Microsoft Azure Announces Blockchain Token and Data Management Service

Microsoft’s blockchain-enabled cloud service Microsoft Azure announced new tokenization and blockchain data management services.

In a post published on the official Microsoft Azure blog on Dec. 6, the IT service giant announced the Azure Blockchain Tokens and blockchain data manager.

New tools for Azure blockchain users

The Azure Blockchain Tokens service aims to simplify the definition, creation and management of compliant tokens built to industry standards. The firm also provides pre-built templates for common uses and hosts a gallery for templates created by partners, which are expected to be added in the future. The announcement reads:

“With this latest offering, we can now offer customers an end-to-end experience of easily creating and managing tokens for physical or digital assets via Azure Blockchain Tokens (preview), in addition to managing the blockchain network itself via Azure Blockchain Service.”

The other service announced, blockchain data manager, is a new Azure Blockchain Service feature designed to allow its users to capture blockchain ledger data, transform and decrypt it if it is encrypted and deliver it to multiple sources. Per the announcement, this new functionality simplifies “the cumbersome task of integrating existing applications with data that sits on a blockchain ledger.”

Earlier this week, Microsoft Azure also announced “Azure Heroes” non-fungible blockchain tokens aimed at rewarding its developer community.

Blockchain is seeing increasing adoption in the most disparate of industries. As Cointelegraph illustrated in a dedicated analysis yesterday, one of the latest examples is provided by the use of blockchain in combination with 3D printing to enhance aerospace supply chains.

Source Cointelegraph

Ethereum Istanbul — Faster, but Still Not the World Computer

Vitalik Buterin has claimed that Ethereum will support 3,000 transactions per second after the upcoming Istanbul fork.


Will this unleash a new wave of Ethereum creativity? Might we expect a surge in traffic on the Ethereum network? Could its increase influence the price of ETH?

Ethereum is slow

The conventional wisdom is that Ethereum is too slow. But for what purpose is it too slow? It seems to be sufficiently fast for financial services. But the mistake people are making in saying “Ethereum is slow” is misunderstanding what a great thing, counterintuitively, it is to be slow. ETH works because users want to pay (in the form of “gas”) to perform computations.

If Ethereum is congested, it means that there are more people who want to pay to have Ethereum computations than there are the capacity to allow it.

To put it in another way, let’s say that you own an Apple Store and there is an ever-growing line of customers waiting to buy the newest iPhone. The more customers you have, the more the profit. If you are having trouble accepting the amount of money people want to give you in order to use your service, you are doing well. You wouldn’t complain in that situation.

The “world computer” isn’t a thing

So, it turns out that achieving consensus over computation is very expensive — and therefore, as slow as molasses. Istanbul will make Ethereum’s consensus a bit faster, but the term “world computer” seems hyperbolic, as it suggests there could be a singular device that handles the world’s computational needs. It doesn’t even get close at 3,000 transactions per second. Ethereum’s current state is more akin to a “Trust Machine” — to borrow the name of Alex Winter’s blockchain documentary — than a “world computer.”

DApps are also not a thing

What is a “decentralized application”? It’s a mixed metaphor that is prone to confusion. The word “app” is inseparable from the rise of smartphones and naturally the rise of the “App Store.” So, as soon as you say “DApp,” you are depicting a similar world of endless possibility and creativity. This flawed reasoning is compounded by talk in the original Ethereum white paper about the creation of a Turing complete “World Computer.” This suggests that there are an infinite number of applications that are able to run on Ethereum. But since running computations under consensus comes with a cost, it will always be greater than the cost of running computations without consensus — even if the cost of consensus is greatly reduced.

Vending machines are a thing

The cost of consensus is why it makes more sense to talk about what Nick Szabo calls “Vending Machines.” If a line of code is not handling value, then why not execute it in a faster, cheaper, more centralized environment? This reduces the practical applications of storing, transmitting, buying, selling, splitting, sharing or otherwise manipulating value. This means practical applications would naturally be pragmatic value-in, value-out smart contracts like decentralized exchanges, token swaps, nonfungible token vending, token-issuance (ICO or STO) contracts, and lending and arbitrary financial products (DeFi). If we had a “World Computer” (we don’t), it might make sense to talk about DApps, but until then, what we have are vending machines.

