UPS uses blockchain to ease e-commerce

Setting up, selling and shipping products online is getting easier for B2B merchants thanks to a new alliance between UPS (NYSE: UPS) and e-commerce technology company Inxeption. Today, the two companies announced a platform integration called Inxeption Zippy that helps businesses market and distribute their products on multiple online channels, from one secure place.

Inxeption’s e-commerce platform and online product catalog enable manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to easily set up a company-branded online site to conduct e-commerce transactions. Inxeption then helps them list, market and sell their products to their business customers. Its blockchain-backed technology helps ensure that sensitive information such as contract-specific pricing and negotiated rates are only shared between the buyer and seller.

The integration of UPS as the shipper of choice creates a seamless, end-to-end experience where merchants can view their entire supply chain from product listing to delivery. Merchants can now receive competitive UPS® global shipping, tracking and logistics services with a suite of sales and supply-chain management capabilities for:

  • Building a webpage and uploading product information
  • Scheduling orders and shipments and monitoring returns
  • Managing purchase orders, bulk orders and multimodal shipments
  • Processing transactions by credit card, purchase orders, or financing
  • Conducting search engine marketing
  • Reviewing sales and marketing analytics

 “The growth of e-commerce is driving B2B buyers to expect the same fast and convenient shopping experiences that consumers enjoy,” said Kevin Warren, chief marketing officer for UPS. “Working with Inxeption is another way we’re creating innovative solutions that helps small businesses deliver quality service for their customers and succeed in e-commerce.”

B2B e-commerce is evolving fast, with Forrester projecting the market to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023; yet B2B merchants have been slow to adopt online commerce. Most B2B products are still sold through direct sales, third-party distribution, or both.

By integrating advanced technology with global logistics, UPS and Inxeption are turning more B2B merchants into digital sellers and equipping them to drive online sales and grow their top line revenue. In turn, their customers can easily order and receive their products with trusted shipping from UPS.

“We’re revolutionizing B2B e-commerce and bringing companies and their customers together online in a trusted manner,” said Farzad Dibachi, CEO of Inxeption. “This relationship creates simplified pricing solutions for B2B merchants with limited digital marketing and IT resources to easily manage all aspects of selling and shipping from one secure place.”

For more information, visit https://www.inxeption.com/zippy.html.

The State of Colorado Passes Crypto Exemptions Bill into Law

Colorado state governor Jared S. Polis has signed the Colorado Digital token act into law, according to a document published on March 6.

The digital token act which was initially proposed in January and sponsored at state level by Republican rep Jack Tate as well as Democratic party rep Steve Fenberg, provides limited exemptions for securities registration and traders, as well as salesperson licensing requirements for persons dealing in digital tokens.

The bill that has finally made it into law identifies a “digital token as a digital unit with specified characteristics, secured through a decentralized ledger and database, which is exchangeable for goods or services, and are capable of being traded or transferred between persons without an intermediary or custodian value”.  

The state of Colorado legislators who have actively discussed, debated, and deliberated on the issue of cryptos, famously voted down a previous bill that would govern blockchain tokens last May. The bill defined an “open blockchain token” and exempted certain open blockchain tokens from being defined as a security.

Some of the members of the private sector were left dejected with the legislator voting outcome while venture capitalist and blockchain investor David Gold said;

“This is an opportunity for Colorado to say, ‘Look, we’re going to provide an environment that provides clarity for the sector. That doesn’t mean charlatans can violate security laws.’ Those who oppose it simply don’t understand it.”

In early March, Republican Senator Jack Tate, together with representatives Jeni James Arndt, and Marc Catlin of the democratic and republican parties respectively, filed a bill that tasks the Colorado water institute at Colorado State University with studying the potential implementation of blockchain to manage a database of water rights.

Popular crypto publication Cointelegraph reported in February that two blockchain related bills had been passed in US state of Wyoming. Both Bills, one pertaining to the tokenization of assets and other relating to depositories serving blockchain businesses- and another introduced in January this year and will come into effect later in 2019.

The state of Colorado has easily been one of the most receptive states towards the Blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the United States. In a February 27 event the Colorado governor declared that Colorado was open for blockchain business. Polis just secured the gubernatorial seat a few months ago, but he’s been no stranger to crypto.

