KPMG Reveals Blockchain-Based Climate Accounting Infrastructure for Greenhouse Gas Reporting

KPMG, an international accounting giant, has launched a blockchain-based solution for tracking climate emissions. The new blockchain-based system is called Climate Accounting Infrastructure (CAI), which would enable big organizations and companies to monitor their carbon emission and offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change has been one of the most critical issues in recent times. Major firms and organizations have come together to monitor and decrease their respective organizations’ carbon footprint.

The CAI blockchain solution would store environmental data in a financial system that could be utilized by the partner firms to meet their Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) targets.

CAI can be integrated with a company’s existing systems with external data sources, which would record its emissions. The data would be recorded on the blockchain system to ensure secure storage.

KPMG partnered with data provenance and tracking providers Context Labs and Prescriptive Data, and the blockchain firm Allinfra, on the product side. Context Labs is responsible for enriching organizations’ emission data, matching it with environmental context, and later recording and certifying the data on the blockchain system.

Arun Ghosh, the head of KPMG’s U.S. blockchain, commented on the launch of their new blockchain-based system and how it would ensure greater transparency. He said,

“As investors broaden their focus beyond financial factors to include ESG practices, organizations are increasing efforts to reducing carbon footprints, alongside transparent disclosure of progress.”

How Would CAI Help Organizations Become More Environment Friendly?

The blockchain-based CAI solution would help organizations comply with the latest environmental regulations and model the impacts and risks based on their business model with real-time data.

Climate change is real, and many big tech firms with large carbon footprints have pledged to bring it down to zero in the near future. With the rising earth’s temperature and melting glaciers, discussions around climate change have become the need of the hour. And Blockchain is definitely going to help in enhancing and furthering that goal with properties such as transparency and accountability.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Contour Trade Finance Platform Backed by HSBC Launches; Reducing LC Processing Time by 90%

Contour, a blockchain-based trade finance platform, has gone live after a successful beta testing phase. The trade finance platform aims to optimize the traditional financial system by digitizing them and putting them on a blockchain. The trade finance platform is backed by 8 major banks, including HSBC, Citi, ING, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC, Standard Chartered, and SEB.

The platform was launched back in 2017 as Voltron built on top of the R3s Corda Platform. The platform promise to ease up the slow bureaucratic process for several institutions and companies via a global blockchain network. HSBC tweeted about the official launch of the platform and said,

“We’re excited to announce the world’s first global, decentralized, digital trade finance platform using #Blockchain technology has gone live this week to coincide with #Sibos2020:”

However, it is also important to note that the network is a private blockchain that would be exclusively available for partner companies for data sharing. Thus, even though HSBC’s tweet calls the platform a decentralized network, it is not centralized in the traditional sense.

How Would Contour Optimize Traditional Trade Finance?

After its launch, the first goal for Contour would be to optimize the letter of credit (LC) process among parties, which, on average, takes 10 days to process currently. With Contour’s blockchain system, the time consumed for processing would be reduced by 1/10th, taking around 24 hours.

Contour would develop a rulebook and membership agreement system, which would allow for the reduction of processing time by 90%.

Carl Wegner, the CEO of the platform, explained how the rulebook would help in optimizing the process and said,

“The rulebook is really important. Rather than having to string together four or five different legal agreements between the buyer, seller, buyer’s banks, and seller’s banks, which was very onerous, we now have a rulebook which makes it very easy for everybody to sign up and know what their roles and responsibilities are.”

With the official launch of the platform, all the existing members would migrate to the main net. However, it is unclear how many other members are on the platform apart from the official partners.

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Author: James W

USPS Patents A Blockchain-Based Mail-In Voting System Despite President Trump’s Critics

The United States Postal Service (USPS) might have a blockchain-based plan for the U.S mail-in voting suggestion. According to a patent made public by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office on August 13, the USPS had filled an intellectual property application for a blockchain ecosystem dubbed ‘Secure Voting System’ back in February.

Interestingly, this development coincides with President’s Trump recent sentiments towards shutting down the USPC, a move that could ultimately stall mail-in voting.

