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The money spent on blockchain technology by enterprises wishing to use its trust building features is projected to increase to  $2.9 billion by the end of the year. This represents an increase by 88.7% over the $1.5 billion that was spent in this space last year.

These numbers have been derived from the International Data Corporation (IDC) who updated its “Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide.” According to somebody from the IDC, blockchain technology has moved out of its phase of being in design and has moved into real use and this transformation will lead to high spends for the rest of the year.

The report from the IDC claims that the financial sector will still be the big spenders on blockchain technology this year. The estimated spend in the financial sector is $1.1 billion. This will come from banking, securities and investment services and insurers.

Manufacturing and resources are other big sectors from where a significant investment in blockchain will come from. These sectors will spend $653 million in total.

The Distribution and services industries are expected to invest $642 million in the exploration and implementation of blockchain this year.

The Vice President of Customer Insights and Analysis programme at IDC, Jessica Goepfert, says that the technology is still at an early stage and that enterprises are still in the explosive innovation phase:

“The use cases that comprise the blockchain opportunity are developing as swiftly as the technologies enabling it. While spending for more developed use cases in the financial sector like trade finance and cross-border payments is still healthy and growing strong, relative to six months ago we’ve seen an acceleration in spending across a variety of other areas, such as energy settlements and warranty claims.”

The report documents the five year period between 2018 and 2022 and says that the expectation is that the total amount spent on blockchain will hit  $12.4 billion by 2022.

James Webster, a director of research at Worldwide Blockchain Strategies made a statement of the predicted increase in blockchain spending:

“Blockchain is maturing rapidly, and we have reached an inflection point where implementations are moving quickly beyond the pilot and proof of concept phase.”

If you are interested in developing your own blockchain solutions to improve business results or are trying to figure out how to maximise use of your existing blockchain technology, get in touch with BelfricsBT, one of the world’s leading blockchain development and consultancy firms focussed on delivering solutions tailored to your needs.

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French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the European Union needs to increase its adoption and usage of data technologies like blockchain to boost the agricultural industry and address concerns attributed to supply chain management.

Mr. Macron’s remarks came during the 56th International Agriculture Fair held in Paris over last week, with the president stating that blockchain technology would significantly improve on the critical sector of food traceability.

In his opening speech, the president called for measures to be put in place to ensure increased monitoring of the agri-industry, to track and safeguard the authenticity of agricultural products.

As Agridigitale.net reported, Macron noted that there is a growing concern among consumers regarding things like food safety, especially following early February’s Polish beef scandal.

Concerning the need to innovate in the sector, the French president contended that its usage would go a long way in assuaging the mounting concerns by instituting transparency, thus assuring the public about a products’ provenance.

“Let’s do this in Europe, the vanguard of agricultural data by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing.”

He added that since this technology is already there, “it must be used in the agricultural world,” emphasizing that it is such an approach that would see the E.U. have “shared excellence” and in the process benefit consumers.

Mr. Macron’s call for greater focus on innovation was part of his multi-strategy proposal that he hoped would aid Europe’s agricultural sector in the long run.

Macron also called for European states to unite if they are to counteract the massive competition brought on by a push from global markets like the U.S., China, and Russia.

In this regard, he noted, the E.U. needs to focus on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and allocate enough resources that would help farmers to battle challenges like soil erosion, while also protecting them against adverse effects of climate change and market risks.

As well as his thoughts on environmental policies envisioned under CAP, Macron noted that Africa represented an excellent opportunity for the E.U. to pursue shared development.

He urged “greater vigilance” in the European market to ensure that “African farmers are also protected and live from the fruits of their labor.”

The president also noted that if EU member nations supported innovation in the agricultural sector, then he (Macron) would propose that a European task force be established to monitor production and fight fraudsters.

The comments by the French president follow similar pushes in other countries as blockchain gains increased traction. For example, the South Korean government is looking to use the tech in its beef tracking of the country’s beef supply chain.

China has also issued a guideline promoting the use of blockchain in its agricultural sector; with the emerging tech’s global use in agriculture estimated to reach grow to nearly $430 million by 2023.

If you are interested in developing your own blockchain solutions to improve business results or are trying to figure out how to maximise use of your existing blockchain technology, get in touch with BelfricsBT, one of the world’s leading blockchain development and consultancy firms focussed on delivering solutions tailored to your needs.

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Ripple and its blockhain are thriving in the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region. Ripple is growing at an unbelievable rate and yet another financial institution has said that they are adopting Ripple’s blockchain payment solutions.

