NASA Invested $330 Million in Blockchain Service

National aeronautics and space agency (NASA) provided developers with $330 million grant for creating a blockchain service that makes space computations.

The service is supposed to compute satellite trajectory which will make it possible to avoid clashes with space garbage, ETHNews reports.

This grant was alloted to the experts from the University of Ackron (USA) who are going to build their own data-center that is partially based on the blockchain of Ethereum cryptocurrency. Besides, the system they suggest will be based upon AI schemes and deep learning and fuzzy logic methods.

According to the team’s leader, assistant professor Jeanne Way, they plan to create a technology that will help satellites avoid dangers which can appear on their trajectory and automate some tasks.

Today satellites connect to the Earth using wireless communication but as they move away from the planet the process of  information delivering lasts longer than it is necessary.

Is The World Not Ready for the Power of Blockchain Yet?

The blockchain technology undoubtedly has a huge potential for companies specializing in various fields and areas. On a daily basis, we witness enterprises all over the world incorporate blockchain for security, cross-border payments, storing data and many other purposes.

Blockchain is used in the healthcare sector, studied in universities and even used to combat crimes against humanity, like child labor and drug trafficking. However, if we take a closer look at the statistics, we will be surprised to find out that most businesses are not yet at the stage of development to start using blockchain.

According to the research made by the software company Globant, among the participants of the survey, less than a half (46%) are actually ready to apply the blockchain technology right away.

Our report reveals organizations are eager to invest in blockchain solutions to improve their internal operations. Enthusiasm toward blockchain has yet to translate into readiness, however,” is mentioned in the report.

As for the statistical results of the survey, here it is worth pointing out the following bullet points:

  • 64% of the respondents are willing to incorporate blockchain and invest into blockchain solutions, but have not undertaken anything specific yet;
  • 61% are already actively researching the technology and the ways of applying it for their businesses;
  • Only 28% have selected their first or subsequent blockchain vendor.

Out of the respondents whose businesses have already started researching blockchain:

  • 42% are in the discovery phase;
  • 30% are still unsure of which blockchain provider to choose;
  • 19% have chosen their first vendor;
  • 9% have already moved on to another provider.

Thus, we can clearly see that although the interest in blockchain is obviously present and growing with every single day, however, it is still quite far from being fully incorporated by the businesses worldwide.

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Chinese Fudan University Opens Up a Research Center Devoted to Blockchain

One of the oldest and most prestigious educational establishments in China, Fudan University, located in Shanghai, is moving with the times. Just like their colleagues from universities in Tokyo, Stanford and other cities around the world, Fudan scientists decided to try out the potential of the blockchain technology.

The university partnered up with a couple major companies in Shanghai, one of them being Shanghai Zhongren Information Technology Co., Ltd, and launched Shanghai Blockchain Engineering Technology Research Center.

The new blockchain hub will function not only to benefit Fudan University, but also for the sake of the whole city.

Professor Lu Haibin, the newly appointed Director of the Blockchain Research Center of Fudan University, introduced it during the official opening:

The Blockchain Research Center will carry out basic research, demonstration of possible application and training talented people with the help of the blockchain technology, strengthen the combination of production, study and research, and serve Shanghai’s economic development.

Frankly speaking, this is not the first time that a Chinese higher educational establishment opened up a similar center. The fintech research department of the Tsinghua University in Beijing cooperated with the blockchain payment solution producer Ripple and established a special scholarship for gifted students in this area called the Blockchain Technology Research Scholarship Program.

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CryptoMining.Farm Scam: 30 Victims Lost $1.34 Million

Thirty people have filed complaints to Thailand’s Technology Crime Suppression Division stating that they were victims of crypto mining scam, they allegedly lost 42 million baht ($1.34 million). The police thinks that the amount of victims can be bigger.

According to the victims’ words, the leaders of the scam convinced them to invest money into CryptoMining.Farm, a blockchain-mining website. One anonymous victim said to the Bangkok Post that one of the leaders promised investor an impossibly high return – 70% a year.

The victims signed contracts when they entered the website, the documents said that a customer may withdraw money at any time he/she wanted without any additional condition. However, the situation has changed since August. The victim stated that:

“From August the owner began imposing conditions for withdrawing the money. Then at the start of this month, the site announced it would start paying back investors in 84 installments which would take over seven years to complete. The payments were supposed to be made in foreign currencies [which] is not permitted by Thai laws.”

After a preliminary investigation, the police is sure that not 30, but 140 people became victims of the scam. Moreover, it can be related to a big scandal which happened in August 2018, when a popular Thai actor and his siblings stole about 797 million baht ($25.5 million).

According to the Bangkok Post, the company has two official offices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which may make the victims think that the company’s operations are legal.