Lending machines are also a thing

Smart contracts relating to collateralizing and lending digital assets are getting a lot of attention these days. Concerning this, ETH in particular is well positioned, as it has a relatively large liquidity pool and a very high degree of programmability. DeFi means that there are vastly diverse sets of programmable digital financial products, but at the moment, the idea of a “Lending Machine” is one that is getting the most attention. In particular, lending seems attractive because current DeFi protocols are producing up to 10% interest rates. This could be seen as a “killer app” for crypto because traditional banks have been so close to 0% interest for so long — and it’s a compelling reason for new users to come to crypto. Currently, almost $700 million in value is locked in DeFi contracts. It remains to be seen whether such high rates will hold up as more and more money floods into the market seeking high returns.

Slot machines

Another obvious application is gambling apps. This is a variation on the “decentralized exchange,” but instead of exchanging a predictable amount of one token for another, users essentially exchange tokens for unpredictable returns. One of the advantages of smart contract-based gambling over other forms of online gambling is that scrutinizing the smart contracts can enable players to determine if the gambling machine is “provably fair,” unlike the centralized exchanges that are only demonstrably unfair.

The need for speed

If all we are building are vending machines, lending machines and slot machines, do we really need performance? Purveyors of “decentralized exchanges” insist that once they are fast enough, they will achieve the liquidity of “centralized exchanges.” But historically, liquidity has always moved toward high frequency trading venues — and trusted computing will always confer a performance edge versus trustless.

One of the great things about the increase in performance is simply to increase the capacity of existing apps, and to enable more similar apps to run on Ethereum. But the performance increase from Ethereum Istanbul seems unlikely to produce as-yet-unseen types of applications.

Miko Matsumura is a general partner with venture capital fund gumi Cryptos Capital. He is also a co-founder of Evercoin, a wallet and exchange. He has been working in Silicon Valley for 25 years on open-source software projects, starting with the introduction of the Java programming language, for which he was the chief evangelist.

Source Cointelegraph

Italian Copyright Authority and Algorand Develop Blockchain Ecosystem for Copyright Management

The Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE) has teamed up with Algorand to develop a new ecosystem for copyright management, based on Algorand’s recently launched blockchain platform.

SIAE had already started to develop the project – with the help of “La Sapienza” University of Rome and consulting company Blockchain Core. SIAE has now decided to focus on the Algorand platform for its by design public nature and its high performance.

Algorand uses a pure Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol that guarantees decentralization, scalability and security, making it particularly suitable for handling the swarm of metadata and transactions necessary in copyright management. Both Algorand and SIAE are confident that in the near future, blockchain technology will become the cornerstone of the industry.

This collaboration will make it possible to evolve and strengthen copyright management tools and services, ultimately creating new, more open and accessible products, further improving the efficiency of intermediation activities.

Gaetano Blandini, General Manager of SIAE, explained the goals of the initiative:

“To explore the opportunities offered by technology, to imagine a future of solutions that guarantee greater efficiency and transparency to our members […] Our collaboration with Algorand is part of a process of synergy and cooperation with major players in the fields of research and innovation, both on a national and on a global scale. Together we continue to write a story that began 137 years ago and that today embraces the future.”

Professor Silvio Micali, winner of the Turing Prize and founder of Algorand, also said of the collaboration:

“The collaboration between technology providers and companies projected into the future, such as SIAE, paves the way to great opportunities for progress towards economic models that promote inclusiveness, transparency, and frictionless transactions. I am honored by the fact SIAE selected the blockchain developed by Algorand, making it the backbone of its new initiative. I will be thrilled to witness the creation of these solutions, supported by the performance and features we implemented in Algorand 2.0.”

Source Cointelegraph

Ghana Joins the Bandwagon — Plans for CBDC, Still Wary of Crypto

Ghana is maintaining a cautious approach to cryptocurrencies despite its central bank’s plans to launch a digital currency in the new year. Over the past five years, the West African country has become the fastest-growing mobile money market on the continent. The burgeoning number of mobile money users is proof that digitized payments systems are providing a means for people to become financially active.

According to a 2019 economic analysis by the World Bank, the number of registered mobile money accounts in the country exploded from just 3.8 million to 23.9 million between 2012 and 2017.

The statistics alone speak volumes to the power of mobile networks in providing a means for previously unbanked or financially-excluded people to transact money remotely. Mobile phones are giving a large number of Ghanaians the chance to become financially active without having to use cash or card services. 

The move to mobile payments has not gone unnoticed by the country’s central bank. At the end of November 2019, the Bank of Ghana announced plans to explore the use of a central bank digital currency in the new year.

