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ConsenSys Spin-Out 3Box Raises $2.5 Million to Build ID Tools for Dapp Devs



3Box, the latest startup to leave the Brooklyn-based incubator ConsenSys, just raised money to fuel a new identity tool for app developers.

3Box is developing a decentralized solution that people can use across both traditional and blockchain-based apps. The startup recently closed a $2.5 million seed round led by Placeholder Ventures, with investments from Venrock, CoinFund, Northzone and ConsenSys itself.

The “3” in 3Box is a subtle nod to the notion of Web3, a term used to describe the distributed evolution of digital platforms from social media sites to ticket sellers. Ethereum-centric startups such as MetaMask, Aragon and Foam – the latter of which garnered more than 500 contributors so far to its open source map – are already using 3Box. This pace of growth is what attracted the attention of CoinFund cofounder Jake Brukhman.

“This is a project with genuine traction,” Brukhman told CoinDesk. “There’s a huge hole in Web3 where identity should be. And I think 3Box is exactly where it should be to fill that hole.”

3Box aims to make portable logins and profiles more simple by utilizing the peer-to-peer InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to give users keys to their own data, which is distributed across nodes instead of storing the profile on a centralized server like Facebook or Twitter.

While 3Box currently runs all the nodes, the startup plans to make that open-source software easy for any developer to spin up in order to diversify the network.

“We’re building a decentralized storage network on top of IPFS that allows all these services to tap into it, but it’s governed by the users’ consent,” 3Box co-founder Michael Sena told CoinDesk. “You can use 3Box anywhere that you have an ethereum wallet, because you basically need to be able to sign a message with your key.”

3Box makes it easier for blockchain developers to include features like private chats, uploading photos, liking posts and other common activities related to user-generated content and social interaction that are currently absent from most decentralized applications (dapps).

Indeed, Foam CEO Ryan John King told CoinDesk that some of his users leverage 3Box to have their external Twitter handle, GitHub profile and Foam-related activity all built-in to their Foam profile for a “social and reputational layer.” In the future, King said Foam plans to integrate 3Box’s thread and chat features.

“It’s enhancing user experiences in a whole new way,” King said. “With 3Box there’s an open API, it allows people to opt-in and choose whatever information they want to include while interacting with the [FOAM] protocol.”

Sena added:

“We expect to see a whole new wave of more usable, more enjoyable, more engaging, distributed applications.”

Beyond Web3

According to Sena, 3Box plans to eventually enable a username and password option so that people could also use it for profiles on traditional apps.

Unlike a regular profile, where you can deactivate it but the company keeps your data, an app that supports 3Box could give users control over their profiles.

“The idea was to create a Google Drive or Dropbox-like interface that lets people manage their 3Box data,” Sena said. “Users can go on Hub, their drive, and just delete all of their data. And they can be sure that it’s gone.”

In terms of the startup’s business model, 3Box will focus on offering services, such as node management and unique features, to developers and web businesses.

“The benefits of minimizing risk and reducing liability, building lighter weight apps faster, those extend far beyond Web3 developers,” Sena said.

Speaking to 3Box’s broader business model, Brukhman concluded:

“There is inherent value in decentralizing identity and user data.”

3Box team in November 2018. Danny Zuckerman, COO (bottom left); Michael Sena, CEO (bottom middle); Joel Thorstensson, CTO (top right); Zach Ferland, Senior Engineer (top left)



IBM & Google Ex-Director Shifts Towards Credits Blockchain



On October 11, CREDITS.COM announced the addition of a new member in the position of Chief Business Officer. The replenishment in the ranks of the company has become a major event in the market due to previous employee experience. Jennifer Trelewicz, who previously held the positions of Director of the Systems & Technology Laboratory at IBM, CTO of Google Russia, and Director of Risks & Market Data at Deutsche Bank, will now make every effort in developing the blockchain project.    

The management of Credits, knowing the strengths and vast knowledge of Jennifer, entrusted her the leadership of the external sector of business relations, which implies establishing working negotiations with partners, informational and analytical support in the process of making managerial decisions, improving control over the development process and the possibility of its operational adjustment.  

The following is a detailed interview on the employee’s previous work experience and her prospects at Credits:

Q: Could you tell us about an accomplishment that shaped your career?  

A: Opening the IBM Systems and Technology Laboratory in Moscow was significant. My path to the opening was not simple – I started work on the proposal with 2 IBM colleagues in 2004, and eventually worked an executive assignment role in the IBM headquarters to get the highest-level approvals to make it happen. From zero I built a team of 130 engineers, worked with colleagues in IBM around the world to bring interesting R&D to the lab, set up the structure and processes. The lab continued to function successfully after my departure, and one of my first hires as a project manager was later promoted to director of the lab, which makes me proud of him.

