Bank of America Files Blockchain Patent for Data Validation

Bank of America Reveals Blockchain Patent for External Data Validation
 

Bank of America (BoA) has filed a patent for a blockchain-based system allowing the external validation of data, according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent filing released July 17.

BoA’s patent filing proposes using blockchain for tracking resource information and confirming resource transfers, noting that

“A need currently exists for providing a more accurate indication of a user’s financial standing by allowing external validation of data in a process data network.”

The patent describes how the system would record information on the blockchain based on “aggregated information associated with past transfer of resources executed by an entity,” and would update the information on the blockchain with each new transaction activity.

In April, the USPTO had published another patent from BoA for a blockchain-based storage system. According to Fortune, BoA currently has 45 live patents related to blockchain pending, with the bank’s CTO noting that the amassing of patents allows the bank to be “prepared.”

At the same time, the BoA has become infamous for its distaste for cryptocurrency, in May calling Bitcoin (BTC) “troubling” while upholding a previous decision to ban its customers from purchasing crypto using credit cards.

Despite its apparent foresight in the blockchain sphere, BoA is not without its competitors, Mastercard this week unveiling a patent of its own allowing transactions of what it calls “blockchain currencies.”

Boeing to Use Blockchain Tech to Track Unmanned Air Vehicles for Future Flight IndustryBoeing Will Use Blockchain Tech to Track Unmanned Air Vehicles for Future Flight Industry

Boeing, the the world’s biggest aviation company, recently announced their intention to tap into blockchain technology by utilizing it for their future unmanned airplanes used for the transport of cargo as well as future commercial air travel.

Boeing is partnering with SparkCognition, who develops artificial intelligence and is capable of developing a decentralized platform able to track unmanned airplanes in flight and allocate traffic and routes to ensure secure transportation. This announced on Tuesday, July 17.

This partnership will make use of blockchain technology in order to monitor Boeing’s next-generation airplanes which will deploy within numerous commercial applications and include remote package delivery as well as commercial air travel. They also intend to use blockchain for their future services similar to that of the uberAIR, which is in the early stages of planning.

In preparation for the future, Boeing and their new subsidiary, SparkCognition, plan to focus on advancing aeronautic flight and next-generation travel.

For example, Boeing NeXt is including the company’s first hypersonic passenger flights concept alongside its electrical vehicle takeoff and landing vehicles for on-demand cargo transport in future urban air travel.

SparkCognition founder, Amir Husain, recently stated “the urban aerial mobility opportunity will lead to the creation of the largest market in our lifetime, estimated by some analysts at over $3 trillion”.

Binance Invests in Plans of First Decentralized, Tokenized Bank in Malta

Binance Invests in Plans of First Decentralized, Tokenized Bank in Malta

Binance, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, is planning to create a blockchain based bank with token ownership according to Bloomberg on July 12.

The “Founders Bank” would will be based out of Malta and owned by several digital token investors. Finances already invested in a 5% stake along with other investors at a $155 million valuation.

The aim of the project is to become the world’s first decentralized community own bank. The owners of the bank would be issued a legally binding equity tokens in return for their investment. All investment capital would be handled through the blockchain based equity platform Neufund.

A license from Maltese regulators, in accordance with European financial walls, we need to be issued before launch operations. The office of the Prime Minister of Malta, Silvio Schembri, has stated he “is honored to have Malta chosen as the location for the first global community owned bank”.

The Maltese Parliament has just recently approved three DLTs (Distributed Ledger Technologies) and crypto related bills, to remain at the forefront of blockchain innovation.  These operations continue to define Malta as the “blockchain island” and further solidifies their stance as a profound cryptocurrency advocate.

South Korean Officials To Develop New Cryptocurrency Exchange & Blockchain Regulations

South Korean Officials To Develop New Cryptocurrency Exchange & Blockchain Regulations

The Korea Times reported today that South Korean regulators are finalizing drafts of bills intended to develop a set of rules on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and initial coin offerings (ICO’s).

South Korea lawmakers will introduce the draft as an extraordinary session of national assembly which is going to Take Pl., July 13th through 26. According to Korea times, representative Song Hee-Kyung, of the Liberty Party Korea is calling for regulations on crypto trading platforms in order to prevent money laundering, personal data leaks, and cyber crimes.

