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IBM Blockchain Assists Groundwater Pilot in Drought-Prone California

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IBM and two other organizations will marry blockchain and IoT to help manage groundwater usage in an “at-risk” Californian aquifer.

Aimed to improve sustainable use of the key water resource, IBM announced Friday that California’s Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta will be tracked in “real-time” through a joint effort between the Freshwater Trust, a U.S-based nonprofit working to preserve and restore freshwater ecosystems, and SweetSense, a provider of internet of things (IoT) sensors for the development sector.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta covers 1,100 square miles and provides water to the San Francisco Bay Area and coastal and southern California.

The project is being jointly funded by the Water Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and will also receive research support from the University of Colorado Boulder, IBM said.

For the effort, IoT sensors will transmit water extraction data to satellites, after which it will be recorded on the IBM Blockchain Platform hosted in the IBM Cloud. It also uses smart contracts to automatically execute transactions when certain conditions are met.

“Through a web-based dashboard, water consumers, including farmers; financers and regulators will all be able to monitor and track the use of groundwater to demonstrate how sustainable pumping levels can be achieved through the trading of groundwater use shares in the State of California,” IBM explained.

For example, if a farmer was not planning on watering their land for a season, they could trade or sell water credits on the blockchain to another farmer.

SweetSense is already monitoring the groundwater supplies for “over a million” people in Kenya and Ethiopia through IoT sensors and will be mirroring the same system in California, its CEO Evan Thomas said.

According to Dr. Solomon Assefa, vice president for emerging market solutions and director at IBM Research – Africa:

“With the addition of the blockchain we can bridge critical trust and transparency gaps making it possible to build a robust, scalable and cost-efficient platform for managing precious groundwater supplies anywhere in the world.”

IBM added that the pilot project comes as the result of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which was signed into law in 2014. The act mandated creating agencies and groups to ensure a plan is in place to make local groundwater usage sustainable.

Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta image courtesy of IBM

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source:.coindesk.

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Top 3 Japanese Bank to Roll Out Services on Marco Polo Blockchain

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Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Japan’s third-largest bank by total assets, will launch blockchain-based trade finance services in the second half of this year.

SMBC’s vice chairman Yasuyuki Kawasaki announced the news at a recent fintech seminar in Tokyo, saying that the bank will roll out new services for import and export companies using the Marco Polo trade finance blockchain platform, CoinDesk Japan reported Thursday.

Kawasaki said that, traditionally, trade finance is a “very complicated,” paper-based and time-consuming process. SMBC completed a proof-of-concept using the blockchain platform back in February, aiming to improve its trade operations. It said at the time that the platform “provides paperless, real-time connectivity and easier access.”

The Marco Polo network – built on blockchain software startup R3’s Corda platform – saw its first real-world transactions going live last month. The network was founded by R3 and trade finance specialist TradeIX.

The transactions took place between two German companies. One transaction involved the delivery of special hydraulic couplings from Germany to China and the other the delivery of pumps within Germany.

Since launching in 2017, the Marco Polo network has added some major financial institutions as members, including ING, BNP Paribas and Commerzbank, among others.

Announced this morning, BayernLB, Helaba and S-Servicepartner have also joined the Marco Polo network “for piloting and evaluating purposes.”

Daniel Cotti, managing director, Centre of Excellence for Banking and Trade for Marco Polo, said:

“Today, we have the resources and technology to transform the way banks serve their trade finance customers and enable easier access to credit, while minimizing risk and increasing transparency.”

Trade finance is increasingly being eyed as a beneficial use case for blockchain technology. Last July, another trade finance blockchain platform called We.Trade – built on Hyperledger Fabric and with nine banks on board – went live.

Just yesterday, China’s forex regulator and manager, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), said that it has developed a blockchain system aimed to address inefficiencies in cross-border trade finance. Pilots in three regions and two cities are now

 

source:coindesk

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Naturipe farms uses blockchain to track blueberries from harvest to table

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Naturipe Farm, in collaboration with tech company SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service, will use blockchain to track Naturipe’s blueberries all the way from the point of harvesting to your dining table.

Carol McMillan, director of information technology at Naturipe Farms explained that the crates with berries are weighed, scanned and then sent to cold storage.

‘Moments after our produce is picked, the growers now place QR codes onto these crates. That QR code stays on those berries all the way to the store. Soon, by simply scanning the QR code with our smartphones, we’ll see proof of where the berries were grown and learn about the farm’s sustainability practices.’

With SAP’s blockchain technology, consumers and customers will have the possibility to easily access the complete origin and history of Naturipe Farms produce, simply by using their smartphones to scan a QR code on the product package.

‘Blockchain helps SAP customers track and trace goods across their entire supply chain by using SAP’s cloud platform blockchain services’, said Eric Somitsch, senior director of SAP Agribusiness.

‘Suppliers must use a provided code to enter their information into the blockchain. SAP’s blockchain captures that data and protects it with the world’s most stringent encryption security protocols.’

At present, most fruit is traced manually, using hand-written paperwork that accompanies the shipments.

‘Just in that process alone, there can be delays of up to four hours for an air shipment, up to two days for a boat shipment for a product to get cleared and go through customs’, Naturipe’s IT Director Carol McMillan added.

In the future, blockchain data can be used to make better decisions relating to production itself, she said.

‘Freshness is imperative to keep people healthy. We can use all the data input from weather patterns and harvest data to eventually better forecast the future.’

McMillan pointed out that currently, food supply chain stakeholders record their own product information and share only if necessary.

‘The goal with our new blockchain technology is to help create a system with higher trust and transparency that ultimately simplifies operations and reduces food waste’, she said.

‘By pioneering this technology with SAP, we are hoping to lead a movement in the produce industry that minimizes waste and promotes transparent sustainability practices.’

Source:chepicap

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Blockchain art platform raises $2 million from Facebook, Coinbase, and more

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A new digital art marketplace will make use of blockchain technology to ensure creators’ ownership. MakersPlace has just completed a seed funding round for $2 million (as reported byTechCrunch).

Uncork Capital has led the seed round, with investment also coming from Pinterest, Facebook, Coinbase and more. MakersPlace allows artists with limited knowledge of blockchain tech to easily fingerprint their works. They just need to provide photo ID, and an ERC-20 token will be generated for each work that they put on to the platform.

According to MakersPlace co-founder Dannie Chu, “millions of digital creators…are spending countless hours creating digital artwork, but they struggle with basic things like attribution…If you can’t create a sustainable model for digital creators to create, you’re not going to have art…People are actually valuing digital creations like physical creations”.

The work that is offered on the MakersPlace platform includes animation, photography, drawings, pixel art and 3D creations. They can be bought using regular payment methods as well as Ethereum (ETH), and MakersPlace takes a 15 percent cut of sales, similar to the model offered by hobbyist marketplace Etsy.

Source:chepicap

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