He being the first congressman to accept Bitcoin during his campaign explains why the state of Colorado is so crypto friendly. Colorado and Wyoming are some of the states that have taken the lead when it comes to championing for and supporting the Blockchain and crypto technologies.

Blockchain in Charity, Explained

Can’t you donate crypto to good causes already?

Yes – but not-for-profit organizations are always exploring new ways of attracting support from the crypto community, and demand is growing.

Charitable giving allows investors to help causes they are passionate about – and if their cryptocurrency assets rise in value, donations can be used in some countries to eliminate the capital gains taxes they would need to pay on the appreciation.

According to a report by Fidelity Charitable, 2017 was a record year for crypto donations. This organization received $69 million in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and claims this was almost 10 times higher than the year before.

Fidelity believes Bitcoin’s dramatic rise in value in 2017 played a factor in this increase. It says being able to accept crypto donations has opened the door to funds, and supporters, who may have been out of research and unable to contribute before.

Meanwhile, an anonymous donor set up the Pineapple Fund, with 5,104 BTC being given to 60 charities. They timed their donation with last year’s “crypto bubble”, meaning $55 million has gone to good causes.

Could crypto be mined for charity?

Several charities have been exploring this concept with some success.

Over 59 days at the start of 2018, UNICEF launched an initiative called Game Chaingers, which aimed to inspire young people to do something good for society.

The children’s charity appealed to people with powerful graphics cards in their PCs, such as gamers, to use their spare computing capacity to mine Ethereum.

More than 12,000 computers were aggregated during the appeal and a total of 85 ETH (roughly $36,000 at today’s rates) was raised. The funds went towards helping children affected or displaced by the Syrian civil war.

For charities, this can be a way of attracting supporters who may not have the make a financial contribution, but still want to help.

However, such schemes aren’t necessarily perfect. Mining can be energy intensive and even harmful to the environment, meaning charities walk a fine line in doing more harm than good. UNICEF stressed that its initiative didn’t result in additional electricity usage, preventing participants from racking up hefty bills.

How would you know donations are being used properly?

Scandals have hit confidence in the charity sector, but blockchain and cryptocurrency could improve accountability and transparency.

Unlike conventional charities, where progress on certain campaigns can be difficult to verify, smart contracts on blockchain can be used to ensure funds are only released to an organization once they can prove their work is having an impact. Failure to meet certain targets could even result in donations being rescinded.

This concept has been put to the test by St Mungo’s, a charity for hopeless people in London. It teamed up with a blockchain platform called Alice to launch a fundraiser which aims to raise $66,000 to help 15 long-term rough sleepers rebuild their lives.

Here, donors can keep track about how rough sleepers are progressing, with the charities progress independently verified by a local authority.

Why do some of us struggle to trust charities?

There have been repeated stories about funds being misused by charities, and other tales of organizations being too aggressive when they are trying to get donations.

Corruption can be a big challenge for aid organizations, and funds which are sent to impoverished countries don’t always reach the intended recipients. Some charities have also been accused of lacking transparency, either by failing to disclose how much money from donations goes towards paying staff or administration, or by refusing to reveal how much money they have in reserve. The pay rewarded to top executives has also angered donors in some cases.

Blockchain allows finances to be publicly audited, ensuring charities remain accountable. Its decentralized nature also eliminates banks, allowing funds to be directly sent to those in need without a middleman.

But this isn’t to say that blockchain can solve all of the charity sector’s ills, or that this technology should be seen as a replacement for charities altogether. The campaign organized by St Mungo’s only enjoyed modest success – helping three rough sleepers – and charities play an important role in highlighting societal issues and campaigning for the public to take action on them.

Can blockchain cut admin costs for charities?

Potentially. Right now, administration and the act of fundraising itself are the two biggest costs for charities.

Through blockchain, charities can cut the transaction fees associated with accepting payments from donors and transferring money to those in need. This helps maximize the impact of the funds they have raised, especially when transactions are taking place internationally.

Instead of creating their own platforms for generating awareness and accepting donations, blockchain organizations have developed APIs which can be customized and adopted by smaller non-profits, helping them to expand their reach and spend less money on developing technical infrastructure.

Who benefits from transparency with charitable payments?

As well as donors getting peace of mind that their money is being put to good use, it could also ensure that charities are not cut off from their funds unnecessarily.

