Huawei Cloud Announces Global Launch of its Blockchain Services

Huawei Cloud, the cloud services arm of Huawei Global, has announced the launch of its Blockchain Service (BCS), according to an official press release.

The BCS was launched for commercial use in China earlier this year, and it is now available to a global audience on Huawei Cloud’s international website.

The service allows global entrepreneurs and developers to create, deploy and manage blockchain applications on Huawei Cloud, at a blistering pace and cheaper cost. Per the announcement, the global launch of BCS will also lay the groundwork for a soon to be released distributed global blockchain platform.

BCS is a cloud service that leverages on the blockchain and on some of the advantages inherent in the Huawei Cloud container and security technologies. The company claims that the BCS can be applied in most industries, including the Internet of Things (IoT), data applications and finance. BCS will be able to cover a wide array of scenarios, including but not limited to identity verification, food source tracing, remote healthcare, data transactions, IoT device management, proof of information and the Internet of Vehicles (IoV).

Several applications of blockchain technology are being investigated and explored by various enterprises across various industries, but Huawei is taking it a step further by deploying the distributed ledger technology on a cloud service. Deployment is a time-consuming process, and it is essential that developers have a proper understanding of the terminologies and concepts under blockchain technology.

According to Huawei, its Blockchain Service is flexible and efficient, among other things. It makes it easy to switch, join or quit multi-role nodes and members. It also offers multiple efficient consensus algorithms (5,000+TPS). Another advantage that was highlighted in the press release is the low cost of deployment and reduce O&M costs with unified management and its security and privacy protections, which the company claims can manage and isolate users, permission and their private keys and still provide multi-layer encryption and privacy for users.

Back in 2016, Huawei partnered with Hyperledger, one of the most popular open-source projects in the blockchain field, to launch the Linux Foundation. Thanks to its continuous technical and code contributions to Fabric and STL, Huawei has been recognized as a major maintainer of Hyperledger. In these sub-projects, Huawei remains the only Hyperledger maintainer from Asia.

Author: Jimmy Aki
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Interoperability and Scalability are Key for Blockchain in 2019

2019 could be an exciting year for blockchain development as lots of projects mature and focus on interoperability.

The recent drop in cryptocurrency prices might be discouraging to some traders, but those who are passionate about the underlying technology of the blockchain are more excited than ever. Several networks are now competing to be the go-to foundation for new dApps and business developments.

Ethereum to Address Scalability Challenge

The Ethereum blockchain is already widely used. There are several hundredcryptocurrencies based on it already and over 2,000 dApps built on its infrastructure. However, Ethereum was one of the first blockchains. As a “first entrant” to the market, it needs to continually evolve to address issues like interoperability and privacy concerns that newer chains able to take into account in the initial development stages.

Hence, Ethereum is now working to address issues of scalability and the functionality of smart contracts.

  • Constantinople

The forthcoming Constantinople update will improve Ethereum’s efficiency, reduce block rewards for miners, and make the blockchain more resistant to ASIC miners.

The efficiency improvements will speed up the blockchain and let dApps function faster. The way smart contracts are stored on Ethereum will also be changed to make smart contract development cheaper and more accessible.

The update will make the Ethereum blockchain easier to mine, which will reduce block rewards for miners because successfully mining a block will become more frequent.

Lastly, it responds to the problem of new ASIC miners pricing out smaller miners since the update will help prevent larger pools from mining more Ethereum and having too much power over its blockchain.

Recently, Ethereum’s core development team decided to postpone the full implementation of Constantinople until January 2019 to give time for more development and testing.

  • Casper and sharding

There is a second update planned for Ethereum in 2019. Known as Ethereum 2.0, it will include the Casper upgrade and add sharding to the blockchain.

The Casper update will change Ethereum from a proof of work (PoW)blockchain to a proof of stake (PoS) mechanism. PoS works on a principle of a stake in the blockchain through token or coin ownership. Participants can stake their coins or tokens to help govern the blockchain. PoS improves decentralization and removes the threat of large cryptocurrency mining operations controlling a blockchain.

By adding sharding, the Ethereum blockchain will be able to improve scalability (i.e. increase the number and speed of transactions). This will make it possible to host more dApps and use-cases.

Hyperledger to Create a Commercial Blockchain

Hyperledger is an open-source, non-profit project created initially by The Linux Foundation. It is now working with collaborators like IBM and Intel to build platforms with a commercial and financial application. As of now, Hyperledger has ten blockchain software options with applications in many industries. Over 700 code developers from over 150 organizations have helped to develop Hyperledger’s blockchain technology stack.

Like other smart contract platforms, Hyperledger is working on issues of privacy, scalability, and interoperability. In regards to interoperability, it is working with Ethereum and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). Both organizations hope developers share their open-source projects for the greater good of blockchain development.

2019 will see Hyperledger and Ethereum working together to develop the interoperability of their respective blockchains.

