Blockchain in the supply chain: Supply chains have gotten to be ridiculously complex, with companies often purchasing from multiple different vendors who may be spread across the entire planet. As a result, supply chain managers need a reliable way to keep track of all the individual moving pieces that make up their company’s supply chain. Blockchain may be a viable solution. Blockchain solutions improve transparency by giving each organization who uses them the ability to see the data they are housing. German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has become the latest global car manufacturer to implement blockchain technology to streamline its supply chain. And the Russian Ministry of Transport is reportedly planning to trial blockchain shipping solution TradeLens developed by IBM and Maersk.
inddist.com, businessblockchainhq.com, cointelegraph.com
New mining smartphone to revolutionize mobile payment: The British blockchain startup Electroneum has launched a dirt-cheap Android smartphone that rewards users in cryptocurrency. Revealed at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, the firm said its new M1 is a Google Mobile Services (GMS)-certified smartphone that comes with a cloud mining technology integration enabling users to earn crypto through an app. The $80 smartphone, however, will at launch mine only Electroneum’s native token ETN. Once set up, mining can be carried out offline, the firm said. The ETN tokens earned by users can be utilized to pay for services such as mobile top-ups, online services and shopping. It’s also tradable on exchanges. Not to be outdone, Pundi X was also in Barcelona, unveiling new features for the XPhone blockchain phone.
From cash to crypto in Japan: Most payments in the world’s third largest economy involve paper bills and metal coins. That sets Japan far apart from China and South Korea, where various cashless electronic payment schemes dominate, as well as the West, where credit and debit cards are much more popular. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that he wants 40% of payments to be cashless by 2025. In August, the government announced plans to offer tax breaks and subsidies for companies that get on board. And while everything from credit card payments to transactions using QR codes would qualify, some of the country’s biggest financial players think the way to wean Japan off cash lies in the technology that runs Bitcoin. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the country’s largest bank and the fifth largest in the world by total assets, has teamed with American internet company Akamai to build a blockchain-based consumer payment network in time for the Olympics. If the experiment succeeds in time for the Olympics, it would signal a new era of financial innovation in a country still dominated by cash transactions.
Hamburg to become world-famous blockchain location: The new “Hanseatic Blockchain Institute” wants to establish the German city of Hamburg as an important location for blockchain technology. The association, which was founded in January, aims to make blockchain accessible to a broad public and to show its advantages in various areas of business and society. In addition to workshops and lectures, the association wants to strengthen Hamburg’s presence in the field, as Germany still lags behind when it comes to blockchain technology, as one of the institute’s co-founders noted.
Venezuela: Venezuelan explains how Bitcoin saves his family news.bitcoin.com
Former Goldman Sachs manager: Marco Lim, former Goldman Sachs executive joins MaiCapital, a blockchain-focused hedge fund smartereum.com
Hasso-Plattner-Institut: New podcast about the blockchain pnn.de
Switzerland: Number of blockchain companies is increasing rapidly nzzas.nzz.ch
Turkey: Turkish telecom giant Turkcell introduces blockchain ID management product cointelegraph.com
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The bitcoin price clawed back above $3,900 through the early part of trading Wednesday.
How Oracles can integrate off-chain data: The most critical aspect of security tokens is the introduction of compliance to blockchain-based assets. Since security tokens feature the tokenization of real-world assets, compliance undoubtedly involves off-chain data, meaning data which is external to a blockchain network. Oracles are the key component responsible for interacting with external data while still maintaining the integrity of a blockchain. In the context of security tokens, the oracle challenge is greatly magnified as external information plays a fundamental role in the lifecycle of many crypto-securities. There are numerous instances where the transfer of tokenized securities requires some type of external approval which has yet to be implemented via smart contracts. Compliance oracles could therefore serve as an intermediary, by interacting with those external sources and relaying their approval or denial on-chain.
Blockchain in the energy transition: In a survey among German energy executives, the Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (Dena) – the German Energy Agency – and the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Berlin) have compiled their opinions, current and planned actions, and visions of the future role of the blockchain in the energy sector. The study examined the contribution of blockchain to the energy transition with eleven concrete cases from the fields of asset management, data management, market communication, electricity trading and financing. Author Andreas Kuhlmann noted that blockchain can be particularly useful if it complements existing digital information exchange protocols. The German Energy Agency hopes that the study’s findings will also be used in the federal government’s upcoming blockchain strategy. Meanwhile, a blockchain-based marketplace for solar power in Walenstadt, near St. Gallen in Switzerland had a successful start: In the first two weeks of this month, the 37 participating households and a retirement home sourced a quarter of their electricity demand from their neighbors.
“Germany is in a promising position to help shape the development of blockchain technologies and realize economic and social potential.”
Dietmar Harhoff, Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, believes that Germany as a location is at an advantage for the further development and application of blockchain technologies. There are currently numerous pilot projects testing the use of blockchain in financial transactions, the organization of electricity trading, identity management, and the flow of information between authorities.
Samsung unveils foldable smartphone: Samsung is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first smartphone, the Galaxy, this year. To honor this landmark milestone, the company has announced four new smartphone models, including a foldable device dubbed the Galaxy Fold, which will set customers back an astonishing $1,980 upon its release in April. The folding phone can work as a traditional smartphone with a 4.6 inch screen or transform more into a mini tablet with a 7.3 inch screen. When completely opened, the Galaxy Fold will be able to simultaneously run three different apps on the screen. When people access apps via the smaller screen on the front of the device, they can open the device to interact with the app via the larger screen. The smartphone also has six cameras—three on the back of the device, two on the inside, and one on the front. The Galaxy Fold also comes with two batteries, embedded on each side of the phone when the device is unfolded, as well as 12 GB of ram and 512 GB of storage.