Last year, the UK’s Charity Finance Group revealed that more than 300 charities – many of them legitimate – had their funds cut off after being accused of being involved in illegal money flows.

Oftentimes, this was because they were trying to send help to people in need in nations where terrorism is rife. Their accounts were closed by banks who were afraid of attracting fines for failing to stop terrorism from being financed.

Blockchain paves the way for a clear record of money going in and out of an organization to be recorded on an immutable ledger.

How are for-profit blockchain platforms giving back?

Numerous companies have opened foundations with a goal of giving back to the community, often with an emphasis on educating people about blockchain.

For example, platforms such as Coins.ph have bolstered their social responsibility credentials by attempting to help unbancarized adults in developing economies gain access to bank accounts and other services through blockchain.

MyCryptons.com allows its users to buy and sell dozens of crypto collectibles based on public personalities, known as Cryptons, for a profit. The platform has announced that its smart contract also allows for the issuance of charitable fundraising Cryptons. Here, any proceeds from the sale of a digital collectible are donated to charity until a target is met.

The company behind it, Crypton Labs, hopes this concept would see crypto celebrities rally their followers in order to raise money for good causes.

 

As The Blockchain Revolution Moves Offshore, What Are The Challenges?

 

Blockchain has been widely touted as the most significant technology of the last 20 years, with the potential to revolutionise the financial services industry across a range of applications, from crypto-currencies to smart contracts, to fully automated clearing and settlements systems for payments.

Crucially, blockchain networks can operate securely without the need for any central administrator, and the technology can work for almost every type of transaction. The technology is particularly appealing as a possible replacement for existing processes, which are largely manual, labour-intensive and paper-based but require sensitive information to be transferred and stored in a secure manner, for example, know-your-customer (KYC) processes for identifying new clients. Its potential uses are almost limitless.

Offshore financial centres have a large stake here and are well placed to become attractive destinations for technology entrepreneurs looking for a neutral jurisdiction for their global operations. As the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the BVI and other offshore jurisdictions position themselves as financial technology (FinTech) hubs, there are certain regulatory risks and challenges that each jurisdiction must overcome as the new era of blockchain-based financial services gains traction.

Risks and Challenges

Financial and banking stability alongside consumer protection are the key objectives for all regulatory authorities, but, to date, many offshore authorities have issued little in the way of regulatory guidance or control principles around blockchain. Some of the main challenges facing offshore centres are:

1) Responsibility

Blockchain technology is, by its nature, a shared system, which leads to questions about which activities should be regulated, how activities should be regulated and by whom they should be regulated. As a result, organisations that make use of it will have to pay careful attention to allocating responsibilities appropriately given the absence of a central point of authority.

There are also implications where organisations engage third party service providers. Sufficient oversight of the providers’ activities will be required to fulfil regulatory obligations.

These concerns can be allayed in part by using a ‘permissioned ledger’ and putting in place a governance structure among participants to deliver proper notification to customers through an agreed mechanism. The blockchain platform could also agree a set of rules and policies to be followed by all participants and then share these with customers and regulators.

2) Security Resilience 

The strength of the security afforded by a particular form of encryption is continually under challenge. Blockchain networks will need to establish mechanisms to ensure that appropriate levels of encryption are maintained and that these include responsibilities for the safe custody of encryption keys.

Blockchain technology does, however, bring unrivalled security benefits. Hacking attacks that commonly impact large centralised intermediaries are almost impossible on the blockchain. If someone wanted to hack into a particular block, a hacker would not only need to hack into that specific block, but all of the preceding blocks going back the entire history of that chain, and they would need to do it on every ledger in the network, simultaneously.

3)   Data Protection

One of the major benefits of blockchain technology is its immutability, meaning that data stored on the chain cannot be altered or deleted. This could also create a problem, because in theory there could be no ‘right to be forgotten’ in the context of blockchain. However, personal data can be kept off blockchain ledgers altogether by replacing the data with an encrypted reference to the data a ‘hash’. These hashes or digital fingerprints prove that data did exist at a certain date, without the data itself appearing on the chain.

Encryption controls, limiting the accessibility of personal data hashed in the blockchain, is a viable solution for data protection compliance. While encrypted personal data may still qualify as ‘personal data’ under new data protection laws, as long as the holder of the data possesses the encryption key and those keys are only  made available in circumstances dictated by the individual data subject, then it is difficult to see the objection from a data protection perspective.

