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Blockchain in Action : Round-up of blockchain stories from Dec 2017

So 2017 is over, and it has been an action packed year for blockchain. I started publishing a monthly round-up of Blockchain in Action from June 2017, and I can say that the number of stories of blockchain in action has only increased with very interesting use cases and applications. In this post, I am sharing a curated list of the stories from Dec 2017.


UBS leads blockchain data reporting pilot ahead of new EU rules

Financial companies led by Swiss bank UBS (UBSG.S) are testing a blockchain platform to help them comply with new European Union trade data standards due to come into force next year. The more stringent requirements are part of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, an overhaul of EU rules aimed at improving financial market transparency.


Australian stock exchange to move to blockchain

Australia's main stock exchange has said it will become the first global market to use the technology behind Bitcoin to clear and settle trades. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) will replace its current clearing system with blockchain technology. The new system has been in development and testing for more than two years and aims to cut the cost of transactions, and make them faster and more secure.


Net Element Launches Business Unit Focused on Blockchain Technology

Net Element, Inc., a global financial technology and value-added solutions group that supports electronic payments acceptance in an omni-channel environment spanning across point-of-sale (POS), e-commerce and mobile devices, announced the launch of a blockchain-focused business unit. Net Element's stock rose as much as 300% on Tuesday following the news.


Central Banks Will Add Cryptocurrencies to Reserves, Says CEO

Central banks around the world will hold cryptocurrencies as part of their reserves, and several monetary authorities could issue their own cryptocurrencies in 2018, says Blockchain CEO Peter Smith. Such a move would give the green light to a wider adoption of cryptocurrencies, suggesting they might become a recognized part of the broader Forex market, which includes fiat money.


France to allow blockchain for trading unlisted securities

The French government opened the way on Friday for trading unlisted securities using blockchain digital ledgers with the adoption of new rules aimed at improving Paris’ image as a center for financial innovation. The new rules mean that banks and fintech companies can set up blockchain platforms where unlisted securities can trade instantly, cutting out middlemen like brokers and custodian banks.


‘Microraiden’ Payment Channels Go Live on Ethereum Network

A streamlined version of the Raiden payments channel network has been launched on the main Ethereum blockchain. The idea behind the project, which is a simpler take on the still-in-development Raiden network, is to provide a mechanism for micropayments similar to bitcoin's Lightning network. Like Lightning, Raiden is envisioned as a way to scale the ethereum network by building a second layer that would exist above the blockchain.


Aruba Looks to Ethereum to Boost Tourism

Aruba is working with Swiss startup Winding Tree on a blockchain solution to disintermediate travel agencies such as Expedia and Priceline and connect tourists directly with travel suppliers.  If successful, it would be the first fully implemented blockchain-based marketplace for travel.


Venezuelan President Announces 'Petro' Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has announced a new cryptocurrency amid an economic crisis and a plunge in the value of the bolivar, the country's national currency. According to Reuters, Maduro made the announcement during a Christmas television special, stating that the as-yet-to-be-launched cryptocurrency would be backed by commodity reserves, including oil.


Sony Moves to Blockchain For Education Data

Sony is unleashing a new patent application with the use of Blockchain as part of its educational platform. The Japanese conglomerate highlights how their technology upgrades create a new high that is helpful to building society. The announcement of Sony teaming up with IBM last August created a huge buzz as they integrate Blockchain technology with an educational platform.


Blockchains Are Forever? Diamond Giant De Beers Unveils DLT Strategy

One of the world's most well-known diamond companies is getting into blockchain by investing in an asset tracking platform. De Beers, its chief executive announced today, is planning to use the tech in a bid to boost transparency across the diamond supply chain. The firm, the world's largest miner of diamonds, says it wants to use the tracking platform in order to rebuild trust in the diamond distribution process – as well as alleviate concerns over money laundering and the broader trafficking of conflict diamonds.


Moscow Government Open-Sources Blockchain Voting Tool

The government of Moscow is pushing ahead with plans to test blockchain for use in local voting initiatives. Last year, officials from Moscow's government told local media that they were looking into the technology in a bid to reduce the risk of fraud when people are voting on city management issues. The possible use would come as part of its "Active Citizen" e-government project, constituting one of several areas in which blockchain is being explored.


