Blockchain Coalition, Universal Protocol Alliance, Launches The First Tradeable Carbon Token

The Universal Protocol Alliance (UPA) has launched the first tradeable carbon token, according to a press release shared with BEG. This group comprises prominent players in the blockchain industry, including Bittrex Global, Uphold, Infinigold, Certik, and Ledger. UPA’s goal is to eventually digitize or tokenize every asset class in preparation for a new era of finance.

The newly introduced tradeable carbon token is dubbed ‘UPCO2’, represents a year of carbon dioxide or a similar reduction from ‘Verra-approved REDD+ voluntary projects in the world’s rainforests.’ This new carbon token is available for trading on the Uphold digital asset platform and marks the first of its kind to trade in a public blockchain ecosystem.

Democratizing the Global Carbon Market

Recent years have seen the demand for carbon skyrocket as the world became more environmentally aware of pollution’s looming risks. According to World Bank stats, the need for carbon credits is currently more than its supply by close to 4 times. Universal Protocol Alliance is among the groups that are presently working to offset this gap.

The UPCO2 token is built to democratize carbon demand and supply by introducing a global playing field for clearing prices, just like other commodities, including gold and oil. Each UPCO2 token will be backed by a Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU), while Verra will issue the same certificate. This is the standard International Agency that permits the conversion of greenhouse gas to tradeable carbon credits.

Mathew Le Merle, the chairman of UPA, explained that supporting projects through credit purchases prevents deforestation in areas like the Amazon and Congo Basin. He went on to highlight the value proposition of UPCO2 carbon token as an asset of the ‘future’ investor,

“For a new generation of investors looking for more than mere financial return, UPCO2 offers attractive social, economic, and environmental benefits. At a key moment for climate change, UPCO2 allows people worldwide to do good for the planet and potentially do well for themselves.”

A Lucrative Macroeconomic Outlook

In the future, there is a likelihood that combating climate change will be among the dominant discussion points across the globe. World Bank stats indicate that only 22% of emissions are compensated for by humanity; meanwhile, the percentage of countries that operate in regulated carbon markets has grown from 40% to 70% within the past four years.

Uphold CEO and Co-founder of the UP Alliance, JP Thieriot, emphasized this trend noting the underlying potential of the UPCO2 carbon token,

“Combating climate change is likely to become the dominant economic issue of the next 20 years.  The UPCO2 Token allows people everywhere to participate in this hugely important – and potentially lucrative – new market, as well as do the right thing for the planet.”

Notably, the Voluntary Credit Units offer some perks compared to the regulated credits, including global recognition and the ability to retain value until used or retired as compensation for carbon footprints.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

VeChain Joins China Animal Health and Food Safety Alliance (CAFA)

VeChain has joined the China Animal Health and Food Safety Alliance (CAFA) as one of its council members and will be providing them technical and infrastructural support.

The enterprise friendly public blockchain platform, VeChain will help in “building a from-farm-to-table traceability system across the entire country.”

Established in 2009, CAFA, a government-backed organization that comes under the Chinese National Agricultural Science Technology Innovation Alliance, already has over 130 members that aim to build a platform that connects the government, producers, research institutes, and food industry associations.

Members of CAFA

Launched in 2015, VeChain has been working with several enterprises including Walmart China, BMW, BYD Auto, Haier, H&M, LVMH, D.I.G, ENN, AWS, PICC, and ASI, providing a governance structure and IoT integration.

Here, through VeChain ToolChain, all the members of the alliance will be able to log key processes of food products on blockchain in an immutable and secure manner.

VeChain launched ToolChain in 2019, a “scalable and easy-to-implement technology” that allows business owners to integrate the public blockchain VeChainThor into existing business processes.

VeChain ToolChain has also collaborated with Walmart China Food Traceability Platform and Foodgates through its built-in and ready-to-use customizable tools to enable foot enterprises to quickly achieve the “full lifecycle traceability for their supply chains” at a controllable cost.

In line with CAFA’s vision to provide “consumers with safe, high-quality and healthy food of animal origin,” traceability can start from cultivation covering processing, packaging, logistics, retail, and more. The official announcement states,

“Positioned as the enabler for the real economy, VeChain continues to promote exponential mass adoption of blockchain technology and drive tangible value for businesses.”

