity revealed the development of a network that enables the management of the supply chain of medical cannabis, Venezuela’s central bank explored the possibilities of holding crypto in its coffers, and a subsidiary of Argentinian smart contract platform RSK purchased Latin America’s social media giant Taringa.

Here is the past week of crypto and blockchain news in review, as originally reported by Cointelegraph en Español.

The Congress of the Republic of Peru shows interest in blockchain technology

On Sept. 23, Congressman Francesco Petrozzi, president of the Science, Innovation and Technology Commission, spoke with Marco Esparza Montejo, the COO of Blockchain Life Solutions, about the potential of blockchain technology and the fourth industrial revolution applied in everyday reality.

Esparza proposed the creation of an equivalent Blockchain Supervision at the Congress that would trace bad practices, propose funds to develop initiatives, put them in value and produce associated regulatory frameworks, among other things. He also proposed introducing digital training at schools, which includes not only learning to program but also seeing how it impacts on life.

Esparza said that, together with Petrozzi, they see the chance to establish a quality certificate: “What we are looking for with the congressman is to create our own certificate of quality digital affidavit.”

Uruguay: Aeternity presents a blockchain-based system to track marijuana cultivation

On Sept. 24, decentralized application-focused blockchain Aeternity entered into an agreement with Medicinal Cannabis Uruguay to build a blockchain-based network that enables the management of the entire supply chain of the medical cannabis produced by the company. 

The proposed system will consist of sensors installed along all the fields that will be connected on the Internet to record any action that is done within any particular plant.

Venezuelan Central Bank is Considering Holding Bitcoin and Ether

Venezuela’s central bank began exploring the possibilities of holding Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) in its coffers, according to anonymous sources who reportedly have direct insights into the matter.

The state-run oil and gas company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PSDV), requested that the central bank look into the matter after the oil producer ran into difficulties receiving payments from international clients due to U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s current regime.

Spanish Facebook Rival Taringa Is Sold to Smart Contract Dev RSK

A subsidiary of Argentinian smart contract platform RSK, IOVlabs purchased Latin America’s social media giant Taringa, gaining exposure to 30 million users.

Taringa will purportedly reward users for active participation in its communities with IOVLabs’ RIF token (RIF), a crypto token operating on the RSK Smart Bitcoin platform. At press time, RIF’s market cap amounts to over $57 million, while the token’s price is up about 0.11% over the past 24 hours, according to Coin360.

Source Cointelegraph

Everything You Need to Know

Bitcoin (BTC) has a unique advantage: self custody, which the traditional financial system cannot compete with. It is important that the Bitcoin ecosystem maximizes this competitive advantage in order to compete with the legacy system.

Custodial solutions are important for financial markets, whether traditional or innovative, and have been historically limited for Bitcoin. But why do institutional investors need custodial services, and what are the unique challenges of Bitcoin custody?

Why institutional investors need custodial services

There are two main reasons why institutional investors need custodial services: reducing risk and regulatory compliance.

By separating the entity that stores assets from the entity that manages assets, financial institutions can specialize in what they are best at. This separation also reduces the risk that one employee can run off with all the money. Usually, custodians are long-standing financial institutions with a lot of reputational risk that prevents them from acting against their clients’ interests. 

In terms of regulations, the dominant regulatory bodies around the world — the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, etc. — all require institutional investors to keep customer funds with regulated custodians. Typically, regulated custodians are broker-deals or banks. 

Unique challenges of Bitcoin custody

Providing custody for traditional financial instruments is already challenging in its own right, and Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies present an exceedingly complex task. Both retail investors and professionals face unique challenges in safely storing their Bitcoin. 

Challenges in Bitcoin custody

First off, cryptocurrencies are bearer assets, meaning that whoever has control of the asset, owns the asset. In other words, if you lose your Bitcoin or someone steals it, there are no options to get the money back. This is unlike a bank account or credit card, with which a bank can simply reverse a transaction. 