South Korean officials are reportedly planning to present new regulatory bills on the legal status of digital currencies and the legal requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges. Many officials are calling for more security measures for cryptocurrency exchanges with regard to the recent string of crypto hacks.

As of recent, South Korean regulators have been gradually changing their stance towards cryptocurrency. Last month, the government announced that they plan to reverse the ICO ban which they initially enacted back in September of 2017.

The South Korean Ministry of Science And Technology also strengthened their cooperation with the US in order to advance the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” powered by blockchain technology.

Sirin Labs Plans to Release First Blockchain Smartphone in November

Sirin Labs Plans to Release First Blockchain Smartphone in November

Swiss smartphone developer, Sirin Labs, plans to release a blockchain based smartphone in November of this year, as reported on July 11.

Sirin Labs raised $157 million for the project during their Initial Coin Offering back in December 2017. There was $110 million gathered over the first 24 hours of the ICO.

The company had previously released a privacy focus smart phone in 2016. The intended price of this phone was at around $16,000. However, the new blockchain based phone, named Finney, is scheduled to be released at an expected price point of $1000 as reported by Sirin Labs.

Finney, which is based off of the android system, will run on their own operating system, SIRIN OS, and include a cold storage cryptocurrency wallet, token conversion service, and multi-blockchain decentralized applications store.

The phone will be developed and manufactured in Taiwan, by Foxconn Technology Group, the manufacturer such products like Apple, Google, Cisco, and Amazon.

According to the chief marketing officer of Sirin Labs, Finney will have a multilayer cyber security suite which will prevent unsuspecting users from connecting to a rogue network.

Sirin Labs intends to open their own shops worldwide with locations in the US, UK, and Japan. The company also plans to launch their own personal computer based on blockchain technology, which will be less costly than their smartphone.

In related news, the opera web browser will be releasing a beta version of their native cryptocurrency cold storage wallet for the android operating system.

IBM Signs $740 Million Deal With Australian Gov’t for Blockchain Data Security

IBM has signed a five-year AU$1 billion ($740 million) deal with the Australian government to use blockchain and other new technologies to improve data security, Bloomberg reports Thursday, July 5.

The major contract will see IBM provide technology such as blockchain, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to Australian federal departments, including defense and home affairs.

IBM’s Asia Pacific head, Harriet Green, told Bloomberg that the new partnership will give Commonwealth citizens access to the “world’s greatest technologies” “across many, many government agencies.”

The new partnership will catapult Australia to “the top three of digital governments in the world,” she suggested.

In her interview, Green placed repeated emphasis on ensuring data security for citizens – for which blockchain’s central offering of an immutable and encrypted ledger is a cornerstone innovation.

Green also saw the deal as a major step in Australia working towards a “paperless future” across different realms of the state’s jurisdiction, including taxation and border control.

Just today, the world’s fourth largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trade volumes, Huobi, confirmed it had launched trading on its new Australian platform, with the new CEO of Huobi Australia saying the exchange is “keen to partner with the growing numbers of Australian blockchain projects looking to list in a maturing market.”

The Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) 2018-19 budget has already earmarked $530,000 for blockchain research, a move it says was prompted by a specific request from the country’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

IBM for its part has been steadily expanding its involvement in blockchain across diverse fields, with its Blockchain Platform successfully used just this week to power the first live operations in a major trading initiative involving twenty companies and five major banks.

Volkswagen Patent Allows Vehicles to Communicate via Blockchain

Volkswagen Patent Allows Vehicles to Communicate via Blockchain

Volkswagen has applied for a patent allowing vehicles to communicate with each other through a blockchain-based network aimed to increase road safety by warning of nearby vehicles and alerting the driver to potential collisions.

The system could potentially be used to negotiate actions like merging lanes, overtaking, and a number of other high-risk activities on the road.

“In Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication messages are exchanged between vehicles to enable novel safety-relevant use cases. Most of the currently known use cases provide warnings to alert a driver about an imminent event, such as two vehicles colliding with each other,” read an excerpt from the patent. “To this end, Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication is based on single messages, which are signed by the sending vehicle.

The signature provides integrity and non-repudiation. A natural extension to safety warnings are cooperative manuevers, which allow increasing both safety and efficiency of road usage.”