The USPS patent features blockchain as a fundamental tech that will serve as a means towards a ‘trustworthy’ 2020 election in the U.S. Ideally, this blockchain voting ecosystem should leverage the aspects of reliability and security to enhance voting logistics as well as data transmission and storage of the same. The patent notes that registered voters will receive a computer-readable code, which in turn ought to confirm their identity and ballot information. The patent reads,

“The system separates voter identification and votes to ensure vote anonymity, and stores votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.”

Industry stakeholders, including Hedera Hashgraph Technical Lead, Paul Madsen, have since weighed in on the USPS blockchain-focused mail-in voting patent. In his opinion, such a move would be beneficial to everyone involved in the election process, but most importantly, to voters.

“The votes of individual voters would be recorded, either on the blockchain or effectively timestamped and then recorded elsewhere – and so both help to mitigate the risk of double voting, or vote manipulation as well as give the voter confidence through the transparency of the process.”

Successful Blockchain-Based Voting in the U.S

While the stakes are higher on U.S 2020 elections, the use of blockchain cannot be ruled out given the tech has been used in other instances. Some notable events in which stakeholders voted through blockchain include delegate selection for the Republican National Convention in the states of Utah and Arizona.

It was also used for absentee ballots in the 2018 West Virginia elections in representing the military who are overseas. Now that the USPS is looking to join this bandwagon, its Inspector General Office (OIG) has suggested other areas like supply chain, identity services, device, and financial management where it could further leverage blockchain.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Signature Bank Uses Fireblocks to Launch Blockchain-Based Payment Platform, Signet

Signature, a New-York based commercial bank, has launched its blockchain-based digital payment platform, called Signet, on Fireblocks network. This integration also makes Signature the first bank to debut its digital payment platform on the Fireblock network.

Fireblocks is an enterprise-grade blockchain platform known for facilitating the storage, moving, and issuance of digital assets and helping traditional institutions like banks, exchanges, and custodians to scale their digital asset infrastructures. However, Signature is the first bank to integrate with the blockchain scaling platform.

Michael Shaulov, Chief Executive Officer of Fireblocks, commented on their recent association with Signature bank and said:

“Fireblocks and Signature Bank share the same core philosophy when it comes to ensuring the accessibility and security of customer assets 24/7/365. Naturally, Signature Bank is a vital partner for us as we continue to grow the Fireblocks Network.”

Signet is a tokenized representation of the US Dollar made to facilitate instant settlements. The commercial bank also released an Application Program Interface (API) for Signet, which can be easily integrated by its clients and banks in their respective systems and access full transactional capabilities.

The API also helps the bank clients to settle the transaction in real-time and low cost. Signature Bank clients and Signet users can now use Fireblocks to initiate their transactions using the API.

President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph DePaolo, of Signature Bank, commented on their Fireblocks integration:

“The integration with Fireblocks will offer an enhanced service for our clients. With this latest banking technology innovation, Signature Bank remains at the forefront as we advance our Signet product and its capabilities.

As the digital needs of our clients continue to evolve and the broader adoption of asset tokenization increases, Signet APIs are yet another example of how we continuously strive to help our clients deliver better business performance and improve their operations,”

Signet was launched back in January 2019 and was the only platform of its kind to be approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Arizona State Republican Party Convention Used Voatz Blockchain Voting App to Cast Ballots

Voatz, a blockchain-based voting application has officially been used by Arizona State’s Republican Party during a virtual convention which saw participation from 1,100 individuals.

The votes were even distributed among delegate users and cast on May 9th. The continuing coronavirus pandemic necessitated this otherwise exciting test-run.

Voatz has gained significant popularity for its remote, mobile-based voting solutions and has been actively considered for use by different states within the US.

While blockchain ensures that the casted votes are private and immutable, the use of the technology arose only because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which rendered voting by conventional means impossible.