Navin Gupta (Managing Director, South Asia and MENA at Ripple) tweeted that Bank of Dhofar has gone live on RippleNet. His exact tweet read:

“Congratulations! to Bank Dhofar – Live on Ripplenet. Now Non Resident Indians (NRIs) living in Oman can App money back home in real-time. #bankdhofar #ripplenet @Ripple”

Bank of Dhofar is the first financial institution in the Sultanate as well as the region to allow international and instant transfers via mobile banking. With their mobile banking app, NRIs can now send money to India in under 120 seconds.

The announcement states that the bank is thrilled to join Ripple’s global enterprise blockchain network: RippleNet. It also mentioned, “Ripple’s leading blockchain solution for cross-border payments, including its bi-directional messaging and instant settlement features, enables Bank of Dhofar to save customers’ time when sending payments overseas, using BankDhofar mobile banking app.”

The bank and Ripple first aligned themselves with each other in May of last year and Dr. Tariq Taha, the Chief Information Office of Bank of Dhofar said:

“With this, we can provide instant, frictionless and secure cross-border money transfers within seconds, with end-to-end visibility over the journey of the payment.”

It was evident that the Bank of Dhofar intended to help save customers’ time and money with this association but that they were not clear on what technology they would be used, the xCurrent or xRapid.

Ripple has over 200 partnerships wit banks and financial institutions globally and some are with central banks. Ripple hopes to develop an international network of institutions on RippleNet utilising Ripple’s blockchain technology like xRapid, xVia and xCurrent.

You can trade Ripple on Belfrics’ cryptocurrency exchange at the click of a button (www.belfrics.io). You can also download the Belfrics App now and start trading Ripple so that you enjoy the rise!

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Levi Strauss & Co. is building on its three-year-old worker well-being program, underpinning new efforts with blockchain in order to enhance trust and transparency and reduce the time from data collection to review and response.

Last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Levi’s announced the program development that’s funded by an $800,000 grant awarded to blockchain consultancy Consensys, civic think tank New America and the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. SHINE administers Levi’s current global factory worker well-being program, which SHINE founder and director Dr. Eileen McNeely believes will benefit significantly from the adoption of blockchain—a cryptographically secured electronic database system lauded for its immutability and accessibility.

Beginning this year, SHINE will pilot the new system with a supplier in Mexico, administering the worker well-bring surveys to the facility’s 5,000 workers.

The surveys, translated into regional languages and mindful of cultural nuances, seeks a “very comprehensive understanding of well-being,” McNeeley noted, and not just physical health but also emotional state, financial well-being and social standing.

In order to gain an “apples-to-apples” understanding of what workers are experiencing, SHINE administers the survey at fixed, reoccurring times. For example, Sri Lanka’s monsoon season might bring to bear external “pressures in the system” that the survey might be able to uncover given sufficient historical data. Internally, order volumes during any given period of time could also yield certain outcomes identifiable and addressable through survey data, McNeeley explained.

What’s more, current programs are flexible to the needs of each factory site. Many facilities lack internet access, McNeely said, so data at these locations is collected offline on Harvard-owned tablets, and as many as six weeks may pass before that information can be uploaded to the right parties, hampering the ability to move quickly on any actionable worker feedback. Internet connectivity is improving around the globe, the Harvard director added, meaning that a blockchain-based system would vastly accelerate the time from data collection to data review and decision-making.

As it stands today, SHINE staffers manually create the systems and firewalls between confidential worker survey data, reporting an aggregated version of that information to program stakeholders. Blockchain, McNeeley explained, removes the middleman (SHINE) and automatically timestamps entries, essentially verifying the data was uploaded when it says it was. It’ll independently aggregate data, without a third party, to preserve worker anonymity and confidentiality.

“It would build enormous trust if workers could see their data—not individual data but the aggregation of all of the entries,” McNeeley said. This would give individual employees a glimpse into “the pulse of the workforce,” similar to perspective factories and the buyers already have.

“Blockchain is in its infancy and the potential is huge,” McNeeley said. The biggest challenge with the technology today is acclimating people to how blockchain both stores and distributes information, a concept McNeely connecting to the unproven infancy of the Internet’s earliest days.

“There’s so much opportunity for blockchain to make data more transparent, which will make so many inputs and outputs much more efficient,” she said. Blockchain stands to “level the playing field” in which piecemeal data collection systems—from those run by buyers to platforms operated by non-governmental organizations—segregate valuable information, thereby dampening its impact, she added.