Thailand treats digital money with caution and tries to regulate it. The Thai Ministry of Finance even issued a document last year where all the country’s cryptocurrency activities were regulated, including the taxation of participants of crypto market.

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The Recent Filing of Apple to SEC Suggests Its Interest in the Blockchain Technology

It has been detected that one of the latest listing of Apple submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission called “Conflict Minerals Report” mentioned the blockchain technology as one of the methods to deal with the issue stated there.

The issue itself regarded the mining, production and shipment of minerals used to produce smartphones and other electronic devices.

We have covered the topic earlier and informed you about the company Ford that cooperated with IBM and other giants in order to combat child labor in Africa. Their primary goal was to focus on cobalt mines in Congo, where minors were and maybe still are working illegally.

Meanwhile, Apple has some big plans on that cobalt, since this mineral is crucial for the company to manufacture their devices. However, using cobalt from the infamous mines in Congo would mean direct support of the human rights abuse.

Many experts have repeatedly pointed out that the supply chains of Apple were involved in multiple scandals involving the violation of human basic rights. Thus, the company had to make sure it got rid of the “dirty” reputation.

Apple is deeply committed to upholding human rights across its global network of suppliers that support the manufacturing of its mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and related accessories. Apple works to safeguard the well-being of people involved in its supply chain and to protect the places where materials are sourced,” the filing reads.

Conflict Minerals Report was mainly about the work ethics of Apple and the possible ways to ensure the legitimacy of supply chains, using the blockchain technology, as well as educating other businesses how to use blockchain for security purposes.

Thus, we might draw a conclusion that Apple is getting closer to using the blockchain technology, even though it is indirect so far. Bigger step towards using the potential of blockchain might follow soon.

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A Major Japanese Bank Is Developing a Blockchain-Based Payment Network Due in 2020

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) is on the most prominent financial institutions in Japan, moreover, it is the world’s fifth largest bank in the world. Located in Tokyo, MUFG has branches in 50 countries all over the globe and over 150 thousand employees.

The financial group provides services in the various fields like leasing, asset management, commercial banking, credit cards, securities and others. It also constantly collaborates with the largest banking establishments in America, Europe and Asia.

MUFG and blockchain

Following the example of its competitors and partners, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group decided to involve innovative technologies in order to upgrade and advance its payment systems.

According to the official press release of the bank, it is partnering up with the Massachusetts-based company Akamai Technologies, which is a leading provider of content delivery and site accelerating services.

MUFG and Akamai Technologies, Inc. (“Akamai”) announced today that they have agreed to strengthen their strategic alliance towards the full-scale launch of a new payment network business and establishment of a joint venture, Global Open Network, Inc.,” is mentioned in the press release.

The main purpose of the collaboration, the development of a blockchain network for payments, is planned to be launched in 2020.

As stated by the bank representatives, they want to experiment with “diverse payment schemes” which will allow to expand their range of services.

We remind you that another global financial establishment, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, is also working on implementing cutting-edge technologies and launched a financial management app.

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Report: Blockchain Investments Cannot Overcome Fintech Funding

European blockchain companies set a record in 2018, however, they are unable to overcome funding that comes to financial technology companies.

Blockchain boom in 2018

At the end of 2017, the rate of Bitcoin skyrocketed to incredible price of $19,000. As the first cryptocurrency began gaining popularity, people started to wonder about the technology that stayed behind. After that people understood that blockchain can be used not only in crypto, but also in other spheres of life.

Some companies began to create their own blockchain and implement it into financial sector, political sector, etc. For example, Western Union supports cryptocurrency and blockchain, and it seeks the ways of their implementation; LG Uplus released a blockchain cross-border payment system.

After the cryptocurrency prices collapsed, the blockchain technology remains to be quite popular topic on different IT conferences and summits.

Blockchain investments cannot overcome fintech funding

According to Innovate Finance’s ‘2018 FinTech VC Investment Landscape‘ report, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry in Europe has witnessed a series of significant deals, but notably just four deals amounted to over $300 million. These deals include such projects, as Paxos (Bankchain), Dfinity, SEBA Crypto, Bitfury. They raised from $65 million to $103 million in different periods of the year.

Analysis shows that fintech companies are much more popular among investors than blockchain. European challenger banks Revolut and N26 alone raised $461 million across 7 deals. They closely followed by personal finance and wealth management ($333.61 million), and alternative lending and finance ($306.64 million) industries.

Fintech’s big picture

If we take the investments of all financial companies all over the world, we will see that they raised $36.6 billion from venture capital investors.

The leader in fintech investments is China, Chinese company Ant Financial set a record for  both fintech and venture capital, raising $14 billion. In overall, China led with $18.9 billion invested across 90 deals.

Next place is taken by the United States; it has raised $10.6 billion across 1,042 deals. The United Kingdom followed on in third place with $1.7 billion invested across 261 deals.

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