Nimit Sawhney co-founder and CEO of Voatz commented on another successful use case of their application and said:

“This is a critical moment for our democracy, and we have to ensure that we have safe alternatives to voting in person. We believe deeply in expanding access to voting, and with many voters’ health at risk, we are proud to leverage our experience to support the Arizona Republican Party’s mandate to represent their delegates’ voices.”

Prior to use in the virtual convention in Arizona, Voatz was earlier used in the state of Utah and county Republican convention and it saw a total of 7,000 votes being cast during the mentioned events.

While federal agencies, up until now, have discarded any mass use of remote blockchain voting systems, the ongoing lockdowns and the new “normal” may force them to re-evaluate this position.

On the other hand, a GOP survey of participant voters suggested that 80% of the Utah voters were satisfied with the blockchain voting system, while more than 50% were comfortable in casting their votes using their mobile phones.

Blockchain Voting a Viable Solution to Traditional Time Consuming Process

The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world. But it has also made way for viable alternatives to traditional processes: be it working from home, virtual conferences or video meetings.

Similarly, systems of voting need to be reevaluated, especially in how the age-old process of queuing up at voting centers and waiting for hours can be made more efficient.

A couple of weeks ago, Ohio senators proposed a blockchain voting system as well, which suggests that the government are looking into blockchain technology for voting solutions.

However, the Ohio proposal also highlighted certain shortcomings with these mobile-based voting systems, the biggest being hacking or 51% attacks where if someone gains more than 51% of the system resources they can manipulate the votes.

The same stands true for Voatz app as well, where its use in the 2018 elections for overseas military personnel came under scrutiny due to a hacking attack. A group of researchers at MIT also claimed that the Voatz voting app is not suitable for elections as it has many vulnerabilities which could allow hackers to manipulate the votes.

Despite criticism Jennifer Gardner, West Virginia’s Deputy Press Secretary for the Secretary of State’s Office is planning to use the Voatz app in the 2020 election for overseas military personals.

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Author: Silvia A

VeChain to Build Blockchain Medical Data Management System for Cyprus Hospital

The Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus is all set to deploy a blockchain-based medical data management system built on top of the blockchain tracking platform VeChain in association with I-Dante, a digital healthcare solution provider.

The medical data management platform would be called ‘The E-NewHealthLife.’ The Cyprus hospital, which is set to deploy the DLT-based system, currently has 300 employees and recorded 38,000 patient visits last year.

The need for a DLT-based data management system arose due to inefficiencies caused by an outdated technology infrastructure.

The first phase rollout of the data management system will be for the emergency department of the Cyprus hospital, allowing patients to check waiting lists and manage their medical records from their mobile phones.

VeChain claimed that the new data management system would eliminate middlemen and make it easy for patients to directly connect with the hospital. The firm said:

“Instead of relying on health information exchanges or other ways to aggregate data,” the platform is capable of “eliminating the middleman and accessing patient databases on a large, population scale.”

The Difficulty in Managing Medical Data Led to DLT-Based System

In its announcement, VeChain noted that managing medical data records which included administrative and technical difficulties in pooling data from various record systems and departments led them to turn to blockchain for a solution.

The problem is that a single Hospital with multiple departments can have multiple data management systems with no interoperability amongst them. This makes them increasingly difficult to manage as a means of record storage, and highly vulnerable. VeChain claims that blockchain is perfectly suited to these needs as it is an immutable system.

VeChain believes the DLT medical data management system would not only eliminate unnecessary hurdles created by old-age tech, but also ensure patient privacy; where a patient can decide who can check their medical record and how that medical record is being used.

This is not the first occasion where VeChain is involved with a blockchain-based data management system in the medical field.

Earlier the blockchain tracking platform deployed its DLT system to track the authenticity of KN95 masks coming from China into the United States, amid many cases of flawed batches of medical goods arriving from China.

Not just VeChain, blockchain, in general, has seen a great surge in demand in various fields and firms associated with COVID-19 relief, be it IBM’s blockchain architecture being utilized to develop a coronavirus hotspot tracing system or many other medical supply tracking systems.