In response to this partnership, the 25th largest crypto by market cap of $890 million, VET jumped over 16% in value to $0.014. According to one trader, if the digital asset makes a HL, VET can see another 25% uptrend.

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Author: AnTy

Anheuser-Busch InBev, ING Bank, & Rolls Royce Join Mousebelt’s Blockchain Education Alliance

Blockchain Education Alliance, an initiative by Mousebelt, has gained four new significant members according to an announcement by the blockchain accelerator on August 17. They include margin crypto trading platform Multi.io, Rolls Royce, Belgium brewing firm Anheuser-Busch InBev and Dutch-based ING bank.

The project whose fundamental goal is to accelerate blockchain education and research now has 26 members following this addition. Having launched in October 2019, pioneer members included ETC Labs, Nem, LTO Network, Harmony One, Wanchain, ICON, Tron, and the Stellar Development Foundation. It was not long before the initiative attracted the likes of Binance, Mastercard, KuCoin crypto exchange, and Constellation Labs onboard as well.

With such players already approving the Blockchain Education Alliance strategy, some of its milestones include a 72-hour live blockchain education event that was held in May. This virtual conference was dubbed ‘REIMAGINE 2020’ and featured networking events, panel and debates, and a continuous livestream of the keynotes.

Given the prevailing lockdowns at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, REIMAGINE 2020 attracted students from various universities, giving them exposure to cutting edge tech like blockchain as well as an opportunity to meet with the industry veterans. Mousebelt’s head of Education, Ashlie Meredith, further pointed out that they are looking to nature skills given the looming uncertainty in the global economy,

“In a time when many students will not be returning to campus, increasing opportunities for educational experiences, jobs and internships is of utmost importance.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Chicago DeFi Alliance Welcomes New Members To Prop Up Liquidity in Decentralized Finance Startups

Chicago DeFi Alliance welcomes 11 new members, including a decentralized lending platform, Aave, Three Arrows Capital, and ParaFi. The Alliance now focused on forming a network of partnerships between the traditional finance institutions and DeFi startups to provide solutions to liquidity sourcing problems within the decentralized finance market.

The high profile additions to the Alliance comes at a time that the DeFi space is expanding rapidly with the total locked value in DeFi apps recently crossing the $2 billion mark according to DeFi Pulse.

DeFi lending platform, Aave, joins Chicago DeFi Alliance

According to the official statement on Medium, the new members in CDA include Aave, Three Arrow Capital, Gauntlet, QCP Capital, Framework Ventures, Ledger Prime, Jon Kol, Manna Research, Autonomy, Fractal Wealth and Silicon Valley VC ParaFi.

The fast rise of CDA is evident with the addition of these top tier firms into its ranks. Aave is a fast-growing lending platform that allows the user to earn interest on their deposits and place collateral to receive decentralized loans. The DeFi platform is currently the fifth-largest DeFi app, according to DeFi Pulse, with a total value of $170 million in assets locked.

Asset liquidity plays a significant role in Aave’s business structure, and joining CDA will allow the protocol to align and learn from traditional finance liquidity providers and creating its liquidity base. Earlier in the month, BEG reported the firm is partnering with OpenLaw to offer under-collateralized loans to borrowers in a bid to boost liquidity on the platform.

The first cohort of CDA a success!

The Chicago DeFi Alliance is the brainchild of Volt Capital alongside Jump Capital, TD Ameritrade, Cumberland DRW, and CMT Digital, who aim at providing solutions to help DeFi platforms in complex digital asset trading operations, liquidity sourcing and navigating regulation issues.

Since launch in April, the firm has hosted several startups with the first cohort of companies recently completing their six-week program. The first companies to join CDA include trading exchanges such as dYdX, 0x, IDEX, Opyn, Token Sets, Synthetix, and Kyber Network.

The program was a success hosting one-one and roundtable discussions between each DeFi start-up and liquidity providers/trading firms. This allows the startups to build a network connection with industry-leading players in liquidity providence.

