Alibaba Subsidiary Reports Successful Use of Blockchain Technology for Logistics Data

Lynx International, a subsidiary of the Chinese e-commerce monolith Alibaba, recently announced that it has successfully integrated blockchain technology into the company’s cross-border logistics business. According to the company, its blockchain-based system keeps track of all relevant information regarding an imported shipment, including details about production, transport method, customs, inspection and third party verification.

The technical leader of the company, Tang Ren, told a Chinese news outlet,

“Although the concept of blockchain has only recently started to emerge, it has a very wide range of applications. We firmly believe that this is an Internet-based technology, not a tool for speculating on currencies.”

As is typical for any blockchain-based system, once the data is recorded, it can be retrieved and scrutinized, but not modified under any circumstance. Blockchain’s immutability is one of the primary reasons it has seen overwhelming use in cryptocurrencies. Thus, by extension, any system employing the technology can enjoy the security benefits and trustless nature.

Alibaba’s foray into blockchain technology does not necessarily indicate that the company has any soft spot for cryptocurrencies though. Not too long ago, in December 2017, the company’s founder, Jack Ma, said that while he had no personal or business interest in the asset class at the time, his company was making significant headways in blockchain technology. Lynx’s announcement is likely one of the few early results of Alibaba’s foray into the field.

Given that Alibaba owns Taobao and AliExpress, two huge online shopping websites catering to China and the rest of the world respectively, it makes sense that the parent company is attempting to streamline its logistics process. Alongside the import business, Alibaba has also launched blockchain-based programs for the healthcare and food quality control industries.

Some media reports indicate that Taobao’s mobile app has been updated with links to “View product logistics traceability information” at the bottom of some items. When clicked, any information available for the product will be displayed, presumably allowing the user to ensure that the object in question has been imported from a legitimate source.

So far, it is estimated that over 30,000 imported goods from ports in Shangai, Shenzhen, Guangzhuo, Hangzhuo and Tianjin among others have had their details logged on the company’s blockchain system. Tang also confirmed that the information tracking process begins before the products even reach the country. He stated,

“When these goods are shipped from overseas to China, the logistics data have already begun to go on the blockchain.”

Dubai To Launch Blockchain Marketplace For Tourism Industry ‘To Be 10 Years Ahead’


Dubai is launching a virtual business-to-business tourism-specific marketplace using Blockchain technology as part of its Dubai 10x initiative “to be 10 years ahead of other world cities”, local news outlet Arabian Business reports today, March 3.

The Dubai Tourism Blockchain Marketplace plans to add an “additional distribution channel for hotels” in the next two years, connecting via Blockchain all tourist organizations involved in planning a trip, giving guests transparent, “real time” pricing and choice in Dubai’s tourist inventory.

The Dubai Department of Tourism’s press release describes this new tourist initiative as:

“[going] beyond providing broader access to the global consumer, and open[ing] up the domestic travel industry to new participants and innovative start-ups into the ecosystem – thus delivering value to Dubai in terms of higher and faster visitor conversion, and greater GDP impact.”

The Tourism Blockchain Market initiative, according to Arabian Business, will allow smaller organizations equal opportunity to attract tourists and increase employment in the Dubai tourism sphere as a whole.

Helal Saeed Almarri, the director general of Dubai Tourism, said that the Dubai 10x project will “[usher] in a new phase of development for government services by transforming a whole host of innovative ideas into reality:”

Arabian Business notes that the Dubai Tourism Blockchain Marketplace has said it will maintain communication with government regulators while implementing the new initiative.

At the end of February 2018, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) had announced their own plan to release a Blockchain-based system for tracking the lifecycle of a vehicle by 2020, also part of the Dubai 10x initiative.

While Dubai hopes to become the first Blockchain-government by 2020, both Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) did release regulatory warnings in the fall of last year about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), due to the potential use of crypto for criminal purposes, given its anonymous nature.