Bank of Ghana governor Dr. Ernest Addison revealed that the bank has been working on a pilot project with a number of stakeholders to test the issuance and use of a digital currency. The announcement was made at Ghana’s National Banking Conference at the end of November. The move is an effort by the nation’s authorities to stay abreast of the increasing volume of mobile money users in Ghana and drive the digitization of its financial sector.

Crypto unregulated in Ghana

The surge in popularity and users of mobile money services in the country does not necessarily mean that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are enjoying the same level of success in Ghana.

Cryptocurrencies are currently unregulated in the West African nation, and there are no laws governing their use — a fact which has been confirmed by the Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission to Cointelegraph.

While the sector remains unregulated, the Ghana SEC issued a public warning to investors in March 2019. The note cautions investors to do their due diligence when dealing with unregistered or unlicensed trading platforms touting “high returns on investment.”

In its warning letter, the SEC listed 24 cryptocurrencies that have gained prominence worldwide, including BTC, ETH, LTC and XRP, while clearly stipulating that cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender in the country.

When asked for a general gauge of the level of interest in cryptocurrencies in Ghana, the SEC’s policy research department manager, Frank Donkor, told Cointelegraph that an in-depth market study has yet to be undertaken:

“We have not conducted a market survey to determine the interest in cryptocurrencies, however, as indicated in the public notice, people are attracted to it because of the promises of high returns on their investments.”

Donkor also dismissed various reports earlier this year by local media outlets that suggested the local SEC would consider licensing the use of cryptocurrencies. This will continue to remain a barrier to entry for cryptocurrency users in the country according to the official:

“There are no legislations backing the trading and use of cryptocurrencies in Ghana. Thus investors who tend to invest in such currencies or assets may be doing so at their own risk and are not protected under the Securities law regime in Ghana.”

Apathy toward cryptocurrency continues

There seems to be a certain amount of apathy toward cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in Ghana, evident in the blanket statement and public warnings issued earlier this year. The Ghana SEC’s belief that a major drawcard for using cryptocurrency is the promise of high returns on investments suggests that the body could be lacking knowledge about the technology and efficacy of the systems underpinning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Omar Majdoub, president of registered non-profit organization Blockchain Society Ghana, believes that the general populace as well as policy makers in the country are ill-informed about the basics of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

According to Majdoub, there is a growing interest in the sector in the country, but misinformation has led many people to perceive all cryptocurrencies as fraudulent money-making schemes. He added that there is curiosity toward the applications of blockchain technology, but actual adoption of the technology is low.

Related: Africa Using Blockchain to Drive Change: Nigeria and Kenya, Part One

Unsuspecting investors around the world have been duped by various crypto scams, and Ghana’s people are no exception. Majdoub suggests that an effort to protect the Ghanaian public from similar situations has led to the negative perception toward the sector in 2019:

“I believe government authorities are mostly under informed about cryptocurrencies, and Blockchain Society Ghana hopes to rectify that by having more dialogue. We hope to clarify the legitimate uses of crypto and how to distinguish from scams.”

Will Ghana’s CBDC be blockchain-based?

What remains to be seen is whether the Ghana Central Bank’s digital currency will be developed using blockchain infrastructure. Cointelegraph reached out to the Bank of Ghana to clarify the details of the pilot project for its central bank digital currency, but has not received an official response on the matter.

Given the current stance of the Ghanian SEC and its central bank, it seems unlikely that the project will be based on a blockchain platform. At the same time, the explosion of mobile money users in the country suggests that the medium could be a prime candidate to provide the infrastructure for the planned central bank digital currency.

Nevertheless, the possibility of an e-cedi being issued and available to the public in Ghana is a positive step toward providing a regulated, digitized form of payment in a country that has traditionally struggled with soaring inflation.

Source Cointelegraph

Ex Italy’s Economy Minister on ‘Transition From Old Coins to New Coins’

During the Code4Future conference, the first event in Italy dedicated to the concept of open innovation held at the Talent Garden in Rome, the former Minister of Economy and Finance Giulio Tremonti — currently president of Aspen Institute Italia — expressed his thoughts regarding the future of digital payments and the advent of cryptocurrencies.

On Nov. 8, the first day of the Code4Future event, Tremonti took part in a round table discussion, during which he said the opportunities offered by the fintech sector were changing both business logic and the role of traditional banks:

“Banks may be caught off-guard by fintech activities. An alliance between traditional banks and new digital industries is essential. A structure that incorporates new techniques but maintains old values.”

