KW 9: Rakuten allows payments with cryptocurrencies, Estonian blockchain company produces Europe’s first digital vaccine certificate, Singapore uses blockchain for Covid tests


Rakuten allows payments with cryptocurrencies: Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is now allowing users to spend bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at merchants throughout Japan. The move means customers can pay with crypto at thousands of merchants across Japan that accept Rakuten Pay and Rakuten Point Card. Users of Rakuten’s cryptocurrency wallet can also exchange Bitcoin, Ether and Bitcoin Cash for the firm’s e-money, Rakuten Cash, to charge its Pay app and Point credit card. The firm says it’s not levying fees on such transfers. This spring, Rakuten is also integrating its crypto wallet into the Pay app.

Estonian blockchain company produces Europe’s first digital vaccine certificate: Guardtime, an Estonian company, is developing a system for cross-border recognition of electronic health records using blockchain. The company is also working with Iceland, Hungary and Lithuania, as well as with AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical giant producing one of the coronavirus vaccines. Ain Aaviksoo, Guardtime’s chief medical officer, said he expected the first countries to begin using digital vaccine certificates domestically in the coming weeks. Aaviksoo dismissed privacy concerns for the VaccineGuard system, pointing to the company’s use of blockchain to ensure data protection.

Singapore uses blockchain for Covid tests: Singapore has used blockchain technology to develop a global standard for verifying Covid-19 test results to speed up clearing local and foreign immigration checkpoints when traveling. The city state’s Government Technology Agency and Ministry of Health have developed a set of digital standards used to issue Covid test results, known as HealthCerts. It uses blockchain technology to issue trustworthy documents that can be verified independently in an open-source framework. The test results will be available on the government’s digital identity mobile app SingPass.

Fynn Kliemann sells music via blockchain: Fynn Kliemann has long been a jack of all trades and is now moving from YouTube to television. The artist and musician, together with producer Philipp Schwär, is bringing out 100 strictly limited jingles as Non-Fungible Token (NFT) on the Ethereum blockchain. NFT are unique tokens that are used, among other things, for vaccination records. The jingles are to be auctioned and industry giant Universal Music has already shown interest. According to Kliemann, the jingles should be able to let emotions take shape in the form of music with individual artwork as tokens.

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Aviation industry: Gazpromneft-Aero uses blockchain for aircraft refueling
Discount: Digital marketing agency offers price reductions for payments with Bitcoin
Insurance: Wiener Städtische AG relies on blockchain for transport insurance
E-loop: E-car sharing provider allows users to invest in Tesla Model 3
Soccer: European blockchain company Chiliz wants to bring fan tokens to major sports leagues in the US


According to a recent study by the Global Palladium Fund (GPF), 52 percent of professional investors state that blockchain technology will have a “very high” impact on portfolio management.


Christie’s auctions off digital artwork: Mike Winkelmann never used to call himself an artist. But that was before he made $3.5 million in a single weekend from selling his artworks. In December, he auctioned off multiple editions of three digital artworks, each priced at $969, and 21 unique works, most of which sold for about $100,000 each. It was only the second time he had put his art on sale. The digital artist, who goes by Beeple, has created a drawing every single day for the last 13 years. On Thursday, a two-week-long online auction of a composite of the first 5,000 days of the project will begin at Christie’s, which says it’s the auction house’s first sale of a solely digital artwork. It will also be the first time that Christie’s will accept payment in the cryptocurrency Ether.

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How blockchain can be used: Just a few years ago, blockchain technology led a veritable shadowy existence, now it is used in more and more industries – and the trend is rising. The advantage lies in the supply chain transparency that blockchain creates and the protection against forgery in transactions. One of the areas of application where the blockchain is most frequently used is consequently smart contracts, i.e. automatic order and payment processes. Blockchains are also used for financial transactions, as they eliminate bureaucratic effort and reduce fees. Other fields of application are wherever people need to be identified beyond doubt, for example in administrations. Last but not least, the networking of smart devices in the Internet of Things is often linked to blockchain technology, as it guarantees secure and transparent storage of data.


„The focus should be on the opposite of what repelled me from fashion: sustainability, ethics, but also people as deeply emotional and sensitive beings. Then I came across blockchain.“
Blockchain expert and fashion designer Paula Kühn on the path from the classic fashion industry to business development director at the mining company App Unit.


Bitcoin price fluctuation – end of the hype? Bitcoin’s price is fluctuating violently. Crashes are followed by recoveries, often within a few days. Just as Bitcoin’s record price at the beginning of February can be traced back to “cryptic” statements by Elon Musk, the latest price losses could be attributed to equally prominent experts who publicly expressed doubts about the digital currency. The long-standing business partner of the investment legend Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, was skeptical “that Bitcoin will establish itself as a medium of exchange for the world”. This shows that the currency is extremely volatile, and not just in terms of potential regulations. Incidental statements by well-known personalities can also actively destroy value.

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