4)    AML Compliance

Blockchain’s ability to replace paper trails with easily auditable digital trails offers many possibilities in the reduction of financial crime. Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations generally require organisations to keep easily accessible records of customer identities and transactions. To be effective, a blockchain solution would require network adoption by a number of organisations. However, this represents one of the biggest challenges to implementing a blockchain solution in the AML space, as regulated entities are often reluctant to outsource or share their AML responsibilities with third parties, even other regulated entities. How and whether blockchain solutions will change this approach remains to be seen. The potential global economic benefits from added efficiencies inherent in blockchain-based AML solutions would be immeasurable, but at this stage it is unclear to what extent international AML standards will be adapted to embrace the opportunity for change.

A Leading Offshore Role

Given the challenges above, one way for offshore financial centres to take a leading role in the fast moving FinTech sector would be to demonstrate success with an initial, modestly aimed blockchain proposal, perhaps between a number of local banks, in a regulatory “sandbox” or similar structure under the supervision of the regulator. This would provide an opportunity to gain experience and learn from a close evaluation of blockchain technology as a business tool and secure an offshore advantage in what is an increasingly competitive field.

Appleby has a global team of lawyers with experience in this area, monitoring developments not only in the jurisdictions in which we operate, but more widely. This is a global industry and one that is here to stay. If you have any questions regarding the above, or are interested in hearing more about how we can assist, please contact a member of the Technology and Innovation Team.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

 
This article originally appeared at: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?article_id=723382.

4,500-Year-Old Board Game ‘Go’ Gets Blockchain Revamp

Lee Sedol, the world’s top player of 4,500-year-old Chinese board game Go, is working on a blockchain version of his beloved game in association with The Blockchain Inc.

Sedol, was the fifth-youngest South Korean to become a professional Go player, at the age of 12, and he is widely considered to be the world’s most skilled player.

Google’s Artificial Intelligence AlphaGo Ended Up Beating The World Champion

Back in 2016, Sedol went head-to-head with Google’s AI, the AlphaGo. The machine was able to beat both Sedol, and French Go player Fan Hui, five months prior. Go is characterized as a highly complex game, making chess look like children’s play.

Now, two years after his defeat, Sedol has announced he will be releasing a blockchain-based version of Go. The project is being called “GoBlock” and it will be developed in collaboration with The Blockchain Inc., a Korean blockchain company.

The Blockchain Inc. was founded to help users navigate the cryptocurrency world. The company manages CoinUs, a website which intends to release a wallet and a portable device that will allow offline digital asset storage.

 Ethereum is powering the most popular blockchain-based games.

Once GoBlock goes live, Go e-Sports players based out of China, Japan, and South Korea will be able to compete in a global professional league. However, Sedol has bigger plans for the project, other than just hosting an online professional league.

The Go champion spoke about creating a rewards system from which everyone can benefit — from players to league supporters, viewers, and advertisers. If you’re an amateur — or even a beginner — you can celebrate, as the platform will include amateur leagues and provide training for beginners. The company also hopes to market records of Go matches.

“I was drawn to the blockchain technology due to decentralization and transparency features. If blockchain technology and the token economy are applied to Go game, it will be able to expand the game’s ecosystem and bring about unforeseen changes to the game’s ecosystem,” said Sedol.

After CryptoKitties, It Seems Games are Gathering Around Ethereum

GoBlock will be built on the Ethereum network and will base its platform on blockchain protocols. As part of the reward system and overall management of the platform, tokens will be issued, reportedly to support match records, leagues, and game players.

It seems the blockchain has finally reached the gaming industry. Just last month, CNN reported the kickstart of CryptoZombies’ crowdfunding campaign for Zombie Battleground, a game also built on Ethereum. The company launched a 60-day campaign asking for $250,000 — there are 30 days left and they’ve raised approximately $270,000.

 

Crypto in Africa: Blockchain transforms farming, Kenya moves closer to regulation

By Dennis Wafula July 13, 2018

Accepting blockchain and its technologies has not been an easy task in Africa. However, the technology is slowly making headway in the continent. In particular, the farming industry has seen significant growth in the recent months due to blockchain technology.