The patent deals with self-driven and manually-driven cars and aims to either display information for a driver to see or simply inform self-driving cars on their next move. A cooperative inter-driver contract is described which will allow drivers to enter agreements aimed to increase their road safety.

“Cooperative manoeuvres can be performed in a variety ways. One efficient way is for two vehicles to negotiate a contract. Once this contract is complete, the manoeuvres of the negotiated contract are carried out. In case a need for a change of plans arises, this change needs to be agreed upon as well.”

The crux of the patent is the concept of exchanging inter-vehicular messages which are cryptographically signed and serve to create a network of nearby cars in order to better avoid collisions and work with the flow of traffic.

The patent explains that messages are first exchanged between one vehicle and another, with each message containing a “hash pointer” which indicates where relevant information is stored on a blockchain. After the messages have been exchanged the pointer to the last of the messages is signed by each participant and published on the blockchain. If the resulting contract has to be changed, a further message is added and the process continues.

Volkswagen is the latest major company to apply for a blockchain patent to enhance their business, with Walmart patenting a system for accessing medical records on a blockchain with other blockchain patents under review and Mastercard patenting anonymous blockchain transactions.  and Samsung seeking blockchain patents to improve their logistics and operational efficiency.

Ford Motors has also patented a cryptocurrency-fueled vehicle technology allowing for preferential lane access while on the road among other functions, with cryptocurrency exchange being a feature of the system. It’s possible that the Volkswagen contract system will handle similar negotiations if approved.

South Korea Develops Industry and Classifications for Blockchain Industry

The South Korean government is drafting major new industry classification standards for the domestic blockchain industry, local crypto news outlet The BChain reports Thursday, July 5.

Three Korean ministries – the National Statistical Office, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Information and Communication – are said to have been working since the end of last month to produce the final draft of a new blockchain industry classification scheme by the end of July.  

The scheme will reportedly serve as a basis for policy making, notably aimed towards “blockchain promotion and regulatory frameworks,” and covers areas including blockchain systems construction, decentralized applications (DApps) development, and cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions.

The draft defines cryptocurrency exchanges as crypto asset exchange and brokerage, which is an important redefinition that “recognizes crypto exchanges as regulated financial institutions,” as opposed to their previous classification as “communication vendors”.

BChain reports that the move is “the first time” the Korean government has recognized the emerging sector as a legitimate industry.

With further input from 43 government ministries and 17 regional municipalities, as well as enterprises and financial institutions, the initiative is said to be drawing on consultations with over 160 institutions to assemble what will be the country’s first statistical survey of the sector.

The government has subdivided its industry classification scheme into three sectors, with ten further subdivisions under the guidance of the Korean Standard Industrial Classification (KSIC). The subdivisions include detailed considerations of blockchain-powered infrastructure for DApps such as EOS, Ethereum and NEO, blockchain-based cloud computing services, and cryptocurrency mining.

The survey is also covering blockchain systems integration into existing industries, including the financial sector, security, insurance, copyright management, supply chain management, medical services, and software development.

Today’s news comes at a pivotal time for the South Korean crypto sphere. Recent high-profile cryptocurrency exchange hacks have prompted robust responses from local regulators: nonetheless, important positive news has been forthcoming from the government throughout spring, most notably the country’s plans to lift its notorious blanket ban on domestic Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

In late June, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced a major Blockchain Technology Development Strategy that aims to raise approximately $207 million by 2022, and since May, the country’s central bank has been exploring the idea of using blockchain in order to realize its project for a “cashless society” by 2020.

Malta Passes Blockchain Bills to Establish Framework for Blockchain Technology

Malta Passes Blockchain Bills to Establish Framework for Blockchain Technology  Malta’s Parliament passed three bills today in order to establish a regulatory framework for blockchain technology as reported by local news outlet Malta today on July 4.  The junior minister for financial services, Silvio Schembri, stated that the island nation is a pioneer in providing legal framework or future blockchain companies. This is the first world jurisdiction to provide legal certainty within this space. The move taken by Malta’s Parliament would put investor minds at ease as companies now have the necessary legal tools to operate in a regulated environment. The government now offers a stable system which will result in further economic growth for blockchain companies. Numerous blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses have already moved to Malta, as the country has taken many regulatory steps become the “blockchain island”.  Many cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, BitBay, and OKex have set up operations in Malta due to their blockchain development and cryptocurrency friendly space. The Malta gaming authority also issued a document of guidelines on blockchain and cryptocurrency applications within the gaming industry. The goal of the group is to apply standards to games that use cryptocurrency in blockchain technology. The government of Malta announced that they would soon be developing a project in which the use of blockchain technology would be used for recording academic certificates and diplomas.

