Japan’s Largest IT Firm NTT Data Unveils New Blockchain Consortium – Cryptocoins News

NTT Data, Japan’s largest IT services firm, has announced a new blockchain consortium with members representing a number of varying industries.

In an announcement this week, NTT Data unveiled details of the working group which will see 13 founding members unite to explore use cases for blockchain technology. The companies represent industries such as insurance, logistics and import & export trade, NTT data revealed.

Due to be established on August 30 with an official launch, the consortium is expected to last until March 2018. Its objectives include tackling issues in the lead-up to practical applications of blockchain technology, validating the feasibility of blockchain applications before planning a sweeping systemization of the innovative decentralized tech for the future.

More at: Japan’s Largest IT Firm NTT Data Unveils New Blockchain Consortium – Cryptocoins News

How blockchain solves the complicated data-ownership problem – TNW

Every minute of every day, billions of users are dutifully generating terabytes of data on the internet, from tweets to Facebook posts and Google searches, emails and chat messages, content, music, videos and much more. This data is either directly worth money or can be used to fuel business processes.

However, you have little or no ownership over the digital information that you create or the value that derives from it. All of it goes into the gaping maws of tech giants and corporations that use it to monetize their services.

The reason for this is the centralized architecture that has dominated internet services for the past decades. Under this model, you have to entrust our digital information to brokers such as Facebook and Google. These companies store our data, guarantee its security and integrity, and leverage it to improve their services. But they also use it for other business purposes, often without your consent and giving you little choice. If the broker decides to close down your account, or if their servers fail, all your data goes with it.

Blockchain technology provides an alternative that gives the ownership of data back to users. Blockchain is a decentralized database where data is replicated across several unrelated nodes. No single node can act as a gatekeeper and assume control of your data. Transactions in the ledger are stored in a permanent and verifiable way. Users who store information on the blockchain retain access to it through encryption keys, independent of the service or application that generated it.

Many companies are leveraging the blockchain to provide new business models and platforms where users are in full control and can decide which applications and services can access their data.

More at: How blockchain solves the complicated data-ownership problem – TNW

Dun & Bradstreet is testing blockchain as a way to securely distribute its content

The venerable commercial data firm is engaged in several projects with this potentially revolutionary tech, because its financial customers are.

Lest you think blockchain technology is still in the far future of commercial communications and commerce, keep in mind that the venerable Dun & Bradstreet is busily kicking the technology’s tires.

The company — whose origins stretch back to the middle of the 19th century — is currently testing a pilot project that allows clients to verify the identity of a potential business partner through a unique blockchain identifying number that corresponds to the traditional Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number.

The nine digit D-U-N-S Number is a widely accepted way of identifying a business entity. Blockchain is a new kind of online distributed software ledger that forms the technological underpinning for a variety of applications, the most famous of which is the bitcoin digital currency. Dun & Bradstreet says it has the world’s largest commercial database, providing basic information and reputational assessments for companies around the globe.

Several firms that use its data are involved in testing this project, which launched last fall. One firm, the company said, wants to see if it can dramatically reduce the cost of onboarding new suppliers.

Basic data about 6,500 public companies — such as name, street and web address, CEO and so on — are recorded in company profiles that are housed in “smart contracts” in an instance of the open-source Ethereum blockchain platform.

More at: Dun & Bradstreet is testing blockchain as a way to securely distribute its content

What’s in my food? DNA sequencing, blockchain provide closer look – San Francisco Chronicle

In the sample preparation room of Menlo Park startup Clear Labs, research associate Abhishek Hegde carefully injects a series of tiny test tubes with fluid. Each tube contains a different food sample — and the transparent solution extracts DNA from the sample so it can be sequenced and analyzed.

Looking at food at the molecular level helps Clear Labs answer questions that plague retailers, manufacturers and consumers: Was the most recent batch of beef contaminated with E. coli? Is this soy burger patty actually vegan? Is that “GMO-free” sticker accurate?