Nokia Trials Blockchain in Bid to Secure Health Data

Finnish communications giant Nokia has announced a new blockchain pilot aimed at developing new ways to store healthcare data. In a press release on its website, Nokia announced that it had begun the project with OP Financial Group. One hundred participants are taking part in a bid to test how they could store and share their health data while also enjoying a degree of privacy around that information.


MUFG, NTT Data Trial Blockchain for Cross-Border Trade

Japanese firms Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and NTT Data announced yesterday the launch of a blockchain proof-of-concept aimed to foster trade between Singapore and Japan. With participation from Singapore's National Trade Platform (NTP), the cross-border pilot is being designed to ease international trade flows in a "secure and transparent" way by connecting digital platforms in the two countries using blockchain.


Encyclopedia Blockchainica: Wikipedia Co-Founder to Disrupt His Own Creation

Dr. Larry Sanger has been an outspoken critic of the online encyclopedia he helped found for some time, but his latest move, joining venture-backed startup Everipedia as its chief information officer shows just how serious he is about disrupting the model. Revealed today alongside news of Sanger's hire, Everipedia is moving the entire process of approving articles, making edits and storing information to the EOS blockchain.


Saudi, UAE Central Banks Team Up to Test Cryptocurrency

The central banks of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are reportedly launching a pilot initiative that will see the two institutions test a new cryptocurrency for cross-border payments. Regional news sources such as The National and Gulf Digital News report that Mubarak Rashid al-Mansouri, the UAE central bank's governor, unveiled the initiative at a meeting of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).


Walmart, Back Blockchain Food Tracking Effort in China

Retail giants Walmart and are among several companies backing a new blockchain effort in China focused on food safety and traceability. Along with Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies and IBM, the four parties have created the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance, which will seek to connect businesses along the food supply chain within the world's most populous country.


Japanese Shipping Giant, IBM to Trial Blockchain in Cross-Border Trade

Japanese shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and partners including IBM are to undertake a blockchain proof-of-concept looking to streamline international trade flows. According to the company's statement, the "demonstration test" will see real-time trade transactions made using a blockchain-based application. The project will see trade agreements, logistics and insurance documents, and more, digitized, stored and shared among participants, bringing a number of benefits over traditional trade systems.


Denmark Could Tap Blockchain For Foreign Aid Delivery, Says Report

Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a new report that explores how blockchain might be used in the distribution of foreign aid. The study, prepared in conjunction with blockchain startup Coinify and Sustania, a think tank, is a bid to explore the ways in which the technology can help deliver assistance to impoverished regions. It's an area that has attracted interest from a number of public-sector organizations, including the United Nations, which used ethereum as a means to deliver aid to thousands of refugees in a pilot program earlier this year.


Intel Sees Role for 'Blockchain Mining' in Genetic Sequencing

A new patent application from Intel suggests that the tech giant is looking at ways to utilize the energy expended during cryptocurrency mining for the sequencing of genetic data. In the patent application, first filed June 2016 and released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, inventors Ned Smith and Rajesh Poornachandran describe a type of computer called a sequence mining platform (SMP) which would identify the order or nucleobases in a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA). The patent application notes that the SMP would use a nucleobase sequencing unit to actually establish the order of nucleobases in a given sample, which would then be verified by the blockchain before being permanently recorded on it.


Boeing Eyes Blockchain in Bid to Fight GPS Spoofing

A new patent filing from Boeing suggests that the aircraft manufacturing giant is looking at how blockchain can help protect in-flight GPS receivers. In a patent application released last Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the developer of the world’s most popular airliner details an "onboard backup and anti-spoofing GPS system" that would be used if a plane's primary system becomes unreliable or non-functioning. According to the application, blockchain data would be used as a backup record of information in the event that the anti-spoofing system detects potential trouble.


And here's hoping that 2018 is the year when things should get bigger and grander in the blockchain world!

NOTE: Content in this post has been curated from the links referenced in the article


Blockchain in Action : Round-up of blockchain stories from Nov 2017

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