The Olam Farming Information System (OFIS) has helped many farmers maximize farm products in Africa, Asia, and South America. OFIS is an organization that helps farmers get information that will help them manage and make proper use of the available land. It also supplied farmers with ingredients they need for farming. The organization uses blockchain technology to collect information and also make correct recommendations on which products to use. In addition to getting farming information, farmers make payments and receive money through cryptocurrencies.

Kenya moves closer to cryptocurrency regulation

Kenya has been in the vanguard of testing blockchain and its related technologies. The country has had numerous startups, crypto conventions and even has a Bitcoin ATM installed in Nairobi. The continuous increase in cryptocurrency activities has caused the government to take action. During a parliamentary seating, the Kenyan Parliament ordered Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich to investigate whether the crypto industry in the country needs to be regulated or not. The Kenyan Parliament gave Rotich two weeks to conduct the research.

Members of the Finance and National Planning Committee reportedly asked Rotich why the Treasury and the Central Bank of Kenya “allowed people to venture into the unregulated cryptocurrency space without being licensed to operate and taxed,” according to Business Daily Africa.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe embraces blockchain tech

After months of fighting cryptocurrency adoption in Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) might soon be embracing these technologies. While speaking in Alpha Media Holdings’ Banks and Banking breakfast, RBZ Gov. John Mangudya said the country was ready to embrace blockchain technology.

He added that it is time the country took part in blockchain and what it has to offer. He further added that Zimbabwe as a country wants to join other countries across the globe in the blockchain market.

Mangudya stated that there is a lot of research and education that needs to be done before the country can fully embrace this technology. He believes that understanding the technology will help the country make proper decisions in the future. It is not yet clear when the Zimbabwean government will start making decisions to embrace blockchain and its technologies. However, this is good news to many cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts in the country.

Global Trade Set To Quadruple by 2030 with Use of Blockchain Based Collaborations

Blockchain Global Trade Set To Quadruple by 2030 with Use of Blockchain Based Collaborations

Angela Scott-Briggs

Global economy is highly dependent on global trade. However, for a long time global trade has been characterized by physical movement of papers and goods through different mediums which is less secured, less transparent, and very tedious. With the introduction of Blockchain, global trade is beginning to take a new turn. More and more companies are collaborating with Blockchain based platforms to bring effectiveness transparency and security to transactions across different borders on the globe. If these collaborations continue to increase, global trade is set to quadruple by the year 2030.

Sometimes in 2017, the shipping industry which is a notable industry facilitating global trade had one of its largest shipping company launch a Blockchain project. Maersk and IBM are also coming into a joint venture that applies Blockchain to global trade. In this same manner, more and more Blockchain based collaborations are ongoing, with a few others still to come up. This is why the most important question to ask is; how can Blockchain fast track global trade to a quadruple state in 2030?

Blockchain Saves Time and Cost

The traditional manual way of global trading requires much documentation which usually costs a whole lot of time and money to effect and maintain. A lot of papers need to be signed and forwarded from person to person, approved by another before trading activities take place. With Blockchain collaboration, a new workflow is introduced. The Blockchain is programmed in such a manner as to allow for easy flow of activities in the most effective and quick manner. This is helpful in checking time used, and cost implied. Working on Blockchain will mean more trade will be done in the shortest of time which is a sign that global trade is at the edge of a boom.

Blockchain Is More Secured and Transparent

Security in global trade is well enhanced on Blockchain because it uses the smart contract which is programmed to aid transaction payment free from any sort of hacks or fraud human errors can produce. Blockchain facilitates payments in such a way that traders are able to know who they are trading with. With Blockchain, traders who put forth their products for sale are being scrutinized, and proof of manufacturing process is being put out. Transactions on Blockchain are kept as records and can be traced at any point in time. This way, trust, transparency, security and efficiency are all introduced to global trade through Blockchain technology.

The more countries accept this Blockchain technology, the more trading activity is being facilitated with and in that country. Notwithstanding, there is still more technical barriers to be ironed and fixed before Blockchain can effectively claim mainstream. On Blockchain improvement, innovations are being put in place from time to achieve that. If there’s a wide acceptance of Blockchain technology, and more trading companies continue partnering with Blockchain based platforms, global trade is not just going to be more effective, more trustworthy, more transparent and most secured, it is set to quadruple by the year 2030.

