De Beers welcomes Signet as first jeweller to join blockchain pilot programme – Professional Jeweller

By Stacey Hailes      May 24, 2018

The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewellery, Signet, has been announced as the first jeweller to join the pilot programme for the De Beers Group-led blockchain, Tracr.

Signet, the owner of UK jewellery retailers H Samuel and Ernest Jones, joins a growing list of industry leaders trialling the platform during its pilot phase and enabling Tracr to complete the first digital link all the way from diamond production through to retail.

A Signet project team will work alongside the Tracr team to ensure the platform meets the needs of the jewellery manufacture and retail sectors, with the partnership initially focusing on the tracking of diamond jewellery and expanding the pilot’s scope to cater for smaller-sized goods.

More at: De Beers welcomes Signet as first jeweller to join blockchain pilot programme – Professional Jeweller

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VC blockchain investment hits US$1.3 bln, topping 2017 funding – ejinsight

May 24, 2108

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 24

Translation by Jonathan Chong [Chinese version 中文版]

About US$1.3 billion has been invested in blockchain companies in the first five months this year, surpassing the amount of venture capital in the field for the whole of 2017, Crunchbase reports.

A number of large funding rounds related to blockchain technology have been reported this year.

Orbs, an Israeli startup that offers blockchain as a service for consumer brands, raised US$118 million.

Ledger Wallet, a Paris-based bitcoin wallet maker, raised US$75 million; Project Shivom, a German company that applies blockchain technology to genomics, raised US$32 million; and blockchain analysis platform Chainalysis raised US$16 million.

More at: VC blockchain investment hits US$1.3 bln, topping 2017 funding – ejinsight

AmEx starts using Hyperledger Blockchain for its rewards program – Crypto-News India

By Vignesh S.      May 24, 2018

American Express, one of the world’s largest financial services company popular for their Charge cards and Credit cards will now be using Blockchain to power their rewards program. AmEx has piloted a program which will allow merchants to reward customers for specific actions or purchases. This system will run on the open-source hyperledger blockchain and online merchant Boxed will be the first to make use of it.

Currently, credit card companies have been able to reward users when they spend at particular types of merchants with the merchant code. However, with the new system AmEx has deployed, merchants will be able to reward users when they pay for specific items.

With the help of Blockchain technology, AmEx will be able to easily track specific purchases made by users and partner with merchants to better promote products. The merchant may use this to promote a slow moving product in their store by bundling it with a reward.

More at: AmEx starts using Hyperledger Blockchain for its rewards program – Crypto-News India

Blockchain Startup Slapped with Cease-and-Decease Order – EconoTimes

May 24, 2018

The state of South Carolina slapped a cease-and-desist order to a blockchain startup due to an alleged statute violation. The company is called ShipChain and is involved in freight product tracking using ethereum-based blockchain tech. It’s also a member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance, which counts JD.com, FedEx, and other major companies in the shipping industry among its echelon.

To be specific, the order highlights that ShipChain continuously proffered investment opportunities to South Carolina residents via digital token despite the startup being unregistered to conduct such business. If the order passes, it will mandate ShipChain to cease “participating in any aspect of the securities industry in or from the State of South Carolina.”

The fledgling shipping business has 30 days to request a hearing on the case. When granted audience, the startup can dispute that the tokens offered do not qualify as an unregistered securities offering. The company writes on its website that customers can pay via tokens to book freights for shipping products. The tokens are the only form of payment that the platform acknowledge.

In Texas, a Bitcoin investment startup has also been hit with a cease-and-desist order earlier this month due to the company conducting business without being registered to the proper agency. The order outlined that the startup lured investors with blinding numbers that return on their investments is 100 percent guarantee in just 21 days with no risk whatsoever. This type of businesses are classic scams that are taking advantage of the growing popularity of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

More at: Blockchain Startup Slapped with Cease-and-Decease Order – EconoTimes

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Receives an Offer to Join Google’s Mysterious Blockchain Project – CoinSpeaker

By Bhushan Akolkar      May 24, 2018

Vitalik Buterin created an opinion poll trying to decide whether take an offer and join Google’s team or stay at Ethereum. The majority backs the second alternative.

Founder of the second largest cryptocurrency (Ethereum) – Vitalik Buterin has been recently approached by Google with a proposition to join the company and help the tech giant in their mysterious blockchain project. Buterin was quick to post the screenshot of the email and tweeted it on his official handle asking his followers, in a poll, whether he should be taking the job offer.

The screenshot revealed that a Google recruiter – Elizabeth Garcia has approached him in an email that states: “Hi Vitalik, I hope you are doing well and enjoying the weekend! […] Google make sense for you now or in the near future […].” In addition to the recruiter name, the screenshot also revealed information about the recruiter’s email address and her photo.

Along with the screenshot, Buterin had attached a poll asking his followers “Should I drop Ethereum and work for Google?” Before the poll was deleted, the poll had 2000 followers already voted, of which nearly 60% believed that he should not be taking the offer while the remaining 40% believed that he should join Google. One of the key reasons for Buterin to take down the tweet was because he failed to keep the recruiter’s details confidential.

More at: Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Receives an Offer to Join Google’s Mysterious Blockchain Project – CoinSpeaker

Blockchain is Transforming How Supply Chain Giants are Operating – EconoTimes

May 24, 2018

“Blockchain. Blockchain. Blockchain. That’s all I hear about when I go to meetings.” This was Ken Brown’s sentiment during the Global Supply Chain Summit conducted on Tuesday. Brown is the senior vice president of SICPA North America, a supply chain security firm.

The popularity of blockchain among supply chain giants is understandable since the technology offers transparency, precise monitoring, data security, and acceleration of transactions. All of these benefits can drastically improve a company’s operation that is involved in the supply chain ecosystem.

Ralph Carter, FedEx’s vice president of trade and international affairs, said that traditional strategies mostly focused on control and collection of revenues. But because of blockchain enabling companies to operate securely and rapidly in the digital world, border management is being integrated into that design.

He added that efficient borders are required in today’s competitive market in order to stay relevant. “People need to be able to move items in and out quickly,” Carter said.

Indeed, commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Kevin McAleenan said that the proliferation of e-commerce has increased the incoming and outgoing numbers of shipping activities. This, in turn, placed a lot of weight on his agency. He has to keep the trade flowing while simultaneously increasing protection of consumers from counterfeit products, as well as being vigilant of illicit activities.

More at: Blockchain is Transforming How Supply Chain Giants are Operating – EconoTimes

China’s State Council Orders Faster Blockchain Development – CoinDesk

By Wolfie Zhao      May 24, 2018

China’s State Council, the country’s central administrative branch of government, has sent its highest-level order demanding that local authorities speed up blockchain technology development, it was revealed on Thursday.

The order, first issued by the State Council on May 4 to provincial and municipal governments, addresses a variety of strategies required to continue the reformation of the Guangdong Pilot Free-Trade Zone.

One area of focus is to accelerate the development of financial technologies, which includes the expedition of “developing and implementing blockchain applications under existing regulatory frameworks,” the document states.

Authorized by the State Council in 2014, the Guangdong Free-Trade Zone is a designated region within China’s Guangdong province that integrates with Hong Kong and Macau to build a more internationalized free market.

More at: China’s State Council Orders Faster Blockchain Development – CoinDesk