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Author: Silvia A

The US Department of Defense (DoD) Issues Contract to SIMBA Chain For R&D Data Storage

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is looking to secure and store their R&D data on a blockchain-based system and has outsourced the contract for developing the same to the SIMBA Chain in the form of a Business Innovation Research contract.

In an announcement made on 12th May, the US Department of Defense awarded a $20,000 contract to SIMBA to develop a proof-of-concept based blockchain system for 4.5 million research and design documents and over 4,000 users managed by the DoD.

This isn’t the first time the US government has shown interest in blockchain-based systems. In fact, the US government has been actively involved in research, development, and utilization of various blockchain use cases in their departments. Earlier, SIMBA Chain was also tasked with developing a system to help the US Navy secure its communications.

[Related: SIMBA Chain also Partnered with US Air Force in 2019, and again with the US Navy back in 2018 to track Aircraft parts]

The ongoing R&D storage project is being dubbed as ALAMEDA for Authenticity Ledger for Auditable Military Enclaved Data Access and is expected to be completed by June, following with trials would then begin for a period of 5 months.

If the project passes the test phase and proves to be a success then another grant of $1 million could be awarded for SBIR Phase II contract. The phase II would focus on commercialization and creating a Github like interface to control and manage documents within projects.

What Would Phase II Bring to the Table?

Phase II’s primary focus would be sharing documents and datasets while ensuring authenticity and integrity. SIMBA would be using its Chain’s cloud-based Smart Contract as a Service (SCaaS) platform to develop and deploy different DApps for iOS, Android, and other platforms without the need for any third-party interference.

Joel Neidig, CEO of SIMBA Chain commented on the latest partnership stating the need for a secure and decentralized data storing and monitoring system in this day and age where a ton of sensitive data is exchanged via mobile phones. He explained:

“The DOD, defence contractors, and enterprise-level businesses have benefited from mobile devices and how easy it has become to access and exchange date.

However, the enhanced flow of information represents a significant security risk. Hence the need for sophisticated blockchain solutions that authenticate and document users, eliminate the third party bad actors, and otherwise allow secure direct connections between trusted sources.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Bloom Partners with Top Credit Agency, Transunion to Put Consumer Credit Data on Blockchain

Bloom, a blockchain startup aims to use decentralization to create a blockchain-based identity for consumers, giving users complete control over the flow of their information.

Bloom has partnered with US-based credit reporting agency TransUnion to launch its second mobile application. Bloom hopes that this initiative provides a tiny step towards educating the larger population on the importance of data security.

The first Bloom app notified users if their data was leaked anywhere on the internet. Bloom’s data monitoring tool scans the internet including the dark web to ensure that the consumer data has not been breached. If the application detects any such breach it notifies the consumer along with several steps on how to contain the leak of the information.

The second Bloom mobile application offers a robust credit monitoring service for consumers while ensuring high security for their personal data. The app is currently only available in the United States where a consumer would be able to monitor their credit scores, current loans, credit cards, and monthly payments.

Dao Boyle, senior vice president of Business Development at TransUnion Consumer Interactive commented on the new partnership with Bloom, expressing excitement about working with the blockchain firm to ensure enhanced data protection for consumers.

“A critical part of TransUnion’s mission is to empower consumers to better understand and manage their data and shape their financial lives,” Boyle said in a press release.

“This partnership supports that mission, and we look forward to continuing working with Bloom to deliver innovative and impactful solutions to consumers.”

Data is the Oil of 21st Century

Data is the new oil of the 21st century, but a majority of the population does not understand its importance. This is why they don’t bother to check or read terms and conditions before installing any app or service on their devices. A majority of which takes user’s permission to use their data whichever way they want without the consumer actually knowing what they have signed up for.

The issue is not just with these service providers, however. But with the centralization of data management which often leads to breaches in their security and theft of sensitive and personal information.

Blockchain and decentralization have emerged as a solution for ensuring the security of consumer data when big private firms are misusing it on the pretext of offering a few of their services for free.

The best example of a data breach and misuse which lead to manipulating user behavior was the infamous Cambridge Analytica episode involving Facebook.