Visit TIM website for the latest blockchain project: https://www.talking.im/

This article originally appeared at: https://www.techbullion.com/global-trade-set-to-quadruple-by-2030-with-use-of-blockchain-based-collaborations/.

Blockchain in space starting to boom (Yes, really)

I keep telling you. Blockchain will be used for everything. 

In space, it’s important to have a distributed ledger (database) that is immutable and secure. 

Perfect place for blockchain technology

Blockchain in space starting to boom (Yes, really)

Space companies and government organizations such as NASA and ESA are embracing blockstream as a mechanism to support their businesses and operations all the way from the ground to deep space.  If you want to combine a love of cutting-edge software technology with satellites and space exploration, blockchain could be the gateway to fulfilling your dreams.  Companies are incorporating blockchain into satellite Internet of Things (IoT) projects, storing tokens in orbit for safekeeping, and plan to extend blockchain transactions to commercial space stations and beyond Earth for deep space operations and potentially asteroid mining.

Recently, I touched upon relatively “pure play” blockchain in space applications being driven by native blockchain companies.  You can add ConnectX to an ever-growing list of companies incorporating nanosatellites into an architecture for distributing and redeeming their own cryptocurrency.  Spacebit is running an ICO to fund “decentralized space operations.” And Miner One put a RaspberryPi board on a high-altitude balloon to the edge of space to claim a title of “Space Miner One” — but they’re following in the footsteps of KFC.

As previously noted, part of the relationship between cryptocurrency firm Nexus and start-up launch provider Vector Space Systems includes the ability for customers to pay for launches using Nexus cryptocurrency.  Exactly when someone other than Nexus pays for services using the cryptocurrency is an open question.

Vancouver, Canada-based Helios Wire is putting together nanosatelites, IoT, M2M, and blockchain as a part of the “Next Industrial Revolution,” according to the company’s website.  Helios Wire says its space-based system will be able to provide “efficient and affordable” monitoring, tracking and messaging for as many as “5 billion devices” worldwide.  Blockchain will enable IoT devices to autonomously engage in transactions with one another via smart contracts, not just be “connected.”  Helos says backing up data and blockchain ledgers off-planet also provides more security, and ledgers can be delivered through space-based satellite systems to reach and supplement traditional terrestrial infrastructure.  The company expects to launch its first two satellites the second half of this year.

Cloud Constellation Corporation’s SpaceBelt data-center-in-space scheme proposes a set of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites — three storage and nine communications relay satellites — to provide secure storage and distribution of digital assets. So far, the company has announced agreements to store cryptocurrency, tokens and other blockchain-ish data for SolarCoin and TokenEx, along with interest from Hollywood to securely move daily film shoots between on-site locations and editing suites.  Cloud is currently seeking a couple hundred million dollars to build and launch its first satellites.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has discussed using blockchain as a part of a distributed spacecraft mission and for digital “ledgers” to confirm operational tasks are successfully performed.  Using blockchain in combination with AI for decentralized and shared control of data, plus applying it to earth science missions for tasking satellites and working with shared data.

The space agency is also funding early research to incorporate blockchain and smart contracts into satellite debris avoidance.  The “Resilient Networks and Computing Paradigm” (RNCP) will use Ethereum blockchain technology to develop a decentralized, secure, and “cognitive” network and computing infrastructure for deep space exploration.   A group of satellites would be able to communicate among themselves to spot space debris and other issues and move to avoid them, enabling them to act autonomously rather than having to wait minutes to hours for Earth to figure out a solution and send up a set of corrective commands.

Across the Atlantic, the European Space Agency (ESA) is investigating blockchain to be applied to everything from satellite communications to procurement as a part of its Space 4.0 concept.  Like NASA, ESA has generated PowerPoint discussing its thoughts. Unlike NASA, ESA’s initial thoughts have gone to speeding up administrative processes — no mundane task when you’re dealing with  22 countries in Europe.

Next-generation commercial space advocates and companies are more circumspect about blockchain, but they clearly see the potential the technology.  NanoRacks CEO Jeffrey Manber  is an advisor to Singapore-based SpaceChain.  Manber has been building commercial space opportunities dating back almost two decades, including arranging the first “space tourist” trip to the International Space Station (ISS).  NanoRacks effectively owns and operates various bits and pieces onboard ISS, including the station’s cubesat deployer.