For me the key points of this project involved taking an idea from zero to business success navigating obstacles, building alliances.Q: During your tenure as CTO at Google, with which major projects have you collaborated?

A: This was a while ago, when Google search first became useful in Russian. Our team collaborated with the core search team in Mountain View, California, to build Russian morphology into the language model, which was critical to the platform’s performance in this market. We also spearheaded work with Google Maps to adjust to Eastern European specifics of maps and transport, including norms for address numbering, the role of public transport, and others. At the time, public transport was not viewed to be very important to Google maps, but could any resident of Moscow imagine giving directions to an address, even to a delivery person in a vehicle, without telling the name of the closest metro station? This is just one example of the difference in paradigm.

Q: When did you familiarize yourself with blockchain technology and the Credits platform? 

A: I started working with blockchain technology as CEO of the S7 TechLab. We launched a joint project with Alfabank for selling airline tickets on Ethereum, and later, together with Alfabank and Gaspromneft-Aero, for handling payments for aviation fueling. In that role, I was familiar with both Ethereum and Hyperledger and could see the advantages and disadvantages of each for enterprise solutions.

I became familiar with the Credits platform recently, and I am impressed with the technology, including the technical layer and the commitment of the company to both the user community and to solution partners.

Q: Do you think the entire market has matured to the understanding that business is dependent on information security?

A: Technology business seems to understand this aspect, but some of the sectors historically less associated with information technology seem to be just coming to this awareness, normally when a breach happens to them. Even “low-tech” businesses are dependent on information security, since even they likely store some amount of customer and supplier data on computers. Businesses that do not understand their dependence on information security are at risk of major problems. Compromised information systems can affect everything, from customers and their interests, internal control systems (budget, purchasing, planning), and eventually the reputation of the company. As well, laws in many geographical regions worldwide govern the handling of customer data, so problems can lead to fines or worse.

Q: How do you assess the market development prospects?

A: I am very sanguine about the prospects, and I note that even Forbes has named 2019 as the “Year of Enterprise Blockchain”. Businesses are beginning to understand the value that the technology can bring to their systems, including integrating with legacy systems to enhance security and functionality. As well, achieving trust between counterparties in a world of global supply base, automated documents and payments, electronic engagements – all of this requires the technology that blockchain brings to the table.

Q: In what areas do you think Credits could collaborate with IBM?

A: IBM is an excellent partner for complex solutions projects, and they have worldwide channel for enterprise clients. I see a lot of potential in being a technical partner to IBM in solution projects, providing components of the solution, based on Credits blockchain technology.

Q: What do you value most about Credits technology and goals?

A: The architecture of the platform is well designed and skillfully implemented. The code is open, which allows clients and the community to verify, contribute, and certify for special installations. At the same time, since Credits controls the platform, we can ensure that critical integration interfaces for customer solutions are not broken with upgrades, as can happen with some other blockchain platforms.

At the same time, I really value the priorities of the team, with a balance between clients, developers and integrators, and community and investors. This is the type of healthy approach that characterizes long-term successful businesses.

Q: What is Credits doing well, and where is there an opportunity to grow?

A: The Credits technology platform is very well implemented, and the team pays a lot of attention to verification and stability. This is a solid foundation for working with partners developing on the platform, clients working with solutions on the platform, and general market trust in the technology.

Where I see opportunity is in developing our solutions portfolio in partnership with key players, such as IBM and others. This is where we will be able to bring maximum value to enterprise clients, leveraging the strengths of all partners to solve complex business problems.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish within the next year in Credits?

A: I will be nurturing and developing our relationships with partners, clients, and advisors worldwide. As well, I put a high priority on building our channel partnerships, including with integrators and ISVs. For these directions, I am looking forward to collaborating closely with our ambassadors and regional representatives. Together we will launch PoCs in key sectors, enable channel partners to build on our solutions, and realize solutions with enterprise clients.

In parallel I am working closely with our business development team to develop additional skills, hire the correct candidates, structure work around appropriate KPIs.

Therefore, the blockchain technology market is increasingly penetrating various business structures, thereby attracting the interest of both ordinary people and large company directors who want to make their efforts in the inevitable development of a reliable digital space.

Credits is an open-source and fully decentralized blockchain software platform operating based on the PoA (Proof of Agreement) algorithm. The platform offers network capacities of up to 1 million transactions per second with transaction processing times at 0.1 seconds, and low fees starting from 0.001 USD per transaction.

In parallel I am working closely with our business development team to develop additional skills, hire the correct candidates, structure work around appropriate KPIs.

Therefore, the blockchain technology market is increasingly penetrating various business structures, thereby attracting the interest of both ordinary people and large company directors who want to make their efforts in the inevitable development of a reliable digital space.

