A Virginia lawmaker is pushing her commonwealth’s government to study how blockchain could shape the future of local elections and commerce.
On Jan. 8, Delegate Hala Ayala (D-51) offered two bills to the House of Delegates: the first calling for Virginia’s Department of Elections to investigate blockchain as a means to secure elections, and the second requesting the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) research blockchain’s current and coming role in the Old Dominion’s economy.
Together, they comprise Ayala’s political drive to embrace – or at least consider – integrating distributed ledger technology in Virginia life.
They’re also a product of Ayala’s subject matter expertise. She was an information security specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard for nearly 20 years before transitioning to a cybersecurity role at the Transportation Security Administration in 2017, where she continues to work.
“Right now blockchain is a thriving technology,” said Ayala, who was appointed chair of the newly formed Technology and Innovation Subcommittee last week.
The bills outline Ayala’s proposed roadmap to studying blockchain technologies. This is most clear in her election bill. It’s a response to the ongoing threat of election interference by “bad actors,” she said.
But it’s also a detailed prescription to get ahead of future attacks. With text imploring the Virginia Department of Elections to study current blockchain voting mechanisms, perform a cost-benefit analysis and then determine “whether and how to implement blockchain” in elections, the bill offers a path to possible implementation.
“We have to take blockchain very seriously and understand it has the mechanics and mechanisms that could potentially provide us with more secure election protection,” Ayala said.
The economy bill, too, would nudge blockchain toward more widespread implementation in Virginia, with two years of mandated studies on the tech’s prevalence and role in intrastate commerce.
If passed, VEDP would produce multiple reports outlining what the government should do to foster sector growth. Ayala said it would also tamp down on corporate overreach, keeping companies honest.
While Ayala hopes the reports will shed light on how the commonwealth can take advantage of this relatively new technology, she has not yet committed to implementing blockchain tools.
“We need to do our homework first to see how we can apply these technologies to their businesses as well as our elections,” she said.
Ultimately, her economics bill seeks to create “a statewide, comprehensive, and coordinated strategy relating to blockchain technology,” the text reads.
“Technology is always ever evolving, and we want to make sure that we are on the forefront and leading the way here in the commonwealth,” Ayala said.
Pharmaceutical Companies Reportedly Developed Blockchain System To Track Counterfeit Drugs
The involvement of blockchain in the medical industry paves the way for a collective environment for drug makers, distributors, retailers and delivery firms.
Reuters recently reported some two dozen pharmaceutical companies developed “blockchain-based MediLedger Network” to track the supply chain of medicines.
Namely, global medical firms including Pfizer Inc PEE.N and Eli Lilly and Co LLY.N have moved ahead in emerging technology, blockchain. These firms have already developed a blockchain and decentralized solution with almost 20 companies are joining hands to create a blockchain solution.
The vision behind medical companies developing a blockchain system is to verify, track the supply chain of the prescription drugs and later to combat the flow of in the open market and to combat the flow of counterfeit medicines.
Since technology acts as a shared database, well connected with the networks of computers, blockchain enhances trust and transparency. The involvement of blockchain in the medical industry paves the way for a collective environment for all the parties; the drug makers, distributors, retailers and delivery firms.
Companies that are already in this rally include; FedEx Corp (FDX.N), Novartis (NOVN.S), Amgen Inc (AMGN.O), Sanofi (SASY.PA), GlaxoSmithKline Pic (GSK.L), Walmart Inc. (WMT.N), Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA.O), AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N).
Concerning the matter, Susanne Somerville who is the CEO of a MediLedger Custodian, Chronicle claimed that the report on blockchain-based MediLedger is already been delivered to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She notes the report laid emphasizes on the importance of the blockchain to prevent counterfeit medicines.
This being said, Reuters cited the report of the World Health Organisation which claimed ‘counterfeit medicines worth $79.26 billion are traded every year.
“Even though the drug supply in the United States is safe, there are small percentages … of potential counterfeit drugs. Certainly, there’s a lot of evidence of diverted drugs.” Said, Susanne.
She also noted their vision by doing so is to “improve the security of prescription drugs in the country”.
Besides the medical industry, blockchain technology has already on a rise across several industries. Interestingly, the latest report notes that the top 5 companies are investing millions in terms of crypto to encourage blockchain education. On the other hand, Bloomberg also highlighted that American multinational investment bank and financial services, JPMorgan Chase & Co. believe that this disruptive technology is laying the foundation for digital money.