Facebook’s user profile data was misused by Cambridge Analytica, a political PR agency, to create targetted region-based advertisements to influence the user’s vote.

Bloom’s Long Term Initiative

Bloom’s first version of the app, where it monitored the breach of consumer’s data, was not a big success as it failed to convey the importance of data protection to consumers and why they need a blockchain-based identity.

Bloom’s identity system works on top of the Ethereum blockchain and the firm generates its monetary income by partnering with various financial institutions as well as government agencies.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Verizon Business Adds Blockchain Technology To Security Solutions Offerings

Verizon Business has revealed that it is tapping blockchain-based technology to enhance its security services consisting of the new administration as well as identity access systems.

The two systems are Verizon Machine State Integrity as well as Verizon Identity (VID) that are developed on top of blockchain technology, the US-based technology company said on March 5, 2019.

The firm explained that for the VID system, the identity information and data is encrypted and then distributed via various servers within the blockchain, therefore, there is no centralized case where cybercriminals can launch an attack.

As per the firm, Verizon ID will enable users to hold their access detail in a secure virtual environment in their smartphones. This means that users will easily access and validate their security details with ease.

The new solutions are meant to address existing problems. In recent research by Verizon on data breach, indicated that at least 29 percent of all the breaches investigated were as a result of stolen credentials.

Consequently, the Verizon Machine State Integrity is set to gain operational data via entirely decentralized environments in order to provide a bigger picture of the state of the machine rather than just logs. The chief product officer at Verizon Business, Alex Schlager explained,

“Cybercrime is a daily threat to every organization and government across the globe. Our 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report highlighted that financially motivated cyberattacks are increasing across the board, and that C-level executives are increasingly and proactively targeted by social breaches, linked to (for example) stolen credentials. […] These Verizon solutions offer a significant step forward in cybersecurity protection.”

Verizon also clarified that the VID solution can be accessed by users around the world. However, the Verizon State Integrity is set to be availed to the US clients starting from the second quarter of 2020.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Chiliz and Decentralized Oracle Powerhouse Chainlink Partner on Real-Time Sports NFTs

The leading sports and blockchain-based fan engagement digital currency Chiliz (CHZ) has integrated Chainlink, the secure decentralized network from Oracle that enables the auto-execution of smart contracts based on real-world events and data.

With this integration, Chiliz will get to mint Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in real time for partners on Socios.com, after using data provided by Chainlink. Furthermore, Chiliz will introduce and support a CHZ/USD Chainlink Price Reference Contract to provide the most accurate on-chain prices for conversions between $CHZ and USD.

FC Barcelona and Juventus Among Partners

The platform already has FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, A.S. Roma, Atlético de Madrid, Galatasaray, CA Independiente and the back-to-back OG champions of Dota 2 esports as partners. Chiliz is thinking to partner up with 50 IPs in the sports, entertainment and esports industries till the end of this year. The latest integration makes it possible for Chiliz to create dynamic and real-world sporting events responsive NFTs while minting collectible tokens with limited availability. For example, it can mint a certain number of tokens when Lionel Messi breaks another goal-scoring record.

Chiliz, a New Player for Branded Collectibles

At the beginning of last month, Chiliz made its entrance into the branded collectibles world, after announcing its partnership with Enjin, in order to mint Ethereum (ETH) -based collectibles for Socios.com. About the latest Chainlink integration, Chiliz and Socios.com’s co-founder and CEO, Alexandre Dreyfus, had this to say:

“NFTs will be key to expanding the utility of $CHZ in 2020 and beyond. The Chainlink integration enables us to be responsive to real world sporting events in real time, allowing us to mint limited availability NFTs to commemorate moments that can’t be predicted or recreated, giving these tokens real collectors value.”

Chainlink Makes a Move into Sporting

It’s the first time Chainlink integrates with a sporting platform. Until now, it has been busy with all sort of blockchain projects that provide accurate and secure feeds, not to mention that it has most recently become a standard protocol for decentralized finance (DeFi) apps. What it surprised with is its integration with other sectors, such as the ones of gaming, sporting and insurance.

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Author: Oana Ularu