SHINE compares worker surveys with data on attrition and absenteeism. “If factories truly want to be more efficient, these are their business goals,” McNeeley said. With this powerful data, buyers might be incentivized to earmark a larger share of their orders to manufacturers that clearly are improving as motivation to keep moving in a positive direction. Publicizing these efforts would improve the reputation of both the brand and the supplier, McNeeley added.

These worker well-being surveys augment existing compliance audits and are not intended as a replacement; however, there are limits to what audit spot-checks can achieve.

“Compliance has its own process and procedures but it doesn’t generate this continuous process improvement system and that’s exactly what we’re hoping to do in the pilot sites [where blockchain will be implemented],” McNeeley explained.

In a blog post on the Levi’s website, Kim Almeida, who directs the worker well-being program for the Levi Strauss Foundation, wants this initiative to “influence the apparel industry” and become “the standard for the sector.”

“We believe that the SHINE work, in partnership with LS&Co., will provide an important tool that gets us one step closer to making this goal of scaling our approach a reality,” she said.

Rather than pure altruism, the program can help apparel companies understand the link between the worker experience and business operations.

“Once you have a gauge of the worker experience, you can use the upstream and downstream indicators of business outcomes to understand how different inputs affect production,” McNeely said. “Preliminary data makes the business case that there’s a correlation between productivity and worker well-being. Every business knows it’s there.”

“It’s just a matter of the bandwidth and metrics to take in that info,” McNeeley continued. “And then, what to do with it.”

If you are interested in developing your own blockchain solutions to improve business results or are trying to figure out how to maximise use of your existing blockchain technology, get in touch with BelfricsBT, one of the world’s leading blockchain development and consultancy firms focussed on delivering solutions tailored to your needs.

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What kind of effect can blockchain technology have on the travel industry? When it comes to a revolutionary technology like blockchain technology, it’s hard to tell what exactly will change first, and where. The truth is that there are so many sectors that blockchain could disrupt or alter, in so many different ways. Here, we take a look at some of the different ways that blockchain can disrupt the travel industry. Data Storage/Management

First and foremost, we know that the blockchain is a more secure way of handling data. This is important for many different reasons. First, it means that the safety of travel data is more secure – which could certainly prove essential in a military capacity, for example, to prevent against something terrible such as a terrorist attack.

Secondly, this also means that companies can be optimized more with regards to travel data. We all know that travel can be difficult and inconvenient, in the sense that flights get delayed or hotel reservations get lost. However, if this data was stored on the blockchain, this could mean that the data is now stored and updated more efficiently than ever. If blockchain can help provide more real-time availability with regards to room and flights, this saves consumers time and money, and helps to preserve brand reputation and bottom lines.

There is more concern than ever about the right to privacy, and encryption could certainly prove to help in terms of travel records truly remaining safe.

Payments During Travel

It’s already documented how blockchain is changing the payments industry, with the fact that cryptocurrencies allow for quicker and cheaper transactions among individuals and businesses. Thanks to companies such as Ripple, payments can be enacted in real-time. This is incredible for those who might have to deal with traditional financial institutions.

For example, if there is an emergency, and you have to ask a friend or family member for a wire transfer – this could end up taking days, while blockchain technology might enable that payment to occur much quicker.

This also means that you don’t have to constantly change fiat currency into local currency. With blockchain technology, if you find businesses that accept cryptocurrency, you can use cryptocurrency. Otherwise, you might be withdrawing large amounts of money, and constantly having to exchange money at the whim of exchange rates in different countries.

This could also mean safer travels, considering that you do not have to physically carry physical money, traveler’s checks, or other kinds of fiat currency on your person. Ultimately, this could help from you becoming a target, and could provide you a new peace of mind.

Tracking Luggage

There has been much discussion about the fact that blockchain can help business track items, products, and inventory, which is great for logistics. Guess what else it’s great for? You guessed it – luggage. If you have traveled extensively, chances are that you’ve had at least one issue with your luggage getting lost or misplaced, and blockchain could certainly help in this respect.

The fact that data can also be shared in a decentralized manner with regards to luggage can make finding your luggage, should it be misplaced, a much easier ordeal.

If you are interested in developing your own blockchain solutions to improve business results or are trying to figure out how to maximise use of your existing blockchain technology, get in touch with BelfricsBT, one of the world’s leading blockchain development and consultancy firms focussed on delivering solutions tailored to your needs.