Issues surrounding the level of trust that users must place in the traditional banking system, which has been in decline for several years, was also addressed:

“How can we recover this trust? The idea is to integrate the new with the old in order to write a different history than that of the banks. The idea of trust in central bodies has been present in our reality for a very long time. Just think of what is written on the notes of the Weimar Republic, as reported by Goethe: ‘trust me, believe in me.’”

The former Minister then expressed his opinion regarding Facebook’s Libra project and the relationship between old and new currencies. In his opinion, Libra will forever change the rules of the game as well as the way users think about and use money:

“There will be a transition from old coins to new coins. I believe this to be the case, but I can’t tell you when. I think your children will see a world in which currency will be created differently.”

For the first time, we are discussing a currency that does not necessarily need to be distributed by a state, and this is happening because people have slowly begun to sell portions of their sovereignty:

“In the near future, citizens will sell portions of their sovereignty to top players like Facebook. Because if it is an over-the-top system, we believe that by providing a portion of our identity, we are doing the right thing, because they offer something in return. And so what they have becomes true, and what you have becomes false.”

Tremonti also commented on the news of the imminent launch of a national cryptocurrency by China:

“The world is splitting between the republic of the United States and the digital despotism of China. The Chinese system is all about absolute control. I believe this is a control technique, not a financial technique.”

Cointelegraph finally asked what his opinion was on decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin:

“It’s the future and you cannot stop it. Having said that, Bitcoin does not have a clear legal status, and this is clearly an obstacle. According to accounting rules, it’s an asset you should put on your financial statements. But if it’s an asset that you should put on your financial statements, should VAT be applied when it is sold? It is still an area of ​​great uncertainty.”

Source Cointelegraph

Ukraine Passes Law on Money Laundering With Crypto Policy Based on FATF

The Ukranian government has approved the final version of a money laundering law that will handle virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) per FATF guidelines.

On Dec. 6, the Rada, Ukraine’s legislative body, published a final version of the law that considers virtual assets to be a store of wealth, while also recognizing its potential use in financial crimes, such as money laundering, fraud, and the financing of terrorists.

Applying verification to both sender and receiver

The new law includes some guidelines on how the government intends to monitor and regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies. One of the guidelines focuses on individual crypto transactions worth less than 30,000 hriven ($1,300), from which the government will only collect the public key of the sender for the purpose of financial monitoring. 

However, once the transaction exceeds that amount, the government will apply verification to both sender and receiver. The process will include identity verification, as well as the verification of the nature of the business relationship.

For VASP’s the threshold sits above the 40,000 hryvnya ($1,600) price level. In that case VASP’s should provide the authorities with information when traders are registered in jurisdictions that do not comply with anti-money laundering recommendations, when traders are family members, when traders are foreigners, and when cash transactions occur.

Konstantin Yarmolenko of Blockchain4Ukraine provided Cointelegraph with guidance on Ukrainian law in this sector. 

Binance helps Ukraine to prepare crypto legislation

Major global crypto exchange Binance is reportedly collaborating with Ukrainian authorities to establish cryptocurrency-related legislation in the country. Binance signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine to jointly work on the legal status of cryptocurrencies. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) said in November that the legalization of cryptocurrencies and the adoption of progressive legislation can play a key role in bringing positive growth in the economy as well as attract additional investments.

As part of the agreement, the Ministry and Binance intend to form a working group focused on the strategy of blockchain implementations as well as the creation of “new virtual assets and virtual currencies market in Ukraine.”

Source Cointelegraph

‘Blockchain Is A Rapidly Maturing Technology in China’

Forkast Insights, the research arm of Asia-based Forkast, took an in-depth, comprehensive look at how blockchain technology is integrated in China.

On Dec. 5, Forkast Insights presented its first report on how blockchain is being applied by the Chinese government and companies across the country. According to the report, blockchain technology is rapidly maturing and has a slew of “real-world, practical use cases that are far beyond the experimental stage.”

Forkast Insights included the in-depth analysis and insights from top China-based blockchain insiders, academics, and leaders to see how one of the world’s largest economy is experiencing this innovative technology.

The report takes a closer look at how blockchain implementation in China compares to the rest of the world, how firms use blockchain and how Chinese consumers experience it in their daily lives, how China takes the lead in the blockchain patent race, and how The People’s Bank of China is racing to launch a digital token to challenge the United States dollar, among others.