AI Crypto Launches AI Ecosystem Based on the Blockchain

AI Crypto is developing an AI ecosystem on blockchain. The AI Crypto team utilizes blockchain to solve persistant issues in AI development: such as the misallocation of GPU resources, improved collection of data via tokenized incentives, and easier access to AI models that are essential to developing AI.
Blockchain technology such as Bitcoin wastes excessive electricity running useless calculations on Graphics Processing Units (GPU). In order to prevent meaningless or fraudulent calculations, the AI Crypto team has developed a “Distributed GPU Network” which distributes requests equally amongst GPU pools. The misuages of GPU resources can be prevented, by inhibiting individual machine learning researcher’s ability to assign GPU calculations. AI Crypto is also developing Proof of Value (PoV) in order to better verify transactions through AI machine learning calculations.
Conducting machine learning research requires a tremendous amount of data, yet large quantities of data are difficult to acquire for smaller companies. Until now, only large corporations such as Google and Apple had access to large data sets required to run sophisticated machine learning trials. The AI Crypto platform aims to solve this deficiancy by incentivizing data providers with AI Crypto Tokens. A data provider recieves tokens everytime their data is used. An incentivized data structure will help create and distribute more AI data.
AI models are notoriously difficult to develop. As an AI must go through a tremendous amount of data, in order to identify an animal or recognize voices. AI Crypto’s platform enables developers to easily access data and build models, which they can provide to companies. Developers can easily develop models and smaller companies can more easily access AI models. AI Crypto aims to reduce the cost of developing models.
SJ Lee, AI Crypto CEO, who graduated from Hongik University and acted as the Innocean and SK Communications., Digital Marketing Director, strongly believes in the potential of AI and blockchain, “AI Crypto aims to revolutionize both the blockchain and AI space. I envision a future where all AI calculations run within the AI Crypto platform”.

Porsche Begins Testing Blockchain Integration With Its Vehicles

Big things are happening over in Zuffenhausen, Germany, headquarters of Porsche.

According to a Porsche press release, the automobile powerhouse is making a major push towards integrating blockchain technology into its cars.

In a partnership with XAIN, a tech startup located in Berlin, Porsche is reportedly working on developing blockchain applications with its cars. Things like locking and unlocking a vehicle, parking, or even enterprise usage such as loaning out the company car to an employee are all made easier by way of the blockchain.

Especially useful is the fact that blockchains are essentially public ledgers. Because all transactions (in this case, actions involving the vehicle) are recorded in an immutable ledger, gathering data about driver behavior and vehicle performance will be much easier to track.

Car owners would theoretically be able to monitor who accessed their vehicle, by whom and when. This could play a major factor in expanding the “sharing” economy which has exploded over the past few years.

Furthermore, it opens up a world of possibilities with P2P transactions between vehicle owners. Instead of using a credit card to refill their gas tank or recharge their car battery, drivers could send each other the equivalent of “PorscheCoins,” to pitch in for a night out on the town.

By integrating their cars with the blockchain, Porsche also capitalizes on the “blockchain mania” sweeping the world. Film giant Kodak recently rented out their name to KodakCoin “a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.”

After Kodak made their announcement, their stock price tripled. At the time of this writing, it has since leveled off to merely double its price before the announcement. Not bad for a company that had appeared to lose all relevancy in a rapidly-advancing world of technology.

Another interesting example is The Long Island Ice Tea Company. Their stock price doubled after announcing that it was changing it’s name to Long Blockchain, drastically changing their business model overnight.

While this move by Porsche seems genuine and not a ploy to woo investors, it will doubtless have the effect of exciting them nonetheless. Porsche has not announced their own digital currency yet, nor even hinted at it – but the temptation to cash in on “crypto mania” may prove to be too great for the German automaker.

The real question is: who is this XAIN company, and how did they secure the deal with Porsche to manage their blockchain division in the first place?

A closer look reveals that XAIN won the blockchain-centric “Porsche Innovation Contest” in summer 2017, placing first out of one hundred contestants. After the contest, teams from different departments within Porsche worked together with XAIN to develop apps that intergrated with the cars’ computer systems.

The founders of XAIN, Leif-Nissen Lundbaek and Felix Hahmann, got their start in the automotive industry. Their pedigree includes working with the University of Oxford and Imperial College London on a blockchain system which reduces the electricity-consumption of cryptocurrency mining. One could imagine how that would come in handy when integrating blockchain-based apps in automobiles. Especially high-performance vehicles like those produced by Porsche.

The Oil Industry Drills into the Blockchain


The historic and paper-intensive ways of the oil industry are due for an upgrade, especially amid heightened demand for the commodity. Some of the biggest names in oil transport are leading the charge for the integration of blockchain in an industry that is ripe for distributed ledger technology given its dependence on contracts for its mere existence.

