Logistics Firm Completes First Truckload Shipment Using Bitcoin Smart Contracts

DexFreight, a blockchain start-up that is building a freight transportation platform using Rootstock (RSK), has announced that it successfully facilitated a shipment of frozen food between Medley and Sunrise, Florida. DexFreight’s smart contracts, which rely on the Bitcoin blockchain rather than the more-often used Ethereum, enabled the successful delivery and automated the payment to the carrier, Arel Trucking.

From their press release on the subject (emphasis added):

“For this first truckload shipment, dexFreight partnered with Netuno USA, one of the fastest growing seafood wholesalers, Arel Trucking, Inc., an asset-based motor carrier with over 180 trucks, and RSK, the first smart contract platform secured by Bitcoin. Funds for the transaction were held in escrow by the smart contract on the integrated RSK platform and were automatically released to the carrier upon delivery.

This last part is perhaps the most important part for the trucking industry. In two respects, it represents major possibilities. The first respect is that carriers who down the road integrate the technology can be paid reliably. The second respect is that of transparency and competition. Although the platform is nascent, it could eventually develop into a thriving and competitive market where smaller outfits can compete for business they could not have previously procured due to the tendency of shippers to stick with who they know.

A merit-based system where real-time statistics of delivery times, damages, and the like would give any company an equal chance at competing for business. Moreover, smaller outfits that cannot necessarily wait weeks or months for contracts to be paid out would no longer have to do so, and bidding becomes a realistically easy process — potentially as easy as sending an e-mail.

The truckers appear to be excited about the prospect, with Arel Trucking CFO Robert J. Julia being quoted as saying:

“dexFreight solves the issue of false documentation by making our transactions with shippers completely transparent, and so we can get paid for the service we provided. This technology is the way of the future for the whole trucking industry.”

Decision to Use RSK/Bitcoin Instead of Another Token Platform

An immutable ledger such as the Bitcoin blockchain (or any blockchain with sufficient hashrate/security) presents important possibilities for various industries, especially those which involve the moving and tracking of physical goods. While on a consumer level this means knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt where one’s package is or where your home goods are when you move, on an industrial level this means a much more robust ability to track performance and productivity. Trucking and shipping companies in particular stand to benefit from the transparency of an immutable ledger.

A ledger in and of itself isn’t good for much beyond tracking transactions, generally of a monetary sort. However, when you build on smart contracts, basically anything is possible. This is the model that Ethereum followed, building the Ethereum Virtual Machine from the outset complete with its own Turing-complete programming language so that it could process more than just transactions.

The popularity of the Ethereum platform incentivized the development of numerous other token platforms, from NEO (general purpose) to WaltonChain (aimed at industries which use RFID tracking technology). It has also encouraged developers to create smart contract platforms which could harness the amazing power of the Bitcoin blockchain itself — possibly the most powlogistics erful computing platform in history (and perhaps one of the most expensive to use, historically speaking). RSK  is one such platform, and it is the basis of the dexFreight application. Another option developers can consider is Qtum, which is the Ethereum Virtual Machine adapted to run on the Bitcoin network (the best of both worlds.)

Such platforms work in a similar way to Ethereum. The base token of the platform is required to operate smart contracts and applications on their network, and these are generally exchangeable for the blockchain’s native token — in the case of Rootstock, Bitcoin.

The dexFreight platform itself, as a service, plays an important role to both consumers and providers in the freight transportation industry. Firms can pay a fee to the dexFreight network to have the tokens they’ve earned exchanged into fiat cash. As a result, the barrier to entry is drastically lowered. Another important service that they are developing is the use of machine learning to help clients select providers.

“The way of the future for the whole trucking industry,” among several other industries, indeed.


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Author: P.H. Madore
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Hot Five Blockchain Companies To Keep an Eye Out On In 2018

Blockchain is, just like the Internet did back in the nineties, promising to revolutionize our entire lives, both professional and personal. And just as the Internet spawned thousands of new companies back in its early days, the similar thing is happening now with blockchain.


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However, many of the early Internet companies were quick to shut down, and it’s safe to assume the same thing will happen with these newly created blockchain companies. With that in mind, it will be interesting to track the progress of some of the more promising ones in the blockchain universe, and see how fast, and how far, they can go.
The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of 25 emerging leaders in the technology industry and unsurprisingly, listed five blockchain companies as well. These are, according to its report, showing signs of becoming emerging leaders. Let’s take a look at who these companies are, what they’re offering, who their founders are, who their investors are and how much funds they’ve raised so far.

