1) Hong Kong Readies Regulator-Backed Trade Finance Platform

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the autonomous territory’s de facto central bank, is set to launch a blockchain-backed trade finance platform next month, as reported by the Financial Times on Sunday (paywall). The platform will be linked to 21 banks in the country, including HSBC and Standard Chartered, and is expected to reduce the time and paperwork required for routine trade and supply chain financing by making it easier to verify credentials and confirm activity. In May, HSBC completed the first commercially viable trade finance transaction.

The government-led project was designed by China’s Ping An Group. It will be one of the earliest in the world to go live and will be owned by the banks that have partnered with the Hong Kong regulator.

2) Accenture and Thales Debut Blockchain Technology for the Aerospace Industry at Farnborough

Professional services company Accenture has partnered with technology developer Thales to debut a prototype of a blockchain-based protocol to assist in securing and streamlining supply chains in the aerospace and defense industry. The prototype was presented at the Farnborough Air Show in England.

The system combines a number of different technologies, in addition to blockchain, including the internet of things, Thales’ unclonable function solution for silicon chips and Chronicled’s tamper-proof cryptoseals. Using these technologies, the new system is able to trace, track and authenticate aircraft parts globally.

“Identifying counterfeit and grey-market goods in the [aerospace and defense] supply chain can be challenging,” Gareth Williams, vice president for secure communication and information systems at Thales UK said in a press release. “Using blockchain in combination with cryptoseals and physically unclonable functions allows you to build a trusted history behind parts.”

3) 4NEW is Mining Crypto with Waste Power

UK startup company 4NEW is generating electricity from waste to power plants to drive an onsite crypto mining farm. The company is raising funds by issuing KWATT tokens. 4NEW said it has raised more than $43 million USD in its initial coin offering (ICO), exceeding its soft cap.

According to a press release Friday, 4NEW claims it will turn waste into digital gold, by mining the top 20 cryptocurrencies, while making a positive contribution to the environment.

The company said electricity is a by-product, created from processing urban waste materials and the fees derived from its waste processing business offset all of the operational costs of running its processing plants, essentially making the electricity free.

4) Seth Shapiro’s Blockchain TV Platform Wants to Improve on Netflix with “Proof of Engagement”

Announced on Wednesday, at the Beyond Blocks Summit in Seoul, Korea, the new AlphaNetworks AI and blockchain-powered Video on Demand platform is designed to “evolve the Netflix experience”, with a mix of tokens, rewards and premium content. The company believes the platform will herald a new era for media, with a digital framework that provides creators, media companies and advertisers with applications for better video monetization and management.

“The media business is at an inflection point,” said Seth Shapiro, two-time Emmy Award winner and Founder and CEO of AlphaNetworks, in a statement. “The average household pays for 206 networks but watches 15 of them. Forty years ago, TV news was a trusted source that announced the end of the war, but now, the news plays the same scandals ad infinitum. While there are lots of great content creators online, it’s incredibly hard for them to make a living. These are some of the challenges we want to take on with AlphaNetworks—rebuilding the best parts of the media business on the blockchain.”

5) IBM Partners with Stablecoin Stronghold USD on Stellar Network

Enterprise-focused IBM Blockchain has backed a new stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar called Stronghold USD. It was announced on Tuesday that Stronghold will be the first USD anchor on the Stellar network.

Stronghold, which has recently raised funding from Freestyle Capital, will provide liquidity through its institutional exchange services and from a state-chartered trust company. It will compete with popular stablecoin Tether, which has a dubious record of trust. Stablecoins are linked to real-world currencies and avoid the volatility of other cryptocurrencies. They are commonly used on crypto exchanges, particularly those which don’t support fiat transfers.

“The process for seamlessly managing and trading assets of any form from digital to traditional currencies, needs to evolve as financial institutions are seeking ways to break into new asset classes like cryptocurrencies,” said Stronghold’s co-founder and CTO, Sean Bennett, in a statement.


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