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Euro Exim Bank, a bank based in the United Kingdom will begin to use xRapid, one of Ripple’s solutions and the XRP token in the first quarter of this year. This is the latest success in what has been a successful period for Ripple as it continues to move towards mass adoption as the #1 token for interbank transaction processing.

Euro Exim Bank functions in the world of trade finance, corporate banking and wire transfers. It made an announcement that it will be utilising XRP and Ripple’s xRapid solution before the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Graham Bright, the Head of Compliance and Operations at Euro Exit Bank has said that the bank will enable interbank transfers in more than eighty countries by utilising xRapid and XRP. He said:

“There’s been a lot of talk around the markets about how blockchain technology can assist in trade finance. We’re interested in moving forward and creating a platform for payments for our clients who are in over 80 countries at the moment, making sure they have a smooth, frictionless way of paying local people.”

Kaushik Punjani, a Director at Euro Exim Bank, said the following:

“Our customers – whether big corporates or individual remitters – have historically been restricted from obtaining suitable funds or settling transactions in a cost efficient and timely manner. Working collaboratively with Ripple and selected counterparts, we have designed, tested and are implementing both xCurrent [payments processing solution] and xRapid [on-demand liquidity solution] in record time.”

It is positive to observe that after conducting tests on both xCurrent as well as xRapid, Euro Exim Bank made the decision to begin utilising the xRapid solution that is inclusive of XRP. It provides an indication of the ever heightening demand for xRapid and XRP within the community of financial institutions. In June 2018, Brad Garlinghouse stated that more than 12 banks would be using XRP by 2019.

“By the end of this year [2018], major banks will use xRapid as a liquidity tool. By the end of next year [2019], I would certainly hope that we will see…in the order of magnitude…of dozens. But we also need to continue to grow that ecosystem…grow the liquidity.”

You can trade Ripple on Belfrics’ cryptocurrency exchange at the click of a button (www.belfrics.io). You can also download the Belfrics App now and start trading Ripple so that you enjoy the rise!

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A digital exchange opening next week allows investors to trade in major public companies using digital currency on Ethereum. DX.Exchange is a first of its kind in the cryptocurrency space. The exchange allows trades to occur even when the markets are closed.

Stocks Held on the Ethereum Blockchain

DX.Exchange will at first offer digital tokens based on shares of ten Nasdaq-listed companies. The company plans on expanding to the New York Stock Exchange in the future.

“We saw a huge market opportunity in tokenizing existing securities,” Daniel Skowronski, CEO of DX, told Bloomberg via email. “We believe that this is the beginning of the traditional market’s merge with blockchain technology. This is going to open a whole new world of trading securities old and new alike.”

Stocks such as Apple, Facebook, and Tesla will be available to be traded on Ethereum. The exchange’s digital stock offering will be a true test to see if investors are interested in the offering. Skowronski told Bloomberg that he doesn’t need permission from the US Securities Exchange because the company isn’t offering its services to Americans.

Currently, DX has full authorization to operate in the European Union. The company believes it could hold advantages over traditional shares due to being open 24 hours. In addition to constant trades, investors are able to buy fractions of a stock and not the full share like traditional markets. All trades will be held permanently on the Ethereum blockchain.

It is unlikely that these companies will receive any sort of compensation initially from DX. While public companies don’t earn profits from shares on major exchanges, they do receive money during their initial public offering (IPO).

Currently, DX runs all its operations out of Israel and Estonia. The exchange also has plans of targeting public companies trading in Tokyo and Hong Kong soon.

You can trade Ethereum on Belfrics’ cryptocurrency exchange at the click of a button (www.belfrics.io). You can also download the Belfrics App now and start trading Ethereum so that you enjoy the rise!

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The Government of India is in the last stages of finalising regulations on cryptocurrency according to a ‘Right to Information’ response from the Department of Economic Affairs.

The response was with respect to the RTI filed by a group called Coin crunch India at the end of 2018, enquiring as to whether the panel on cryptocurrency had recommended a ban on Bitcoin and if they had submitted any such report to the Finance Ministry.

“The report of the Committee is in the finalisation stage, hence, prohibited under section 8(3) of RTI Act, 2005,” the ministry said in its response.

There have been many rumours that the government plans to called cryptocurrency ‘illegal’ in India but the reply indicates that the government is still working on its final report.

IAt the end of last year, the Finance Ministry had explained during a session in Parliament that the inter-ministerial committee tasked with analysing everything to do with cryptocurrency assets is in the process of developing a suitable cryptocurrency regulatory framework.