#1: Blockstream Corp.
The majority of Blockstream’s work revolves around providing ways to handle micropayments through Bitcoin, as well as developing sidechains, a designation for a blockchain ledger that runs in parallel to a primary blockchain.
Aside from that, it builds a cryptocurrency data feed for traders, jointly with Intercontinental Exchange.
The company was founded in 2014 by Dr. Adam Back, Matt Corallo, Alexander Fowler, Mark Friedenbach, Francesca Hall, Austin Hill, Greg Maxwell, Erik Svenson, Jorge Timon, Jonathan Wilkins, Dr. Pieter Wuille. It is based in Montreal, Canada, and has funding of USD 77.5 million, according to the WSJ. It currently employs 50 people, and its investors include the likes of AME Cloud Ventures, AXA Strategic Ventures, Blockchain Capital LLC, FuturePerfect Ventures, and others.

#2: R3
Managing secure transactions directly between parties is a huge opportunity for financial institutions, and R3 is looking to capitalize on that opportunity by developing a blockchain-based platform to solve the problem.
The consortium’s joint efforts have created an open-source distributed ledger platform called Corda itself is not a blockchain, but an open-source distributed ledger platform.
It was founded in 2015 by Jesse Edwards, Todd McDonald and David E. Rutter, and is headquartered in New York. According to the WSJ, it has USD 107 million in funding, and employs 180 people. The company has a huge pool of investors, including B3, Banco Bradesco SA, Bangkok Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of Montreal, Bank of New York Mellon Corp., and others.


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#3: Digital Asset Holdings LLC
Digital Asset Holdings uses the blockchain to create a solution for secure transactions for regulated financial institutions. It is targeting financial market infrastructure providers, central counterparty clearing houses, central securities depositories, exchanges, banks and custodians.
The company is working on financial infrastructure, like trade clearing and settlement for Australia’s main stock exchange. The company’s founders are Sunil Hirani and Don R. Wilson. The duo founded the company in 2014 and headquartered it in New York. It currently counts 150 employees and has raised USD 100 million in funding, the WSJ writes.
Among its investors are names such as ABN AMRO Bank NV, Accenture LLP, ASX Ltd., BNP Paribas SA, and others.


#4: Brave Software Inc.
Brave is looking to build a web browser that is not only more secure and more private, but also earns its users money. It comes with a blockchain-based ad platform which allows the revenue to be split with publishers.
Founded in 2015 in San Francisco, Brave employs 60 people and has USD 43 million in the bank, according to the WSJ. It is the brainchild of Brian Bondy and Brendan Eich. Among its investors are Digital Currency Group Inc., Foundation Capital, Founders Fund LLC, Pantera Capital Management, Propel Venture Partners.

#5: Abra
According to the description on its website, Abra is a global cryptocurrency app which allows its users to buy, store and invest in 25 cryptocurrencies in one place. Users may fund their wallet with either fiat or bitcoin, and then trade in different cryptocurrencies, including ethereum, ripple, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and dash.
The company’s formal name is Plutus Financial, and it’s located in Mountain View, California. Plutus Financial was founded in 2014 by Bill Barhydt and James D. Robinson. It has USD 37 million in funding, and 50 employees, the WSJ writes.
Its investors include American Express Co., Digital Currency Group, Pantera Capital Management, and others.



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Author: Sead Fadilpasic
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How Blockchain Can Make Forgeries A Thing of the Past

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Fake diplomas are big business. Said to constitute a billion-dollar global industry, they present the world with an unfortunate problem, insofar as many of the buyers of such diplomas are people in positions of acute responsibility.

In fact, forgeries aren’t only a concern for the professional and academic world, since they manifest themselves in the form of fake tickets (to sporting and music events), fake IDs, fake house sales, fake cheques, and also forged artworks. There is, in other words, plenty of money to be made out of imitating documents and certificates, yet it would seem that the global ‘fake industry’ has its days numbered.

That’s right, blockchain technology is coming to get it, and despite blockchains being hastily championed as the saviour of everything from vegetables to cars, its use in sniffing out forgeries is a very natural and logical fit. But while it will make confirming the source of diplomas and tickets much easier, widespread adoption and public education will be necessary if its effects are to maximised.