Malta’s Parliament passed three bills today in order to establish a regulatory framework for blockchain technology as reported by local news outlet Malta today on July 4.

The junior minister for financial services, Silvio Schembri, stated that the island nation is a pioneer in providing legal framework or future blockchain companies. This is the first world jurisdiction to provide legal certainty within this space.

The move taken by Malta’s Parliament would put investor minds at ease as companies now have the necessary legal tools to operate in a regulated environment. The government now offers a stable system which will result in further economic growth for blockchain companies.

Numerous blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses have already moved to Malta, as the country has taken many regulatory steps become the “blockchain island”.  Many cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, BitBay, and OKex have set up operations in Malta due to their blockchain development and cryptocurrency friendly space.

The Malta gaming authority also issued a document of guidelines on blockchain and cryptocurrency applications within the gaming industry. The goal of the group is to apply standards to games that use cryptocurrency in blockchain technology.

The government of Malta announced that they would soon be developing a project in which the use of blockchain technology would be used for recording academic certificates and diplomas.

$731 Million Stolen from Crypto Exchanges in 2018: Can Hacks be Prevented?
 

Blockchain security firm CipherTrace recently reported that $731 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen from crypto exchanges during the first half of 2018.

Last year, crypto exchanges recorded around $266 million in losses from security breaches and heists. The first half of 2018 recorded triple the amount stolen from crypto exchanges in 2017, triggering investors in the cryptocurrency space to develop concerns regarding the standard of security measures implemented by crypto trading platforms.

Poor Regulation, Lack of Talent

Two of the biggest crypto exchange hacks in 2018 were the $500 million Coincheck hack in Japan and the $40 million Coinrail hack in South Korea. Both exchanges stored an unusually large amount of crypto assets in their hot wallets, or wallets connected to the internet, instead of cold wallets stored offline.

As such, as soon as hackers gained access to the system of Coincheck and Coinrail, they were immediately able to steal hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies without any hurdle.

Subsequent to its hack, Coincheck admitted that its $500 million security breach was a result of the lack of talented and experienced developers working on the platform’s security systems.

Coincheck CEO Koichiro Wada said in an interview with Bloomberg:

“We were aware we didn’t have enough people working on internal checks, management and system risk. We strived to expand using headhunters and agencies, but ended up in this situation.”

However, the statement was released after a controversial press conference regarding the hacking attack that prompted investors to outrage over the company’s attitude about its infrastructure.

Merely days after the breach, Coincheck held a press conference to outline the company’s future and the method that will be used to deal with the breach.

NEM Coincheck
Approximately $530 million worth of NEM tokens (XEM) were stolen in the January Coincheck hack.

As CCJ previously reported, Yuji Nakamura, a technology reporter based in Japan, said that Coincheck claimed:

  1. Only NEM was impacted
  2. Coincheck plans to continue operating
  3. Not decided on how to reimburse customers
  4. No Multi-Signature
  5. Would not admit security was weak
  6. Not sure how it was hacked

Essentially, investors were outraged by the fact that the exchange did not know how the hacking attack occurred, its failure to utilize multi-signature technology to secure user funds, and its reluctance to admit that its security was weak.

Coinrail, formerly the fifth-largest digital asset exchange in the South Korean market, also admitted after its breach that it did not have enough resources and developers to fix and improve its security system.

How Can Exchange Hacks be Prevented?

Japan and South Korea, two countries that experienced the largest security breaches in 2018, have already started to implement strict regulatory policies to establish industry standards regarding cryptocurrency exchange security.

The government of South Korea has chosen to regulate cryptocurrency exchange as banks, providing local financial agencies the authority to monitor and oversee crypto exchanges.

With stricter regulations and consistent monitoring of the security systems implemented by exchanges, authorities of Japan and South Korea expect the magnitude of security breaches in the cryptocurrency sector to decline over time.

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