 . . .Another option that will be available to grocers in the coming years is blockchain, a distributed digital ledger shared among a network of computers. With this technology, every time a food product moves through the supply chain, it is recorded, creating an immutable digital record of where the food has been. (Blockchain technology was first developed to track the movement of digital bitcoins.)

As tools like DNA sequencing and blockchain technology become faster, the lag time between observing an outbreak of food-borne disease and pinpointing its source — which currently can take weeks — could shrink dramatically. Following an announcement in October, Walmart and IBM began a collaborating on a blockchain system to track pork in China and sliced mango in the U.S.

In a demonstration last month, Yiannas of Walmart was able to trace a pack of sliced mango to a particular farm and packaging date in just 2.2 seconds. The same task would have taken the company a week without a blockchain. Walmart is reaching out to other food companies and retailers, and plans to test blockchain technology on multi-ingredient foods later this year.

More at: What’s in my food? DNA sequencing, blockchain provide closer look – San Francisco Chronicle

Meat of the Matter: The Trust Factor – Pork Network

. . .

There is opportunity in convincing consumers that they can actually believe in labeling claims that promise nutritional and socio-political benefits when branded products are purchased. And to follow Edelman’s logic, the impetus for such efforts needs to originate from the industries themselves, not from top-down regulations promulgated by government officials and politicians who carry little credibility with the public.

To that end, a small group of producers, organized as the Arkansas-based Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative, is employing blockchain technology to trace its meat products from farm to fork.

According to a news release about the program, “Blockchain technology allows for public verification of information in the food chain. Shoppers and diners will be able to scan QR codes on Grass Roots products to learn where the meat came from and how the animals were raised.”

That so-called “digital history” will also include stories about the people involved, producers, farmers and butchers, who contributed to portioning and processing the final product.

More at: Meat of the Matter: The Trust Factor – Pork Network

Illinois to Trial Blockchain Tech in Bid to Track Medical Licenses – CoinDesk

The state of Illinois is expanding its work with blockchain, launching a pilot program aimed at applying the tech to the medical licensing process.

As reported last year by CoinDesk, the state unveiled a wide-ranging blockchain and cryptocurrency initiative last November. Illinois has since embarked on a multi-agency effort to explore public applications of the technology, while also releasing new rules for startups working with cryptocurrencies.

Now, the Illinois Blockchain Initiative has partnered with Hashed Health, a U.S.-based blockchain startup focused on medical applications, to see whether the tech can help streamline how medical licenses are issued and tracked.

The program’s backers expect to build a license registry and medical credential-sharing system running on a blockchain, with smart contracts automatically updating information. The ultimate goal is to create an authentic and transparent chain of records for patients and healthcare provider networks.

More at: Illinois to Trial Blockchain Tech in Bid to Track Medical Licenses – CoinDesk

Sony blockchain-based service aims to revamp how qualifications are shared – IT PRO

Sony’s new service will give employers an accurate view of a student’s history

Sony Global Education, a subsidiary of Sony that develops international education services, has announced it’s working on a new blockchain-based certification platform designed to make it easier for students to share their qualifications with employers.

The new service, built using IBM’s Blockchain, allows schools and universities to host a student’s entire educational history, providing a means for companies and educational authorities to gain an accurate view of a person’s qualifications.

Qualifications can often be difficult to share or prove, particularly if they’re tied to pieces of paper, informal achievements, or qualifications gained at international institutions. The system essentially creates an immutable hub for all those disparate records that can be shared securely with organisations, safe in the knowledge the information has been verified.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to impact systems in a wide variety of industries, and the educational sphere is no exception when educational data is securely stored on the blockchain and shared among permissioned users,” said Masaaki Isozu, president of Sony Global Education, in a statement on Wednesday.

More at: Sony blockchain-based service aims to revamp how qualifications are shared – IT PRO