Learning Machine, an American specialist of blockchain-based digital identity and credentials, launched its Blockcerts open standard in 2016, which provides organisations with a means for verifying that documents (e.g. degrees) have really been issued by the institution someone claims it has.

As CEO Chris Jagers explains to Cryptonews.com, “Blockcerts provides a standard way of creating and verifying official records, using any blockchain, in a digital format that is tamper-proof, instantly verifiable, and owned by recipients.”

“Because Blockcerts are represented by a unique string of numbers and letters (a hash), and this unique hash is stored on the blockchain,” Jagers continues, “any attempt to alter the document means that it can no longer generate that unique code for later verification.”
This system will also help to detect fraudulent universities, in that it will “allow people to check the signing keys of the issuing institution.” However, given that take-up is still very limited, Jagers notes that “public registries of signing keys” – such as the one Learning Machine is building in collaboration with Malta’s Ministry for Education and Employment – will be necessary if disreputable institutions are to be caught out.

Limited signup is perhaps the main issue affecting other blockchain-powered attempts to combat forgery, although the early signs yield hope that usage will become much more widespread in the future.

For example, Aventus is a Jersey-based non-profit that has recently signed a deal in the UK to sell 10,000 tickets to the upcoming World Cup. These tickets will be recorded on the Ethereum blockchain via the organisation’s Aventus Protocol, which is an open-source, blockchain-based ticketing and smart contract ecosystem.

“The Aventus Protocol has been designed to ensure only legitimate events and unique tickets can exist on the blockchain,” explains Aventus’ chief technology officer, Andy Grant.

“The technology [is] used to deliver tickets to fans and the way tickets are validated to allow access to an event make it very difficult to pass off forged tickets as genuine.”
However, Grant tells Cryptonews.com that, even with blockchain-based validation of tickets, forgeries may still continue to exist off-chain. “Someone could still carry out off-chain activity (for instance, sending someone a faked PDF of a ticket), that could dupe a consumer,” he says.

In view of this possibility, he asserts that the success of blockchain technology in reducing fake tickets and documents will depend on more than the technology itself. “The Aventus Protocol Foundation considers consumer education a key part of its responsibility to improve security and reduce fraud and counterfeit tickets.”

Education will indeed be an essential part of virtually every blockchain-powered attempt to reduce forgeries, whether it comes from Verisart, Slatix, Cheque Chain, ChromaWay, or MasterCard (to name a few). In particular, users will need to be taught about what blockchain records actually prove and don’t prove when it comes to suspicious documents, since as Jagers suggests, the mere fact of being on a blockchain isn’t necessarily enough to prove that an organisation is genuine.

“Simply being on a blockchain does not make a claim legitimate,” he warns. “It simply verifies that a digital file has not changed since it was originally issued.”

However, this warning aside, Andy Grant expects a significant reduction in forgeries once adoption becomes widespread. “Once consumers get used to blockchain tickets then there’s no limit to eliminating fake tickets,” he predicts.


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Author: Simon Chandler

Bank of China uses blockchain technology to combat poverty in Tibet

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According to a survey conducted by the World Bank in 2015, more than 700 million people are living without sufficient money to fulfill their basic necessities or afford a considerably comfortable in a society like in the modern world. In the year 1990, the number of people who lived in poverty was close to 1.75 billion.

One of the largest state-owned banks in China, Bank of china [BoC] has announced that the bank is going to irradiate poverty with a mighty weapon called blockchain technology in the Southwest China Tibet Autonomous Region. Bank of China is going to integrate Blockchain technology to upgrade the existing cloud-based system of the bank’s poverty reduction fund.



Blockchain technology is going to be used in security verification of the bank’s transactions, information access, file transfer and subsequent allocation of the funds, the current cloud-based system enables the project management team to process the fund application for the fight against poverty. Blockchain technology will provide a multi-node network to easily stay connected with the partners of the bank and other fund applicants.

They are planning similar projects in poverty affected provinces like Gansu, Yunan and Qinghai. Tibet’s regional poverty relief office has said that around 330,000 people are in poverty which is about 12.4% of the total population.

The government of China has allocated $2.6 billion for the fight against poverty, which would be used by more than 1,700 anti-poverty projects to relocate and help increase the income of the people.

