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Rhode Island Looks to Adopt Blockchain For Government Use



Rhode Island issued a request for proposals aimed at exploring the viability of blockchain technology to improve state operations. This comes on the heels the state relaxing certain security laws for blockchain businesses.

Is the second-most dense state by population looking to become a hub for the crypto industry?

Director of the Department of Business Regulation Liz Tanner said in a statement she believes blockchain represents the modernization of government and would enable bureaucratic efficiency in the state. She also said Rhode Island’s initiatives were inspired by the adoption of blockchain by overseas governments.

The request for proposals is not looking for specific answers to specific problems, but is keeping an open mind to the possibilities of the emerging technology. A memo following the RFP states, “Suggested areas of application… include antifraud, contracts, medical marijuana, records, notarization, registration and licensing, investigative evidence control and more.”

Brenna McCabe, director of public affairs for the Department of Administration in Rhode Island, told Government Technology that this long list of possible applications is meant to entice more bidders, all of whom are required to submit two proofs of concept for blockchain application.

McCabe said state officials did not want to stifle the ingenuity of the industry by limiting the scope of the RFP.

It’s only after the state receives proposals that they can conceive of what the technology offers. “With proofs of concept, [Rhode Island] can gain a better understanding of the maturity of blockchain technologies and platforms, as well as potential sustainability in state government operations,” the memo stated.

The proposals will be reviewed by a technical evaluation committee composed of staff from various state agencies. “The initial contract period is estimated to begin Aug. 13 for a time period determined by the winning bid(s),” according to the RFP.

Anticipated problems will stem from laws, regulations and licensing structures that would require changes to allow for blockchain use, said McCabe. Though state leaders will have a better idea of what needs to be tweaked once proposals are reviewed.



Kadena Blockchain Taps Healthcare Data Firm to Track Medical Cannabis Product



The first application on Kadena’s public blockchain is a tracking platform for CBD oil.

The platform is expected to launch after Kadena’s smart contract becomes fully functional on Jan. 15, 2020.

The cannabis project is only the first step for Kadena to tap into the multibillion-dollar healthcare industry, Will Martino, the firm’s CEO, said in an interview.

“We have much greater visions that include putting together a much larger healthcare data marketplace,” Martino said.

In the long term, Kadena hopes to achieve this goal via a partnership with Raleigh, N.C.-based Rymedi, a technology firm that provides data services for pharmaceutical, healthcare and other life-sciences companies and institutions.

In particular, Kadena and Rymedi could provide clients with an immutable and auditable record-keeping platform that could accelerate the drug approval process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Consumers will be able to scan QR codes on products and look up production records. Using prospective consumer feedback, Martino said Kadena could launch a similar platform for prescription drugs in the future. 

“This validates purchasing and authenticity, especially useful in geographies and industries where fraud and quality concerns remain potentially life-threatening issues,” Kadena said in a statement.

In April, Rymedi became one of the members of an FDA-approved consortium to study the use of blockchain technology to track and verify specialty prescription drugs in several U.S. states with a focus on intra- and inter-health system medication transport and usage.

“With their deep experience in financial markets and transaction data, Kadena is a uniquely aligned partner for us,” Rymedi CEO David Stefanich said in a statement.

Kadena claims to have one of the most scalable proof-of-work platforms for facilitating cross-chain transactions. It went live on Nov. 4 with plans to raise an additional $20 million in a November token sale. It raised approximately $15 million with the token sale closing on Nov. 29.

The firm will enable miners to trade KDA tokens on Dec. 7. People can use Kadena’s smart contracts with the tokens starting on Jan. 15.


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Microsoft Is Using Blockchain to Help Firms Trust AI



Microsoft is pitching blockchain technology as a way to make artificial intelligence less scary for its corporate customers. 

Much like consumers who are wary of AI, enterprises are queasy about putting their full trust in a “black box” where machine learning algorithms are indiscriminately applied to vast data sets. But Microsoft, which helps thousands of firms manage their data, claims a blockchain can add trust and a degree of transparency, assuaging such concerns. 

Underpinning this is a new tool called Azure Blockchain Data Manager, which the software giant released at its annual Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, but was overshadowed by the announcement of a platform for creating enterprise tokens. 

Blockchain Data Manager takes on-chain data and connects it to other applications. So transaction data from nodes or inside smart contracts can be sent to other databases or data stores. These are the sort of places where AI can be deployed, or in the case of supply-chain, where internet-of-things (IoT) information can be brought to bear.  

“From manufacturing to energy to public sector to retail, AI is digitally transforming businesses in every vertical,” said Marc Mercuri, principal program manager for blockchain engineering for Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing business. “Blockchain can ensure that everything from the algorithms to the data going in and out of them is trustworthy.”

