Blockchain is starting to take off. As the technology rapidly matures, many governments and businesses are eager to get on board. The recent release of Hyperledger Fabric 2.0, an update of the modular blockchain framework under the IBM Blockchain Platform, marks a significant development in distributed ledger technology. This new version of the protocol features user-friendly upgrades that give organizations more control over which smart contracts they run on their systems.
Other advancements in the realm of blockchain are in the works. For instance, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a global community of blockchain leaders, adopters, innovators, developers, and businesses from around the globe, recently deployed a new TestNet initiative. This program allows companies to run security and integration tests while preparing to integrate with the blockchain. A task force known as the Ethereum Mainnet Integration for Enterprises (EMINENT), is also spurring advancements in the Ethereum protocol to ensure its privacy safety.
Meanwhile, recent developments in cloud computing could make blockchain technology easier to use. In January, Microsoft announced the release of its Hyperledger Fabric on Azure Kubernetes Service marketplace template. It will give Hyperledger Fabric novices the ability to create blockchain consortiums on the company’s cloud service.
How Blockchain Can Revolutionize Business
Commercial finance may soon get a boost from blockchain. Investors are showing enthusiasm for Paystand, a blockchain commercial payments platform that recently received $20 million USD in Series B funding. The tool gives businesses the ability to make complex financial transactions, similar to how individual consumers use Venmo to make transactions between friends and family.
Can blockchain revolutionize how businesses manage their customer relationships? The Avril Group, a French food company, hopes so. The company, which recently joined the IBM Food Trust network, a cloud-based blockchain solution, plans to use the network to give consumers insight into how it produces food. For instance, a customer who is concerned about animal welfare can scan a QR code on an egg carton to read about how the chickens were handled. A number of other food manufacturers, including CHO, Carrefour, and Nestlé, are already utilizing the network.
“The best part of the IBM Food Trust network is its ability to connect members of the supply chain together, like the end consumer with the farmer,” vice president of IBM Blockchain Supply Chain Solutions, Ramesh Gopinath, told CoinTelegraph. “CHO has done just this, as every entity involved can share data, which not only provides traceability and food information, but also shows where food trust is heading in general.”
Can Blockchain Streamline the World Economy?
Across the globe, central banks are turning their sights to blockchain as a potential solution to their complex economies. According to the Bank of International Settlement, more than 80% of central banks are showing interest in the technology as a way to issue digital central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). In January, during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Switzerland, attendees enthusiastically discussed potential use cases for CBDCs. The central banks of Europe, Canada, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, and Britain are reportedly planning to meet in April to further explore the technology’s potential.
Some countries plan to become even earlier adopters of blockchain. After Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the country’s bold blockchain interoperability strategy on 24 October—a date that has since been deemed “China Blockchain Day”—the nation appeared to take a big step forward. A number of developers and insurance firms in China are currently using blockchain to keep monitor coronavirus-related cases and claims. These efforts include a blockchain-backed medical claims app from Blue Cross Insurance and a data visualization tool that uses Hedera Hashgraph, a distributed ledger protocol, to track the virus.
Elsewhere in the world, Australia just released a five-year road map that includes a 12-step plan to spur the country to a blockchain-driven economy.
The U.S. military is also investing in blockchain technology. The Naval Warfare Center, a U.S. Navy research group, paid blockchain startup Simba Chain $9.5 million USD to install a communication tool for secure data exchange on land and water missions.
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Zmudzinski, Adrien. (9 February 2020). Chinese Insurance Firms Use Blockchain to Process Coronavirus Claims. CoinTelegraph.
Memoria, Francisco. (8 February 2020). Major Central Banks to Discuss Digital Currencies in April. Nikkei Reports. Cryptoglobe.
Khatri, Yogita. (7 February 2020). Australian government issues national blockchain roadmap to help drive adoption. The Block.
Prius, Benjamin. (6 February 2020). US Navy Bets $9.5 on Blockchain to Keep Messaging Secret. Cointelegraph.
Fisher, Mark. (6 February 2020). Paystand Raises $20M to Give Businesses a Frictionless, Open Infrastructure for Commercial Finance. BusinessWire.
Alexandre, Ana. (6 February 2020). French Food Company Looks to IBM’s Blockchain Network for Better Sourcing. Cointelegraph.
Dimitrov, Biser. (3 Feb 2020). How Strong Enterprise Interest In 2020 Is Pushing Blockchain Technology Further. Forbes.