“Blockchain is a very interesting technology,” Planetary Resources CEO Chris Lewicki said. “I can’t tell you what it means. We’re in research mode, understanding the technology, asking [ourselves] if this can produce useful projects for us.  Stay tuned.”

Lewick said asteroid mining, the focus of Planetary Resources, is a technology where progress will be measured in “decades.”  He’s looking “ten, twenty, thirty years out” to figure out what the future might look like.  Blockchain provides technology for decentralized and trust transactions.  Smart contracts provide a lot more autonomy in how operations might proceed, a key asset if you are conducting operations 20 minutes at the speed of light away from the planet.

“It could be banking, purchasing, or work or selling fuel.  Put that in a digital trust ledger always propagating back [to Earth],” Lewicki stated. “We want something designed for the digital age, so we can skip paper-based, central authority transactions.”

While Planetary Resources works on a timeline of decades to mine asteroids, blockchain may appear closer and sooner in the skies overhead. Axiom Space has proposed a privately-owned space station, starting with modules connected to ISS and operating independently from it once ISS is retired.  Axiom  VP of Strategic Development Amir Blachman recently spoke at the Alchemist Money Summit about “The Future of Human Space Exploration and Related Blockchain Opportunities.”

Blachman declined an opportunity to speak to Space IT Bridge in April and suggested I circle back to him in “mid-May” for an on-the-record discussion.   Axiom Space is no fly-by-night company; it has a deep bench of executives involved in American human spaceflight and ISS operations, including two astronauts.  I’m looking forward to talking to Mr. Blachman in the near future.

Top companies that turn to blockchain in their operations

Although many experts are predicting the likely burst of the crypto market bubble, many companies are still pivoting toward crypto blockchain platforms. Some companies simply want to cash-in on the crypto craze while others want to make their operations more updated and efficient.

In November of last year, mere three months ago, the total market cap of cryptocurrencies inflated in excess of 1,200 percent. This attracted huge investments from regular venture capital and private equity investors. The total market cap climbed to a dizzying height of $558 billion last Jan. 10. In just 24 hours, it had a trading volume of approximately $24.8 billion. Obviously, a market bubble is there.

Many companies are aware of the crypto bubble, and their main reason for pivoting to blockchain is its great potential for sharing and managing data. Some companies are not necessarily intent on riding the initial inflation of the bubble.

Here are some companies that are leveraging their market positions by utilizing the blockchain platform. Some of these companies originally did not use the blockchain system while others use the system as an integral part of their operations and thrust from inception.

NASDAQ

As a provider of equity market index, Nasdaq Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) belongs to the largest companies that are now harnessing the full potential of blockchain. It is a company that has a market cap of $7 trillion. It combines financial expertise and technology to aid investors in trading in the global financial market.

The NASDAQ Private Market was established in 2013 with the aim of aiding corporations in doing secondary transactions. In 2015, the company announced its first securities transactions based on blockchain technology. The company has its own ledger platform, which is the Ling Blockchain.

Hitachi

Hitachi (OTCMKTS:HTHIY) is known for many things like appliances and electronic gadgets. It is also known for its bullet trains, but it is a company not very well-known to be connected with blockchain investments.

In reality, however, this company has been researching the technology since the beginning of 2000s. That actually predates the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Hitachi is an innovator when it comes to automatic cross-system processes using blockchain. Over the years, It has improved on smart contracts using the system.

Global Blockchain

Global Blockchain (OTCMKTS:BLKCF, TSXV:BLOC), which has a market cap of around $100.6 million, is focused on blockchain technology as the primary thrust of its business. It is an investment company that also provides incubation programs. Apart from helping investors invest in crypto companies, BLOC also provides aid to startup companies in terms of liquidity and capitalization. It seeks to have a balance between stable investments and investments with high potential for growth.

Daimler AG

Perhaps not many would expect that Daimler AG (OTCMKTS:DDAIF), the German car manufacturer, is engaged in blockchain business. It partnered with LBBW and launched a Schuldschein, a one-year corporate bond worth €100 million. The entire transaction process utilized blockchain technology, which include the loan contract and the payment of interest. It is also looking into the possibility of auto financing using the crypto platform.