China on its way to dominate blockchain innovations

In November, Cointelegraph reported that China’s blockchain development will see a compound annual growth rate of 65.7% from 2018 to 2023, and that the technology will exceed $2 billion by the end of 2023.

With China president Xi Jinping’s recent call to embrace blockchain technology, the country is well on its way to take the number one spot in dominating blockchain innovations and overshadow the U.S., which is apparently lagging behind quickly.

Xi identified dozens of practical use cases that should be promoted: loans, health care, anti-counterfeiting, charity and food security, while he emphasized that blockchain development could help China to “gain an edge in the theoretical, innovative and industrial aspects of this emerging field.”

Big leaps for blockchain in China

The adoption of blockchain has found solid ground in China, with the government attaching a high level of importance to the digital economy. The cautious but promising endorsements are signs that the Chinese government is indeed considering further implementation of blockchain technology throughout the country.

Even the Chinese army is now reportedly thinking about using blockchain technology to aid its military, by implementing the technology to reward the workforce and manage personal data.

Source Cointelegraph

Blockchain Startup SpaceChain Sends Wallet Tech to International Space Station

Space-as-a-service-focused blockchain startup SpaceChain has sent its hardware wallet technology to the International Space Station (ISS).

As part of the CRS-19 commercial resupply service mission, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is delivering SpaceChain’s hardware wallet technology to the ISS, according to a Dec. 6 press release. The move purportedly marks the first tech demonstration of blockchain hardware on the ISS and the third blockchain payload by SpaceChain over the past two years.

Acceleration of space-as-a-service adoption

The technology will then be installed on the commercial platform on Station provided by commercial utilization of space firm Nanoracks. The initiative is set to demonstrate the receipt, authorization and retransmission of blockchain-based transactions, creating multi-signature transactions. 

The company believes that “by adding space-based payloads to established networks, businesses will be able to enhance the security of the transmission of digital assets that can be vulnerable to cyberattacks and hacking when hosted exclusively in centralized terrestrial servers.”

In an email to Cointelegraph, SpaceChain confirmed that it is expecting the payload to reach the ISS by Sunday, Dec. 8. After that, the company will begin testing a number of applications including multi-sig authorization of cryptocurrency transactions through the payload. SpaceChain further explained:

“This will be specifically for Bitcoin, however we are planning for this to be extended to other blockchains in the near future as part of our expected roadmap that will see several new launches over the next 18 months. The technology tested on the ISS will be applicable to crypto exchanges, wallets and custodial services that benefit from additional security to their transaction validation process, and we are already working with some of these stakeholders to implement this type of use-case.”

Satellite-powered multi-sig wallet

For the commercial development of its multi-sig wallet, SpaceChain received a 60,000 ($66,400) grant from the European Space Agency, in mid-September. The company explained at the time, the solution is designed to bolster transaction security by requiring two of three private keys to sign and complete transactions.

One of the three signatures is provided by a satellite-based node — although, in the case of connectivity failure, two ground-based signatures can be used to complete the transaction.

In January, blockchain technology company Blockstream announced plans to launch the beta version of its Blockstream Satellite API, designed to help developers broadcast data via the company’s satellite network.

Blockstream’s Bitcoin (BTC) space initiative reportedly aims to free the cryptocurrency’s network from depending on land-based Internet connection and thus increase its robustness.

Source Cointelegraph

Blockchain and 3D Printing Are Reinventing Aerospace Supply Chains

Blockchain, like many other emerging technologies, is enthusiastically touted as a solution to many of the world’s problems. Perhaps because of its relation to cryptocurrency or the narrative prophecies that surround them both, blockchain draws both criticism and praise from a staggering array of sectors.

However, with the big blockchain push from Chinese President Xi Jinping along with many tech, finance and industry giants piloting blockchain implementation, the number of use cases grows with each passing day. While cryptocurrency more often draws ire from the mainstream financial world, it seems that for blockchain, the sky’s the limit — but not for long.

A combination of blockchain and 3D printing for aircraft parts may launch the technology into the stratosphere. Cointelegraph spoke to major players in aerospace, including Ernst & Young’s global blockchain leader about blockchain’s vast potential to impact global business through 3D printing.

Moog Inc. trials blockchain

Man first took to the skies in 1903. Orville Wright, poised at the controls of what now seems a laughably simple aircraft, changed the path of humanity’s progression forever. From that bumpy, unceremonious take-off in a North Carolina field grew a titanic industry that would support humanity’s desire to test the limits of creativity.