JP Morgan Blockchain Report: Bitcoin (BTC) Price, Stablecoins, Payments
JPMorgan Chase, the multinational investment bank, is one of the pioneers of blockchain research and adoption among the giants of classical banking. Its analysts prepared a thorough review of the most important events, processes and trends the blockchain and cryptocurrency sphere went through in 2019.
Has blockchain entered the financial mainstream?
Despite all rollercoaster rides the crypto marketsэ capitalization suffered from last year, for the analysts of JPMorgan Chase, it was the year of the overwhelming adoption of decentralized technologies, so, the report in particular says:
“2019 will be remembered for the rise of digital money.”
The report mentions both successful (PAX, USDC) and failed (Libra, Petro) attempts to disrupt classical payment and remittance institutions with crypto. All in all, the world is ready for еру private payments. This statement is proved by the global growth in all types of non-cash payments (e-payments, cards, mobile wallets) in Asia.Must ReadRipple’s XRP to Be Used for Cross-Border Payments in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa –
By the way, blockchain-based systems have yet to overcome numerous challenges on their way to mass adoption. First of all, it is price volatility. As outlined in the report, it is volatility of crypto behemoths, mostly Bitcoin, that makes institutions focus on stablecoins. Also, the huge gap between Bitcoin market capitalization and its intrinsic value yet corrected by the price recovery is another obstacle on its way to investors’ portfolios.
Stablecoins on the march
Stablecoins, both corporate and state-backed (CBDCs) are also in the spotlight of the community and regulatory boards. The market is desperate for their toolkit to provide them with plenty of use-cases.
Image via IMF
Stablecoins may potentially reach a wide adoption in the sphere of cross-border remittances and banking settlements. Numerous banking institutions across the world are looking to issue their own stablecoins or use corporate ones.
JPMorgan analysts have named one more serious threat to crypto adoption. It is the implementation of quantum computations into the distributed technologies. They can seriously undermine DLT security and enable dramatic hacks.
JPMORGAN SAYS BLOCKCHAIN IS LAYING FOUNDATIONS FOR DIGITAL MONEY
- JPMorgan Reports Huge Moves Towards Blockchain
- The Recent Growth Of Blockchain
- What are the challenges — according to JPMorgan?
JPMorgan released a report last Friday, detailing the global enthusiasm for blockchain technology in the financial sector.
In the 74-page report, JPMorgan described several projects that have developed the ‘real world’ financial application and as a result describes 2019 as the year of “the rise of digital money”.
In the report, the US investment banking heavyweight elucidates many of the most promising use-cases which it sees as having the potential for wide-spread adoption in the financial sector.
JPMORGAN REPORTS HUGE MOVES TOWARDS BLOCKCHAIN
In the report, JPMorgan describes the way in which blockchain — the technology which allows a ledger to be controlled by multiple agents — is being rapidly taken up by financial and political actors.
They suggest that the “groundwork is now in place” for the massive adoption of blockchain in the realm of “Payments, trade finance, and custodial services”, which “remain the clearest use cases for blockchain”.14 BTC & 30,000 Free Spins for every player, only in mBitcasino’s Crypto Love Affair! Play Now!
JP Morgan says that the merits of the technology are to facilitate cross-border payments using digital assets and in allowing some equity trades.
THE RECENT GROWTH OF BLOCKCHAIN
Over the last several years, research, investment in blockchain technology have been taken up by some famous brand names: Facebook (with their Libra coin), the Winklevoss brothers’ (Gemini coin), and JPMorgan (with the JPM coin).
Governments are moving in as well: For example, China is said to have been developing a new digital Yuan, which will be regulated by the central bank there, and Great Britain’s Bank of England has announced the start of its research into creating a digital currency.
The attempt to successfully adopt distributed ledger technology and create a digital currency has become akin to a technical arms race mirroring the episode Winklevoss vs. Zuckerberg to establish a social network and the historical arms race between West vs East.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES — ACCORDING TO JPMORGAN?
While the report discusses the massive uptake and rise of blockchain technology — it is not overly optimistic. After giving encouraging descriptions of the changes, the firm demotes the cryptocurrency project as a second rate investment.
“Developments have not altered reservations about the limited role that cryptocurrencies play in global portfolio diversification or as a hedging instrument,” JPMorgan warns.
They argue that crypto acts as a ‘hedge’ to protect their investments from loss of confidence in traditional currency.
This differs from the attitudes of many crypto asset management firms, such as Enigma Securities who recently told me that they believe cryptocurrency should soon play a pivotal role in hedge fund portfolios.