The Government had established a panel in December2017 headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, the Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs. This panel was tasked with examining a framework for cryptocurrency regulation. Other members of the panel included SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi and RBI Deputy Governor BP Kanungo.

The Indian Government has not formally declared anything with respect to the legalisation of cryptocurrency. The response from the Department of Economic Affairs does not clarify whether or not the government is planning to regulate cryptocurrency. The official response is ambiguous. As of now, cryptocurrency is still legal in India until the government declares otherwise. The future of cryptocurrency in India has been unclear for a long time now. In April of last year, the RBI had basically banned banks or e-wallets from “dealing with or providing services to any individuals or business entities dealing with or settling virtual currencies.”

Trade digital assets on Belfrics’ cryptocurrency exchange (www.belfrics.io) or download the Belfrics App so that you reap the rewards associated with a possible bull run in the virtual currency marker that suitable regulation could bring.

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Jesse Lund is the VP of block-chain and virtual currencies at IBM. He has stated that he sees Bitcoin’s price eventually reaching $1 million. He said this in an interview with Finder.com, a news platform, on YouTube in February.

As the interview reached its conclusion, the interviewer asked Lund what he thinks the Bitcoin price will be at the end of 2019. He said that he believes the price will be higher than what it is today and ended by saying he thinks it will be at $5,000. He then furthered his prediction by saying:

“I see Bitcoin at a million dollars someday.”

Lund stated that he “likes that number” as “if Bitcoin is at a million dollars, then Satoshi is on value parity with the US penny.” He pointed out that at this value, the Bitcoin network would have in excess of $20 trillion in liquidity. Lund indicated that this kind of liquidity could alter corporate payments and high value transactions in general, saying:

“I see maybe $5,000 at the end of the year, but I see a way higher upward trajectory.”

Lund revealed that IBM is thinking about working with many cryptocurrencies, explaining that they think “there should be an ecosystem of, a variety of digital assets that provide settlement instruments that enable these cross-border payments, and the participants in the network should be able to choose and negotiate their choices in real-time.” He further stated:

“it could be Ripple, it could be XRP even, it could be Bitcoin, but it would also probably include other instruments, like stablecoins, and even eventually soon — hopefully — central bank-issued digital currencies.”

Lund was keen to underline the differences between IBM’s payment network and Ripple’s RippleNet, stating that IBM does not depend on their own bespoke token.

BankDhofar, Oman’s second biggest bank by market value, is the most recent member of RippleNet. It has joined the network to enable cross-border transactions to India.

IBM brought its BWW payment network out of beta stage in September last year, after completing a partnership with Stellar in October 2017.

Recently, Coinsquare, the Canadian cryptocurrency exchange indicated an interest in the blockchain by buying StellarX, a Stellar-based decentralised exchange.

You can trade Bitcoin on Belfrics’ cryptocurrency exchange at the click of a button (www.belfrics.io). You can also download the Belfrics App now and start trading Bitcoin so that you enjoy the rise!

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The last quarter of 2018 has been a bad time for the cryptocurrency market.

The market didn’t just bleed, we also saw assets refresh new 2018 lows.

Moreover, the doom Sayers reckoned that Bitcoin and alternative digital assets belonged at zero.

Anyhow, that that’s their opinion what matters is that the development being practised in the space.

Cryptocurrency corporations are working tirelessly to confirm that they are generating real-world use cases for the assets.

This will drive adoption with a ripple effect on the worth of the assets.

A recent survey by a well-liked person within the crypto universe requested for peoples’ opinion on that coins can expertise large growth in 2019.

“2018 was brutal! 2019 will make all that hell worth it as long as you accumulated the right coins/tokens! Which will see the biggest return in 2019?”

Most of the respondents believed that XRP can receive the most important boost within the coming year with most saying that it’ll battle the market leader for the first position in terms of market capitalisation.

The Twitter survey isn’t scientific, however, the data collected was from real accounts.

At least three quarters of the correspondents believed in XRP superior potential to grow in 2019.

Bitcoin was supported by only 11 percent of all the participants whereas Ethereum (ETH) took up seven percent of the correspondents.

Eight percent of the correspondents said that they would choose coins outside the top 3.

You can trade Bitcoin on Belfrics’ cryptocurrency exchange at the click of a button (www.belfrics.io). You can also download the Belfrics App now and start trading Bitcoin so that you enjoy the rise!

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