In 2019, up to 20,000 planes are in the sky at any one time, and the process of building up and maintaining such a gargantuan fleet of aircraft has been a complex and intricate process. Innovations that improve the performance of planes are widely publicized and play an important role in the profitability of aircraft producers. The market is increasingly crowded and companies are racing to develop breakthroughs before their competitors. Despite this, the industry that has grown around the maintenance of the parts that make up an aircraft remains needlessly complex and stuck in the past.

Based in New York state, aircraft parts manufacturer Moog Inc. is trialing a combination of blockchain and 3D printing that could give a creaking industry the rejuvenation it badly needs. As it stands, aircraft parts undergo a long, expensive and time-consuming journey along a complex supply chain. Rightly subject to strict regulation, with all involved companies requiring certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, the process from design to delivery is slow and can take weeks at a time.

Related: Blockchain Adoption Takes Off in Airlines, Aviation Industry

Moog’s solution to streamline production comes in the form of digital blueprints for aircraft components stored in a distributed ledger and printed by a 3D printer. Through the ambitious project, part orders could be completed in a few hours as opposed to a few weeks. If the trial proves successful, product designs will be ready to go on a blockchain and printed on demand, as opposed to mass-produced and shipped from distant locations when needed.

Like many blockchain projects, the goal is to decentralize industries, speed them up, and increase their security. Rather than a linear path from manufacturer to airport, an order from Air New Zealand, for example, took place via a global network of companies. As part of a pilot test, the airline company placed an order for an in-seat screen on one of their Boeing 777-300s while the flight was mid-way between Auckland and its Los Angeles destination.

The airline team in New Zealand ordered the digital blueprint from Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd. Through Moog’s own Microsoft Azure cloud-hosted blockchain, the order was validated and printed by a 3D printer in Los Angeles. By the time the aircraft touched down in L.A., the part was ready to be installed on-site.

Honeywell also enters the parts trade

Moog is not the only actor in the aerospace sector experimenting with blockchain solutions. Honeywell, another prominent player in aerospace, launched their blockchain platform, GoDirect Trade, last year.

Sathish Muthukrishnan, chief digital and information officer at Honeywell Aerospace, told Cointelegraph that the platform aims to make it easier for airlines, air transport and business aviation customers to access new and used aircraft parts. GoDirect Trade is Honeywell’s in-house solution to the supply chain issues that impede the aerospace industry. Muthukrishnan explained:

“On GoDirect Trade, Honeywell is using blockchain technology to ensure every listing includes images and quality documents for the exact part being offered for sale, giving the buyer confidence about purchasing the part. In addition, every part on GoDirect Trade is immediately available for sale and shipping.”

According to Muthukrishnan, blockchain can not only be used to help supply new parts after a piece has broken or worn out, but also to crack down on poor quality or counterfeit parts entering the market:

“We are working to create a digital engine log book that would revolutionize the way maintenance on an aircraft engine is tracked. We are also nearing the launch of a new partnership that would leverage our blockchain to greatly reduce the possibility of counterfeit aircraft parts hitting the open market. It is worth noting that blockchain can improve traceability throughout the entire value stream of making a certified part, not just the 3D-printing aspect.”

For Muthukrishnan, the cumulative efforts to implement the technology at Honeywell are an attempt to engineer a greater connection between 3D printing and blockchain:

“We see all our efforts in blockchain to date as building blocks to connect blockchain to 3D printing and additive manufacturing. While we can’t go into specifics into how we’re doing this right now, we believe there is strong potential for both Honeywell and the aerospace industry in connecting additive manufacturing and blockchain. The aerospace industry has the potential to benefit from a combination of 3D-printed parts and blockchain technology.”

Ernst & Young Global blockchain lead passionate about 3D printing

For many, the fate of blockchain and crypto are intertwined. With critics fiercely divided over both technologies as a whole, it’s hard to keep track of how far along development and adoption has progressed, if at all. But a milestone development in the last 18 months has been the increased interest and experimentation from institutional entities.

The foray into the sphere by industry giants is not limited to stablecoins and over-the-counter trading. Paul Brody, Ernst & Young’s global blockchain leader, confessed to Cointelegraph that 3D printing is a personal passion of his.