Even though the Chinese government’s contempt of cryptocurrency has not extended to blockchain technology which supports the tokens, China is implementing blockchain technology in various industries like financial sector, record keeping, transportation, food safety, and tracking. China is leading the global pack in terms of the number of blockchain patents being filed. The government has allocated millions of dollars for the research and growth of blockchain technology inside the country.


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Author: Arjun B
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Cardano [ADA]’s Virtual Reality vision is something to look out for

As technology becomes more pervasive, its impact on everyday life increases. The idea of using scale and color in a 3-D environment is the first to be used in a sort of VR experience as users can navigate things, pick up things and explore blocks as tangible objects. Cardano’s team wants to expand this and use it in a ticket or touring for an exchange environment in different places. This will allow people to come to space and explore all different aspects of cryptocurrencies.

IOHK CEO, Charles Hoskinson says:
“IOHK has a commitment to both education and design and this captivating and complex data visualization is the perfect combination of both. It’s beautiful as much as it is functional and our hope is that it will help make blockchain truly understandable for a whole new audience.”


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The greatest challenge for Symphony was that nobody had any idea about cryptocurrency at all, how they work or how payment systems work. This was on their periphery, the idea of blockchain of these financial transactions that are happening in different ways to the norm was entirely new and it allowed them to investigate thoroughly about the growth of technology and the concept that facilitates on a social level.

The speaker stated:
“We have been looking at some virtual tech that is very new. We were trying to push the envelope always creatively and what we can do technically.”
The write up by the team explained, las a majority of the world is aware by now, Cryptocurrencies are built upon a technology known as blockchain which encodes its own existence as a recorded history through time’. Symphony focuses on exploring the blockchain of Bitcoin as a physical structure and examine its inherent underlying qualities by encapsulating data as crystalline forms connected in space, immutable and persistent. This metaphorical reference provides a means to understand the actual visual techniques.

They mentioned:
“When it came to the user experience we wanted to ensure it was effortless to explore. The technologies and concepts we’re attempting to explain are complex enough and on top of it all, we didn’t want users having to fathom out a complex navigation system.”

Symphony also explores the blockchain as an auditory experience with a simple question, ‘What does the blockchain sound like?’ The timing and frequency of Bitcoin transactions are used as a base and the audio extends the crystalline structures by encoding it as a sound-based entity.


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Author: Sthuthie Murphy
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FedEx CEO: Adopt New Tech Like Blockchain or Be Disrupted

“Blockchain has the potential to completely revolutionize what’s across the border.”

Speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 in New York today, Fred Smith, chairman and CEO of the U.S. logistic giant FedEx, doubled down on his commitment to embracing blockchain technology as a way for the decades-old company to maintain its game in a rapidly changing digital world.

Smith explained that one major issue that the logistic and transportation industry has faced is the “massive amount of friction” in cross-border logistics, since different countries have different standards, regulations and terminologies.

He told the audience:

“For cross-border shipments, ‘trust’ is legal requirement for every transaction. What blockchain has is a potential for the first time ever to make the information available for everybody.”

As such, the FedEx chief praised the “chain of custody” that blockchain can bring to the entire logistic industry.

All this talk isn’t just hot air, either – FedEx joined the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA) in February this year in a bid to explore potential blockchain applications alongside other partners within the logistic industry.

At the time, the firm also launched a pilot program to establish what data would be needed for a distributed ledger to ease disputes between customers sending and receiving goods through FedEx. The shipping giant also wants to use blockchain to store its records.



Also speaking at the panel session, Robert Carter, FedEx’s CIO and executive vice president of information services, said the firm will first explore that deployment in the freight industry, since one single ship could contain millions of transactions at the same time.

Carter commented:

“We move easily 12 million shipments a day and that more than doubles during the peak seasons. While we absolutely believe this technology is going to scale, right now it makes sense for us to do this in our freight world.” 

Answering a question from the panel’s host, author Don Tapscott, on how he persuaded Smith to approve the decision on blockchain exploration, Carter said, in fact, it was the other way round.

“It’s Fred that dragged me into this,” Carter said, adding:

The application of these custody chains … is so critical to the information aspect. We’re operating on this plane between the physical world and the digital world.”

Speaking on the importance of moving with the times as a company, Smith concluded:

“If you are not operating at the edge of new technologies, you will surely be disrupted. If you are not willing to embrace new technologies like internet of things and blockchain to face those new threats, you are, maybe subtly, at some point … going to extinction.”

 


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Author:  Wolfie Zhao
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