The agency that regulates and manages China’s foreign exchange reserves has developed a blockchain system aimed to address inefficiencies in cross-border trade finance.
As reported by local financial news source CNStock, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) worked with the Hangzhou Blockchain Technology Research Institute to build the open blockchain platform, which uses multi-signature technology to keep transaction content private, revealing details only to the firms involved and regulators such as those relating to customs, taxation, industry and commerce.
Traditionally, China’s import and export financing uses a manual, paper-based operation for processing a hugely complex industry and that brings low efficiency, commonplace errors, high operational risk and, thus, elevated cost of financing. Putting the financial data on a distributed network enables information to be shared transparently and in real-time, according to the report.
The forex watchdog’s blockchain platform takes a focus on export receivables – the funds owed to a company by a foreign buyer after delivery – allowing firms to enter data on financing, audits, loans repayments and so on, and manages the entire process. It further automatically verifies customs documents and calculates a final balance for the customs declaration, a factor that prevents double or excessive financing, according to the report.
With initial development now complete, SAFE will now pilot the blockchain platform in three major trading provinces – Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian – and two cities, Shanghai and Chongqing, CNStock indicates.
The pilot will run for six months and is expected to be taken nationwide going forward, with many banks said to be involved in the scheme.
Charles Hoskinson partners with Polymath’s Trevor Koverko for building new security token blockchain
With Bitcoin [BTC] breaching its immediate resistance, the community is rooting for the largest cryptocurrency to breach the next resistance set at $8,000. This sudden pump in the prices of most major cryptocurrencies, especially BTC, was a hot topic at Consensus 2019, followed by the partnership between Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, and Trevor Koverko, the CEO of Polymath.
The duo has come together for an initiative which aims at launching a Layer 1 security token blockchain called ‘Polymesh’. According to Trevor, there exists a gap in the market for a purpose-built custom blockchain for security tokens. Hoskinson noted that a normal public blockchain system is a homogenous system where regulators, issuers, buyers and sellers are subjected to the same rules and responsibilities. He adds on the design of the Polymesh:
By assigning the responsibilities to a part of the system, they would have the power to ‘maybe freeze’ a transaction, reverse it, and even view an audit trail, while the other part cannot. Hoskinson and Koverko noted that it was necessary for a system like Polymesh to exist for the Security Token Offering [STO] revolution. Hoskinson added:
“Furthermore there’s good evidence of that from just traction of STOs. There’s a desire to create liquidity, there’s a desire to create these assets, but where are they at CoinMarketCap, where are they at in terms of trading, they’re not where they need to be.”
Koverko and Hoskinson believe that this new system will benefit the STO revolution and thus, have to be built from the ground.
Facebook registers ‘Libra Networks’ in Geneva for developing blockchain technology
Facebook, on May 2, registered Libra Networks, a firm specializing in developing blockchain technology, in Geneva. This is their first foray into developing in-house blockchain technology and could have adverse effects on the crypto-market, if speculations are to be believed.
Recently, the United States Senate sent out an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, asking details about their cryptocurrency project named “Libra”. This came out after they read about it in an article by the Wall Street Journal.
The project is likely to be released in the second quarter of 2019 and the development team was already set up last year. It is looking at introducing a coin which users can spend on its website or any other. According to the report by Wall Street, Facebook is also looking at backing its crypto-coin with the dollar reserve. This is done to make it less volatile from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Libra will be looking at investing, payments, financing, blockchain and other technologies to work on via their newly established firm. The social media giant is in talks with all major payment networks like Visa, Master Card and more and is looking to raise around $1 billion for the crypto-project. The crypto research team is expected to be headed by David Marcus, the ex-PayPal president.
However, the crypto-ecosystem is skeptical of Facebook entering the crypto-verse. One of the reasons for this is their past controversies surrounding the sale of user data to third parties. Following the issue, people now allegedly maintain a notion that Facebook could repeat history and sell their private data to any third party and this could spell disaster for crypto-users.
India is one of the biggest markets for Facebook as India has the highest number of WhatsApp users across all markets. While looking at the crypto-market in India, Facebook may have to make large changes in its policies owing to the possibility of a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies in India.
Ava Labs Exits Stealth, Launches Blockchain Testnet Based on ‘Avalanche’ Protocol
Blockchain startup Ava Labs is coming out of stealth and starting to open up its blockchain network — backed by a new consensus algorithm — to developers and users.
Ava Labs is launching a private testnet of their technology today at Token Summit, one of the many conferences taking place during Blockchain Week NYC.
Though the blockchain network isn’t ready for real money quite yet, this step is notable because, for the first time, developers outside the organization will be able to put the new code to the test based on their “Avalanche” protocol that was released last year by a pseudonymous group going by the name “Team Rocket,” referring to the villains of the Pokémon game series.
Ava is releasing the code to their launch partners, who will be able to comb through it, battle-test it, and play around with it for the first time. The code will not be completely open sourced quite yet, as Ava Labs founder and Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer told CoinDesk. Once the code has been “scrutinized” further, a public version of the testnet will be opened up for wider use.
Backing the effort is the $6 million that Ava Labs raised in February during a previously undisclosed funding round, when it won support from notable names in the venture capital and cryptocurrency spaces. These include Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Metastable, Initialized and Ramtin Naimi of Abstract Ventures.
Ava’s project forms part of a much wider degree of interest within the academic world in exploring consensus protocols that serve the same purpose of proof-of-work — securing transactions — but are more energy-efficient and have the potential to provide a basis for democratic development and the inclusion of more users in the consensus process. (Though it’s worth noting that some experts are skeptical that protocols with similar goals work in practice — so far, at least.)
Still, Sirer argues that Ava Labs’ implementation of Avalanche represents a breakthrough and a step forward for the ecosystem as a whole.
He told CoinDesk:
“We already have something that works and want to show people who are interested in it.”
Proof-of-work itself is revolutionary, Sirer contends, as it revolutionized what researchers thought were possible of consensus protocols for 45 years. “This third approach combines the best of both worlds,” he said.
He added that Ava is faster and more scalable, “allowing us to open up a new level of decentralization.”
A ‘different’ universe
Ava Labs also claims to have made another “breakthrough” that Sirer says is just as revolutionary as Avalanche, but hasn’t been revealed until today.
It boils down to this: in all blockchains launched thus far, all the nodes have to agree on certain criteria. All nodes utilize the same “scripting language” for smart contracts, for example.
Ava, by contrast, offers a “heterogeneous network,” allowing nodes across the system to have different properties. Essentially allowing different groups in the network to “plug-and-play” different features.
“This is a different type of a universe,” Sirer said, comparing Ava to other popular public blockchains like EOS and ethereum. “Ava has an interoperable framework, but then you have smaller and smaller universes of your own that have minimum properties.”
One could decide to add zk-SNARKS, a bleeding-edge privacy technology, in their own universe, for example. Still, it’s worth noting that some researchers are skeptical of Avalanche, the new concept Ava is putting into practice.
For example, ethereum researcher Vlad Zamfir debated Sirer about its features on Twitter back when Avalanche was first revealed. Zamfir’s opinion on the topic is held in high regard because he’s also been trying for years to develop a greener algorithm for etheruem, the largest smart contract blockchain out there today.