Brody has both worked on a number of key reports and given speeches on the topic. In a conversation with Cointelegraph, he said that he believes there are a number of actionable use cases for the technology regarding 3D printing and intellectual property rights:

“Early on there was some misconception that blockchain could be used to protect IP, and that’s not quite correct. Blockchain is a great tool for distributing, managing, and paying (or being paid) for sharing IP, but it’s not an anti-piracy tool. The way I have to see 3D printing is that it is the manufacturing equivalent of general purpose computing. In the world of General Purpose Computing, any computer can pretty much do most tasks (like the cloud). With 3D printing, we are gradually getting towards something that looks like a manufacturing cloud — and a distributed one.”

For Brody, the massive leaps that humanity made during the industrial revolution are a useful example to learn from when assessing realistic expectations for emerging technology in the modern world. For example, Brody outlined that great industrial breakthroughs like the steam engine needed information technology to scale. The rail and telegraph systems are another perfect combination. He added:

“3D printers will enable distributed manufacturing, and in principle, I believe distributed computing will go hand in hand with that for scaling. From designs to manufacturing to payment, 3D printers are likely to become smart, connected devices in IoT networks. I think you will be able to purchase designs, raw materials, and printing capacity through blockchains and then access networks of distributed manufacturing systems, as one example.”

It’s no secret that blockchain is subject to criticism, as any emerging technology rightly should be. Aside from scalability and the huge amount of energy required to power the technology, perhaps the most important concern is the cost of its implementation.

Brody outlined his view to Cointelegraph that while the cost may seem prohibitive to businesses at present, the fact that most 3D printers are already equipped with the smart technology necessary to connect to blockchains means that over time, the associated financial burden will shrink and decentralized networks will grow:

“In aggregate, blockchain-based systems are likely to be cheaper than centralized systems in the long-run as smart devices do more to manage themselves and depend less on centralized servers. The stage is still a ways off because the overall blockchain infrastructure is still not very mature, but given that most 3D printers are already smart devices, connecting them to blockchains will not be too hard.”

Although EY and a number of other industry leaders are actively exploring blockchain, Brody admits that, as of yet, there is no overwhelming demand to combine blockchain and 3D printing. Nonetheless, Brody thinks that “we’re getting very close on the public blockchain side to the point where adding blockchain interactions to 3D printing systems is easy enough that it can start to scale.”

For Brody, 3D printing is something that has the power to empower business and diversify industry. Having worked on a number of detailed reports for both IBM and EY on 3D printing, Brody emphasized that a new swathe of businesses are only a short while away from being able to implement the technology — a move which could drastically change the economic environment:

“I believe that 3D printing, as it matures, will have a tremendous impact on industries.”

Source Cointelegraph

Bank for International Settlements Exec Shows New Fondness for CBDCs

General manager at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Agustin Carstens seems to have changed his negative stance towards central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), now stating that such currencies could open up new possibilities.

In his speech entitled “The future of money and the payment system: what role for central banks?” published on Dec. 5, Carstens dug into central banks’ approach to emerging technologies in regards to building more efficient and inclusive financial systems.

Wholesale and retail CBDCs

Carstens said that the introduction of retail CBDCs — which are available to the general public, including businesses and consumers — could bring serious changes to the financial sector by opening up new possibilities when it comes to the 24/7 availability of payments, different degrees of anonymity, and peer-to-peer transfers.

He continued noting that wholesale CBDCs — where the network participants are financial institutions — could be made compatible with the provision of central bank settlement liquidity. Wholesale CBDCs would not raise difficult financial footprint issues as they would be largely restricted to institutions that already use central bank deposits, according to Carstens.

Unlike wholesale CBDCs, retail versions would raise a range of concerns such as the designation of entities  responsible for the enforcement of know-your-customer and anti-money laundering regulations, Carstens outlined.

CBDCs’ negative impact on the financial system

In late March, Carstens was not so positive about CBDCs, when he advised against the issuance of such currencies. Carstens argued then that a CBDC could facilitate a bank run, enabling people to move their funds from commercial banks to central bank accounts faster, thus destabilizing the system.

At the time, he also noted that there are enormous operational consequences for the central bank in the implementation of monetary policy and the traditional market’s stability.Carstens stated: “Central banks do not put a brake on innovations just for the sake of it. But neither should they speed ahead disregarding all traffic conditions.”

Meanwhile, a number of countries are exploring the issue of the development of a digitized national currency, including China, France and Ghana, among others.

Source Cointelegraph