So far, CDA has over 70 members from different areas of finance, including “trading firms, and service providers in the legal, tax, accounting, and audit areas.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

New EEA Exec to Extend Membership to All Projects Utilizing the Ethereum Blockchain; Including DeFi

  • Enterprise Ethereum Alliance hires Daniel Burnett, a former Blockchain standards Architect at ConsenSys, to pick up the reins as the new EEA head.
  • The EEA top brass all seem to agree that alliances should be able to accommodate all the companies that leverage Ethereum to carry out their core businesses.

News has just emerged that the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, the business-oriented wing of Ethereum, has onboarded Daniel C. Burnett in the capacity of Executive Director. With the former EAA head – Ron Resnick – opting out, with an intent to focus on the Interwork Alliance token initiative.

Formerly working at ConsenSys, an Ethereum solution centered provider, the incapacity of Blockchain Standards architect, Burnett intends to extend the EEA’s purview to accommodate the Decentralized Finance realm.

In his opinion, all those whose core businesses revolve around the utilization of Ethereum should join in the EAA, citing both crypto exchanges and tooling vendors. He, however, wasn’t keen to mention what kind of framework that would come in play to regulate the lucrative DeFi sector swells now locking in amounts north of $2Billion.

Other EAA top brass seems to share the same sentiment with John Wheelan, the Digital Investment Banking lead at Banco Santander, also doubling as EAA Board chair citing that it is about time to onboard companies leveraging Ethereum infrastructure.

Regardless of the size of companies involved, he remains optimistic that the EAA could morph into an industry leader, collaborating with financial watchdogs once the DeFi realm fully integrates with legacy financial systems.

Meanwhile, Ethereum is trading at $246.68 and has been ranked second by Coinmarketcap with a market cap of $27,549,985,644. Coinmarketcap has since recorded trading volumes of $9,672,108,271 in the last 24 hours, with 111,682,816 ETH in circulation as per this writing.

Highly Anticipated Eth2.0

Firms currently leveraging the Ethereum Ecosystem have started gearing up in preparation for the new Ethereum update, dubbed Eth 2.0, that will migrate the Blockchain’s PoW approach to PoS in a bid to mitigate scalability crunches.

ConsenSys backed Codefi recently launched an Enterprise focused staking project for ETH 2.0 staking-as-a-service platform test run that comprises of several crypto bigshots: Binance, Crypto.com, Huobi Wallet, Trustology, MaxiPort, and DARMA Capital. The involved parties are to offer feedback on the several components on the platform during the testing phase.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Chinese Internet Giant Arm, Tencent Cloud, Looks to Form A 100-Member Blockchain Alliance

Tencent’s cloud computing arm venture is bringing together a 100-member blockchain alliance to further blockchain implementation and find new real-world use cases of the decentralized technology.

The news was first published on June 4th, revealing that the 100-member blockchain association would comprise of in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions, en­ter­prises, in­dus­try me­dia, in­vest­ment or­gan­i­za­tions, think tanks, and ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions.

The blockchain alliance would collaborate to establish blockchain standards, while also formulating new use cases for industrial use. The alliance will consist of three critical committees, namely a blockchain stan­dards com­mit­tee, a tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee, and a com­mer­cial ecosys­tem com­mit­tee.

The blockchain standards committee would be responsible for working with federal regulators and blockchain enterprises to derive a common standard for blockchain development.

The technical committee, as the name suggests, would take care of everything technical, be it planning of various products and applications on the blockchain and creation of new technology-based on the blockchain.

The commercial ecosystem committee would look after commercial aspects, such as supply and demand, and other commercial needs.

Tencent has become one of the leading tech firms in China, with multiple subsidiaries focused on different fields of internet and technology. Tencent has also emerged as the leading investor in blockchain technology, among many other tech giants of China. The company has announced that it will invest $70 billion over the next five years towards emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, and Fintech.

Tencent’s aggressive approach towards blockchain can be understood from the fact that China has made it clear that they want to remain at the forefront of the blockchain race. They are already conducting trials for their national CBDC when a majority of the other countries are only on the drawing board.