Acting as a trust anchor for downstream data analytics might sound like a rather abstract and modest innovation for blockchain. But blockchain on its own has shown few tangible benefits among companies that rode the initial wave of hype. 

Data trail

A distributed ledger can be used to look at the provenance of data before AI parses it, Mercuri said. “Where did it come from? Where was it transformed? What was the code used to transform that? What was the input and the output of that transformation?”

The concept is plausible to Avivah Litan, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research. 

Blockchain, AI and IoT could be combined in the tracking of shipments of organic beef from Argentina, for example, she said. 

In this case, the blockchain would allow participants to agree on all the conditions and exact location of the shipment, informing the distribution strategy further down the line, which is where AI might come in.

“Now, you could do that without blockchain,” said Litan, “but with blockchain you get a shared, single version of truth and an immutable audit trail so it’s a much better source of data to feed your AI models.”

Microsoft’s data manager is designed to be “ledger-agnostic,” meaning it could be used with various types of blockchains, although the company’s forays in the sector have traditionally been linked to ethereum, including enterprise versions like JPMorgan’s Quorum. 

Test customer

One of Microsoft’s customers, Icertis, a cloud-based platform for contract management, tried out Blockchain Data Manager “in preview,” prior to the release at Ignite, and built use cases involving ethical supply chain contracts and the way certain subsidized pharmaceutical drugs are used. Icertis used Quorum for the Data Manager builds, but the firm has used R3’s Corda as its main blockchain previous to that.

An example that demonstrates the concept of trusted AI involves contracts that include a limitation of liability or a particular type of disaster recovery clause, for instance. By feeding data into an AI model, the level of risk for the end-user, if they agree to the contract terms, can be predicted.   

Monish Darda, CTO and co-founder of Icertis, said the aim was to show the end-user what made the AI reach its conclusion, proving that it was not prone to any kind of data-led bias. 

“I can go in and see what data was used to reach that decision,” said Darda.

“If my model is trained from that data, it gives me a transaction ID or a hash of the transaction written in the blockchain, and I can then go deep and say, ‘hey, two years ago I got these 10 data points that I used in my machine learning model, that influenced my calculation of risk’,” he said. 

KPMG too

Big Four consultancy KPMG also has a blockchain-based trusted AI release slated for January. 

Arun Ghosh, U.S. Blockchain Leader at KPMG, said a large part of machine learning is not data science but data engineering. 

“It’s cleaning and collating and integrating information, and then you run the algorithm,” he said. ”What we are finding is that you can compress the data engineering process by adding a trusted layer that is immutable by nature.”


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A fundraising platform from Berlin, Neufund, just completed the first blockchain-based IPO for a company called Greyp, raising €1.4 million.

The world’s first blockchain-based Initial Public Offering (IPO) was recently closed in Berlin, Germany. The IPO was held by a fundraising platform, Neufund, for an e-mobility startup called, Greyp.

The offering attracted around 1017 investors, from 34 different countries. The IPO had a minimum investment of €100 and was fully compliant with the local regulations.

This is a big move for blockchain-based companies which was made possible by Neufund. The company allows blockchain fundraising and investing, and has been around since 2016. 


Neufund was founded by Zoe Adamovicz, who acts as its current CEO. Adamovicz is also a pioneering technology entrepreneur, and one of the Top 50 Women in Tech, according to Forbes. Commenting on the success of the IPO, she stated that its conclusion represents an important and exciting day for Neufund, but also for the security token industry.

Thanks to the platform, private companies now have proof that they can effectively leverage blockchain technology to conduct IPOs. Meanwhile, the entry barrier is significantly lower, which is also an open invitation for retail investors.

Now that the IPO has concluded, the platform will proceed by distributing the funds from the first offer to NEU token holders. The public offering also attracted other clients, such as Black One Entertainment — a German firm that will be Neufund’s next issuer. Furthermore, the company also revealed that it has foreign companies in the pipeline, as well, including firms from Belgium and India.

Neufund has also deployed more than €17 million up to this point, with over 11,000 investors, originating from 111 countries around the world. All these folks registered on the platform in less than a year since the platform’s own launch in 2018. 

The company also ran an Equity Token Offering campaign back in 2018, which likely helped it gather the necessary attention, as it was chosen as one of the 10 most promising blockchain startups earlier this year, in March. While the firm is still in the early stage, it is clearly attracting attention at a rapid pace.

As for Greyp itself, it is a high tech mobility company that was founded by Mate Rimac. The company was backed by some of the well-known investors, such as T-Mobile, Porsche, and Camel Group. The firm emerged as a small department in Rimac Automobili, which is also known for creating the most powerful hypercar in the world.

Right now, the firm’s goal is to work on expanding its own community and introduce retail investors to the connected mobility future. 

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