Most retail investors store their Bitcoin on exchanges or hot wallets that have a history of being hacked. This is not a suitable option for professional investors. Some of the smarter retail investors use hardware wallets that enable users’ Bitcoin private keys to be stored offline, which is significantly safer than an exchange. 

However, from an institutional investor perspective, a single USB hardware device is still too risky for managing client funds. What if an employee walks off with the hardware wallet and all the funds? Instead, the investor should seperate power so that no individual has the ability to go rogue. 

Crypto custody solutions

The crypto custody industry is growing quickly, but it is still young and inexperienced compared to traditional finance. In order for big financial institutions to consider investing in Bitcoin, the custody side needs to be addressed. On top of custody, investors also need insurance products that protect Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from theft. 

Institutional custody solutions

Professional investors need compliant cold storage and insurance from brand-name companies with a strong reputation. There are many native crypto solutions, but they don’t satisfy the biggest financial players.

Native custody options for crypto include Coinbase Custody, Xapo, Onchain Custodian and many more listed on the graphic above. These services have been successful so far, although the scope is limited, as smaller, progressive capital allocators leverage these services. However, most large institutions are still on the sidelines. 

Thankfully, marquee financial institutions are stepping into the custody space, such as Fidelity, which released its institutional custody solution in mid-2019. It’s too early to predict how this will impact the market, although a traditional financial institution custodying Bitcoin is a very promising sign.

Related: Insured Crypto Custody Services: Key to Institutional Investment Growth?

Bitcoin ETFs?

One hot topic in the crypto space is Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The assumption is that ETFs are an easier way to give investors exposure to Bitcoin. For example, if a Bitcoin ETF existed, anyone with an e-Trade, Fidelity or any other broker could easily purchase Bitcoin. 

So far, the U.S. has not approved a Bitcoin ETF, and one reason being that there aren’t any third-party custody solutions that the SEC trusts. However, Fidelity and the incoming wave of institutional custody could help get an ETF approved in the future.

Related: A Brief History of the SEC’s Reviews of Bitcoin ETF Proposals

The reality is that the crypto space is still a fledgling industry with many hurdles to overcome. Thankfully, an increasing number of people are leaving traditional finance to come build a parallel financial system with Bitcoin. A mature fiat onramp ecosystem with custody and insurance allows family offices and hedge funds the peace of mind and convenience to allocate some capital to Bitcoin. Will traditional finance acquire Bitcoin in a meaningful way? The truth has yet to be seen.

Personal custody: Be your own bank

Besides the institutional custody space, retail investors are also looking for improved ways to manage their Bitcoin holdings securely. The promise of being your own bank is very alluring. However, it requires taking on significant personal responsibility. 

In the early days, storing your Bitcoin private keys was quite challenging and only available to technically minded users. However, the custody options for retail investors have improved dramatically in recent years. 

There are a range of solutions ranging from hardcore cypherpunk storage to fully trusted “crypto banks” like Coinbase. It’s important that users are acquainted with the risks as well as the technical sophistication of their chosen custodian.

A node in every home

A popular narrative emerging in the Bitcoin space is the idea that every house will have its own Bitcoin node that trusted family and friends can reference. Each user would then have their own dedicated hardware wallet(s) to manage their private keys. While this sounds complicated, it simply means setting up a second hardware device next to the Wi-Fi router. 

This setup would enable users to fully validate all Bitcoin transactions while minimizing the technical challenges. In the future, all users could be fully self-sovereign with their finances if they choose to.

Multi-signature solutions

After setting up a home node, the next step to personal custody is setting up a multisignature account. This is not a requirement, but it dramatically increases security. 

Tech-savvy users can set up their own multisignature with tools like Glacier Protocol. However, most users will likely use a Bitcoin service that makes a multisig easier to use. For example, Casa has created both a home node as well as a multisignature solution called Keymaster, and are currently offering a free two-of-three multisig tool for users looking to start playing around with more advanced security models. Another option is Unchained Capital’s vault solution. Unchained is a semi-trusted Bitcoin bank that offers self-sovereign custody software as well as financial services such as lending. 