Oil transport involves ships known as tankers, which could extend as far as 500 yards, daily embarking on trips, together carrying crude oil barrels numbering in the millions, as described by Bloomberg. It all hinges on a single paper document that sea captains are tasked with maintaining. The paper system is known as the bill of lading, and if some industry participants have their way, it could soon be replaced by a blockchain-fueled approach.

From Bill of Lading to Blockchain
With bill of lading, transactions indicating ownership of multiple millions of dollars’ worth of crude oil on a single tanker are recorded every day. The ships are responsible for nearly 50% of oil demand around the world, or $2.7 billion every day.

Demand for these ships is on the rise amid record crude oil consumption, and that’s where the blockchain steps in. But for blockchain to work, all the parties involved in crude oil transport must adopt it.

Big Oil Is Engaged
The bill-of-laden approach has many flaws, not the least of which is the propensity for fraud, which is a top worry among traders. It’s not surprising, then, that traders, who use a digital-based system for proprietary data, are front-in-center in the discussions about a possible industry move to blockchain.

In fact, oil-industry participants have moved beyond just talked. A group representing major oil players have teamed up to launch a blockchain-fueled platform for “physical oil trades,” as per Bloomberg. The market participants include BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, several commodity-trader groups and banks including ABN Amro and Soc Gen.

The mere fact that discussions underway represent a sea change for the industry, as big oil hasn’t updated its paperwork-fueled system for centuries, according to Alistair Cross, global head of operations Mercuria Energy Group, cited in the Bloomberg article.

An upgrade to a distributed ledger technology would introduce a host of benefits, including encryption-based security, greater accuracy, lower costs and time savings. For example, the piloted version slashed the transaction verification process from several hours to minutes.

But there would also be some fallout. Individuals who performed the manual tasks of data entry would likely be out of a job with the adoption of blockchain technology in the oil industry.

‘The sky is the limit’ for blockchain technology in banking: C Suisse banker


Wall Street may not be crazy about bitcoin, but it is intrigued by its use of blockchain technology.

Wall Street may not be crazy about bitcoin, but it is intrigued by its use of blockchain technology.

Today, private equity transactions that use leveraged buyouts financed with debt can take 20 to 30 days to close and settle, said James Disney, Credit Suisse’s global head of software investment banking. With blockchain technology, he said, that could take only a matter of minutes.

“If you add up all of our volume over the quarter, that’s hundreds of billions of dollars we’re able to free up and take out of the system to use for other purposes,” he told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Tuesday.

Disney likened bitcoin to email. Bitcoin is the first “killer” blockchain technology app, just like email was the first “killer” internet app. He only expects innovation to continue.

Credit Suisse has run experiments using blockchain technology in other parts of the business, he said.

“I think the sky’s the limit, really,” he said. “We’re in the very, very early stages here.”

CRYPTOCURRENCY AND BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

Blockchain as a technology

Blockchain technologyWhen Bitcoin was the only blockchain, there wasn’t much of a distinction between the terms and they were used interchangeably. As the technology matured and a variety of blockchains bloomed, the uses quickly diverged from the pure money aspect. Instead, technologists experimented with ideas like decentralized name registry. Other uses utilized the peer-to-peer aspect to deliver messages in a discrete way. In the end, many of these projects failed to find a good use of the technology. The projects left standing helped demonstrate what was possible with beyond buzzwords.

Cryptocurrency as an asset class

Contrasted with blockchain, cryptocurrency has to do with the use of tokens based on the distributed ledger technology. Anything dealing with buying, selling, investing, trading, microtipping, or other monetary aspects deals with a blockchain native token or subtoken.

Referring to the token as the technology can be right in the case of Bitcoin, but is very different when dealing with other blockchain projects like Ethereum. In this case, the technology is known as Ethereum, but the native token is Ether, and transactions are paid in gas.

PROFILE

SUKANTA BHOWMICK
Cryptocurrency Trader & Blockchain Analyser
I am an experienced Cryptocurrency trader and operator of the cryptocurrency trading platform. Currently focused on blockchain and the Cryptocurrency Trading, fintech and the future of banking. Over a decade of professional experience in Cryptocurrency Trading, Forex Trading and Share Market.