Tencent, along with other tech giants like Alibaba have also invested significantly in the blockchain space.

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Author: James W

Chainlink, IBM, ING, Microsoft, NASDAQ, and R3 Among First to Join InterWork Alliance

Top financial and blockchain industry companies have formed the InterWork Alliance (IWA) in a bid to standardize the business and enterprise tokenization market.

The alliance launched as a platform-neutral, non-profit organization, aiming to “create standard frameworks to boost the overall innovation and development of tokenized ecosystems.

At launch, the IWA comprised a total of 28 companies including traditional financial institutions such as NASDAQ, UBS, and R3; technological heavyweights such as Microsoft and IBM and blockchain companies including Accenture, Chainlink and Hyperledger.

Here is the full list:

InterWork Alliance

A New Tokenization Standard

Over the past decade, the tokenization of assets has exploded, disrupting the global economy. But the privatization of this process may stall the wide-scale adoption of these assets. The IWA aims to solve this by developing a ‘standard way’ to create these tokens before selecting a platform to station your project.

InterWork Alliance President, Ron Resnick said:

“The Alliance can deliver a proven, standard approach that is required to bring consumer trust into this space.”

The standards set by the Alliance will govern the creation of distributed assets, dApps, build frameworks to tokenize traditional assets, writing contracts over these tokens and maintain security/privacy of user data.

Marley Gray, principal architect, Microsoft, and the InterWork Alliance Chairman also added:

“The IWA provides a forum where industry participants can take real-world use cases as diverse as improving carbon market efficiency or trade finance efficiency, and use the technology-agnostic token and contract definitions to foster interoperability and drive widespread adoption – that’s the big picture of what we need to do in the Alliance.”

The IWA Framework on Tokenization

The IWA will have three key levels of framework implementation:

First, the Alliance will focus on the “The Token Taxonomy Framework” which provides a universal language to define a token and what it entails.

Secondly, “The InterWork Framework” is the layer that would allow businesses to implement multiparty contracts (MPC), enabling communication between them even if they choose a different blockchain to deploy.

Finally, “The Analytics Framework” enables businesses to fully leverage the market data from the system while enhancing the highest levels of privacy and data security.

The IWA has received several commendations from top firms, including the World Economic Forum (WEF). Sheila Warren, head of Blockchain and Data Policy, and member of the Executive Committee, WEF, said,

“Endeavors that provide platform-independent opportunities for businesses to focus on how to define the token models and contracts they need like the InterWork Alliance does, are both timely and important.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Chicago DeFi Alliance Announces Seven Startups to Benefit from Its Mentorship Program

  • The Chicago DeFi Alliance, which launched this April, announces its first cohort from hundreds of top blockchain firms’ and startups’ applications from Chicago on Monday.
  • The Alliance seek to mentor budding DeFi startups in the Chicago jurisdiction that boasts of huge contributions to DeFi sphere globally.

News has now emerged that Chicago DeFi Alliance has accepted its first cohort of startups. The Alliance unveiled in April that it had received over 100 applicants for the first group according to a report by CDA partner CMT digital.

“We are excited to work with the founders in the CDA’s initial cohort and we look forward to mentoring as well as learning from these teams.”

A number of industry titans in the DeFi sphere collaborated to consolidate efforts to mentor local startups. The dream team consists of CMT digital, Volt Capital, Jump Capital, Cumberland and DRW announced the joint venture on April 7th 2020 to boost the growth of DeFi startups in Chicago through guidance and meaningful support linking the startups with experts with vast experience in trading and applicable regulations. The startups that qualified for the first cohort are:

  • dYdX
  • IDEX
  • 0x
  • Set Protocol
  • Kyber Network
  • Synthetix

The founding partner of CDA – CMT digital – launched in 2014, and represents the Blockchain arm of the larger CMT group. The CMT group is a dominant player in the investment markets, having been active for about 20 years.

CMT digital has, in the past, been involved in funding big shot crypto firms: Coinbase, BlockFi, Silvergate Bank and even Bakkt. Their investment strategy has been to support projects, whose scope overlaps with infrastructure crucial to supporting digital assets.