Cardano to Add Use Cases

Cardano’s highly anticipated “Shelley” blockchain mainnet is expected to go live in 2019. Cardano is hoping to deliver advanced smart contract functionality, enabling businesses and other entities to do more with the Cardano blockchain than they can with other options, like Ethereum. The Cardano blockchain will also be PoS from the outset.

For blockchains, transactions are not just financial exchanges. Smart contracts make it possible to exchange and update any type of qualitative and quantitative information. For example, if Twitter was a dApp, every tweet or comment would be a “transaction.”

Cardano’s goals have always been to solve issues of scalability and decentralization faced by existing blockchains. The hope is that “Shelley” to deliver a business-ready blockchain that can cope with high transactional demand.

OmiseGo to Serve the Unbanked

OmiseGo’s goal is to bring financial services to the two billion people in the world who do not have a bank account. This population is known as the “unbanked” and mostly live in low and middle-income countries (also known as emerging markets). These are people without access to savings or credit who cannot participate in the mainstream global economy.

OmiseGo is planning to serve the unbanked with its cryptocurrency and payments services. In particular, it plans to allow peer-to-peer transactions of cryptocurrencies and fiat currency and create a scalable decentralized currency exchange.

The next step for OmiseGo, which could well happen in 2019, is to develop a network able to support the same high number of transactions as existing services offered by banks, Paypal, Swift, etc.. The “Tengen” milestone on OmiseGo’s roadmap is to create an exchange that is decentralized and interoperable with different blockchains.

Polkadot to Advance Data Sovereignty

The Polkadot blockchain is aiming to become the foundation of “Web 3.0” — the so-called decentralized internet — through building a fully interoperable blockchain upon which organizations can run their chains simultaneously with the Polkadot chain. According to the roadmap, developers and businesses will be able to build on Polkadot blockchain after its launch in 2019.

The decentralized internet could deliver applications and platforms which are no longer controlled by big corporations like Facebook, and lets users control their data. Polkadot’s interoperability will let different blockchains, platforms, and dApps communicate with each other more efficiently than the vertical blockchains that exist today.

2019 is the Year of Interoperability and Scalability

The developments discussed above are only a few examples of the direction blockchain is moving as various protects starts to reach maturity. 2019 will hopefully see more blockchain projects turn into real-world applications. To achieve this, however, blockchain projects must address the underlying problems of scalability and interoperability. Only once these have been overcome will blockchain technology indeed threaten to displace traditional platforms and payments models.

Author: Mina Down
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New Effort to Tackle Global Ocean Plastics Crisis Uses Blockchain

Household supplies multinational SC Johnson has announced a pioneering partnership with Plastic Bank, a plastic waste recycling startup, to tackle the threat of global ocean plastics by increasing the rate of recycling across less privileged areas of Indonesia.

Plastic Bank, which currently has a successful proof-of-concept program running in Haiti uses a custom cryptocurrency solution running on IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric protocol to interface between plastics buyers and individual plastic waste collectors, providing a reliable way to reward individual recyclers for collecting ocean-bound waste plastic.

Ocean Plastics and Indonesia
A 2015 report by Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment names China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam as the five countries cumulatively responsible for over 55 percent of the plastic waste that finds its way into the ocean. According to the report, raising plastic collection and recycling rates across these five countries to 80 percent would cut the global ocean plastics leakage rate by 23 percent.

While many solutions have been attempted to this end, they have largely met with limited success because a substantial number of the areas directly responsible for ocean plastics leakage are impoverished areas with limited infrastructure and security problems which make recyclers susceptible to robbery or theft if they are rewarded with cash. Indonesia is of particular concern because the country is home to the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity and its coral reefs, which are threatened by plastics leakage are central to the food chain that sustains millions of people in the area.

In order to effectively incentivise a sufficient number of Indonesia’s estimated 28 million people living in poverty, Plastic Bank uses a blockchain solution linked to a mobile app that reliably rewards individual plastic collectors for the amount of plastic they bring into collection centres using digital tokens instead of cash.

Speaking about the importance of Plastic Bank’s Indonesian partnership with SC Johnson, founder and CEO David Katz said:

“This partnership with SC Johnson is the first of its kind in Indonesia. It will help create more opportunities for people living in poverty and will offer waste collectors an important sense of pride. SC Johnson is the first CPG company to scale a program of this kind in Indonesia that will benefit a wide range of socio-economic demographics including local residents living below the poverty level.”

According to information released by SC Johnson, collection centres with a minimum capacity of 100 metric tonnes of plastic per year will be operational by May 2019, with the first centre in Bali to be opened officially on October 28. In addition to providing incentives for eliminating ocean plastics leakage, the program will also educate local communities in Indonesia and beyond about the environmental and social implications of plastic pollution and the opportunities presented by recycling.

Author: David Hundeyin
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