Chances are you’ve been hearing the term blockchain quite a bit over the past year or so. In a recent Automation World article exploring ways to strengthen supply chain operations, senior editor Stephanie Neil explained blockchain technology as being “an unalterable peer-to-peer recordkeeping system that enables communities to securely record and share information. Blockchain is best known as the core component of the digital currency Bitcoin. Each validated Bitcoin transaction creates a block, which attaches to the chain of blocks before it, thereby creating an easy-to-follow trail.”
With Bitcoin at its root, there is certain to be no small amount of trepidation around blockchain’s use in industry. The significant upside the technology presents, however, certainly bears out further investigation. And that’s why Wipro, a global information technology, consulting and business process services company, has developed nine blockchain-based offerings, four of which are directly targeted at manufacturing. Wipro says these new offerings have been “defined, designed and co-developed with clients in Wipro’s Blockchain Innovation Lab” to demonstrate what blockchain can accomplish for global enterprises.
Considering Wipro’s preference for referring to its blockchain offerings as solutions, I asked Sanjeev Ramakrishnan, general manager and business unit leader at Wipro, to clarify whether these blockchain “solutions” are products, services or a combination of the two. He said, “all of Wipro’s blockchain solutions include: blueprints for domain-specific use case; the solution architecture; the code base, which can be customized and integrated; and full solution documentation” in addition to access to Wipro’s cloud-based lab and in-house experts.
The four offerings targeted at manufacturing address anti-counterfeiting, airworthiness certificate tracking, supply chain visibility and additive manufacturing/3D printing. According to Ramakrishnan, “the benefits of these solutions include improved process efficiency, optimized costs and the ability to foster innovative business models.”
More at: Is Blockchain Coming to Manufacturing? – Automation World
Last year Everledger has become the first organisation to secure a bottle of wine’s provenance on the blockchain.
The Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange (SDiX) has announced that it has partnered with Kynetix and Everledger to complete the first part of a Proof-Of-Concept of a blockchain-based authentication and secure record-keeping service for trading diamonds on a global commodity exchange.
Linus Koh, CEO of the Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange, said: “This exciting collaboration builds on SDiX’s record of delivering advanced technologies to enable a trusted, fair and transparent marketplace for trading diamonds as an investable asset class. This new concept draws on blockchain’s distributed ledger capability to demonstrate how we can further instill confidence and convenience for the benefit of diamond investors and financiers.”
Kynetix Head of Business Development Guillaume Kendall said: “In line with our mission to build total trust in physical commodities, we believe this innovative integration of our Sentinel platform with blockchain is yet another step towards reducing the risks associated with trading and financing commodities globally.”
More at: Luxury Blockchain Startup Everledger to Secure Diamonds Trading – Finance Magnates
Taiwanese startup Bitmark Inc has announced that it will fund UC Berkeley School of Public Health research fellows to conduct studies using its blockchain technology.
The startup has partnered with UC Berkeley to empower individuals to donate their personal data to advance public health. This initiative would mark the first public application of the Bitmark system.
The Bitmark system structures and converts personal data into a digital property by issuing property titles, or “bitmarks”, which serves as a permanent record of the ownership history for its property by recording each transfer of ownership in the open-source Bitmark blockchain. This ownership history safeguards the authenticity of the data and its access to digital property. Researchers publicly link their identities to their accounts so that donors can trust them. Transparency and accountability are extremely high and both parties can independently track the data provenance, the company explained.
“Our phones and Fitbits track our steps, calories, sleep cycles, and more. This data is empowering and helps improve our wellbeing. It can also aid research in myriad areas. Through our partnership with UC Berkeley, we all can become data philanthropists and help advance public health,” Sean Moss-Pultz, CEO, Bitmark Inc. said.
More at: UC Berkeley leverages Bitmark blockchain for public health studies – EconoTimes
Leanne Kemp’s company Everledger uses blockchain technology to track the provenance of assets, from diamonds to fine wines. She talks to John Thornhill about the technology’s potential to combat fraud.
More at: Using blockchain to fight fraud – Financial Times (podcast)
The oil and gas business is increasingly embracing blockchain in an era of ‘lower for longer oil prices’ which some believe is now morphing into an era of ‘lower forever’ prices.
To the uninitiated, a blockchain is akin to a digitally distributed ledger that can be replicated and spread across many nodes in a peer-to-peer network, thereby minimising the need for oversight and governance of a single ledger.
Each transaction on the ledger is recorded and added to the previous one. These additions result in a growing ‘chain’ of information.
One industry expert – Samuel Kramer, a Chicago-based at partner at Baker & McKenzie, believes blockchain holds the potential to change freshen up processes and standards in the oil business, that in the eyes of some is a bit of a laggard when it comes to digital adoption.
Speaking at the 2017 Baker & McKenzie Oil & Gas Institute in Houston, Texas, USA, Kramer said: “[Digital] Information sharing and operational transparency initiatives are integral to circular collaborative ecosystems in the oil and gas industry, and by extension in the utilities market. I believe the sector’s deployment of blockchains and smart contracts is only going to grow.”
More at: Blockchain can help combat fraud and corruption in the oil and gas business – International Business Times
According to recent studies, the world’s biological food market is worth $54.9 bln and the sector is continually growing. This comes as more and more people in the world seek to improve their daily nutrition by choosing food whose origin and production is guaranteed.
There is a worldwide growing interest in food origin. According to a recent European study into consumers’ attitudes to food labeling, 74 percent claim to be affected by traceability information and 60 percent by who controls the product labels.
Also, the greatest part of consumers said they would like to know more about the food they eat daily and they would be willing to pay higher prices if there was a guarantee of quality and origin.
Before the creation of the Blockchain, food chain supply was opaque, complex, non-verifiable and with a hard-testing sustainability.
More at: Ethereum-Based Food Blockchain Issues Demo, Starts Testing Phase – The Cointelegraph
Skuchain and Chronicled announced that it has partnered with other members of Blockchain-IOT consortium including Bosch, BNY Mellon, Filament, and has created an API that supports Ethereum, Quorum, and Hyperledger blockchain implementations.
This January saw the formation of a group of five enterprises and six startups that gathered to work on the advancement of the intersection of blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). These members are also a part of the API working group.
The common registration protocol being developed enables users to register multiple kinds of weaker identities like serial numbers, QR codes, UPC codes, among others and binds them to stronger cryptographic identities. These identities are linked immutable across both physical and digital worlds using blockchain technology.
“In the days of the railroad industry, there was a need to create standard dimensions for the gauge of the rail and width between the rails. Similarly, in the IoT and blockchain space, by creating standards around basic functions, such as registering cryptographic public keys to blockchain systems for ‘thing’ identity verification, we can set a strong foundation for the growth of this exciting new industry,” Maurizio Greco, CTO of Chronicled said.
More at: Newly formed blockchain-IoT consortium launches common registration protocol – EconoTimes