As a cryptocurrency investor, it’s important to identify your own security needs and pick the solution that best meets them.

While custody may not be a fun topic to discuss, it is a vital part of a successful financial system. Thankfully, we’re seeing an explosion of new custody services being offered to satisfy both retail and institutional investors. 

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Rohan Barde is a research and innovation manager at Blockchain Zoo. He is a tech-passionate professional with more than five years of experience. A business administration background gave him a solid understanding of what businesses need. Currently, he is exploring how needs of modern business can be met with applications of machine learning, big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

Source Cointelegraph

Blockchain Adoption as a Cure for Cross-Border Trading

In August of 2019, both the United States and Thailand announced their plans to test blockchain applications for tracking and managing shipments. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is planning to test a blockchain application against their current system to determine how distributed ledger technology (DLT) can improve its existing processes. Thailand, on the other hand, plans to use IBM’s blockchain-based logistics platform Tradelens to improve customs processes such as data sharing.

Originally developed in a joint venture between IBM and logistics giant Maersk, Tradelens seeks to streamline processes in the global shipping industry by making the flow of information occur in real-time. The blockchain platform is reported to currently process about half of the world’s shipping data.

These moves highlight countries’ increasing interest in employing blockchain technology in their customs and border operations. The Tradelens website says its ecosystem comprises over 100 different organizations including carriers, ports, terminal operators, third-party logistics firms, and freight forwarders. More specifically, a map on the Tradelens website suggests that about 60 ports and terminals worldwide are directly integrated with TradeLens.

Blockchain for digitizing customs documents in the EU

Elsewhere, the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD), which develops policies and operational systems for the European Customs Union, explored the applicability of blockchain in customs and taxation with a focus on utilizing blockchain as a notarization service.

The Union is looking into using blockchain to digitize ATA Carnet, an international customs document used in 87 countries for temporarily admitting goods duty-free. A pilot project conducted in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation (ICC WCF), was successfully tested in 2018. 

The ICC WCF, a body of the ICC that helps facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships between ICC members, has been working with different customs authorities to develop solutions for converting ATA Carnets into electronic documents.

Mutual recognition agreements and blockchain

About 80 countries around the world have developed authorized economic operator (AEO) programs and signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA), all in an effort to streamline cargo security. Under such arrangements, individual countries identify and approve trustworthy logistics operators that pose a low risk in security and share the approval information with participating countries. 

This allows countries to piggyback on the security checks of other countries to make customs operations more efficient. However, a few problems have arisen with the program. 

  • There are information leakage risks associated with the conventional way of sharing AEO data by email. While a sender’s email server may be encrypted, there is no guarantee that the receiver’s is as well, and vice versa.
  • Data sharing is not real-time, but monthly or at an agreed-upon interval. This limits the speed at which information on new or suspended AEOs can reach all participants.

To avoid the aforementioned problems as well as achieve additional time and cost savings on security procedures, customs administrations in Mexico, Peru and Costa Rica are working with the Inter-American Development Bank to develop a blockchain application called Cadena.

Global Trade Connectivity Network and world wide interest in blockchain

A joint development by monetary authorities in Singapore and Hong Kong, the Global Trade Connectivity Network (GTCN) is a blockchain-based cross-border infrastructure for digitizing trade, finance-related data and documents between the two regions. The GTCN platform hopes to cut out the inefficiencies in a process that still relies heavily on paper, stamps and faxes. 

On the back of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing, total trade — the sum of exports and imports of goods and services — has been accounting for an ever increasing portion of the world’s GDP over the last few decades. World Bank data shows that nearly 58% of the world’s GDP came from cross-border trade in 2017, up from about 46.6% before the turn of the millennium. Trade as a percentage of the world’s GDP was just 24% in 1960.