Credits is an open-source and fully decentralized blockchain software platform operating based on the PoA (Proof of Agreement) algorithm. The platform offers network capacities of up to 1 million transactions per second with transaction processing times at 0.1 seconds, and low fees starting from 0.001 USD per transaction.


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Shellfish Plant Is Putting Scallops on IBM’s Food Tracking Blockchain



A seafood plant is working with IBM to track the provenance of fresh scallops using blockchain technology.

The Raw Seafoods plant in Fall River, Massachusetts, is collaborating with IBM Food Trust, a digital system for tracing food between retailers and suppliers. 

A fleet of scallopers owned by Capt. Danny Eilersten will upload data about each catch sourced in a local fishing ground onto the blockchain platform, IBM announced on Thursday.

When Eilersten’s boats catch a scallop, the system records its weight, the vessel’s longitude, latitude and name, and the time the shellfish was caught, and sends the data via satellite to IBM’s blockchain. Workers on-board then store the scallops in a bag and label it with a barcode that links to the same information. 

The project also shares data with distributors, suppliers and retailers, including when a boat landed port-side and when each scallop lot was hand graded, selected, packed and shipped to its final destination. Raw Seafoods plans to launch a mobile app allowing customers to access scallop provenance starting this November. 

“The big picture for us is to have consumers have more trust in the seafood they’re eating,”  Daniel McQuade, vice president of marketing at Raw Seafoods, told CoinDesk. “We’re trying to solve the fear of fish in both restaurants and markets.”

Conservationist group Oceana recently tested 400 seafood samples from 250 U.S. locations for authenticity. It found that 20 percent were mislabeled. Imported seafood, which makes up the total majority consumed in the U.S., may be more susceptible to mislabeling because of the potential to pass off fish and gain higher profits, McQuade said. 

Other participants in the Raw Seafoods project include Santa Monica Seafoods, a seafood distributor, and restaurants like TAPS Fish House and Brewery in Orange County, CA, and Santa Monica Seafoods Market & Cafes. Since its launch in Oct. 2018, IBM Food Trust has signed up 170 companies for its blockchain and conducted some 17 million transactions, said Suzanne Livingston, offering director for IBM Food Trust.

Fishing ships are required by law to record when they make trips, how many pounds they land, and when they return to port, making distributed database technology a natural fit. The IBM Food Trust system also allows Raw Seafoods to buy product directly from fishers as opposed to from auctions or depots. Fishers can send images and videos  along with the data for customers to see when the seafood plant’s app launches. 

McQuade hopes the system will also help fisheries manage their scallop stocks more effectively, matching up supply and demand.

He said: 

“The government says this boat can go out only so many days a year and it can only go to certain areas. We know these stores are going to be very busy in November and December. We’ll actually go to the boat owner and say ‘hold onto some of your trips … versus you using all your trips in June and July.’”


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Samsung SDS Pilots Blockchain-Based Medical Insurance Network



Samsung SDS, an IT solution developer partially owned by the South Korean tech conglomerate, is expecting to roll out a blockchain-based medical claims processing system this month.

According to a CoinDesk Korea report on Wednesday, Yoon Shim, a vice president of Samsung SDS, said at the Blockchain Seoul 2019 event that the firm has been piloting the system since August this year. Samsung SDS is 22.6 percent owned by Samsung Electronics and 17.1 percent owned by Samsung C&T.

Yoon added that medical institutions and insurers have participated in the pilot to validate the effectiveness and the system will go live soon this month, based on another local news report.

The network being rolled out aims to simplify a now complex process, in which a patient gets a receipt for services rendered and submits the documents to the insurance company, which must then verify their accuracy before claims are paid.

The company says that even though most Koreans are well insured and should have no out-of-pocket expenses, they will often not file claims because of the complicated procedures.

In the new “blockchain healthcare network,” hospitals, pharmacies, insurers and other companies in the sector will be linked. When the system is operational, users will receive a message on the KakaoTalk messenger after treatment. They can then press a receipt button and an insurance claim button, after which their information is sent to the insurer.

Blockchain technology is used for the sharing of personal medical information. Samsung SDS believes that the network will reduce the workload at medical institutions, shorten wait times for claims processing and reduce the cost of processing medical claims by up to 70 percent.

In June, Samsung SDS said that it had already signed a number of major hospitals to the blockchain healthcare network. The list includes Samsung Hospital, Severance Hospital and Korea University Medical Center, while discussions were ongoing with other institutions. The company said at the time that the new system would be rolled out in August 2019.

The network is being built on Nexledger, an enterprise blockchain platform originally developed in 2017. Samsung SDS says Nexledger is being used in the implementation of 110 blockchain projects and holds 51 patents.


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