CMT digital was involved in a Series A funding round this February alongside Jack Dorsey’s Square and Pantera. Raising up to $14 million for Transparent Financial Systems a Seattle based startup developing a decentralized compensation settlement system.

Chicago’s Contribution to DeFi

Chicago has a high standing in the financial world for its groundbreaking innovations, reflecting at least a fifth of the global derivatives markets. The report by CMT digital shed light into the 4.9 billion that Chicago based exchanges generated in annual global derivatives trading volumes in the 2017 financial year.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Proof of Stake Alliance Proposes New Guidelines That PoS Networks Should Follow

Industry advocacy alliance, Proof of Stake Alliance (POSA), is set to release a number of recommended standards that firms involved in proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus will follow in order to lessen the regulatory hurdles posed to various networks.

According to the alliance, they held consultative talks with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the start of the year to talk more candidly in regards to their proposals and also give out their white paper that contains various industry recommendations.

The alliance brings together some of the major industry players such as Polychain, Cardano Foundation, Tezos, Coinbase as well as Bison Trails.

The alliance is seeking to enhance the use of proof-of-stake (PoS) protocols which succeeded Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW), as it is perceived as highly scalable and efficient.

The meetings with the SEC were conducted in February and were meant to explain to the regulator how PoS technology works and how the regulatory framework could work.

According to POSA founder and President, Evan Weiss, the members were extremely impressed that the SEC took the time to understand the concept of staking and how it can be successful in the US. Weiss stated that the discussion brings an opportunity for the alliance and the regulator to learn from one other.

Weiss explained:

“We’re coming out with some industry-driven solutions around staking as a service which we believe will really help push the ecosystem forward and ensure that staking as a service and staking can grow in the U.S. without being subject to some regulatory landmines and hurdle.”

According to Coinbase’s product manager, Bryce Ferguson, it is essential that industry players engage in an open discussion with the relevant authorities and regulators. He also stated that it is imperative that staking service providers adhere to various standards. He added that it is only through acting as a group that Proof of Stake will succeed.

According to the announcement, Cosmos (ATOM), as well as Tezos (XTZ), were used as proof of stake examples that are already live.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

IBM, Mastercard, R3 Join Data Privacy Project, ToIP; Launched by the Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation has engaged in the ToIP Foundation project, which is a new cross-industry alliance looking to provide the safe exchange of internet data.

The announcement was made on Tuesday. The ToIP coalition includes many nonprofits and governments in the industries of healthcare, finance and enterprise software. Its founding members are IBM Security, Mastercard and Accenture, all members of the blockchain R3 consortium, which also includes the online platform for lending Kiva and the University of Arkansas. Another R3 consortium founding member is also the Province of British Colombia.

Secure and Privacy-Preserving Ecosystems

The R3’s head of digital identity, Abbas Ali, explained how the R3 is very committed to develop secure and digital identity privacy-preserving ecosystem. He noted how the R3 open source blockchain platform known as Corda can unlock the transactions labeled as private. Here are his exact words on this:

“Our Corda platform is designed to enable private transactions, and by incorporating the work of the ToIP Foundation, we can develop solutions uniquely suitable for self-sovereignty in the digital world.”

However, Corda won’t be implemented within the ToIP. Ali had this to say about the matter:

“R3 is supporting the industry initiative and ensuring Corda works with the standards that are coming out of the ToIP foundation/standards that are being defined or set by ToIP.”

The Internet Was Missing a Digital Trust Layer

Jim Zemlin, the executive director at the Linux Foundation, said the new initiative is trying to ensure the data exchange is verifiable and that the digital identity exchange takes place at a whole new level. He added that the ToIP’s Foundation’s mission is to provide the digital trust layer missing on the internet, while triggering a new era of possibilities.

In other words, ToIP plans to help businesses manage and protect their data or digital assets in a very complex enterprise environment that involves the use of systems such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital identity models using credentials and interoperable digital wallets are going to be employed for this. There are many protocols and initiatives trying to solve the matter of digital privacy, not to mention some experts believe the blockchain didn’t deliver too much when it comes to this issue.

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Author: Oana Ularu