Total trade as a percentage of the world's GDP, 1960—2017

The data suggests that imports and exports are growing in importance for economic activity. Consequently, airports, ports and other border crossing points around the world are busier than ever. However, as trade activities are increasing, so are the associated direct and indirect costs. 

Direct costs include all costs related to border and customs procedures, while indirect costs refer to costs incurred through delays at the border. The World Trade Organization has associated high trade costs to “frictions” that exist at various stages of goods exchange. In fact, in one of its reports, the WTO claims that high trade costs “effectively nullify comparative advantage by rendering exports uncompetitive.”

A separate World Bank report shows instead that countries with a high Logistics Performance Index (LPI), which measures a country’s overall efficiency in logistics and trade facilitation, tend to have lower trade costs.

Correlation between LPI score and trade costs

LPI is widely used across the globe as a benchmark for the state of a country’s trade logistics and combines performance measures in the following six areas:

— Efficiency of customs and border clearance.

— Quality of trade and transport infrastructure.

— Ease of arranging competitively priced shipments.

— Competence and quality of logistics services.

— Ability to track shipments.

— Frequency of on-schedule deliveries.

Since the results of these measures have a real-life impact on trade costs, one can see blockchain potentially bringing improvements to at least three areas, particularly for customs and border clearance, shipment tracking and frequency of on-time delivery. 

In fact, the blockchain-based customs projects facilitate the provision of secure shipment data and documentation in real-time. This allows customs to operate faster and streamline their clearance processes.

The move by governments around the world to employ blockchain to improve cross-border trade marks a step toward paperless customs processes, which originally began with the digitization of information flows by making trade-related data and documents available and exchangeable electronically. For all the improvements they’ve brought to paper-heavy processes, traditional electronic data exchange systems still face the challenges of authenticity and the unavailability of real-time data exchange.

For instance, the Netherlands and China launched a five-year project in 2010 to test the applicability of electronic sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates. A World Economic Forum white paper titled “Paperless Trading: How Does It Impact the Trade System?” noted that concerns around the authenticity of the electronic documents arose. This necessitated the adoption of electronic signature systems and a whole new legal framework that recognized the electronic signature.

Still, the entire process requires longer procedures and the introduction of new types of intermediaries — e-signature providers, for instance. Moreover, low-income countries, the trade costs of which remain high compared to high-income countries as according to World Bank data, may not have the budget to implement several new systems for data and document digitization. They still need to invest in better customs infrastructure. 

Blockchain, on the other hand, if implemented in border protection, will ensure real-time availability and immutability of customs documents while saving considerable costs on excessive paperwork.

Source Cointelegraph

Australian Startup to Offer 20% Payback on Fuel Purchases in Tokens

Australian startup Incent plans to offer a 20% payback in its INCNT token on fuel purchases at United Petrol stations for a limited time. 

Incent announced in a press release published on Sept. 26 that participants will have to sign up on its platform and sync their bank accounts in order to receive the tokens. The firm also claims that the crypto asset in question is “Australia’s first cryptocurrency for all purchases at United Petrol stations.”

A substitute for point-based loyalty programs

United Petrol reportedly owns over 450 stations across Australia. Per the press release, the system’s advantage over classical company-emitted points is that those tokens cannot be devalued or discontinued by the company and that there are no plastic cards or friction. Incent CEO Rob Wilson explained:

“Giving consumers something of real value rather than points that can expire or only be redeemed under strict conditions is one of Incent’s key differences. […] But it’s also what goes on under the bonnet that makes it truly compelling. Once a user has synced their bank account, rewards are issued automatically. […] Consumers can literally save as they spend, seamlessly.”

Lastly, the author of the release explains that any customer who signed up for the service and synced their bank account will automatically receive 20% of their fuel purchase price at United Petrol back into their Incent account as token rewards.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, 63% of American consumers perceive blockchain tokens to be an easy form of payment.

Source Cointelegraph